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Editorials

Raygun Should Have Been Impeached, Not Be Revered!
By Editors
Jun 10, 2004, 3:55pm

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Have the media gone mad with this ourpouring of praise for Ronald Reagan? This is the same guy who made racism fashionable again in American society. This is the president who disregarded countless laws and the very constitution that he swore to uphold. This man desregarded AIDS for seven years. He helped cover up the Savings and Loans fiasco where people like Neal Bush stole millions and others took billions. And then it is convenient to forget the "October Surprise" where a deal was made before the election "Not" to free the hostages in Iran. What about the Iran Contra affair, a clearly impeachable offence?

The following is a little primer on the policies of Raygun. Most of these items can be found in slightly larger versions on the Internet by following the appropriate links.

It is getting trite to continue quoting the line "Those who don't understand the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them", but never has this been more true. Not understanding the lessons of Raygun has certainly allowed characters like Dubya to wreck havoc in and to this country.

Domestic Policy:


Racism
newsdissector.org/weblog
Tom Lewis reminds us of where the Reagan Presidential drive was launched. "On Friday, as the nation mourns the death of the genial Ronald Reagan, let us remember also, as Roger Wilkins pointed out on Lehrer last night, that Mr. Reagan declared his candidacy in 1980 in Philadelphia, Mississippi, by stating that he was in favor of state's rights. That is the town where three young black men were lynched in 1963. No white voter in Mississippi did not understand what Reagan meant and what he stood for, which was continued white supremacy in the South by means of the ballot box; nor did any black citizen."

A Minority Perspective
Here

When Reagan admirers speak on the legacy of Ronald Reagan, and what he did for this country, they're invariably speaking and acting out from a white perspective.

Reagan did nothing for minorities, women, and even working class whites in this country.

Where "conservative values" are force-fed governmentally from the top-down, as was the legacy of Reagan's leadership style, the country moves ever "rightward" and white-ward; consistent with the legacy of Reagan's Morning-in-America campaign as a "revival of patriotism" and a revival of white racism. Reagan and his "practical streak" is gone. Practically speaking, his legacy is still quite with us, alive and, well, still against minorities, women, and even working class whites.

Civil Rights
Collective Amnesia or Collective Alzheimer's: America 'Remembers' Ronald Reagan

We are asked to forget the Reagan Administration's opposition to the Civil Rights movement, their blocking of busing programs and cuts to Head Start meant to bring equality of opportunity to American education.

Apartheid
Reagan's Heart of Darkness

"... "Immoral, evil, and totally un-Christian."

These were the words of Bishop Desmond Tutu, spoken on Capitol Hill at a House hearing in late 1984. It was just after Reagan's easy reelection. Tutu had just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent struggle against apartheid in South Africa. Throughout the United States a rising number of Americans were calling for American companies to stop doing business there.

Reagan ignored them. The president of so-called sunny optimism attempted to blind Americans with his policy of "constructive engagement" with the white minority regime in Pretoria. All constructive engagment did was give the white minority more time to mow down the black majority in the streets and keep dreamers of democracy, such as Nelson Mandela, behind bars.

...Over the remainder of his presidency, at least 3,000 people would die, mostly at the hands of the South African police and military. Another 20,000, including 6,000 children, according to one estimate by a human rights group, would be arrested under "state of emergency" decrees.

...Later in 1986, Reagan made his greatest demonstration yet that black bodies were "expendable." Congress had finally had enough of the carnage to vote for limited sanctions. Reagan vetoed them. Congress overrode the veto. Reagan proceded to put no muscle behind the sanctions. Mandela remained in jail and at least 2,000 political prisoners remained detained without trial.

In 1987 Reagan published a report that said additional sanctions "would not be helpful." The gleeful South African foreign minister, Roelof Botha, said that Reagan "and his administration have an understanding of the reality of South Africa."
More

Aids
Critics See a Reagan Legacy Tainted by AIDS, Civil Rights and Union Policies

Advocates for people with AIDS have long asserted that Mr. Reagan's lack of leadership on the disease, which was first reported by the Centers for Disease Control in 1981, significantly hindered research and education efforts to fight it. His surgeon general, Dr. C. Everett Koop, wrote later that "political meddlers in the White House" had complicated his work on the disease, and that "at least a dozen times I pleaded with my critics in the White House to let me have a meeting with President Reagan" on AIDS in the mid 1980's.

Mr. Reagan did not make extensive public comments on AIDS until 1987.

Homelessness
Amid Tributes, Activists Lament Reagan's Failure on Homelessness

He was a catastrophe. He was single-handedly responsible for homelessness as we know it today -- and he did it to feed the wealthy and the Pentagon. Terry Messman, homeless activist

The single most powerful thing Reagan did to create homelessness was to cut the budget for the Department of Housing and Urban Development by three-quarters, from $32.2 billion in 1981 to $7.5 billion by 1988. The department was the main governmental supporter of subsidized housing for the poor and, combined with the administration's overhaul of tax codes to reduce incentives for private developers to create low-income homes, the nation took a hit to its stock of affordable housing from which it has yet to recover, they contend.

The Economy
Collective Amnesia or Collective Alzheimer's: America 'Remembers' Ronald Reagan

To remember Ronald Reagan as one of the greatest Presidents of the twentieth century, to replace FDR on the dime with Reagan's profile as Republicans wish to do, we are being asked to forget too much.

...We are asked to forget that Reagan presided over the worst recession since the Great Depression.

We are asked to forget the policies that enriched agri-business at the expense of small farmers, continuing the decline of the family farm to the point that recording artists were the only ones left to uphold the Populists' mantle with "Farm-Aid."

We are asked to forget that he slashed taxes for the wealthiest, raised taxes on the poor, and then bailed out the corrupt Savings and Loan industry at taxpayer expense.

We are asked to forget that his SEC presided over such a corrupt and over-inflated stock market that the Dow saw the largest one-day crash in its history, greater than in 1929

We are asked to forget that Reagan's economic policies effected a reversal in the trend toward greater distribution of wealth begun by Progressive Republican, Democratic, and Socialist politicians in the early twentieth centuries, and have led us to the greatest concentration of wealth today since the days of Andrew Carnegie and James Pierpont Morgan.

Labor
Ronald Reagan's Legacy

Mr. Reagan also helped redistribute American income and wealth with a bold assault on American labor. In 1981 he summarily fired 12,000 air traffic controllers who went on strike for better working conditions. This ushered in a new and dark era of labor relations, with employers now free to "permanently replace" striking workers. The median real wage failed to grow during the decade of the 1980s.

Foreign Policy:


Prior To The First Election, October Surprise
Reagan Redux By David Swanson, AlterNet
June 6, 2004


Reagan is also the source of many of the relationships in Iran and Iraq that have troubled the United States since. Kevin Phillips' recent book "American Dynasty" does a good job of summarizing the strong evidence that Bill Casey and George H.W. Bush made a deal with the Iranians not to release the hostages until after the 1980 U.S. presidential election. This would mean that Reagan's election was illegal, that the trading during the Iran-Contra scandal had a precedent, that Reagan and G.H.W. Bush's buildup of Saddam Hussein's military was motivated in part by a desire to counter weaponry and money that the United States had given Iran in exchange for Reagan's election, that our media has completely fallen down on the job, and that we're all a bunch of suckers.

Iran Contra
The u-turn that saved the Gipper

Ronald Reagan's presidency collapsed at the precise moment on November 25 1986 when he appeared without notice in the White House briefing room, introduced his attorney general, Edwin Meese, and instantly departed from the stage. Meese announced that funds raised by members of the national security council and others by selling arms to Iran had been used to aid the Nicaraguan contras. Anti-terrorism laws and congressional resolutions had been wilfully violated. Eventually 11 people were convicted of felonies. In less than a week, Reagan's approval rating plunged from 67% to 46%, the greatest and quickest decline ever for a president.

On December 17 1986, William Casey, the director of the CIA, was scheduled to testify before the Senate intelligence committee. But he collapsed into a coma, suffering from brain cancer, never to recover. Lt Col Oliver North, Casey's action officer on the NSC, explained to a select congressional investigation that Casey had been the mastermind in creating an "overseas entity ... self-financing, independent", that would conduct "US foreign policy" as a "stand-alone". Called "the Enterprise", it was the apotheosis of the Reagan doctrine, the waging of a global war for the rollback of communism.

Iraq
Reagan and Saddam: The Unholy Alliance
Ronald Reagan issued National Security Decision Directive (NSDD-114) on November 26, 1983, concerning U.S. policy toward the Iran-Iraq war. The directive reflected the administration's priorities, calling for heightened regional military cooperation to defend oil facilities, and measures to improve U.S. military capabilities in the Persian Gulf.

Soon thereafter, Donald Rumsfeld, the head of the multinational pharmaceutical company G.D. Searle & Co. at the time, was dispatched to the Middle East as a presidential envoy. His December 1983 tour of regional capitals included Baghdad, where he was to establish "direct contact between an envoy of President Reagan and President Saddam Hussein." Rumsfeld met with Saddam, and the two discussed regional issues of mutual interest, shared enmity toward Iran and Syria, and discussed U.S efforts to find alternative routes to transport Iraq's oil. Rumsfeld made no reference to Iraq's chemical weapons.

The Reagan administration allowed the Iraqis to buy a wide variety of "dual use" equipment and materials from American suppliers. The shopping list included a computerized database for Saddam's security police, helicopters to transport Iraqi officials, television cameras for video surveillance applications, chemical-analysis equipment for the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC), and numerous shipments of "bacteria/fungi/protozoa" to the IAEC. The bacteria cultures were used to make biological weapons, including anthrax.

U.S. support for Iraq blossomed further in 1983 when the United States provided economic aid to Iraq in the form of Commodities Credit Corporation guarantees to purchase U.S. agricultural products ($400 million in 1983, $513 million in 1984, and climbing to $652 million in 1987). This allowed Iraq to use money it otherwise would have spent on food to buy weapons and other military supplies. With Iraq off the terrorism list, the U.S. also provided quasi-military aid.

An example of U.S. sales during this time of germ warfare and other weapons to Iraq included "deadly pathogens," with government approval, some from the army's center for germ research in Fort Detrick.

Wars and Death
No Praise for Reagan

Reagan was responsible for killing tens of thousands of innocent people in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Honduras as he waged illegal wars and funded brutal militaries. The truth commission of El Salvador investigated the murders of 75,000 people during the civil war in the 1980s, and it found that the Salvadoran military, or death squads connected to the military, had committed the bulk of those crimes. At the time, Bush was lavishing hundreds of millions of dollars on the Salvadoran government, and his CIA was working with the death squads.

Reagan was responsible, as Christopher Hitchens has noted, for approving Israel's invasion of Lebanon, which killed about 18,000 civilians.

Reagan was responsible for his own unilateral invasion of that huge threat to the United States called Grenada. (Oh, the great liberator!)

Summary:


66 (Unflattering) Things About Ronald Reagan

The firing of the air traffic controllers, winnable nuclear war, recallable nuclear missiles, trees that cause pollution, Elliott Abrams lying to Congress, ketchup as a vegetable, colluding with Guatemalan thugs, pardons for F.B.I. lawbreakers, voodoo economics, budget deficits, toasts to Ferdinand Marcos, public housing cutbacks, redbaiting the nuclear freeze movement, James Watt.

Getting cozy with Argentine fascist generals, tax credits for segregated schools, disinformation campaigns, "homeless by choice," Manuel Noriega, falling wages, the HUD scandal, air raids on Libya, "constructive engagement" with apartheid South Africa, United States Information Agency blacklists of liberal speakers, attacks on OSHA and workplace safety, the invasion of Grenada, assassination manuals, Nancy's astrologer.

Drug tests, lie detector tests, Fawn Hall, female appointees (8 percent), mining harbors, the S&L scandal, 239 dead U.S. troops in Beirut, Al Haig "in control," silence on AIDS, food-stamp reductions, Debategate, White House shredding, Jonas Savimbi, tax cuts for the rich, "mistakes were made."

Michael Deaver's conviction for influence peddling, Lyn Nofziger's conviction for influence peddling, Caspar Weinberger's five-count indictment, Ed Meese ("You don't have many suspects who are innocent of a crime"), Donald Regan (women don't "understand throw-weights"), education cuts, massacres in El Salvador.

"The bombing begins in five minutes," $640 Pentagon toilet seats, African-American judicial appointees (1.9 percent), Reader's Digest, C.I.A.-sponsored car-bombing in Lebanon (more than eighty civilians killed), 200 officials accused of wrongdoing, William Casey, Iran/contra. "Facts are stupid things," three-by-five cards, the MX missile, Bitburg, S.D.I., Robert Bork, naps, Teflon.

********

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