politicalprof

When Ronald Reagan Almost Gave It All Away

politicalprof:

Last weekend marked the 26th anniversary of a largely-forgotten event: a summit between US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik, Iceland in October 1986.

Aimed at negotiating another START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) agreement, the meeting was expected to continue the process through which the US and the USSR had reduced their nuclear arsenals from their Cold War peaks, when the two nations combined had at least 50,000 nuclear weapons of various sizes and delivery mechanisms.

The meeting was notable because President Reagan — the great advocate of military spending who once described the Soviet Union as an “evil empire” — actually proposed that both United States and the Soviet Union ought to reduce their long range nuclear arsenals to 0. As in none. Nada. Nil. Zilch. Premier Gorbachev then suggested going even further, eliminating all nuclear weapons from each nation’s arsenals in 10 years.

Imagine it: the world’s two major superpowers (soon to be only one!) without nuclear weapons.

Some analysts imagined this might have presaged a new era of peace and global freedom from nuclear terror. Others feared that without any nuclear arsenal at all, the US would not be able to deter potential enemies like China, North Korea and, these days, Iran. (Fairly or not.)

But we will never know. Reagan insisted that research on the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), better known as Star Wars, had to continue no matter what; the Soviets refused to agree. So the talks collapsed. And now, 26 years later, we are still researching SDI, and our research on SDI continues to frustrate our relationship with — now — Russia.

We were nearly there. But it was not to be. And, as an aside, the notion that either Mitt Romney or Barack Obama would propose anything so bold is virtually unimaginable: the screaming shriekers at FOX, and on the blogs, would go mad.

We have built a political system that rewards non-creativity and then wonder why people aren’t creative.

politicalprof

The Divide

politicalprof:

While running for President in 1980, Ronald Reagan famously quipped, “I’ve always felt the nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.’”

As funny — and as effective — as these lines were in 1980, they have come to define the profound divide the exists in American politics today. Lots of people — call them conservatives, or tea partiers, or even skeptical pragmatists — think Reagan got it absolutely right. It isn’t hard, after all, to come up with a long list of government abuses and failures ranging from Iraq to Solyndra to No Child Left Behind to pepper-spraying students at the University of California-Davis … and many, many more.

For such people, the prospect of Obamacare is a sincere nightmare: now, the same people who brought you the debacle in Vietnam and the poverty barns of mega-housing projects like Chicago’s (now destroyed) Cabrini Green, want to “help you stay healthy” — and all for just a few dollars, too.

Others — call them liberals, or progressives, or hopeful pragmatists — find Reagan’s comments absurd. After all, it’s not like other institutions of social and political life have covered themselves in glory when it comes to matters of human freedom: corporations regularly cheat, steal and lie, often with deadly effects for the people who use their products; likewise, many private businesses reflected and reinforced the racial, gender, sexual orientation and other biases of their times. Such bias was buttressed by state governments that were particularly vicious towards the civil rights of many of their (minority) residents.

Those people who see the failures of the private sector and/or state governments to defend or expand freedom and liberty look to the federal government to do what no other agency of social and political life can: counter the power of the corporate, local and state-level actors who promote and practice discrimination, exclusion and the manipulation of power against the dignity of the individual.

Which story one tells defines one’s politics. Obamacare, economic stimulus, regulation of Wall Street, whatever: do you think the federal government helps or hurts? The answer to that question matters.

Welcome to the divide that cleaves contemporary American politics.

soupisnotameal
You start out in 1954 by saying “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968, you can’t say “nigger” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like “forced busing,” “states’ rights,” and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now that you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things, and a byproduct of them is that blacks get hurt worse than whites.

Lee Atwater, a head republican strategist, in an anonymous interview in 1981. He is admitting that republicans use coded-language to appeal to the racists in their base. Because, as he always said, “people vote their fears.”

Lee, who would eventually become the head of the Republican National Committee, helped Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush win their Presidential elections by teaching them to use overtly-racist tactics.

When the N-word became taboo, Republicans began referring to black people in less-direct ways, with terms like “welfare queens.” They learned how to say the N-word, without saying the N-word.

Sadly, this still continues today. As seen in Newt Gingrich’s claim that Obama is a “food stamp President” and Rick Santorum’s assertion that he doesn’t “want to make black people’s lives better by giving them someone else’s money.”

(via thesoapboxschtick)

soupisnotameal
You start out in 1954 by saying “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968, you can’t say “nigger” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like “forced busing,” “states’ rights,” and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now that you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things, and a byproduct of them is that blacks get hurt worse than whites.

Lee Atwater, a head republican strategist, in an anonymous interview in 1981. He is admitting that republicans use coded-language to appeal to the racists in their base. Because, as he always said, “people vote their fears.”

Lee, who would eventually become the head of the Republican National Committee, helped Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush win their Presidential elections by teaching them to use overtly-racist tactics.

When the N-word became taboo, Republicans began referring to black people in less-direct ways, with terms like “welfare queens.” They learned how to say the N-word, without saying the N-word.

Sadly, this still continues today. As seen in Newt Gingrich’s claim that Obama is a “food stamp President” and Rick Santorum’s assertion that he doesn’t “want to make black people’s lives better by giving them someone else’s money.”

(via thesoapboxschtick)

reagan-was-a-horrible-president
Romney has really gotten under Gingrich’s skin. It’s almost endearing to hear Gingrich fly off the cuff about the awfulness of the American political system and how Romney is basically able to buy his way to victory while telling lies with a straight face even as the Press largely fails to call him on it.

Sorry, Newt. You and your Republican pals made this bed for your corporate fat cat contributors. Now Romney, the pinnacle masterwork of corporatist machine politics, is using the world Reagan and Newt created to buy himself a nomination with lots of money, coiffed sideburns, lots of cash, packaged lies, lots of money, a complacent stenographic media, lots of corporate moolah, and a gleaming smile. Oh, and did I mention the corporate cash? Well, now Newt and Reagan’s moaning ghost get to lie in that resplendently furnished bed.
truth-has-a-liberal-bias
truth-has-a-liberal-bias:

Clutch Mag: The Resurrection of The Welfare Queen
FRIDAY FEB 3, 2012 – BY MARY ANNAÏSE HEGLAR
The Republican presidential primary is haunted. Mitt Romney is afraid of an entitlement society, a social welfare state.Rick Santorum is alarmed by the low rates of marriage and high rates of children born out of wedlock in the African-American community.
Newt Gingrich has decried the lack of work ethic in low-income, particularly black, neighborhoods. He has recently come under fire for his attempts in South Carolina to brand President Obama as the “food stamp president,” claiming that Obama has put more people on food stamps than any other president (which is actually false).
Since food stamps remain one of the few federally administered welfare benefits, calling Obama the “food stamp president” is tantamount to calling him the “welfare president.” So if President Obama is the “food stamp president,” is Michelle Obama the “food stamp first lady”? Or “welfare first lady”? Or “Welfare Queen”?
GUESS WHO’S BACK!
If that sounds familiar, it’s because it is. The monster beneath this rhetoric is the Welfare Queen, the fabled boogeywoman of the 1976 Reagan presidential campaign.
“She has eighty names, thirty addresses, twelve Social Security cards and is collecting veterans’ benefits on four nonexisting deceased husbands,” Reagan told enraptured crowds at stump speeches. “Her tax-free income alone is over $150,000.”
As the narrative developed, she was, of course, black. She was promiscuous and she was lazy. She was also a lie.
When reporters investigated this story, they found only one case that even remotely supported Reagan’s claim. The woman’s name was Linda Taylor, from the south side of Chicago. She had defrauded the state of only $8,000 and had only four aliases.
But facts be damned. […]

truth-has-a-liberal-bias:

Clutch Mag: The Resurrection of The Welfare Queen

FRIDAY FEB 3, 2012 – BY MARY ANNAÏSE HEGLAR

The Republican presidential primary is haunted. Mitt Romney is afraid of an entitlement society, a social welfare state.Rick Santorum is alarmed by the low rates of marriage and high rates of children born out of wedlock in the African-American community.

Newt Gingrich has decried the lack of work ethic in low-income, particularly black, neighborhoods. He has recently come under fire for his attempts in South Carolina to brand President Obama as the “food stamp president,” claiming that Obama has put more people on food stamps than any other president (which is actually false).

Since food stamps remain one of the few federally administered welfare benefits, calling Obama the “food stamp president” is tantamount to calling him the “welfare president.” So if President Obama is the “food stamp president,” is Michelle Obama the “food stamp first lady”? Or “welfare first lady”? Or “Welfare Queen”?

GUESS WHO’S BACK!

If that sounds familiar, it’s because it is. The monster beneath this rhetoric is the Welfare Queen, the fabled boogeywoman of the 1976 Reagan presidential campaign.

“She has eighty names, thirty addresses, twelve Social Security cards and is collecting veterans’ benefits on four nonexisting deceased husbands,” Reagan told enraptured crowds at stump speeches. “Her tax-free income alone is over $150,000.”

As the narrative developed, she was, of course, black. She was promiscuous and she was lazy. She was also a lie.

When reporters investigated this story, they found only one case that even remotely supported Reagan’s claim. The woman’s name was Linda Taylor, from the south side of Chicago. She had defrauded the state of only $8,000 and had only four aliases.

But facts be damned. […]

abokononist-deactivated20120714

somepolitics:

Perhaps no figure so divides the American people like Ronald Reagan. Rap and Hip Hop culture has for decades cited the Reagan era as a decisive and dangerous turning point in modern American history, while conservative Republicans hail the late president as a sort of savior whose radical conservatism restored the country to strength. While Hip Hop culture and conservative Republicans disagree on the effect of Reagan and his administration’s policies on the country, both agree that Reagan transformed the country and set the course on which the nation remains. The Eighties may be over, but we continue to live in the Age of Reagan

A recent focus by rappers on the Reagan Era and its aftermath renews the anti-Reagan critique so historically prevalent in Hip Hop. Kendrick Lamar’s album Section 80 is a meditation on the generation born in the 1980s, what he calls “children of Ronald Reagan.” Juelz Santana, too, plans an upcoming mixtape called The Ronald Reagan Era. Nearly eight years after his death, the president seems to finding his way more and more into rap lyrics. Wale has mentioned Reagan multiple times in songs. Das Racist’s Kool AD returns to Reagan (and wife Nancy) even more often. Brother Ali and Jake One are currently prepping the release of Mourning in America, the title of which is an ironic play on Reagan’s “Morning in America” campaign slogan.

Whether it is rappers who came of age during the Reagan administration (e.g., Jay-Z, Scarface, Kanye) or those born during Reagan’s 80s (e.g., Wale, Kendrick, Juelz Santana), the consensus is that the Reagan Era constituted a watershed in American life, especially in the hood. Republicans, especially those in the Tea Party, agree. They too regard the Reagan era as epochal, the so-called “Reagan Revolution.” Reagan “made American great again.” The late president is held up as a sort of prophet or saint. He’s like Pac, Biggie, Dilla and Pun rolled into one. He’s become even more venerable in death, and it’s not surprising to hear him invoked dozens of times at Republican debates. And with good reason: Reagan changed the country into what conservatives envisioned. He was so successful that every president since him (including Obama) has largely stuck to the script. It is almost impossible to overstate the late president’s influence on the Republican Party and the direction of the country over the past thirty years

We’ve been so overwhelmed by the story of Reagan’s unassailable greatness that the conservative narrative largely prevails. “The Reagan Era is when shit got great,” the story goes, and nearly the entire media establishment has adhered pretty faithfully to some version of that story. So why rappers’ beef with Reagan and his legacy? Why is the story of Reagan told by rappers so dramatically different than the one told by conservative Republicans and even Americans more widely?

Pretty interesting article that a friend linked me.

truth-has-a-liberal-bias
truth-has-a-liberal-bias:

 
Remarks by President Obama at a Campaign Event (Jan. 2012)
……
“The crisis that struck in the months before I took office put more Americans out of work than at any time since the Great Depression.  But it was also a culmination of a decade of neglect, a decade where the middle class fell further behind and more good jobs in manufacturing left our shores.  And suddenly, our prosperity was built on risky financial deals and homes that we couldn’t afford.  And we racked up greater debt.  And even as incomes fell, wages flatlined, the cost of everything from college and health care kept on going through the roof. 
….
America is not going to win if we give in to those who think that we can only respond to our challenges with the same tired, old tune — just hand out more tax cuts to folks who don’t need them and weren’t even asking for them, let companies do whatever they want, hope that prosperity somehow trickles down on everybody else’s head. It doesn’t work. It didn’t work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. It’s not what led to the incredible post-war boom in the ‘50s and the ‘60s. It didn’t work when we tried it under the previous President, and it’s not going to work now.”
—
— President Obama
~~~~~~~

truth-has-a-liberal-bias:

Remarks by President Obama at a Campaign Event (Jan. 2012)

……

“The crisis that struck in the months before I took office put more Americans out of work than at any time since the Great Depression.  But it was also a culmination of a decade of neglect, a decade where the middle class fell further behind and more good jobs in manufacturing left our shores.  And suddenly, our prosperity was built on risky financial deals and homes that we couldn’t afford.  And we racked up greater debt.  And even as incomes fell, wages flatlined, the cost of everything from college and health care kept on going through the roof. 

….

America is not going to win if we give in to those who think that we can only respond to our challenges with the same tired, old tune — just hand out more tax cuts to folks who don’t need them and weren’t even asking for them, let companies do whatever they want, hope that prosperity somehow trickles down on everybody else’s head. It doesn’t work. It didn’t work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. It’s not what led to the incredible post-war boom in the ‘50s and the ‘60s. It didn’t work when we tried it under the previous President, and it’s not going to work now.”

— President Obama

~~~~~~~

truth-has-a-liberal-bias

starsinhereyes:

Dear Newt,

I recently had the displeasure of watching you bash the protestors of the Prop 8 marriage ban to Bill O’Reilly on FOX News. I must say, after years of watching you build your career by stirring up the fears and prejudices of the far right, I feel compelled to use the words of your idol, Ronald Reagan, “There you go, again.”

truth-has-a-liberal-bias
OCCUPY WALL STREET and its allied movements around the country are more than a walk in the park. They are most likely the start of a new era in America. Historians have noted that American politics moves in long swings. We are at the end of the 30-year Reagan era, a period that has culminated in soaring income for the top 1 percent and crushing unemployment or income stagnation for much of the rest. The overarching challenge of the coming years is to restore prosperity and power for the 99 percent.
Jeffrey Sachs, author of “The Price of Civilization: Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity,” in a commentary, The New Progressive Movement - NYTimes.com (via tartantambourine)
truth-has-a-liberal-bias
truth-has-a-liberal-bias:

“It’s déjà vu all over again”. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
 

House GOP decrees that pizza is a vegetable »

… to “prevent overly burdensome” school lunch regulations.
think-progress
Did the Reagan-era USDA really classify ketchup as a vegetable?
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2517/did-the-reagan-era-usda-really-classify-ketchup-as-a-vegetable

truth-has-a-liberal-bias:

“It’s déjà vu all over again”.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

House GOP decrees that pizza is a vegetable »

… to “prevent overly burdensome” school lunch regulations.

think-progress

Did the Reagan-era USDA really classify ketchup as a vegetable?

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2517/did-the-reagan-era-usda-really-classify-ketchup-as-a-vegetable

truth-has-a-liberal-bias
truth-has-a-liberal-bias:

The war Ronald Reagan started against the working class is a resounding success today
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Opportunities for Women – published the report and it finds that a single Michigan resident needs to make more than 12 bucks an hour just to house – clothe – and feed him or herself. The minimum wage in Michigan is well short of that marker – just $7.40. But when you throw children into the equation – the picture is even grimmer.
A mother with two children needs to make about $24 dollars an hour to meet their basic needs – that’s more than three times higher than minimum wage, and that’s working a 40-hour week. That means each and every month – someone who’s trying to raise their kids on minimum wage has to forego dinner – or rent – or electricity – or a new pair of shoes just to get by in America – the richest nation on the planet. I guess Republicans will argue they just need to get a credit card.
Looks like the war Ronald Reagan started against the working class 30 years ago is a resounding success today.
Submitted by Louise Hartmann from The Thom Hartmann Program Blog

truth-has-a-liberal-bias:

The war Ronald Reagan started against the working class is a resounding success today

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Opportunities for Women – published the report and it finds that a single Michigan resident needs to make more than 12 bucks an hour just to house – clothe – and feed him or herself. The minimum wage in Michigan is well short of that marker – just $7.40. But when you throw children into the equation – the picture is even grimmer.

A mother with two children needs to make about $24 dollars an hour to meet their basic needs – that’s more than three times higher than minimum wage, and that’s working a 40-hour week. That means each and every month – someone who’s trying to raise their kids on minimum wage has to forego dinner – or rent – or electricity – or a new pair of shoes just to get by in America – the richest nation on the planet. I guess Republicans will argue they just need to get a credit card.

Looks like the war Ronald Reagan started against the working class 30 years ago is a resounding success today.

Submitted by Louise Hartmann from The Thom Hartmann Program Blog