Tag Archives | Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan, Positive Thinking Evangelist

476px-GOVREAGAN[disinfo ed.'s note: The following is an excerpt from ONE SIMPLE IDEA: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life by Mitch Horowitz.]

 

The nation’s most fateful evangelizer of the positive in the latter half of the twentieth century was neither a mystic nor a minister. Like many of the shapers of positive thinking, he had a modest formal education, possessed a self-devised philosophy of life, and showed a willingness to experiment with a wide range of religious ideas. Friends and adversaries alike experienced a sense of wonder that he became the twentieth century’s most influential president next to Franklin Roosevelt. This was Ronald Reagan.

Every historical writer who has approached the life of Reagan experiences the same sense of perplexity over who the man really was. Pulitzer-winning biographer Edmund Morris was so confounded by his subject that in his epic biography, Dutch, the writer made himself a character, finding it more useful to chart Reagan’s influence on those around him than to part the curtain on the man himself.… Read the rest

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John Carpenter’s ‘THEY LIVE’ Turns Twenty-Five

They Live!John Carpenter’s They Live (1988) doesn’t sound like a classic movie: A drifter wanders into Nowheresville USA — a Los Angeles neighborhood devastated by an economic recession. After witnessing some suspicious activity surrounding a strange church, the man discovers a box of special sunglasses which reveal that the reality he’s come to take for granted is anything but what it seems. Add a starring role for professional wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and one would assume They Live was potboiler sci-fi with a clever gimmick and a B-list “star.”

The problem with this assessment is that it forgets that this is a movie made by a man who practically created slasher films with Halloween and whose ability to infuse cliche-filled genres with deep, emotional and subversive content made him a legend.

They Live is a conspiracy-laden masterpiece of popcorn paranoia that manages to be as entertaining as it is startling. A class war battering ram of a movie, the flick makes the moneyed into monsters while elevating its blue collar lead to the status of a revolutionary hero.… Read the rest

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The U.S. Media’s Silence On The Landmark Guatemalan Genocide Trial

genocideThe Center for Economic and Policy Research wrote last month:

Ten days ago Guatemalan courts convicted former dictator General Efraín Ríos Montt, to 80 years in prison for charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. Though the ruling has just been overturned on technical grounds (the trial is expected to backtrack to where it stood on April 19, before again resuming), it was the first time that a country has been able to use its own criminal courts to try a former head of state for genocide, arguably making it one of the most important court decisions in decades.

Despite the significance of the ruling, not just for what it represents for the more than 200,000 victims of the genocide and their families, but also for human rights worldwide, the mass media in the U.S. has mostly ignored the U.S. role in contributing to and supporting the genocide.

The New York Times provided a couple of exceptions in the last week.

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Former Guatemalan Dictator Convicted Of Genocide

guatemalan dictator

The military dictatorship led by Montt slaughtered thousands upon thousands of villagers in an effort to exterminate Guatemala’s indigenous ethnic Mayan population, which it regarded as sympathetic to leftist rebels. No word on whether the CIA and Ronald Reagan will be tried posthumously as accessories. Reuters reports:

Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt was found guilty on Friday of genocide and crimes against humanity and sentenced to 80 years in prison. It was the first time a former head of state had been found guilty of genocide in his or her own country.

Montt, now 86, took power after a coup in 1982 and implemented a scorched-earth policy in which troops massacred thousands of indigenous villagers thought to be helping leftist rebels.

Prosecutors say Montt turned a blind eye as soldiers used rape, torture and arson to try to rid Guatemala of leftist rebels during his 1982-1983 rule, the most violent period of a 1960-1996 civil war in which as many as 250,000 people died.

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Thatcher And Kissinger United Again: One Died, The Other’s Documents Were Dumped

Reagan ThatcherThe past fired back today–with two barrels.

Margaret Thatcher’s death at age 87 ushered in a non-stop sycophantic display of adulation across all the television networks, that, we need to recall, used the same playbook when her ideological kith and kin, Ronald Reagan, also suffering from dementia, departed this mortal coil

Then, there was a six-day televised praise poem between his death and what amounted to a state funeral with an unending orgy of uncritical commentary,  as if the media had fallen down the amnesia hole and forgotten that the great communicator was not that good a communicator and often an embarrassment, not to mention a political fraud.

Now it’s Maggie’s turn, with acres of sound bites stressing that “we should never forget” how tough the “Iron Lady” was.  Baroness “Lady Thatcher” was spoken of reverentially as royalty by the high and mighty who treated her as a divine figure.

In life her role was debated; in death, she was consecrated as a goddess.… Read the rest

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The Left Doesn’t Need a Rand and the Right Shouldn’t Want Another Reagan

Picture: Wikimedia Commons (CC)

Jeff Madrick, (Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow, Director of the Rediscovering Government initiative and author of Age of Greed), has typed a scathing indictment of those glossy false icons on the right, while at the same time warning against blind hero worship and succumbing to demagoguery on the left. We know that the philosophies of historical figures like Ronald Reagan and Ayn Rand turned out to be toxic, even to those in the lower classes who still idolize them, but Madrick argues that their memories have been obfuscated by myth.

via The Next New Deal:

The right then goes on to mythologize and entirely distort the Reagan years. Under Reagan in the 1980s, wages stopped growing, productivity grew at historically slow rates, investment was soft, and the deficit never came down to the levels promised. That deficit was an albatross around the neck of George H.W.

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Auction House Claims It’s Selling a Vial of Ronald Reagan’s Blood

Ronald ReaganPerhaps in a future post-apocalyptic America, this will be a holy relic. Remember ask yourself, “WWRD”? As Greogory Katz reports in the Associated Press:

A Channel Islands auction house says it’s selling a vial that allegedly contains blood residue from Ronald Reagan — a move denounced Tuesday by the late U.S. president’s family and his foundation.

The vial being auctioned online was used by the laboratory that tested Reagan’s blood when he was hospitalized after a 1981 assassination attempt in Washington, the PFCAuctions house said.

Reagan’s son Michael condemned the auction but said he was confident it was not his father’s blood.

“Whatever’s in the vial — could be mouse blood — it’s certainly not Reagan blood,” Reagan said in a telephone call from Los Angeles. “And what an outrageous thing to do to (Reagan’s widow) Nancy and the family. I hope the world calls on this organization to cease and desist because it’s so bogus.”…

Read More: Associated PressRead the rest

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States of Depression

Reagan HopeHere’s an article from Paul Krugman in the New York Times about the state of the economy, and this quote pretty much sums up his verdict: “In fact, if it weren’t for this destructive fiscal austerity, our unemployment rate would almost certainly be lower now than it was at a comparable stage of the ‘Morning in America’ recovery during the Reagan era.”

Krugman, a Nobel Prize winner in economics, is about as “liberal” (whatever the hell that means in 2012) as the korporate media will allow at this point. He has often been highly critical of Barack Obama, especially during the 2008 Democratic Party race, when he was one of the few to note Obama’s economic policies were already in campaign mode decidedly to the right of both Hillary Clinton and John Edwards.

That said, Krugman provides the following evidence:

One way to dramatize just how severe our de facto austerity has been is to compare government employment and spending during the Obama-era economic expansion, which began in June 2009, with their tracks during the Reagan-era expansion, which began in November 1982.

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J’Accuse: Where Is MY Rocket-Powered Jet Pack, Mr. Gingrich?!!!

elroyWell, haven’t we all been treated to quite the show lately?  Of course I’m talking about the debates for the Republican Party’s primary in Florida, which have degenerated into an unseemly picking over the corpse of Reagan-era optimism, each candidate trying to prize from Zombie Ronnie’s rigor mortised grasp the famed Talisman of Americana.  Shameful and disgusting.

The mind readily grasps the allure of laying claim to the mantle of the august Uncle Dutch (i.e., being the only legitimate basis of rule, the “One Meme to Rule Them All”).  Therefore it is hardly surprising that its power should attract the devious lust of unsavory creatures from beneath even the dankest rocks in the even the darkest corners of America’s mushroom garden.  That is merely natural and expected, actually a necessary function of narrative causality, being all the better to highlight by means of contrast the enlightened munificence and nobility of the True Heir of the king who single-handedly defeated the corrosive and perverse troglodytes of The Evil Empire.… Read the rest

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