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This upcoming February 6th marks the 103rd anniversary of the birth of Ronald Wilson Reagan. Conservative luminaries will once again memorialize this man and his memory in reverent, hushed tones; others will speak of him with the kind of zeal usually reserved for deity in an old fashioned Sunday “go- to- meeting” tent revival as they espouse his philosophies and quote him freely with supplications for the “good ol’ days” of his presidency.

It’s no accident that the general Body Politic continues to bestow a kind of benevolent fondness for Reagan nearly 3 decades after he turned over the White House keys to Bush 41. Notwithstanding any “nostalgia” attached to that era, it would be counter-intuitive for contemporary American broadcast media - the majority of which is owned, operated and scripted by conservatives - to willingly admit to the ongoing effects of Reagan’s presidency all these years later: the work of a man who spent the greater part of his time in elected public service deliberately unravelling the structural fabric of a modern America that had been carefully woven at a terrible cost of blood and treasure for the 204 years that preceded him. As it is, the media pundits’ rosy embellishment of the influence Reagan has had on the soul of this country obscures a contrived decades-old endemic propagation of situational morality and disregard for facts. That his “legacy” has changed America is certainly beyond all doubt. However 26 years after his departure from the White House, that legacy continues to tear this country apart.

And so below the fold I present a detailed retrospective as seen through the eyes of someone who has been fated to survive in Reagan’s America for nearly half of my lifetime with all the trappings and implications that his policies and influence created.

Warning: it isn’t pretty.

An ex Hollywood B-list actor from the 1940s and 50s whose neoconservative political inclinations found their roots in Robert Welch’s John Birch Society and later an intellectual brother in Barry Goldwater, Reagan launched his political career and developed his style of leadership at the expense of the infirm, troubled, unemployed and elderly of California. From the beginning, his tenure as governor was fraught with systematic political, social and economic deconstruction, de-funding and dismissal of everyone and everything from disabled people to ancient growth redwood forests. In the 60s when I lived in Long Beach he was widely held by most of my contemporaries in the same regard as a wandering neighborhood dog with incontinence: “Where Reagan goes, nothing grows.” His mutilation of California’s public school system, his unprecedented expansion of the California prison system, his creation of his bigoted “welfare queen” fable used to denigrate people using public assistance, his emptying of the mental hospitals that had received funding through MediCal, his de-funding of state-sponsored care for the elderly - all of this done to reverse former governor Pat Brown’s policies in his rabidly enthusiastic obsession to eliminate anything that could possibly be considered  “socialism” - and then dispatching National Guard helicopters to gas protestors of the Vietnam war in direct violation of the Posse Comitatus Act which had prohibited the use of U.S. military force on U.S. soil against American citizens for a hundred years - these were but a few of the benchmark indicators that would hint at the nature of a future Reagan presidency, his contempt for the average middle class American citizen and the laws designed to protect them. Even 3,000 year old redwood trees meant nothing to this man but revenue generation for fence lumber destined to surround millions of California tract houses, since “…if you’ve seen one redwood tree, you’ve seen them all.”  - this from the mind who would later appoint James Watt as Secretary of the Interior.

Later, taken altogether, Reagan’s actions as President were imbued with a vigor usually reserved for someone hell-bent on overthrowing his own government through subversion and sedition with an eye towards the creation of a dictatorial oligarchy.

I don’t make these observations lightly; however the historical evidence speaks for itself::

- He started an open-ended ideological war on organized labor in 1981 by unilaterally killing the air traffic controller union that was attempting to bargain for better technology and working conditions to do their jobs safely - silly little things that apparently weren’t sufficiently important enough to consider in negotiations with any “socialist union”... this from someone who was a former president of one of America’s best known unions: the Screen Actors' Guild. And I guess we’re supposed to forget that the 1980s were the worst decade in American aviation history for collisions, crashes and hijackings. Might there be a correlation? You decide….

- He issued blanket amnesty in 1986 (back then the neocon buzzword used was “legalization”) for the 3 million undocumented immigrants who were bleeding our local government services dry even back then. Amnesty for brown people?! Isn’t that something a “liberal” would do?! However, as usual with Reagan, there was always an undisclosed agenda: his generous political contributors in California’s Imperial Valley agribusinesses needed cheaper labor to be more competitive with products being imported from Peru and Costa Rica, so why not "bend a few rules" for the sake of free enterprise in a high-handed attempt to smother the United Farm Workers union that had been a slap in his face in the 60s? Although it eventually recovered from the onslaught of border jumpers and stabilized its ranks, the effect on the UFW was long-lasting and resulted in the exact opposite effect of what Reagan had intended: it alienated Hispanic people from the republican party even more than before by demonstrating its contempt for them and willingness to use them as political footballs.

- Continuing his domestic assault on “socialist” America, Reagan issued an executive order to the FCC that repealed the Fairness Doctrine in broadcasting in 1987. This allowed conservative media moguls to yell "Fire!" in a crowded building without fear of any consequences. This was about the time that Rush Limbaugh fired up his cigar and started broadcasting his brand of political pornography while Roger Ailes began to introduce his own special brand of revisionist news broadcasting through Fox.

- Instead of putting a stop to the systematic rape of the Social Security fund to pay for congressional pork barrel projects and his “star wars” program - then stuffing the fund with I.O.Us that republicans never had any intentions of repaying in order to starve it to death - he jacked up Social Security taxes on the baby boomer generation and raised the retirement age for eligibility in order to “save” it. In fact Reagan also raised taxes overall 12 times while he was in office… because he HAD to, after making good on an earlier campaign promise, slashing the top tax rate from 70% to 28% in 1983 that later threatened to bankrupt the country. In later tax code manipulation, it may be noted that relief given to the upper 10% of income earners was never reversed, but the increases required to make up for the revenue deficits he originally created came directly out of the middle class - hit especially hard by the 1986 Tax “Reform” Act.

- His introduction of “trickle down" economics in the form of financial industry deregulation and tax code manipulation resulted in stuffing the pockets of banks, corporations and Pentagon contractors at the expense of America’s future middle class. Among the several components of supply-side legislation that Reagan and his administration managed to push through Congress were the elimination of the oil windfall profits tax  and eliminating certain lower income bracket tax deductions that were advantageous to middle class homeowners and private investors with  portfolios smaller than an investment firm. Even his own appointed budget director, David Stockman, would later point out that it was a contrived plan from the beginning to implement the largest redistribution of wealth that the world would ever know, continuing even today. “Trickle-down" became the mantra for American business that governed everything from hiring practices to executive compensation. Shortly thereafter the fallacy of basing a democratic republic’s economy on supply- side unrestricted capitalism began to manifest itself in the Savings and Loan crisis.  Although the Savings and Loan industry had been made somewhat vulnerable to speculation by President Carter having signed S & L deregulation into law in 1980, he could not have foreseen the aggressive, predatory pursuit of value manipulation on real estate that was then sold to investors as options once controls, safeguards and tax laws were further weakened. The Savings and Loan debacle was but the first symptom of what would culminate in the collapse of America’s economy 20 years later on September 14, 15 and 16, 2008 when the house of cards that was built on the republican mantra of unrestricted, unregulated “trickle down” capitalism came crashing down on the banking and real estate industry. Everybody tried to spin it as a “recession”… and for the stratospheric upper 10% who benefitted from Reagan’s generosity with America’s treasure (later extended and made even more lucrative by the Bush 43 administration), that’s what it probably did look like. For the rest of us it was a depression….and to this day this country is still struggling with the consequences while the middle class continues to die off…

Need a few more examples? Reagan’s foreign policy “legacy” mirrors the quality of his domestic leadership:

- Reagan invited the Taliban high command to the White House in 1982 during the Afghan war with Russia and promised to arm them to the teeth in exchange for long-term diplomatic relationships in Afghanistan and the remote mountains of Pakistan. That one turned out really well, didn't it?

- After the 1983 Marine barracks massacre in Beirut, Reagan pulled out from the entire country, lock, stock and barrel - every pot, pan, copy of Mad magazine and candy bar. By today’s standard this was a cut-n'-run move that would raise howls of vituperative criticism from every neocon in North America if somebody else did that. This is conclusive proof that if something that a conservative does is a double standard and you ignore it, there's no longer a double standard.

- As a result of under-the-radar meetings between Donald Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein, Reagan approved almost unlimited support for Iraq’s military expansion in the region as a hedge against Iran, and was probably responsible for providing them with the nerve gas used to kill the Kurds…. unused and unsecured stockpiles of which later likely fell into the hands of the Syrian military and were recently used against civilians in the current civil war there …

- Reagan sanctioned and instigated a clandestine war in Central America that he financed by selling TOW missiles to Iran - which, several months earlier, had held American hostages for 444 days and was a sworn enemy of the United States - and laundered the money through Saudi Arabia in an attempt to hide the transactions. As a riff on a Reagan-style attempt to win the hearts and minds of the Nicaraguan people, his lackeys in the CIA resorted to throwing living nuns out of helicopters to terrorize the Catholic civilian population into submission as subterfuge against the socialist Sandinistas. In other words he went to war without the consent of Congress and illegally obtained funding by selling arms to a declared enemy employing vulgar methods of terrorism to bend the will of people in a foreign country. Any sane mind would easily regard this as a brazen act of treason by a depraved despot- but since it was on Reagan’s watch, nobody could remember anything as soon as they were caught.  No: it was…“…just helping that gosh-darn liberty thing march forward, by golly.”

One of the more telling incidents which revealed how Reagan’s mind was wired to parse reality was documented in an article by Alexander Cockburn which chronicled a meeting with Israel’s Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir in which he told Shamir that he was part of the Auschwitz liberation force in World War 2 and that he had personally filmed documentary evidence of the Holocaust at that concentration camp. He is also said to have told this story to Los Angeles Rabbi Martin Hier; however the problem with that claim was that Reagan never left North America during the entire tenure of the war because of his visual acuity - his stateside job in uniform as a representative of the Armed Forces was to promote the sale of war bonds to a civilian population already saddled with rationing, food coupons and stagnant wartime wages. This experience would prove to be invaluable later in his career, eventually becoming the one thing for which he would be remembered above all else.

Another example: contrary to one of the more widely broadcast right-wing fables, Reagan could no more have claimed responsibility for the fall of the Soviet Union than could the mythological Greek god Bacchus for inventing grapes. the Soviets were already well on their way to collapse under the weight of their own "trickle down" policy called "communism”. Gorbachov had no choice but to “tear down that wall” because East Berlin and, for that matter, most of Communist Eastern Europe was on the verge of total social and economic collapse. The Soviet military hadn’t been paid in months, there was no available employment and little food in East Germany and, to make matters worse, winter was coming. People will generally tolerate an amazing amount of abuse from their government before they get angry enough to revolt, but they never tolerate blizzards, poverty and starvation all at once. Most analysts familiar with the situation agree that had “Gorby” not relented by capitulating in the face of the two Germanys desire to re-unify, he would have had another 1918-style revolution on his hands and a bloodbath rivaling anything that Stalin did that could easily have spread to every corner of the Soviet bloc. Bolshevik Communism was a failure - and in fact had been a failure for a decade before Reagan went to Berlin.

And if all that wasn’t enough, he and his wife were observed to heavily rely on astrology to assist in his decision-making.

He did have one talent that was an order of magnitude above all others that came before him - in the spirit of the best hucksters, fixers and snake oil salesmen from the past, Reagan was an unexcelled master at making Americans feel good about being swindled without them realizing that their future was being auctioned off to the highest bidder while in practice, this country’s collective reputation for compassion, justice and fairness were summarily discarded for the sake of political expediency on both the international and domestic stage. All he had to do was obtain some television air-time, speak in those cozy Zane Gray Theater dulcet tones with his “aw, shucks" easiness that people ate up like cotton candy and nobody would care what the man did or consider any of the potential consequences after he was done. The majority of voting America at the time - my parents’ generation (aka that “silent majority”) - wouldn’t have batted an eyelash since they were convinced that whatever he did was a patriotic necessity to “…ensure America’s strength at home and abroad…”: and his popularity figures among the 35-70 year old voters from his time in office bear this out.

It takes a vicious opportunist with a highly developed understanding of the exploitable vulnerabilities in human nature to effectively sell something to people that will seriously degrade their quality of life: and that's why the Republican Party in general and conservatives in particular prostrate themselves over the memory of this man, venerating him as a champion of conservative morality. Contrary to the contemporary opinions of those who insist on creating revisionist history sympathetic to his public service, the factual political legacy of Ronald Wilson Reagan is that he developed an amazingly effective process to con America into consistently vote contrary to its own best interests by repurposing America’s broadcast media from an entertainment and information delivery system into a consolidated political weapon of mass destruction. The Republican Party has used this methodology with zealous evangelism for nearly 30 years, and no other master of deception among them (with the possible two exceptions of Carl Rove or Rush Limbaugh) has been able to propagate intellectual syphilis on such a stunning order of magnitude ever since. In that respect the damage Reagan did to the United States of America during the 8 long years of his tenure as President has had more profound long-term consequences for future generations than everything else to which his administration could lay claim (at least before Bush 43). As recent acts of terrorism in the Middle East have shown, once a mind deliberately kept from exposure to critical thinking becomes poisoned with extremist dogma - political, religious or otherwise -  it is easily fed hatred and circular logic later as an adult - even to the point of committing an act of personal martyrdom for “the cause”. Joseph Goebbels and Leni Riefenstahl would have been humbled by the extent of his accomplishments in deconstructing America through masterfully manipulated disinformation and dismissing incontrovertible evidence contrary to historical record that would self-replicate years after his death. Reagan’s “Great Communicator” label takes on an entirely different meaning when exposed to the daylight of reality.

So as conservatives everywhere raise their glasses of Château Lafite Rothschild to Reagan’s memory on the occasion of his 103rd birthday, the voices of the people who lost their lives due to his belligerence and callous disregard for the general welfare of Americans everywhere are eternally silent. The rule of law that fell at the hands of neocon activist judges- the civilians who perished as a consequence of preemptive wars- the lives that continue to this day to be ruined in an economy that could have been a beacon for the world that was instead deliberately destroyed for the benefit of an elite few, the contrived libel that saturates the airwaves perpetrated by an overwhelmingly conservative - owned and scripted media - the neocons occupying public office today that know the price of everything and the value of nothing, and the plummeting quality of life in America that Reagan's mandates continue to cause even now will continue to be his legacy for untold American generations.

Originally posted to Anakai on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 05:57 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Anakai - you should check your facts (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rich in PA, ladybug53

    I haven't read your entire diary but just a few things on my way through, Fox News was started in 1996. Reagan using the California National Guard was a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act? Didn't many governors use the national guard frequently for quelling disturbances in the 60s? How about President Eisenhower sending the 101st Airborne to Little Rock Arkansas in 1957 to integrate public schools?


    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 06:11:46 PM PST

    •  Sure they did- Kent State was one example. BUT (3+ / 0-)

      airborne military hardware as a first strike option? Nope.

      •  I don't understand your comment (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        valion, waterstreet2013

        Ike did send the 101st to Little Rock.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 08:26:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The 101st was sent there to do two things: (4+ / 0-)

          Protect the black people and keep the rioters from doing more damage. Unlike how Reagan used the National Guard to aggressively assault protestors, Eisenhower's use of the 101st was restrained, intended to augment a small (and partially unwilling to cooperate) local police force.

          Conversely Reagan considered those protestors as enemy combatants, initiating first strike air operations... Against unarmed young people.... Who still had freedom of assembly... and freedom to publicly declare their grievances against their government... things that got in the way of Reagan's America. Basic Constitutional things. Yes, the protests were loud and sometimes ugly. So was the war.

          Also, Ailes had been toying with his style of network news content by soft-selling Reagan's performance and downplaying the North and Poindexter hearings back then. He was developing the kind of slanted presentation formats that would later be the hallmark of Fox.

          •  But wasn't Ike's use of the 101st a more clear (0+ / 0-)

            violation of the Posse Comitatus Act than Reagan's use of the California National Guard, which isn't a part of the DoD unless activated?

            There is no evidence whatsoever that Reagan thought the demonstrators were "enemy combatants". That statement is preposterous.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 07:46:10 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No more preposterous than (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Arabiflora, NoMoreLies

              the dozens of kids with asthma in those protests who nearly died from being drenched in CS gas.

              No more preposterous than Reagan having activated a military force and ordered an operation against unarmed civilians - DOD or not.

              No more preposterous than having to spoon-feed justification of Reagan's obvious intent after someone evidently takes delight in calling every word into question.

              Reagan's entire presidency considered anyone whose political considerations were in opposition to his to be an enemy and he treated them accordingly, showing them no quarter. That in itself is the "evidence". If you call that fact into question, perhaps you should consider other places where your attempt to obfuscate the issues would be more successful.

  •  How about the Challenger disaster? (11+ / 0-)

    Reagan was the first to turn the State of the Union into a Hollywood production. The original plans were to have the astronauts, including the first teacher in space, appear at the SOTU with him after their flight. When the shuttle launch was delayed a few days by cold weather, the new plan was for him to telephone the astronauts in space during his speech.

    With more and more delays, there was pressure from the administration to launch in time for the shuttle to be in place for the phone call. So they launched, despite the freezing weather that affected to "O" rings.

    That was Reagan's entire education policy -- send a teacher into space.

  •  Members of his administration (11+ / 0-)

    collected more felony indictments than any other.

  •  Use SEARCH here [ reagan lebanon 1983 ] (5+ / 0-)

    As CinC he was utterly incompetent.

    First, Reagan failed to protect the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. A slaughter similar to Rwanda ensued, killing 3,500 Palestinians and other Arabs.

    Then "Teach them a lesson" toward the Arabs at Beirut resulted in 1,500 civilian deaths from U.S. naval gunfire, retaliation with four truck bombs killing 398, and finally in 1985 (after Reagan retreated out of the country) formation of Hizb Allah with very strong ties to Iran.

    The worst CinC of the modern era.

    Also, when the Russians shot down KAL 007, all he did was sputter. Couldn't come to grips with what was happening.

    "I hesitate to agree with Ted Nugent...."

    by waterstreet2013 on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 06:44:51 PM PST

  •  and the good news is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    waterstreet2013, Rosebuddear

    that I no longer need to share my birthday with him.

  •  How much was Reagan, how much was the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Superpole, TracieLynn, Rosebuddear

    government that G.H.W. Bush installed? Reagan followed the formula that Prescott Bush, the Dulleses and Nixon built in the Ike years.  Unlikely that Reagan edited his speech writers or balked at his handlers' directions. The difference from Ike and Nixon was that after Buckley, there was a corrupt Congress that would graduate from Abscam to later approve NAFTA, the repeal of Glass-Steagall, and the Iraq War, etc. Reagan had lived through the New Deal, and accepted Gorbachev's surrender on nukes, then rescinded in the renewed war against Russia. The theory that Russia was an enemy because it was socialist proved wrong, it is an enemy for geopolitical reasons, particularly when peace with Russia would undermine the MIC.

    •  Right... and the Kicker is Grandpa Reagan (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Musial, Rosebuddear, Anakai

      started as a democrat.. and there's video of him espousing some definitely liberal policy.

      so what turned him to the dark side.. corporate ass-kisser? simply accepting the inevitable?

      "It is essential that there should be organization of Labor. Capital organizes & therefore Labor must organize" Theodore Roosevelt

      by Superpole on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 04:55:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Let me spell it for you... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Superpole, NoMoreLies

        Capital M

        Capital O

        Capital N

        Capital E

        Capital Y

        Reagan opened his mouth and performed whatever was expected of him at the behest of the highest bidder. In his case the corporations who used the eminent threat of the Godless Soviet Menace as an excuse to create new, expensive weapons systems had the most money and influence - principally through Rumsfeld and Cheney, the two trolls who did Reagan's bidding under the radar.

        Reelection? Just get some air time, put on that game face and babble something about tearing down a wall. The benjamins just kept raining down.

  •  To quote (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, Persius, xaxnar, TracieLynn

    Keith Olbermann. Reagan is dead and he was a lousy president. I would add a lousy governor also. I don't believe in Hell, but if it exists I hope he is burning in the hottest part.

  •  Are you trying to talk folk on this site to not (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    remember Reagan fondly?

    Carrying coal to Newcastle.

    •  I've seen several comments asking about (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xaxnar, Rosebuddear

      how, why and where this country got to this point in its history and what initiated the right wing insanity that is trying to aggressively push it over a cliff. I expect that most of them come from younger people who hadn't been born yet- and they certainly would not have received any formal history lessons in public school that would have put things done in the 80s in any perspective, especially during the Bush 43 years.

  •  Amazing what you can get away with when.. (8+ / 0-)

    Our Craven Corporate Media™ is behind you.

    Just like Al Gore, the mainstream media couldn't do enough to smack Jimmy Carter around, though he was right about almost everything. And they couldn't do enough to plant kisses on Reagan's behind.

    It's impossible to exaggerate how ghastly Reagan's legacy truly is. Essentially every single domestic policy he advanced helped destroy the environment, the middle class, or individual rights. His foreign policy moves came terrifyingly close to incinerating the world with thermonuclear weapons, and greatly advanced Islamic fundamentalism.

    FAIL all the way down.

    •  Exactly... If One Wanted to Intentionally Destroy (4+ / 0-)

      a prosperous nation; a nation that was once a creditor nation and turn it into a debtor nation, one would do exactly the sort of shit Reagan advocated:

      Get rid of totally, or severely diminish regulations and taxes on big corporations. Glass-Steagall_gone_ in 1999, Crash of 2007-2008 still being played out.

      Get rid of tariffs (NAFTA) and allow billions of dollars of U.S. consumer goods to be made in slave-wage nations.

      Get rid of Unions.

      Don't support/fully fund public education. Make a college degree as hard to get as possible.

      DO fully fund an obscene level of funding for "defense". Borrow money to fund unnecessary wars of choice.

      Don't invest in infrastructure.

      "It is essential that there should be organization of Labor. Capital organizes & therefore Labor must organize" Theodore Roosevelt

      by Superpole on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 04:06:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Grandpa Reagan's Legacy is Right in Front (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lulusbackintown, xaxnar, Rosebuddear

    of us--

    Tens of millions of people UNemployed and under-employed, a record high child poverty rate, and now the latest studies indicate the reality of the "birth lottery": if one is unfortunate enough to not be born into a middle or upper class family with both parents intact, the probability you will grow up to earn an upper level income is 8%, I think was the number.

    weak, very weak.

    Reagan's pathetic "let's turn the free market loose", free of all these "pesky" regulations and let's lower taxes for corporations, was worshipped/believed by idiots like Phil Gramm-- one of the guys responsible for getting rid of the Glass-Steagall Act-- and you see where that got us: the Crash of 2007-2008.

    Now we have trans-national corporations like GE, who invest MORE money in other nations than they do in the U.S.-- they paid NO taxes in I believe it was 2011.

    Uber capitalists Rmoney (also a Reagan-worshipper) is worth what? $500 MIL... and he pays what? 16% federal tax rate?

    The whole thing is an utter, epic disaster that is still playing out-- we'll see how this train wreck ultimately ends.

    "It is essential that there should be organization of Labor. Capital organizes & therefore Labor must organize" Theodore Roosevelt

    by Superpole on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 03:55:45 AM PST

  •  You give him too much credit (3+ / 0-)

    He was just an actor reading lines.  He couldn't come up with policies on his own, that was for the people writing his scripts -- people so nefarious their names are not well known.  

    Whenever these doctinaires wanted to unleash a new shock on the population, they just had smiling Ronnie start off a folksy explanation with "welllll" and voters would swallow it up.  

    He was as empty as Treasury he bankrupted.  

  •  One sign of a great leader (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, Rosebuddear

    Is that through the power of communication they can change the fundamental philosophy of the majority of the populace, and effect that change long after they are dead.  By this criterion, FDR and Reagan rank as great leaders - but so do Lenin and, had it not been for that nasty war he started, Hitler.  Surely the quality of the change that these leaders wrought must factor into their greatness.  25 years after he left the White House, we are still dominated and living under Reaganism and too many Americans still believe in his simplistic and selfish ism.

    "Corporations exist not for themselves, but for the people." Ida Tarbell 1908.

    by Navy Vet Terp on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 06:39:51 AM PST

  •  Reagan's worst legacy is... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    …the way so many 'Democrats' have assimilated his talking points.  The way 'Liberal' has become a dirty word and 'Conservative' a title of respect.

    The way so may politicians would rather spin fairy tales than face the real challenges to this country.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 06:47:52 AM PST

  •  GOPers have three propaganda assets (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that have taken on permanency. They use these assets to anchor their other non-logical no-evidence arguments.

    -- Abortion
    -- Ronald Reagan in a fictional version where he achieved everything he attempted and had no failures
    -- Race based "dog whistle" appeals to White paranoia
    These are sharply defined elements of GOPer propaganda.

    The fictional Reagan is amazing, to say the least. The fiction does not match what happened. Slaughters are erased. The two big anti-Middle Class tax changes are erased. KAL 007 is erased. Screwing the pooch over and over in Lebanon is erased; same for these blunders producing Hizb Allah in 1985 -- that is erased.

    Reagan's alliance with Saddam Hussein... you betcha that's erased.

    GOPers rely on their clones of the Straight Line persuasion system. That's the dominant approach to creating their campaign materials. For them it's all about selling images and simple slogans.

    The three prime anchors are used over and over again. They work. But this is also a problem because their ad campaigns are static -- vulnerable to emotional counterattacks.

    "I hesitate to agree with Ted Nugent...."

    by waterstreet2013 on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 07:51:01 AM PST

    •  Don't forget the 'October Surprise' treason.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      waterstreet2013, NoMoreLies

      ... that carried him into office in the first place.

      •  There's still some conjecture about that... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ... as to who exactly brokered that "arrangement" with the Ayatollah Khomeini to release those hostages. Some claim the Ed Meese was the point guy - others think it was George Schultz, James Baker or even that cagey old bastard himself, Henry Kissinger. There isn't any money trail to conclusively prove anything, but it was obvious that something had been arranged.

        To this day I wonder what was bargained away in exchange for their release. We may never know.

        •  Cutting off the material flow to Saddam (0+ / 0-)

          looks to have been part of it. Then Reagan reneged. That cost hundreds of lives in Lebanon and then founding of Hizb Allah.

          During Reagan's first Inaugural Address he told the crowd that the hostages had been released and that, "They're in the air!" That drew a mixed response from the crowd.

          That line has been erased from the official transcript at his Presidential Library. It's in the videos, of course. Rewriting history is the key to our Fictional Reagan.

          "I hesitate to agree with Ted Nugent...."

          by waterstreet2013 on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 05:22:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Reagan was an immoral buffoon... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but that fact hasn't stopped a legislator in KY to propose naming a new bridge over the Ohio after him.

  •  Having read "Sleepwalking through History" (0+ / 0-)

    I realize that in 2013 his mind is as sharp as ever, sociopath that he was.

    It is unfortunate that Reagan invited true sociopaths into his cabinet at the same time he appealed to the basest instincts of the American public.  We have not recovered yet and probably will not recover until some brave president repudiates the neocon and neoliberal ideologies and actions of the past 40 years.  I don't see that happening.

    40 years you say?  Well as explained in this diary, the scourge of deregulation upon the lives of people started under Carter.  As morally righteous as that man was, he let the idea of greed in commercial affairs gain traction that others fully exploited.

  •  Wish I could disseminate this across the Internet (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge, Anakai
    ...the ongoing effects of Reagan’s presidency all these years later: the work of a man who spent the greater part of his time in elected public service deliberately unravelling the structural fabric of a modern America that had been carefully woven at a terrible cost of blood and treasure for the 204 years that preceded him.
    and as for this:
    Reagan was an unexcelled master at making Americans feel good about being swindled without them realizing that their future was being auctioned off to the highest bidder while in practice, this country’s collective reputation for compassion, justice and fairness were summarily discarded for the sake of political expediency on both the international and domestic stage. All he had to do was obtain some television air-time, speak in those cozy Zane Gray Theater dulcet tones with his “aw, shucks" easiness that people ate up like cotton candy and nobody would care what the man did or consider any of the potential consequences after he was done.
    Not me, babe. Loathed him then and excoriate his memory now.

    And as for throwing living nuns out of helicopters--Jesus!  I didn't think his minions were capable of that. I was wrong.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 10:07:04 AM PST

  •  Well, you've burst my bubble (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I was laboring under the illusion that Reagan was a lackey puppet during his whole career.  Now I believe he was a legitimate sociopath.  In other words, he wasn't just a smiling simpleton, he was GOP rage and destruction incarnate.   Sounds dramatic.  Ant yet...the evidence...

    What's the difference between the Federal government and organized crime? One's legally sanctioned.

    by FrankenPC on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 10:18:48 AM PST

  •  One more correction (2+ / 0-)

    It would be nice if Reagan's actions concerning the UFW were what turned Latino/as against the Republican party, and they very well MAY have, but what really did it was the mean-spirited Proposition 187 which denied state services of all kinds to undocumented immigrants and enlisted the citizenry, especially the schools, in the enforcement of who was and who wasn't, and which Pete Wilson, the Republican governor, made the centerpiece of his reelection campaign in 1994, that did it.

    Correlation isn't always causation.

    •  Point taken. Just echoing the thoughts (0+ / 0-)

      of locals here in San Jose who were actively involved with the UFW and were disgusted with the amnesty because it appeared to them to be a strong arm attempt to de-legitimize the work of Chavez and the organization.

  •  Just to clarify (0+ / 0-)
    An ex Hollywood B-list actor from the 1940s and 50s whose neoconservative political inclinations
    Reagan was still a solid liberal dem in the 1940's and early 1950's. He backed Truman over Dewey in 1948. He gave full support to Helen Gahagan Douglass over Nixon 1950. Douglass was a champion of liberal/progressive causes.

    “The Republican party can’t be the party that thinks one of the biggest problems is that there’s too much love in the world.” - Alex Castellanos

    by lordpet8 on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 11:46:20 PM PST

    •  Absolutely correct. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lordpet8, NoMoreLies

      It is also worth noting that as the 50s wore on with the advent of the McCarthy witch hunts and the obvious financial resources to be befriended in supporting them, Reagan simultaneously saw his acting career in decline as well as a solid source of income in his future.

      By the time Robert Welsh, and later, John Stormer appeared on the scene in the late 50s and early 60s as standard bearers for the John Birch Society, Reagan was "easy pickins" for the cause. He didn't refer to the Soviet Union as that "Evil Empire" later in his career as just a catch phrase: he honestly believed that to be true from the core of his being - an evangelical product of the 1950s McCarthy era that would find in his philosophy the kernel upon which he based his war on anything and everything "socialist".

      And if there were a few bucks to be made along the way, why not?

  •  Oh, you libs are just jealous! I'm sticking my (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    fingers in my ears! La la la la la la la


    I hated the ground the GIPPER walked on. He was the living, breathing embodiment of everything I despise: Stupid, stubborn, unwilling to learn anything that didn't comport with the little cartoon that was his mind, and mean. That silky, soothing voice always made me want to throw up, as did his head-wagging, avuncular manner. And yet this chuckling moron was held up as a paragon of morality and intelligent leadership.

    •  I take exception to only one point: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The man was not stupid: he knew exactly what he was doing and what kind of outcome he wanted. If he didn't personally have the resources to accomplish something, he marshaled the resources necessary to carry out his wishes very efficiently.

      He was also a genius at obfuscation: they didn't call him the "teflon president" for nothing.

      •  It's asking a lot for me to believe that the (0+ / 0-)

        Great, Wise, and Holy GIPPER had anything but fecal matter between his ears. A friend insisted that Reagan was "A very cagey politician," but I simply couldn't swallow it. I'd sooner think that St. Ronnie had lots of smart people around him, who knew how to manipulate the moron so that he thought it was all his idea. That's the Teflon, too, as with a cartoon showing a simpering Reagan with the blood of the Beirut Marines sliding right off. THE PRESIDENT HAS CANCEEEEEER! was all it took and we forgot all about those men.

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