As America braces for the 100th anniversary of Reagan's birth, we face another "Neo-Con-niption" fit of disinformation, myths, revisionism, and lies about his presidency. I propose this new topic, "The Real Ronald Reagan". Please find below but a few concise, historically verifiable facts and incidents from his 8 years in DC. And PLEASE add more to this thread, for there is so much truth that needs to be told and understood about him, his decisions, policies, and legacy...

- Reagan's election was based largely on his tough stand against terrorism, reiterated forcefully throughout his campaign, and as emphatically stated here in the final 1980 presidenti­al debate where he promised, "NO Negotiatio­ns with terrorists - of any kind!" This turned out to be a great lie, as we learned in 1986 Reagan had not only been negotiating with Iranian terrorists for years, he had in fact caved-in to their demands, resulting in Reagan secretly supplying our military weapons to the only terrorist regime on earth that chanted, "Death to America." Talk about a "Great Capitulator!" His legacy for us at the very least is the almost nuclear Iran.

- October Surprise! Oh yeah, there's enough information already exposed on that to build a case for treason.

- Wag the Dog! In 1983 Reagan disarmed the Marines while ordering them into Beirut, as he forbid them to load bullets in their guns! This was a first for a Commander In Chief: Disarming the men of his own armed forces. When 241 Marines died when unable to defend themselves against an attacker, and then the news media began to broadcast footage of the horrible disaster that included the US troops who guarding the barracks saying they couldn't have bullets in their guns (!!!), Reagan went into full "Wag The Dog" mode. Grenada was invaded, killing mostly innocent civilians, but the news media loved an American military victory. Then Reagan went on TV to mislead America about the circumstan­ces of the Marine's barracks bombing, declaring the Marines fired their guns at their attacker (not true): Having been the very commander who ordered Marines into Beirut with unloaded weapons, he knew better, but it would look better upon him to spin a lie and give grieving Americans some solace with a false belief that these Marines put up a valiant fight with the enemy. He shifted the focus off Beirut. It worked, the news media and the people bought it, and "Wag the Dog" was a resounding success! I firmly believe that had a democratic president ever behaved in this way he would have been evicted from office, yet the GOP completely ignores this tragedy of his presidency: They never talk about it. It should be widely known that Reagan is the originator of the "Wag the Dog" ploy to distract the American people and media from what is really happening. Wag the Dog was him switching Grenada for Beirut. (The case can be made that Reagan's entire presidency was "Wagging the Dog" to distract and mislead American on what he was doing to the country, as he projected a facade of "sunny optimism" while selling our future to corporations and bankrupting our treasury.)

- Reagan inherited a country free of gangs, but left office with violent gangs infesting nearly every town and city across the country. "Random violence" and "drive by shootings" were burrowed firmly in the nation's lexicon, with the killings having become all too common by the end of his presidency­. For further reading on this see Mark Ames book, "Going Postal: Rage, Murder and Rebellion: From Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine and Beyond".

- Reagan tripled the national debt! Year after year his Voodoo Reaganomics continues to inflict so much damage to our country that we may never fully recover in our life time. Volumes have been spoken about this, yet it doesn't seem to sink in with the powers that be in DC and TV.

- He is most famous for having barked at the Berlin wall in Germany, "Tear down this wall." And ever since, the GOP has tried to claim him all the credit for the hard work done by so many others in Russia, Poland, Western Europe, and the multitude of fellow Americans for changing the Soviet Union. As if angrily shouting at a wall could ever pass for courageous leadership and truly affect change, I challenge any GOP and Tea Party member to stand in front of any real - or metaphorical - wall and shout sound bites. Then let's all just see what does NOT happen... At the walls on our southern border shout at Mexicans, "Don't cross this wall!", or on Wall Street or our inner cities shout, "Stop robbing people now!", or back to those same inner cities, "Don't ever shoot people!" That all seems pretty pathetic, and that is because leadership and affecting change does not come merely from angry sound bites, never has.

- Ever since Ronald Reagan employed appealing to visceral anger and famously issuing threats like The Dirty Harry Remedy - "Go ahead make my day!" which he barked at members of Congress, conservatives have tried to out-Reagan each other with their statements laced with anger and violent language. To card carrying members of the Reagan Cult, ever since Reagan authorized and utilized such language, it's forever okay for these Reagan worshipers to continue to do the same. No other president had heretofore threatened congress with lethal force for disagreeing with him, until Reagan. The Reagan era represents the mother of vitriolic speech for the masses. Now we have "Job killing tax increases", "Death tax", "Kill the health bill", "Aim for the head", and of course the towering intellect of Sarah gives us, "Death panels", Cross-hairs, "Blood libel", "Don't retreat, reload". Such is the tragically enduring gift of Reagan's legacy. I like to believe that if someone can't articulate their case or motivate their base without the use of anger, hate, death and gun metaphors, violent language, the visceral appeal, they don't have a case worth listening to.

- Under Reagan "We out spent the Soviet Union, which caused it's collapse." Hardly. We outspent everyone else in the world too! Yet no other country collapsed. Ironically, it now appears we are the ones who seem about to collapse!

- AIDS Crisis. Two words, but unfathomable pain, misery, suffering, and death has been inflicted upon the world. Reagan had the power to do something truly meaningful and effective about it, yet it took him years to ever even public utter the word "AIDS".

- PLEASE add your reasons why the Reagan era should be committed to decay in the dust bin of history!


Robindell's picture
Robindell 6 years 37 weeks ago

Reagan was very antagonistic toward mentally ill people and poor people. Homelessness substantially increased during his time in office. Companies started laying off people and sending jobs overseas, encouraged to do so by his economic policies. His statements about big government being the problem or in favor of smaller government were hypocritical in lieu of his near-obsession with developing a missle defense-system, dubbed "Star Wars" by the media, a system which many scientists did not think was feasible. Earl Butts who I think was his agriculture secretary may have made some impolite remarks, and his interior secretary who was James Watt or Watts was friendly with business interests and was controversial for promoting policies that did not seem environmentally sound.

But most of the people on this Web site are progressives who did not agree with Reagan, and this is more or less "preaching to the choir." Contacting the traditional media such as CBS, NBC, and ABC and letting them know that you disagree with their positive, uncritical coverage of Reagan's administration would be useful, as would trying to find a forum that would get these points out to a larger audience that would not otherwise get to hear any criticisms of Ronald Reagan.

JRaymondT's picture
JRaymondT 6 years 30 weeks ago

Not sure where to post this comment, but did anyone else find it ironic that it is at Reagan Int'l Airport that the lone Air Traffic Controller fell asleep, and a couple planes landed themselves? Likely that poorly paid controller has a second job to make ends meet. Remember Reagan busting PATCO. Anyone?

Idaglia's picture
Idaglia 6 years 19 weeks ago

October 1979: I was in the U.S.Navy serving active duty at Fleet Intelligence Center Pacific (CINCPAC/FICPAC), Pearl Harbor, HI. I'd arrived end of August and was assigned to the Map Library awaiting issuance of my Top Secrect Clearance. For those who have had to wait for a top-level intell clearance, its short of excruciatingly boring . . . one looks for things to keep you busy. In short, there were just so many maps I could stand to fold in an 8-hour day. My break consisted of reading and perusing through the newly arrived 8-inch thick Oxford Encyclopedia. One day I set-out to memorize the numerical order of our U.S. Presidents.

KICK-IN-THE-BUTT 1: Awesome and scary to discover published the 39th President of the United States of America as President Ronald E. Reagan a year(+) before the November 1980 presidential election! (39/40th, I guess it continues to be debatable) . . .

I was speachless . . . ; and,

KICK-IN-THE-BUTT 2: Next, I leafed through the encyclopedia and started reading about Senator McCarthy and the UnAmerican Witch-Hunt that paralyzed the U.S. with propogandized fear tactics sending innocent citizens to prison with false accusations as communist sympathizers. And, BEHOLD (. . . someone or something was trying to tell me something that day . . .) a photo of a young 17 year old Ronald Reagan serving as a runner and 'finger-pointer' for McCarty.

17 years old! Good God, I was a senior in high school at 17. No one at that age has the maturity and wisdom to bring down the hammer of justice on their fellow citizens.

The Perennial Actor. Reagan may have given some notoriety to the name 'the Gipper' but he was no John Wayne. Self-aggrandizement, a mask for all seasons, the perennial script. Not surprising he was plagued with Alzheimer's

The saddest point in my lifetime has been to realize that about half the population of the United States of America could quite easily slip into a fascist state of existence so long as they are in the upper caste pointing the fickle-finger-of-fate upon the rest of us to do there bidding.


doh1304's picture
doh1304 6 years 19 weeks ago

Ronald Wilson Reagan was the president of the Screen Actor's Guild during the McCarthy hearings. He was not 17 - he was much older and much worse. (There is a Ronald E. Reagan, but that is a different person)

Addendum to the AIDS crisis - Reagan rather quickly responded to activists' complaints about his presumed (yea, right - his first role was a gay porn film) homophobia. He "sped up" the FDA approval process - resulting in aspartane and Prozac. I suggest reading "Talking Back To Prozac". I also suggest not giving diet beverages to children under 100 lbs.

My first job - in January of 1981 - was driving a taxi. Our primary downtown stand was across the street from a VA day release mental health facility. One day we saw patients lined up down the street - the facility had been closed. No warning, not even a sign on the door. Even the staff had not been told. That was Ronald Reagan's first official act as President.

There is also an anectdote of Reagan telling Menachim Begin how he'd liberated the concentration camps. (he was selling war bonds and making propoganda movies at the time - he had claimed nearsightedness and taken an "actors' deferrment".)

By the way, so did John Wayne.

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