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Former pResident Ronald Reagan dies. A 93-year life of lies and deceipt ended yesterday as Ronald Reagan's heart (?) stopped pumping blood (?) through his body. I shudder thinking of what tributes we'll endur in the coming weeks and am slightly unnerved at the strange, uneasy feeling that grips me when I speculate on the reaction that will come from any criticism of the man.

For an outline of the Reagan Regime's involvement in Guatemala, check out Reagan & Guatemala's Death Files

[ Reagan and the Eighties I Eulogy for Ronald Wilson Reagan I The Indypendent: Bedtime for BONZO ]
A 93-year life of lies and deceipt ended yesterday as Ronald Reagan's heart (?) stopped pumping blood (?) through his body. I shudder thinking of what tributes we'll endur in the coming weeks and am slightly unnerved at the strange, uneasy feeling that grips me when I speculate on the reaction that will come from any criticism of the man.

I also await whistleblowers and FOIA requests, newly declassified documents and loose lips that reveal more manipulation and truth.

Watch closely for a really really scary cult of personality. And watch out for anyone who lays praise on his grave (Kerry): "When we start the revolution all they gonna do is snitch"

Link below outlines the Reagan Regime's involvement in Guatemala: Genocide, one of his bright shiny accomplishments.

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Have some respect!

(just thought I'd beat you to it, snitches)


Don't worry about snitches.. yer friend Osama's got yer back.. and he's aweful lenient about people of the Book (such as yerself) who have not faith.


This is why you commie whores don't get any respect. You all talk about how much you love people and respect everyone, except those whom you disagree with politically.


what's with all the name calling on santa cruz imc?

debate is great, but calling people "commie whores" is senseless.

Isn't it interesting that during the big protests against the FTAA in Miami (Nov 20, 2003) Michael Jackson made the news for suspected child touching, and now during Reclaim The Commons (SF) and Anti-G8 actions (Georgia and SF) we learn that Reagan is dead....

something smells fishy to me (reagan, is that you?)

Reagan's been dead for a while... they just waited until yesterday to let people know about.


I'm sorry, but your theory that news of Reagan's death was withheld to trump media coverage of Reclaim the Commons is laughable at best. Now, if you had said that they waited to announce Reagan's death in order to trump news of Dick Cheney's testimoney to the Justice Dept. investigators looking into White House leaks, then I might go "hmm, something's fishy here." But c'mon, about 5,000 might gather in SF for RTC. The G8 meeting isn't til next week. But, Tricky Dick Cheney, did meet with Justice Dept. investigators.... I know, you probably missed that story with all the attention on Ronnie's cadaver, but yes, friends, like the saying goes, you heard it here first.

Cheney questioned in probe
June 6, 2004

WASHINGTON - Investigators questioned Vice President Dick Cheney recently in the probe of who in the Bush administration leaked the name of a covert CIA operative last year, a source familiar with the investigation said yesterday.

The interview follows an acknowledgment by President George W. Bush that he has consulted with a private attorney regarding the probe, indicating that Bush, also, expects to be questioned.

A federal grand jury in recent months has questioned numerous officials to learn who revealed the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame, wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, to the news media.

Disclosure of an undercover officer's identity by an individual with a security clearance can be a federal crime.

"Given the fact that there is an ongoing investigation, it is appropriate to refer requests for comment to the Office of Special Counsel," said Cheney spokesman Kevin Kellems.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald of Chicago, whose office declined to comment, was chosen to run the investigation in late December after Attorney General John Ashcroft disqualified himself from the politically sensitive case to avoid an appearance of conflict of interest.

Cheney was not under oath when he was questioned, according to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation involves a criminal matter. The source did not know what Cheney said or what he was asked or whether he had an attorney present. But the central issue of the investigation is who disclosed Plame's name.

Syndicated columnist Robert Novak revealed Plame's work for the CIA in July, a week after Wilson publicly criticized Bush's claim that Iraq had tried to obtain uranium from the African nation of Niger.

Wilson had earlier been sent to Niger by the CIA to check out the allegation and concluded it was unfounded. Bush stated subsequently in his State of the Union address that Iraq had sought to buy uranium in Africa.

Wilson says revealing his wife's name was an attempt to discredit him. After Novak revealed Plame's name, Newsday reporters Timothy M. Phelps and Knut Royce reported that she was working undercover.

Re: White house Leaks

Who's going to die when Bush is questioned in the probe????

Re: DING DONG the grinch is dead

Hot damn, it really is MOURNING in Amerikka!

Now what did a GENUINELY GREAT American say about this gip..." When a Hollywood performer lacking distinction even as an actor can become a leading war hawk candidate for the presidency only the irrationalities induced by a war psychosis can explain such a melancholy turn of events..."

Martin Luther King.


Because I lack patience with the ultra religious fanatics...they say I am not a true conservative.

Because I don't care for big socialist type government, I am an ultra-conservative.

Because I favor less taxation, I am a conservative capitalist pig.

Because I believe in personal responsibility, I do not have "community" (note the root word).

Because I believe in strong national defense and security, I am in the league of murderes.

Because I believe in the Constitution (all 10 amendments)...I am a "gun nut".

Bumper stickers telling me that I shouldn't have friends show me just how lovely the predominant "liberals" really are.

The bourgeois "liberal" local movers and shakers get fatter in their restored Victorians and West Cliff hideaways. They feel good for being "liberals". They forget about Tamany Hall, even though they seem to live in it.

This all inclusive tolerant area is apparently filled with hate spewing closed minded folk.

The un-called for attack on a deceased leader, overwhelmingly elected to lead this great country through times of dramatic changes to the point where we all are still free, is simply wrong.

Get over it and move on. If you feel the need to besmirch dead people and dwell in the past...try doing it to your own forebears.Let the truly progressive thinkers do just that. Progress into the future. A better one.


Ronald Reagan: Goodbye and Good Riddance
June 5 / 6, 2004
Ronald Reagan, 1911-2004
Goodbye and Good Riddance

Ronald Reagan has finally died at age 93. Predictably, politicians from both
major parties have issued gushing tributes to this venal and vicious man,
who was happy to slash workers' wages, see families thrown onto the street,
support sadistic death squads and bomb other countries, if this was in the
interests of the American ruling class.

Meanwhile, if recent history is any guide, the mainstream media will steer
well clear of providing an accurate portrayal of Reagan, the man and the
president. Last year, in a stunning act of cowardice, CBS canceled its
much-publicized "docudrama" about Ron and Nancy, The Reagans, caving in to a
campaign by the Republican National Committee, right-wing radio hosts, Fox
News and conservative Internet sites. The movie was instead shown later to a
much smaller audience on the Showtime cable network.

Conservatives attacked the film for portraying Reagan as homophobic, and
Nancy as a domineering wife and mother who pulled the strings behind the
scenes while abusing her children. They were apparently even more incensed
that James Brolin, husband of liberal icon Barbra Streisand, played the part
of Reagan.

While The Reagans was undoubtedly a monumental example of third-rate TV
schlock, examples cited by conservatives of substantial inaccuracies didn't
hold up. One complaint was that the movie showed Reagan ignoring the AIDS
crisis because of its association with gay sex, and telling his wife, "They
that live in sin shall die in sin."

But in real life, Reagan refused to mention AIDS publicly for six years,
under-funded federal programs dealing with the disease and, according to his
authorized biography, said, "Maybe the Lord brought down this plague,"
because "illicit sex is against the Ten Commandments."

C. Everett Koop, Reagan's surgeon general, later revealed, "because
transmission of AIDS was understood primarily in the homosexual population
and in those who abused intravenous drugs, the advisors to the president
took the stand, they are only getting what they justly deserve."

In the movie, Nancy slaps her 5-year-old daughter, Patti. In real life,
Patti wrote, "I first remember my mother hitting me when I was eight. It
escalated as I got older and became a weekly, sometimes daily, event."

In the movie, Nancy insists, "Ketchup is a vegetable! It is not a meat,
right? So it is a vegetable." In real life, Reagan directed the Department
of Agriculture to classify ketchup as a vegetable in September 1981 in an
attempt to slash $1.5 billion from the federal school lunch program.

Conservatives also criticized the movie for what it did not include. "Does
it show he had the longest and strongest recovery in postwar history?" asked
Reagan's White House press secretary Marlin Fitzwater.

But Reagan's economic policies were a disaster for working-class Americans.
Reagan presided over the worst recession since the 1930s, and economic
growth in the 1980s was lower than in the 1970s, despite the stimulus of
military Keynesian policies, which created massive federal budget deficits
and tripled the federal debt. By the end of the decade, real wages were down
and the poverty rate had increased by 20 percent.

The real problem with The Reagans was not that it was too critical of the
Reagan presidency, but that it was largely uncritical. According to The New
York Times, the movie "paints [Reagan] as an exceptionally gifted politician
and a moral man who stuck to his beliefs, often against his advisers'

Reagan was many things, but "gifted" was not one of them. "Poor dear,"
remarked British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, his closest international
ally, "there's nothing between his ears." As for a "moral man," Reagan's
morality included union busting--beginning with his dismissal of striking
air traffic controllers in 1981--an unprecedented war on the poor,
opposition to civil rights and support for apartheid South Africa. The
"moral" Reagan trained and supported terrorists, including the Nicaraguan
contras ("the moral equal of our Founding Fathers") who killed over 30,000
people, and Islamic radicals in Afghanistan who later formed the al-Qaeda

Reagan was also a liar. In November 1986, he publicly denied that his
administration had been illegally selling arms to Iran and using the
proceeds to fund the contras. One week later he was forced to retract this
statement, but denied that the sale was part of a deal to free U.S.
hostages. The following year, Reagan admitted that there had been an
arms-for-hostages deal, but denied he knew anything about it.

In 1992, that too proved to be a lie when former Defense Secretary Caspar
Weinberger was compelled to release notes from a January 1986 meeting
revealing, "President decided to go with Israeli-Iranian offer to release
our 5 hostages in return for sale of 4,000 TOWs [U.S. missiles] to Iran by

The man whose administration spearheaded class warfare on behalf of the
rich, dragged American politics to the right, and rebuilt US imperialism
after the Vietnam debacle, is dead. Good riddance.
Phil Gasper is professor of philosophy at Notre Dame de Namur University in
California. He is a member of the National Writers Union and a frequent
contributor to Socialist Worker and the International Socialist Review . He
can be contacted at pgasper (at)

66 (Unflattering) Things About Scum-Sucking Ronald Reagan

66 (Unflattering) Things About Scum-Sucking Ronald Reagan

By David Corn, The Nation
June 6, 2004

Editor's Note: This list of "66 Things to Think about When Flying
in to Reagan National Airport" appeared in the Nation on March
2, 1998 after the renaming of Washington National Airport after
Ronald Reagan. As Corn says, "the piece remains relevant today
#12539;particularly as a cheat sheet for those who dare to point out the
Reagan presidency was not all that glorious and was more
nightmare in America than morning in America."

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.

David Corn, Washington editor of the Nation, is author of 'The
Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception.'

Shed No Tears for Reagan

Shed No Tears for Reagan

A media that addressed Ronald Reagan "on bended knee" is again reinventing the late President as a jovial fellow who was widely loved by Americans. CBS National Affairs Correspondent Mark Noler said that it was clear that Reagan held a special place in the hearts of Americans since he committed the "rare feat in modern times of winning two terms as President."

A rare feat? Bill Clinton was re-elected and there is no way his death would lead the national media to claim he was widely loved. Richard Nixon also won twice, and nobody portrayed his 49 state victory in 1972 as a sign of popular affection. The day to day lies about Reagan have re-emerged, which is why we feel obligated to set a few things straight.

Ronald Reagan won election over incumbent Jimmy Carter in a race that was closer than it looked and that was ultimately swung by low voter turnout among the Democratic base. While he won re-election in a landslide, his popularity ratings throughout his presidency fell below those of Bill Clinton.

The media love celebrity politicians, and Reagan got the sort of media reverence now on display with Arnold Schwarzenegger. This adoration of the B-movie actor-turned Governor-turned President enabled him to engage in conduct---the illegal sending of weapons to the Nicaraguan contras-that should have brought his impeachment.

Reagan's legacy was the massive redistribution of wealth from the poor and middle-class to the rich, which he accomplished through massive tax cuts for the wealthy.

Reagan all but killed off federal housing funding, paving the way for homelessness to remain a persistent problem in America two decades later

Reagan refused to mention the word "AIDS," and his delayed response to the epidemic caused tens of thousands of avoidable deaths.

Reagan sent American weapons to thugs seeking to over the democratically-elected Sandinista Government in Nicaragua, despite a congressional ban of such weapon transfers. He was directly responsible for the murder of thousands of Nicaraguans, and that nation's continued poverty is a legacy of the Reagan.- backed wars.
Reagan sent weapons to prop up El Salvador's phony "democratic" government, and indirectly supported the death squads that preyed on human rights activists and workers seeking to impose real democracy in that land.

Reagan pushed for the destruction of federally-funded legal services, arts and humanities, and volunteer programs such as the then activist-oriented VISTA program. What programs Reagan could not kill, he weakened.

Reagan's environmental record may actually have been worse than George W. Bush's---impossible as that seems.

Reagan threw billions down the tubes in a failed attempt to create a Star Wars Missile Defense System.

Reagan's 1981 tax cut plan was the major force for gentrification and displacement in urban America during the 1980's, as it provided unprecedented tax incentives for real estate speculation. In a not unrelated impact of the measure, savings and loan's faced collapse around America, resulting in a multibillion dollar taxpayer bailout of the S& L industry.

The list of Reagan wrongs could go on and on.
This is a man who held a press conference eating grapes during the UFW grape boycott-Reagan called the farmworkers "outside agitators."

This is a man who held his campaign kickoff for the Presidency in 1980 in Philadelphia, Mississippi, the site where three civil rights workers were murdered in the 1960's. Reagan chose the site not to highlight the abuses of racism, but to send a message that he would do his best to bring the return of the old ways to the South.

Ronald Reagan was responsible for more evil and destruction than any American of his generation. May he rest in peace.

phogarth (at)

Reagan Didn't End the Cold War

June 7, 2004

The Myth of the Gipper

Reagan Didn't End the Cold War


Ronald Reagan's biggest crimes were the bloody
military actions to suppress social and
political change in El Salvador, Nicaragua,
Guatemala and Afghanistan, but I'd like to deal
here with the media's gushing about Reagan's
supposed role in ending the cold war. In
actuality, he prolonged it. Here is something I
wrote for my book Killing Hope.

It has become conventional wisdom that it was
the relentlessly tough anti-communist policies
of the Reagan Administration, with its heated-up
arms race, that led to the collapse and
reformation of the Soviet Union and its
satellites. American history books may have
already begun to chisel this thesis into marble.
The Tories in Great Britain say that Margaret
Thatcher and her unflinching policies
contributed to the miracle as well. The East
Germans were believers too.

When Ronald Reagan visited East Berlin, the
people there cheered him and thanked him "for
his role in liberating the East". Even many
leftist analysts, particularly those of a
conspiracy bent, are believers. But this view is
not universally held; nor should it be. Long the
leading Soviet expert on the United States,
Georgi Arbatov, head of the Moscow-based
Institute for the Study of the U.S.A. and
Canada, wrote his memoirs in 1992. A Los Angeles
Times book review by Robert Scheer summed up a
portion of it:

Arbatov understood all too well the failings of
Soviet totalitarianism in comparison to the
economy and politics of the West. It is clear
from this candid and nuanced memoir that the
movement for change had been developing steadily
inside the highest corridors of power ever since
the death of Stalin. Arbatov not only provides
considerable evidence for the controversial
notion that this change would have come about
without foreign pressure, he insists that the
U.S. military buildup during the Reagan years
actually impeded this development.

George F. Kennan agrees. The former US
ambassador to the Soviet Union, and father of
the theory of "containment" of the same country,
asserts that "the suggestion that any United
States administration had the power to influence
decisively the course of a tremendous domestic
political upheaval in another great country on
another side of the globe is simply childish."
He contends that the extreme militarization of
American policy strengthened hard-liners in the
Soviet Union. "Thus the general effect of Cold
War extremism was to delay rather than hasten
the great change that overtook the Soviet

Though the arms-race spending undoubtedly
damaged the fabric of the Soviet civilian
economy and society even more than it did in the
United States, this had been going on for 40
years by the time Mikhail Gorbachev came to
power without the slightest hint of impending
doom. Gorbachev's close adviser, Aleksandr
Yakovlev, when asked whether the Reagan
administration's higher military spending,
combined with its "Evil Empire" rhetoric, forced
the Soviet Union into a more conciliatory
position, responded:

It played no role. None. I can tell you that
with the fullest responsibility. Gorbachev and I
were ready for changes in our policy regardless
of whether the American president was Reagan, or
Kennedy, or someone even more liberal. It was
clear that our military spending was enormous
and we had to reduce it.

Understandably, some Russians might be reluctant
to admit that they were forced to make
revolutionary changes by their arch enemy, to
admit that they lost the Cold War. However, on
this question we don't have to rely on the
opinion of any individual, Russian or American.
We merely have to look at the historical facts.
>From the late 1940s to around the mid-1960s, it
was an American policy objective to instigate
the downfall of the Soviet government as well as
several Eastern European regimes. Many hundreds
of Russian exiles were organized, trained and
equipped by the CIA, then sneaked back into
their homeland to set up espionage rings, to
stir up armed political struggle, and to carry
out acts of assassination and sabotage, such as
derailing trains, wrecking bridges, damaging
arms factories and power plants, and so on.

The Soviet government, which captured many of
these men, was of course fully aware of who was
behind all this. Compared to this policy, that
of the Reagan administration could be
categorized as one of virtual capitulation.

Yet what were the fruits of this ultra-tough
anti-communist policy? Repeated serious
confrontations between the United States and the
Soviet Union in Berlin, Cuba and elsewhere, the
Soviet interventions into Hungary and
Czechoslovakia, creation of the Warsaw Pact (in
direct reaction to NATO), no glasnost, no
perestroika, only pervasive suspicion, cynicism
and hostility on both sides.

It turned out that the Russians were human after
all -- they responded to toughness with
toughness. And the corollary: there was for many
years a close correlation between the
amicability of US-Soviet relations and the
number of Jews allowed to emigrate from the
Soviet Union. Softness produced softness. If
there's anyone to attribute the changes in the
Soviet Union and Eastern Europe to, both the
beneficial ones and those questionable, it is of
course Mikhail Gorbachev and the activists he

It should be remembered that Reagan was in
office for over four years before Gorbachev came
to power, and Thatcher for six years, but in
that period of time nothing of any significance
in the way of Soviet reform took place despite
Reagan's and Thatcher's unremitting malice
toward the communist state.

William Blum is the author of Killing Hope: U.S.
Military and CIA Interventions Since World War
II, Rogue State: a guide to the World's Only
Super Power. and West-Bloc Dissident: a Cold War
Political Memoir. He can be reached at:
BBlum6 (at)


The stupidity of Ronald Reagan

Not Even a Hedgehog

The stupidity of Ronald Reagan.

By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Monday, June 7, 2004

Not long ago, I was invited to be the specter at the feast during "Ronald Reagan Appreciation Week" at Wabash College in Indiana. One of my opponents was Dinesh D'Souza: He wasn't the only one who maintained that Reagan had been historically vindicated by the wreckage of the Soviet Union. Some of us on the left had also been very glad indeed to see the end of the Russian empire and the Cold War. But nothing could make me forget what the Reagan years had actually been like.

Ronald Reagan claimed that the Russian language had no word for "freedom." (The word is "svoboda"; it's quite well attested in Russian literature.) Ronald Reagan said that intercontinental ballistic missiles (not that there are any non-ballistic missiles—a corruption of language that isn't his fault) could be recalled once launched. Ronald Reagan said that he sought a "Star Wars" defense only in order to share the technology with the tyrants of the U.S.S.R. Ronald Reagan professed to be annoyed when people called it "Star Wars," even though he had ended his speech on the subject with the lame quip, "May the force be with you." Ronald Reagan used to alarm his Soviet counterparts by saying that surely they'd both unite against an invasion from Mars. Ronald Reagan used to alarm other constituencies by speaking freely about the "End Times" foreshadowed in the Bible. In the Oval Office, Ronald Reagan told Yitzhak Shamir and Simon Wiesenthal, on two separate occasions, that he himself had assisted personally at the liberation of the Nazi death camps.

There was more to Ronald Reagan than that. Reagan announced that apartheid South Africa had "stood beside us in every war we've ever fought," when the South African leadership had been on the other side in the most recent world war. Reagan allowed Alexander Haig to greenlight the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, fired him when that went too far and led to mayhem in Beirut, then ran away from Lebanon altogether when the Marine barracks were bombed, and then unbelievably accused Tip O'Neill and the Democrats of "scuttling." Reagan sold heavy weapons to the Iranian mullahs and lied about it, saying that all the weapons he hadn't sold them (and hadn't traded for hostages in any case) would, all the same, have fit on a small truck. Reagan then diverted the profits of this criminal trade to an illegal war in Nicaragua and lied unceasingly about that, too. Reagan then modestly let his underlings maintain that he was too dense to understand the connection between the two impeachable crimes. He then switched without any apparent strain to a policy of backing Saddam Hussein against Iran. (If Margaret Thatcher's intelligence services had not bugged Oliver North in London and become infuriated because all European nations were boycotting Iran at Reagan's request, we might still not know about this.)

One could go on. I only saw him once up close, which happened to be when he got a question he didn't like. Was it true that his staff in the 1980 debates had stolen President Carter's briefing book? (They had.) The famously genial grin turned into a rictus of senile fury: I was looking at a cruel and stupid lizard. His reply was that maybe his staff had, and maybe they hadn't, but what about the leak of the Pentagon Papers? Thus, a secret theft of presidential documents was equated with the public disclosure of needful information. This was a man never short of a cheap jibe or the sort of falsehood that would, however laughable, buy him some time.

The fox, as has been pointed out by more than one philosopher, knows many small things, whereas the hedgehog knows one big thing. Ronald Reagan was neither a fox nor a hedgehog. He was as dumb as a stump. He could have had anyone in the world to dinner, any night of the week, but took most of his meals on a White House TV tray. He had no friends, only cronies. His children didn't like him all that much. He met his second wife—the one that you remember—because she needed to get off a Hollywood blacklist and he was the man to see. Year in and year out in Washington, I could not believe that such a man had even been a poor governor of California in a bad year, let alone that such a smart country would put up with such an obvious phony and loon.

However, there came a day when Mikhail Gorbachev visited Washington and when the Marriott Hotel—host of the summit press conferences—turned its restaurant into the "Glasnost Cafe." On the sidewalk, LaRouche supporters wearing Reagan masks paraded with umbrellas, in mimicry of Neville Chamberlain. I huddled from dawn to dusk with friends, wondering if it could be real. Many of those friends had twice my IQ, or let's say six times that of the then-chief executive. These friends had all deeply wanted either Jimmy Carter or Walter Mondale to be, presumably successively, the president instead of Reagan. They would go on to put Michael Dukakis and Lloyd Bentsen bumper stickers on their vehicles. No doubt they wish that Mondale had been in the White House when the U.S.S.R. threw in the towel, just as they presumably yearn to have had Dukakis on watch when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. I have been wondering ever since not just about the stupidity of American politics, but about the need of so many American intellectuals to prove themselves clever by showing that they are smarter than the latest idiot in power, or the latest Republican at any rate.
Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair. His latest book, Blood, Class and Empire, is out in paperback.

The truth about Reagan

Planet Reagan

By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Monday 07 June 2004

Buffalo Bill's
who used to
ride a watersmooth-silver
and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat
he was a handsome man
and what i want to know is
how do you like your blueeyed boy
Mister Death

- e.e. cummings, "Buffalo Bill's Defunct"

Ronald Reagan is dead now, and everyone is being nice to him. In every aspect, this is appropriate. He was a husband and a father, a beloved member of a family, and he will be missed by those he was close to. His death was long, slow and agonizing because of the Alzheimer's Disease which ruined him, one drop of lucidity at a time. My grandmother died ten years ago almost to the day because of this disease, and this disease took ten years to do its dirty, filthy, wretched work on her.

The dignity and candor of Reagan's farewell letter to the American people was as magnificent a departure from public life as any that has been seen in our history, but the ugly truth of his illness was that he lived on, and on, and on. His family and friends watched as he faded from the world of the real, as the simple dignity afforded to all life collapsed like loose sand behind his ever more vacant eyes. Only those who have seen Alzheimer's Disease invade a mind can know the truth of this. It is a cursed way to die.

In this mourning space, however, there must be room made for the truth. Writer Edward Abbey once said, "The sneakiest form of literary subtlety, in a corrupt society, is to speak the plain truth. The critics will not understand you; the public will not believe you; your fellow writers will shake their heads."

The truth is straightforward: Virtually every significant problem facing the American people today can be traced back to the policies and people that came from the Reagan administration. It is a laundry list of ills, woes and disasters that has all of us, once again, staring apocalypse in the eye.

How can this be? The television says Ronald Reagan was one of the most beloved Presidents of the 20th century. He won two national elections, the second by a margin so overwhelming that all future landslides will be judged by the high-water mark he achieved against Walter Mondale. How can a man so universally respected have played a hand in the evils which corrupt our days?

The answer lies in the reality of the corrupt society Abbey spoke of. Our corruption is the absolute triumph of image over reality, of flash over substance, of the pervasive need within most Americans to believe in a happy-face version of the nation they call home, and to spurn the reality of our estate as unpatriotic. Ronald Reagan was, and will always be, the undisputed heavyweight champion of salesmen in this regard.

Reagan was able, by virtue of his towering talents in this arena, to sell to the American people a flood of poisonous policies. He made Americans feel good about acting against their own best interests. He sold the American people a lemon, and they drive it to this day as if it was a Cadillac. It isn't the lies that kill us, but the myths, and Ronald Reagan was the greatest myth-maker we are ever likely to see.

Mainstream media journalism today is a shameful joke because of Reagan's deregulation policies. Once upon a time, the Fairness Doctrine ensured that the information we receive - information vital to the ability of the people to govern in the manner intended - came from a wide variety of sources and perspectives. Reagan's policies annihilated the Fairness Doctrine, opening the door for a few mega-corporations to gather journalism unto themselves. Today, Reagan's old bosses at General Electric own three of the most-watched news channels. This company profits from every war we fight, but somehow is trusted to tell the truths of war. Thus, the myths are sold to us.

The deregulation policies of Ronald Reagan did not just deliver journalism to these massive corporations, but handed virtually every facet of our lives into the hands of this privileged few. The air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat are all tainted because Reagan battered down every environmental regulation he came across so corporations could improve their bottom line. Our leaders are wholly-owned subsidiaries of the corporations that were made all-powerful by Reagan's deregulation craze. The Savings and Loan scandal of Reagan's time, which cost the American people hundreds of billions of dollars, is but one example of Reagan's decision that the foxes would be fine guards in the henhouse.

Ronald Reagan believed in small government, despite the fact that he grew government massively during his time. Social programs which protected the weakest of our citizens were gutted by Reagan's policies, delivering millions into despair. Reagan was able to do this by caricaturing the "welfare queen," who punched out babies by the barnload, who drove the flashy car bought with your tax dollars, who refused to work because she didn't have to. This was a vicious, racist lie, one result of which was the decimation of a generation by crack cocaine. The urban poor were left to rot because Ronald Reagan believed in 'self-sufficiency.'

Because Ronald Reagan could not be bothered to fund research into 'gay cancer,' the AIDS virus was allowed to carve out a comfortable home in America. The aftershocks from this callous disregard for people whose homosexuality was deemed evil by religious conservatives cannot be overstated. Beyond the graves of those who died from a disease which was allowed to burn unchecked, there are generations of Americans today living with the subconscious idea that sex equals death.

The veneer of honor and respect painted across the legacy of Ronald Reagan is itself a myth of biblical proportions. The coverage proffered today of the Reagan legacy seldom mentions impropriety until the Iran/Contra scandal appears on the administration timeline. This sin of omission is vast. By the end of his term in office, some 138 Reagan administration officials had been convicted, indicted or investigated for misconduct and/or criminal activities.

Some of the names on this disgraceful roll-call: Oliver North, John Poindexter, Richard Secord, Casper Weinberger, Elliott Abrams, Robert C. McFarlane, Michael Deaver, E. Bob Wallach, James Watt, Alan D. Fiers, Clair George, Duane R. Clarridge, Anne Gorscuh Burford, Rita Lavelle, Richard Allen, Richard Beggs, Guy Flake, Louis Glutfrida, Edwin Gray, Max Hugel, Carlos Campbell, John Fedders, Arthur Hayes, J. Lynn Helms, Marjory Mecklenburg, Robert Nimmo, J. William Petro, Thomas C. Reed, Emanuel Savas, Charles Wick. Many of these names are lost to history, but more than a few of them are still with us today, 'rehabilitated' by the administration of George W. Bush.

Ronald Reagan actively supported the regimes of the worst people ever to walk the earth. Names like Marcos, Duarte, Rios Mont and Duvalier reek of blood and corruption, yet were embraced by the Reagan administration with passionate intensity. The ground of many nations is salted with the bones of those murdered by brutal rulers who called Reagan a friend. Who can forget his support of those in South Africa who believed apartheid was the proper way to run a civilized society?

One dictator in particular looms large across our landscape. Saddam Hussein was a creation of Ronald Reagan. The Reagan administration supported the Hussein regime despite his incredible record of atrocity. The Reagan administration gave Hussein intelligence information which helped the Iraqi military use their chemical weapons on the battlefield against Iran to great effect. The deadly bacterial agents sent to Iraq during the Reagan administration are a laundry list of horrors.

The Reagan administration sent an emissary named Donald Rumsfeld to Iraq to shake Saddam Hussein's hand and assure him that, despite public American condemnation of the use of those chemical weapons, the Reagan administration still considered him a welcome friend and ally. This happened while the Reagan administration was selling weapons to Iran, a nation notorious for its support of international terrorism, in secret and in violation of scores of laws.

Another name on Ronald Reagan's roll call is that of Osama bin Laden. The Reagan administration believed it a bully idea to organize an army of Islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan to fight the Soviet Union. bin Laden became the spiritual leader of this action. Throughout the entirety of Reagan's term, bin Laden and his people were armed, funded and trained by the United States. Reagan helped teach Osama bin Laden the lesson he lives by today, that it is possible to bring a superpower to its knees. bin Laden believes this because he has done it once before, thanks to the dedicated help of Ronald Reagan.

In 1998, two American embassies in Africa were blasted into rubble by Osama bin Laden, who used the Semtex sent to Afghanistan by the Reagan administration to do the job. In 2001, Osama bin Laden thrust a dagger into the heart of the United States, using men who became skilled at the art of terrorism with the help of Ronald Reagan. Today, there are 827 American soldiers and over 10,000 civilians who have died in the invasion and occupation of Iraq, a war that came to be because Reagan helped manufacture both Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

How much of this can be truthfully laid at the feet of Ronald Reagan? It depends on who you ask. Those who worship Reagan see him as the man in charge, the man who defeated Soviet communism, the man whose vision and charisma made Americans feel good about themselves after Vietnam and the malaise of the 1970s. Those who despise Reagan see him as nothing more than a pitch-man for corporate raiders, the man who allowed greed to become a virtue, the man who smiled vapidly while allowing his officials to run the government for him.

In the final analysis, however, the legacy of Ronald Reagan - whether he had an active hand in its formulation, or was merely along for the ride - is beyond dispute. His famous question, "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" is easy to answer. We are not better off than we were four years ago, or eight years ago, or twelve, or twenty. We are a badly damaged state, ruled today by a man who subsists off Reagan's most corrosive final gift to us all: It is the image that matters, and be damned to the truth.

William Rivers Pitt is the senior editor and lead writer for t r u t h o u t. He is a New York Times and international bestselling author of two books - 'War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know' and 'The Greatest Sedition is Silence.'


To Brian and Chris-...So according to you, anyone who doesn't love Reagan is a commie whore? or Osama's faithless friend? You guys are embarrassingly dumb. I fought for my country, did you? Sounds like a couple of mouthy punks I'd like to step on. How much respect are you showing, with your insults?!


My father lost his mind killing lots of nazis so that we didn't have to worship a fascist.


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