Posts Tagged ‘Ronald Reagan’

It’s been a few months since I posted my last blog entry. It’s not like there’s nothing to write about. There’s toomuch to write about.

Take voter suppression. After the stolen elections of 2000 and 2004, the Republicans are still attacking the foundation of democracy. In 2000 and 2004 it was the sanctity of the vote. Now it’s the right to vote using unneeded voter ID laws to protect against the red herring of all red herrings, individual voter fraud. Shame on them, shame on the courts, and shame Attorney General Eric Holder for not pushing back with the full force of his office. What will happen if the outcome of the 2012 election hinges on a single state, which it could well do, and Romney wins because of a suppressed vote?

If voter suppression is a solid punch to the gut, then Citizens United is an upper-cut to the chin. Historians could well look back on this Supreme Court ruling as the tipping point in America’s decent into fascism. The effect of this ruling will likely be to further consolidate political power in the hands of corporations and the wealthy at the expense of the people. Somehow the strict constructionists on the court found this to be consistent with the intentions of our founding fathers.

What’s really troubling is that rolling back Citizen’s United will probably require a constitutional amendment, an unlikely possibility since the very problem that Citizen’s United created…unfettered political spending…will be used to turn back any attempt to correct it. Short of a general strike and millions of American citizens taking to the streets in protest, how can a democratic America survive?

The stuff in this post is not meant to be an inclusive collection of things that challenge our democracy; that list would be far too long. Rather, it’s the stuff that keeps bubbling up, day after freaking day. Stuff like hate mongering. As soon as President Obama was elected it started. He’s not one of us; he channels his Kenyan father’s anti-colonial beliefs; he hates America and doesn’t understand how it works; he hates success, preaches socialism, and practices a different theology than real Americans. The Becks, Savages and Limbaughs serve up endless piles of this crap to their mindless, numb-nutted, lemming-like listeners who define themselves by what conservative talk radio hosts tell them to believe. Not incidentally, this is the legacy of Ronald Reagan.

When Reagan launched the culture wars he appealed to a large block of easily manipulated people who could be convinced to vote against their own interests providing the appeal was wrapped in a Christian/patriotic package. Return America to its Christian roots, they were told, by driving the elitist, baby-killing, welfare loving, gun-controlling, capitalism-questioning liberals and socialists out of government. Little by little, their patience was rewarded and in 2010 it blossomed into a full-blown crisis of governability.

Some would argue that we could do a lot worse than deeply religious people voting as a block and having a major influence on government. Well, the Taliban are deeply religious. How’s that working out for Afghani women? Religious zealots in Israel, who represent a sizable and very influential minority, attack women and girls who aren’t Jewish enough. And in the United States evangelical Christians conduct a never-ending campaign to revise history and biology curricula in order to conform the their intellectually bankrupt and toxically ignorant views of the world. Hearing these people claim some kind of moral high ground when they would have pregnant rape and incest victims carry fetuses to term is beyond crazy. This is not what the founding fathers had in mind. It’s what their forbears escaped from.

A few days ago I had a spirited conversation with a young man who shares few of my gripes. After going back and forth a bit, he hit me with a tried and true debate stopper. Regardless of the problems, he said, “America is still the greatest nation on earth.” What does that mean? I asked. Ducking the question he parried: “I take it you don’t think so.”

Our little exchange quickly devolved into a WTF moment. After all, how do you fix the greatest nation on earth?

Advertisements
Official Portrait of President Ronald Reagan.

Official Portrait of President Ronald Reagan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m fed up hearing how the right lionizes Ronald Reagan.

The fact that he and his policies would never pass muster with the extreme right ideologues who run the Republican Party is not the issue. Rather, I’m referring to the myth that he was such a great leader and patriot. If he was, why was he, arguably, complicit in an act of treason in order to sandbag Jimmy Carter’s reelection bid?

I refer to a series of events reported on by Barbara Honegger in her book entitled October Surprise. In it she discloses information that she uncovered while working as a researcher for the Reagan Administration. It implicates both George H. W. Bush and soon-to-be CIA head William Casey in a pre-election plot to encourage the Iranian government to release the U.S. Embassy hostages after the after the 1980 election so as not to improve Jimmy Carter’s standing in the polls (the polls had Reagan and Carter neck-in-neck at the time).

The Carter administration was, in fact, actively negotiating the release of the hostages, and had Constitutional authority to do so, while similar, back-channel conversations taking place between the Reagan team of Bush, Casey et al and the Iranians had no legal standing, whatsoever. One way of another, the hostages were released minutes after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president and beatified all at the same time.

Obviously, Ms. Honegger’s allegations were vigorously denied by the Reagan administration. Nonetheless, the relationship between Iran’s propitious release of the hostages and the soon-to-unravel Iran Contra scandal involving the U.S., Israel, Iran and Nicaragua raises serious questions as to the veracity of the denials, especially a 1993 communication from Moscow (The Russian Report) that could have blown the lid off the whole affair.

I recently posted a piece entitled What Standing Do the People Have in the Dirty Game of Politics? to a wonderful blog called Borderless News and Views. It looks at pre- and post-October Surprise dirty tricks. While they were of the cloak and dagger variety, the Republican Party, I guess, deserves some credit for going public with their current evolution of election-shaping hijinks: voter suppression legislation.

Česky: Oficiální portrét amerického prezidenta...

Image via Wikipedia

There’s a wonderful blog post on Nomadic Politics entitled The 11 Reasons Why Ronald Reagan is Un-Electable in 2012.” It puts into stark perspective the pervasive insanity that characterizes Republican politics.

I’ve thought often about how out of step Reagan would be with the current state of the Republican Party. Yet, they tip their hats to him all the time, even though he would be seen as a moderate, today .

Well, moderate or not, Reagan set the stage for the greatest aggregation of wealth at the top in the world’s history. He also unleashed the culture war, which has driven a wedge between the parties such that compromise is impossible. He did it to consolidate political power, the unintended consequence of which has been complete political dysfunction.

The Left never, never contrived to destroy the Right, yet the Right says it wants to destroy, for all time, the “liberal scourge afflicting America.” Really? Well, it’s not the Left’s job to put this distructive and dysfunctional genie back in the bottle; the Republicans took it out, they can put it back. Until they do, they can go to hell.

Congressman Poe and Governor Mitt Romney

Image via Wikipedia

There comes a time in one’s life when age matters a whole lot. Not because the end is near…of even that you can see the end from where you are…but, rather, because there’s so much to be done and said. So many loose ends to tie up. So many battles to win and, sadly, so many to win again. And the presidential election of 2012 gives them all a sense of urgency and priority, as well as a daily stream of reminders that the Right will do anything it can to win.

Today, for example, I watched some tape of Mitt Romney saying that he had nothing against unions, just union leadership. What a crock! The Right goes positively orgasmic over thoughts of a world-wide wage race to the bottom that guts whatever is left of the middle class. Unions, even in their weakened, post-Reagan condition, provide the only check against the Right’s full-frontal assault on the American worker. I wonder if the manufacturing machine of modern Germany, where labor sits on boards of directors, feels that way about trade unions? Could it be that the Right’s anti-union mission is simply a means to further consolidate the plutocratic gains of the past 30 years?

Mitt Romney his no fool. His backers, their money, their goals and their greed threaten everything that is good in the human spirit. The time to fight is now. The time to win is November.