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Night Shade Message Boards » Shepard, Lucius » Who needs alternate history when you've got CNN? « Previous Next »

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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 08:03 am:   

It seems the news giants--every network, not just CNN--are giving the Reagan monkey credit for everything from bringing us into a Golden Age to inventing the electric toaster. The amusing thing is that he did nothing in his entire fucking reign other than ravage the economy, continue the construction of an American oligarchy, and tell a bunch of lame-ass jokes that are now being characterized as evidence of great wit. Listening to this aural puke, I'm reminded of the Kenneth Mars character in THE PRODUCERS, the ex-Nazi playwright, as he reminisced blissfully about Hitler: "Ah, the Fuhrer! He could dance!" The claim that he "brought down the Soviet Union" is particularly risible. A nicely compact piece on this subject can be found by googling King of Zembla and reading the section entitled Americans Without Alzhiemers, which details how the Soviet Union was ready to be transitioned away from its failed political model in the seventies, but the CIA, led by George Bush and a bunch of young neo-cons, were convinced that the Russians were on the rise militarily, that they intended to invade the US through Central America, and, by their efforts, essentially delayed the transition by a decade, thus creating misery in Central America and costing the US tax payer uncountable monies spent on projects like Star Wars and so on. And for this people want to put asshole Reagan's face on our money? What's next... beatification? In the future, will schoolchildren be chanting jingles about St. Ron ad nauseum the way they now recite the ludicrous story about George Washington and the cherry tree? Reagan's greatest achievement, in my view, was his co-opting of the media, hurrying along the devolution of the concept of journalism and enabling the transformation of network news iinto another asset of the armies of Moloch. Shit. You'll learn more about Ronald Reagan from smacking your head into a wall than by listening to the crap flowing from your TV. The funeral should be showing on the SCI FI Channel. And if that put that bastard's face on anything, it should be on something more appropriate, like toilet plungers or rectal thermometers for hogs.
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Mastadge
Posted on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 08:46 am:   

My dad keeps going on about how what Reagan did was teach a generation of kids that it's good to be lazy and not do any work. It's a frustration he's having a lot over the past few years, as a partner at his firm trying to hire young lawyers and so forth, and then having to deal with them on top of his already humongous workload.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 09:23 am:   

IMastadge, I can't speak to that so much-- most of my experience with Reagan's policies dealt with his Central American adventures, but if CNN and the rest can give him credit for world peace and improved gas mileage, hey, blame his sorry ass for everything, I say... :-)
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S. Hamm
Posted on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 01:07 pm:   

Lucius,

If anyone would like to jump directly to the article you mention above (in which Robert Parry debunks the notion that Reagan singlehandedly brought down the Soviet Union), it's online at Consortium News. Juan Cole also has some useful remarks on the subject.

Have you ever wondered why, if the Soviet Union collapsed as a direct result of Reagan's policies, no one in the mainstream American intelligence community (apart from a couple of discredited heretics) saw it coming until the moment it happened? -- And why there was no post-collapse policy in place to take advantage of this spectacular, historic success on the off chance it did come about? Instead there was chaos: the treasury looted, a descent into Wild-West capitalism, massive unemployment and economic "shock therapy," food shortages, weapons and fissile material available on the black market, etc. The whole deal would have to rank as the most stupefying intelligence failure until, ohhh . . . shall we say 2001?
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 01:15 pm:   

Thanks, Sammy. And yeah, what you said!
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 01:44 pm:   

At least we've learned from the errors of the past. An epochal world event shifting regimes in a crucial section of the world, followed by a complete lack of transitional planning? Ho ho! THAT could never happen today!

I find particular creepy the Grover Norquist commission's mission to have something named for Reagan in every US county. (Mine got an airport -- irony of ironies! What next? A monastery named after Bill Clinton?) This weirdly Orwellian attempt to rewrite history is perfectly consistent with the drive to plaster Ronnie's mug on currency, rename the Pentagon, etc. Doesn't anyone remember the only half-parodic attempt to add the Reagan visage to Lucius' favorite work of public art :-), Mt. Rushmore?

The ickiness has only begun to flow, dear friends.
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T Andrews
Posted on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 01:58 pm:   

CNBC has an online poll running right now: 'Should Reagan be on the $10 bill?'
Results are currently 50/50. Ickiness indeed.
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 02:16 pm:   

Hey, here's an idea. Why doesn't someone suggest Reagan for the $10,000 bill? Who the hell is Salmon P. Chase anyway? That way, he can have the greatest currency honor of all, and noone but a handful of clerks in the various federal reserve branches will ever have to see him?

You're welcome!
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 03:15 pm:   

Yeah, I recall the Rushmore thing. I think Mad had the right idea with putting Alfred E Neuman's head up there. As for the $10 bill, hey, half of the USA probably vote to put Mel Gibson on the ten dollar bill.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 03:24 pm:   

Salmon P. Chase was the Sec of the Treasury under Lincoln, an early anti-slavery guy. As for Reagan, fuck putting his face on anything; I say stamp the image of his wrinkled ass on the Freedom Medal, the worthless hunk of metal one can win. I tell you what, I can satsify the Clark County Washington requirement for the Grover Norquist commission. I just named the dumpster behind my apt for RR.
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Bruce
Posted on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 03:51 pm:   

Minor historical point: Salmon P. Chase served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court after his tenure as Secretary of the Treasury - pretty unique C.V. Also, Woodrow Wilson's smiling face is on the $100,000 note.

I recall one of Mad magazine's marketing ploys: Alfred E. Neuman portraits, suitable for lining parrot cages or wrapping fish. Not a bad way for RR to end up.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 04:04 pm:   

You know, there's a T-shirt statement to be made here. Kind of a ROT IN HELL, BONZO thing. Like a picture of Reagan in the midst of a montage of massacres, homeless, etc.
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Rich P.
Posted on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 05:08 pm:   

Reagan's mug should appear on the new wooden nickel.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 09:35 pm:   

Well, that sounds good.

I was just thinking about another example of Reagan's wonderful nice guyness. Remember when he was trying to cut the cost of the school lunch programs, he tried to have ketchup declared a vegetable? He so loved the little kiddies...
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, June 10, 2004 - 06:31 am:   

Remember when Interior Sec'y James Watt tossed the Beach Boys off the bill for the July 4 Mall concert because their music was un-American?

I must say, during the Reagan Years, your local newspaper was often funnier than the Onion.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, June 10, 2004 - 07:11 am:   

Oh, yeah! Watt, the apocalyptic Christian. He was special.
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Minz
Posted on Thursday, June 10, 2004 - 10:36 am:   

There are so many things for which to take Ronnie to task (though in truth, I'm thinking the Shrub has done even more damage in only one term than Nancy's psychic managed in two), but the one that really sticks out for me personally was when my dear Catholic mother began spewing Ronnie-talk on the phone one day, telling me how AIDS was just God's way of punishing the gays. It was such a brutal, chilling eye-opener. Any wonder I live a thousand miles away?
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, June 10, 2004 - 11:11 am:   

Yeah, the whole AIDS thing was on Ronnie's watch, wasn't it? What a guy! I agree Bush is rivaling Reagan, but hopefully we can get rid of his ass before he does worse. I just like the ketchup thing because it makes a great symbol to counter that whole compassionate, avuncular BS.
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Minz
Posted on Thursday, June 10, 2004 - 12:09 pm:   

I've been fastidiously avoiding the telly for fear of hearing the revisionist tripe. It's tough enough on the blood pressure with the Shrub up for re-election.

Reagan was a gahd of the aw-shucks, but he was even more spiteful and mean than the Shrub. The Shrub mostly wants his fatcat friends to feed at the trough as much as possible, and the rest of the rabble are mere collateral damage. Ronnie actively hated the poor and downtrodden, and felt the world would've been better if you just got rid of them all. I can't believe I'm actually backhandedly complimenting Shrub-boy, but Reagan really was a monster underneath. Shrub is just a mean, nasty frat-boy on steroids. Reagan was evil. And if there's a hell, I know my personal one will probably involve Ronnie running the show.
C'mon immortality pill!
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, June 10, 2004 - 12:31 pm:   

"...Reagan really was a monster hiding underneath..."

Only part of that I'd disagree with is the last two words. Because I was out of the country during the first few years of his misrule, I got to see him as his victims in the Third World saw him, I wasn't privy to all the Uncle Ronne crap. He was the most venal, uncompassionate, stupidest president in history. My loathing for that son of a bitch knows no bounds.
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, June 10, 2004 - 02:04 pm:   

For another board, I was digging up an article on the homeless problem in the early 1980s that ended with Ronnie quoted as saying "the homeless are homeless by choice..."

Simpler times, eh?
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, June 10, 2004 - 02:15 pm:   

Yeah, I recall that quote. After this adulation shit fades, somebody might make some money by a book of Reagan quotes that show the less Disneyesque view of Uncle Ronnie. I designed my ROT IN HELL, BOZO T-shirt, and I've already picked up a few orders just from talking to friends. My friend Katherine put a black cloth over her TV and refuses to watch lest she see or hear his cursed name.
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Minz
Posted on Friday, June 11, 2004 - 11:38 am:   

Is the RiH,B t-shirt available through cafe press or what? I need one before the end of the month, so I can wear it when I go back to Wisconsin to see my family.
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Minz
Posted on Friday, June 11, 2004 - 11:41 am:   

Actually, if there's a RiH,B coin purse, I'd take about a dozen to give as gifts to all my nieces and nephews! (Who needs a purse or wallet with Trickle-down Economics? A coin purse would work for most of the populace.) Actually, I'm certain my brothers would dispose of them as soon as I turn my back.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 11, 2004 - 03:58 pm:   

Probably not gonna be available til the end of the month, unfortunately. Sorry.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, June 14, 2004 - 06:05 am:   

"America laid to rest an era of fear and 'tai-ra-nee'." George Bush, that ol' tai-rant himself.

Reagan's most amazing legacy, it seems to me, is this notion that America should have no self-doubt. It's like a reawakening of Manifest Destiny. On of the lines in Bush's speech yesterday was this thing about America setting aside self-doubt. To my mind, self-doubt's a very good thing for a nation to have, especially one with lots of nuclear weapons.

Man, am I glad the funeral's finally over. I flipped on some of the last bit and heard some astonishing commentary by Tom Brokaw....

In a hushed voice:

"A moment ago, Nancy Reagan spoke to the Marine guard holding the umbrella and told him to move it more directly over her head.... The woman who exercised such tremendous control over her environment continuing to exercise that control even now...."

and:

"...She is now patting the flag draping the coffin, smoothing out some of its wrinkles. It's almost as if she's tucking him into bed one last time."

Wow. Now I understand why Tom gets the big bucks.

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Lucius
Posted on Monday, June 14, 2004 - 06:06 am:   

This is a nice Breslin piece on the whole deal:

Reagan should be on a $3 bill
Jimmy Breslin



June 11, 2004

I offered my small prayer for Ronald Reagan when he was shot by this
Hinckley. I said another prayer for him when I read this graceful note that
he issued about his Alzheimer's.

Having said this, I now strongly endorse a suitable memorial for him.

Ronald Reagan belongs on a $3-bill.

You are supposed to honor and respect the dead. But you also must respect
the truth, and live for the living - and this funeral has gone on for almost
a week. I am in a car and I hear the radio announcer, who is supposed to be
telling you news, whisper:

"The color guard quietly leaves the casket viewing area and marches with the
colors towards the two hearses; they are taking no chances and have a backup
... "

I was waiting for him, or somebody next to him, to let out a sob.

For the funeral of Ronald Reagan, they took the body from Beverly Hills to
Simi Valley, the white Los Angeles suburb, where it stayed for a day and a
half or so then they drove it in one of these two hearses to the airport and
flew it to Washington and then they had a march and afterwards put the
casket into the Capitol for crowds to pass by and now there was to be
another march and a religous service and then a drive to the airport, where
the casket will be shuttled back to the airport south of Los Angeles and in
a hearse to the final ceremony at his library on Friday. That is quite a
funeral. They buried George Washingon in half the time.

You keep thinking of Harry Truman, whose code was, "Do not impose." He left
an order that there were to be no eulogies at his funeral.

This man Reagan was 93 years old and out of it with Alzheimer's for many
years and I don't see how anybody can summon grief. They proclaimed it a
deep religious ceremony. Which it is not. His whole weeklong funeral is
cheap, utterly distasteful American publicity.

The great American news industry, the Pekinese of the Press with so much
room and time and nothing to say, compared Reagan to Lincoln and Hamilton,
they really did. This is like claiming that the maintenance man wrote the
Bill of Rights. And almost all the reporters agreed that Reagan was the man
who brought down Russia in the Cold War.

Just saying this is absolutely sinful. The Cold War was won by a long memo
written by George Kennan, who worked in the State Department and sent the
memo by telegram about the need for a "Policy of Containment" on Russia.
Kennan said the contradictions in their system would ruin them. Keep them
where they are and they will tear themselves apart. We followed Kennan's
policy for over 40 years. The Soviets made it worse on themselves by
building a wall in East Berlin. When they had to tear it down and give up
their system, Kennan was in Princeton and he sat down to dinner.

I thought that children were taught this. Instead, all week, reporters told
us that Ronald Reagan won the Cold War. Beautiful.

Ronald Reagan was an actor. He was as real as the line he used to keep his
fame alive. "Win one for the Gipper."

The line was complete Hollywood, down to agents who fought over it.

In 1938, a radio show, "Cavalcade of America," had a segment about coach
Knute Rockne of Notre Dame and his star back, George Gipp, who was dying of
pneumonia and supposedly said to Rockne, "Someday, when the team's up
against it, the breaks are beating the boys, ask them to go in there with
all they've got! Win one for the Gipper."

Warner Brothers bought the radio segment and assigned screen writer Robert
Buckner to put the "Win one" line into his otherwise original screenplay of
"Knute Rockne All American."

Pat O'Brien was Rockne and Reagan was George Gipp. Reagan delivered "Win one
for the Gipper" extremely well; he was a lot better actor than he was
supposed to be.

When the writers of the radio show saw the movie, they realized that this
guy was getting their best line. "Win one ... "

"Where is ours?" they asked. Warner Brothers made a quick settlement and the
film was released with Reagan's famous speech.

But for a television release, the line was taken out of the film because
Warner didn't want to pay any more. It is back in the video, my friend Harry
Haun notes in his book, "The Cinematic Century."

In government, he was as real as his trademark line. He was a callous man
with a smile who cut taxes in 1981 and left this city and state without
funds for such things as help for dependent children. He proudly hurt the
boroughs of this city more than anyone before or after him. If you live in
Brooklyn, the record shows that Ronald Reagan hated children. The city and
state had to raise taxes to make up for money lost because of Reagan's great
conservative movement. Reagan then raised taxes six times. He walked off,
leaving us an enormous deficit but with a smile on his face that even the
Gipper's fakery couldn't help us with.

___________________
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Iron James
Posted on Monday, June 14, 2004 - 06:55 am:   

I do believe you're suffering from living in an alternate history. If there was ever a greater president, a greater man, or a person who did more for this country, they forgot to mention him in the history books.

Those who believe Reagan ravaged the economy must have been stoned out of their minds for the several years before he took office. And likely for the eight years he was in office. If anything, CNN greatly understated the good he did for this country, and for the world.

But you go on living in Alterant History, USA. I'm sure you have plenty of company. Must be difficult living with so many others who are all in fantasy land, though.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, June 14, 2004 - 07:28 am:   

Actually, IJ, I'm quite comfortable with my perspective and have no difficulty with it whatsoever. It would be nice if you offered some facts to back up your assertions, but of course they would be hard to find.

I worked on-and-off as a journalist during the late seventies and much of the eighties, and most of that time I spent in Central America. During those years, death squads in Salvador, Battalion 316 in Honduras, the Contras, groups funded by Reagan to stop the commie invasion of the US through Central America (as puke-stupid a notion as ever occurred to any political leader) slaughtered thousands upon thousands of people in those countries.

Led by Green Beret advisors (whom Reagan declared were not in country), the Salvadorian army committed massacre after massacre, wiping out the populations of small towns. Most of those killed were no more political activists than the people on this board.

In Honduras, for instance, 7000 of the dead were children under the age of twelve.

The core of the "freedom-fighters", as Reagan liked to call the Contras, were a group of particularly brutal military officers who had served under the dictator Somoza ...

At the beginning, they had no force under their command. No one wanted any part of them. Reagan made an under the table deal with Litton Industries to build a base in the town of Trujillo (he wanted to hide US military involvement under the cover of this deal) and sent the 11th Engineers to down to build an air strip and etc.

Along with the engineers, he sent the Special Forces who were assigned to recruit freedom-fighters. This they did by, in company of the Contras, going into Morazan Province of El Salvador, kidnapping Salvadorian teenagers, whom they would bring back to Trujillo and put in tiger cages out by the air strip. Once their wills were broken, they were trained as snipers and ultimately sent into Nicaragua to kill schoolteachers and social workers.

These kids formed a significant portion of the Contra force. This isn't rumor. I was there, I saw it happen. I also was in villages shortly after massacres occurred. I saw women whose genitalia had been cut out, babies spitted by bayonets.

Among the fatalities cause by the Reagan-funded terrorists were a number of my friends. Most of them were students who never had a gun in their hands. They were tortured and mutilated. In several cases, certain of their body parts were delivered to the homes of their families. Don't tell me Reagan didn't know about any of this.

If I knew about it, so did he.

The list of Regan's crimes against the people of the hemisphere is unparalleled. Perhaps he didn't start the homeless crisis or the aids crisis or the problem of the environment, but he exacerbated them dramatically, just as Johnson exacerbated the Vietnam war started by Ike and Kennedy.

He was not a kind man, not a generous man, not an avuncular, affable man. He was a cruel, old bastarrd who had no sympathy for those less fortunate than him.

Classic Reagan was the incident when he was trying to cut the costs of the school lunch program (he just loved the little kiddies) and, to do so, tried to have ketchup declared a vegetable. As Breslin points out, he put forward the highest overall tax increase in American history while at the same time lowering taxes on the rich.

He didn't win the Cold War.

As mentioned upthread, Breslin doesn't go far enough with this. In the mid-70s, Russia was ready to transit from their failed political model, but George H. Bush, head of the CIA, and the neo-cons in the agency, Paul Wolfowitz among them, were convinced that the Soviet Union was not sinking into ruin, but was on the rise militarily and that they intended to invade the US through Latin America (the Domino Theory); their insane and inessential military build-up stiffened the backs of the Russian military, convincing them that WE were going to attack them, and this put off the ascension of a Gorbachev-type leader for almost a decade.

When the Soviet Union collapsed, Reagan and his friends had no idea it was coming - this is apparent, because they had no plan to ease the transition. And had they known what was going on, they would have had a plan, because a nuclear Russia in violent flux was a very dangerous thing.

Just like Bush with Iraq, they had no clue.

In my political lifetime, there hasn't been a single president I don't think was a horror show in one way or another -- but Bonzo wins the prize for Biggest Horror Show, hands-down.
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bill reynolds
Posted on Wednesday, July 14, 2004 - 10:15 am:   

Bush is awful close, man, but probably still doesn't beat the Contra rap.
How about the most appalling president in the 19th? I'd go with Andrew Jackson, The Devil to the Seminole.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, July 14, 2004 - 10:39 am:   

Man, I don't know. If we could get far enough into the future, it might look like a 43-way tie. But Reagan's still my leader in the clubhouse.
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Minz
Posted on Thursday, July 15, 2004 - 08:35 am:   

Reagan wins out because he's a true believer in his evil ways. George is just a stupid frat-boy sockpuppet trying to help his rich friends get richer. Don't get me wrong, the Shrub's already done more damage to this country domestically than Reagan managed in 8 years, but Reagan, as I've said before, was a truly evil man.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, July 15, 2004 - 08:44 am:   

Yep, that's my feeling. But Cheney, now...there might be a real contender....

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