Friday, January 20, 2006


Alternative views on Reagan

Mike at Mike's America -- put on some shades first, it is HOT AND HEAVY over there for all things Righty-Right -- and Mark at 4 Rows Back and TugboatCapn at Trucker Philosophy all have posts up this week celebating the 25th anniversary of Ronald Reagan's first inauguration, which is today.

Well. Reagan's presidency sealed me as a Democrat -- that and an internship with a hard-Right congressman. About the photo: I bought one of these from a classified ad in Mother Jones back in the day. It's to my right on my home office wall.

So this post is for alternative views of Reagan and his presidency. Not "anti-" Reagan, just alternative. Nouns and verbs, please, keeping the adjectives to a minimum.

Mike and Mark and Tug have gone way beyond veneration, to hero worship -- and that's fine, 'cause I've been known to wax worshipful (civically speakin) for Marse Robert E. Lee and FDR.

But some of their groupies were little kids during Reagan's presidency and know only what people tell them -- since most of them don't READ.

Reagan put his britches on one leg at a time just like every other mortal. He was no saint, he was no genius, he was not the greatest president ever. What are your negative thoughts?

I'll start: Illegal war in Central America; Boland Amendment; Bible and a Cake in Iran (but "we don't negotiate with hostages").


A line from the 1985 movie "Back to the Future":

Dr. Emmett Brown: Then tell me, "Future Boy", who's President in the United States in 1985?
Marty McFly: Ronald Reagan.
Dr. Emmett Brown: Ronald Reagan? The actor?
[chuckles in disbelief]
Dr. Emmett Brown: Then who's VICE-President? Jerry Lewis?
Well, thanks, Teditor. The sound of crickets chirpin' in here was gettin' to me.
Here's another oldy but goody one: Ketchup is a vegetable. Um, no.
"Progress is our most important product!"
--Ronald Reagan, General Electric Spokesperson on General Electric Theater
No negatives from this corner. Sorry. I was seven when he came to office and 15 when he left. Don't know if that makes me a little kid or not, but I can recall alot of stuff that happened, even if I didn't fully grasp it at the time. I've also been know to read a thing or two . . .

I've heard you come down pretty hard on Reagan many times. Yet I've never seen you postulate any good reasons. It's almost like a personal thing with you. What gives, did he kick your dog as a kid or something?
"My cigarette is the MILD cigarette ... that's why Chesterfield is my favorite." -- Ronald Reagan
Truth be told, I was too young and impressionable to be unbiased on Reagan. He was elected in 1980, when I was 13. I didn't know enough -- probably still don't -- about politics to notice, though my inner-Republican nature "rooted" for those guys to win. I've since learned a little more and would classify myself as a moderate ... you know, the fence-sitters out there. :-)

Whilst folks like Dr. Lobo can tell you all about the day JFK was assasinated -- Dr. Lobo might tell us about the day Roosevelt died (Teddy, not FDR :-) ) -- I can tell you about the day Reagan was shot.

At the time, I considered Reagan a good president, though there were some definite things I would now disagree with. I thought he was a step up from Jimmy Carter, but that might've been my negative Southern bias showing through. Yeah, ER, my displeasure with you Southerners started in my youth. It wasn't just you. :-)
No teditor, don't remember TR's death, but I do remember Garfield being shot.;)

Reagan was a simplistic man, not simple, but simplistic. In that regard he was very much a man of the American Character.

Some day, perhaps soon, Reagan's legacy may be blown completely away by one single terrorist atomic weapon. It is a 99% chance that any nueclear weapon the terrorist may use will have come from the old Soviet stockpiles. Regan came within a hairs breath of a treaty that would have destroyed those stockpiles before the Soviet Union collapsed. But he wouldn't do it because he didn't want to abandoned the fantasy program of the Stategic Defense Initiative(SDI) or Star Wars. SDI was to Reagan as WMD's were to Sadam: a powerful non existance weaponery constructed by lying staffers.
Here is a History of what happened:

Iceland 1986.
The breakthroughs were breathtaking. At Reykjav’k on October 11-12, 1986, where Reagan and Gorbachev had 9 hours and 48 minutes of face-to-face meetings, Gorbachev was forthcoming in nearly every area of arms control. He and Reagan astonishingly agreed on a first step to cut strategic nuclear forces in half. Then they got excited about the prospect of eliminating nuclear weapons altogether, including missiles and strategic bombers. "I have a picture," said Reagan, "that after ten years you and I come to Iceland and bring the last two missiles in the world and have the biggest damn celebration of it!"

One word-"one lousy word," said Reagan later-spoiled that picture. Gorbachev insisted on confining SDI to "laboratory" testing. And Reagan would not forsake his pet project. Remarkably, he offered to share it. Gorbachev feared SDI would expose the Soviets to an unanswerable strike. At midnight, haggard from the long day, the two men walked in silence from a supposedly haunted Hofdi House. "Mr. President," said Gorbachev when they reached Reagan's car, "you have missed a unique chance of going down in history as a great president who paved the way for nuclear disarmament." A gloomy Reagan answered: "That applies to both of us."

The pro-Reagan people see this as one of his finest hours. But it eventually left all that weapons grade material and bombs themselves spread over 11 different former Soviet Republics, in some cases protected only by padlocks and chains. Reagan's legacy is not yet complete.
May God in his mercy save us from its completion.
I still have and cherish a "No Star Wars" and "No Weapons in Space" buttons.
Rem, I know you can read. And I know you know how to follow links. So I don't understand your question.
That's it? Those few things taint all the good he did (or at least, all the good he is currently credited with)?
I thought this blog today was devoted to negative Reagan as a balance to the drooling pro-Reagan blogs cited in ER's statement. There are far and away lots of good every President does, every President. See the blogs mentioned above for a loving if somewhat fawning listing of that good for Reagan. For his failures, ideosyncracies, wierds, and dumbs, this biased blog will provide today. Right ER?
I once had a News week that had a half dozen pictures of Reagan taken at different times and places within that same week. This was about 6 months after he had been shot and almost died. A I compared the photos I saw different wrinkles, and different distances between the top of his shirt collar and his right ear. The more I studied them the more I was sure that I was looking at two maybe three different men. Then I got it, Reagan was using stand-ins.
Surprisingly enough, I did my own rememberance for this day at my blog.
I get so tired of hearing that old ER is the last person on earth that can read. Oh, and how many degrees he has hanging on the wall. The truth is, if he fell in a 10ft hole with a 12-foot ladder he wouldn’t be able to get out if it didn’t come with an owner’s manual.
Rem, no, that's not all. Those are the things that trip my trigger, though.

Anon., re: "I get so tired of hearing that old ER is the last person on earth that can read."

There's an easy remedy for this: Stay away.

Red alert: Phasers on kill.
Well, I did a pretty lengthy post on this very subject over at my place too. I was kinda wondering where you all were.
I left out a lot of the truly bad things that his administration did or started the ball rolling on-sorry Rem, we'll get to them-in particular the failure of supply-side economics.
As his Treasury secretary pointed out rather famously before resigning-it just doesn't work. This was stunning coming from one of the biggest proponents of this ecoonomic theory. The fact that it was embraced by a sitting administration has played havoc with our economy ever since.
To those who say-He made me proud to be an American, I say, "Damn, you're easily fooled". To those who say that he pulled our economy out of the dumps I say, "Look a little closer".
And to those who say he won the Cold War, I say Bullshit. If anything, Gorbachev saved the world, and doesn't get nearly enough cred for it.
Phasers on kill, ER? Uh, excuse me, but wouldn't they qualify as "space weapons"?

: )
Nick, I b'lieve that what I opposed then, and now, and what I mentioned upthread, was "weapons in space."

The steroetype he perpetrated about "the welfare queens who drive Cadillacs".

Oh, and the "We don't trade arms for hostages" spiel.

Oh, and the "AIDS is God's punishment against homosexuals for being deviants".

But mostly I remember the deep economic recession caused by the over-the-top military spending.

Man, there's some young 'uns commenting here!
But where else are phasers used, ER, but in space?
On the ground of (fill in name of planet) by away teams. Dude, don't mess with me and things Trek. I'm a casual fan, but Dr. ER is an Ex. Pert.

The young'uns who lap up the reinvention of RWR is what galls me, RSB.
As to the substance of this thread, let me say (as a surprise to no one) that I think Reagan was a great president. That said, the thing that used to drive me crazy back in my more leftward-tilting days was the way he would always cup his ear and look confused when he got off of Marine One, as if he couldn't hear the reporters' questions, when in fact he was probably just trying not to have to answer them.
Would you like a list?


"Trickle down economics" = massive, crippling national debt.

And the ketchup as a vegetable thing you mentioned is one example of a much bigger, badder thing: policies that favored wealthy white men. A LOT. The poor became poorer, and people of color were SOL as long as the Gipper was in charge. Holy crap, if you were a poor woman of color, forget about it.

Oh, and you don't pretend that you are only person who can read. That's total crap.

Don't you know it, ER. Thankfully, I was out of the country when his funeral was held. I only the got the half measure of "he was the greatest thing since sliced bread" coverage on the European news. The fawning and adulation was too much. I couldn't believe it. It's almost like the news media (yeah, what liberal media?) had collective amnesia on what bad, bad times those really were. We lived through much of a decade where there was a real possibility that the world would come to an end.

I think it probably is true that The Shrubster spiritually decendant of Ronnie Raygun than of his real dad.

Oh, and what SuperB said.
Am I the only person who ranks the October Surprise up there with the XYZ Affair among diplomatic scandals? Totally different. But the same level of scandal.
James Watt, Reagan secretary of the interior.

"I never use the words Democrats and Republicans. It's liberals and Americans." -- James G. Watt, 1982

"We have every mixture you can have. I have a black, a woman, two Jews and a cripple. And we have talent." -- James G. Watt, describing his staff to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on September 21, 1983; this comment led directly to his forced resignation; quoted from Bartlett's Online
One of the first neo-conservatives; campaigned on reducing federal government, left office with even bigger federal government... and debt.
The Bongo movies.
But I kinda like the Bongo flicks!
ER asked, Am I the only person who ranks the October Surprise up there with the XYZ Affair among diplomatic scandals?

Rem answered, "Yes."
policies that favored wealthy white men. A LOT. The poor became poorer, and people of color were SOL as long as the Gipper was in charge. Holy crap, if you were a poor woman of color, forget about it.

It's always the "wealthy white men" with some people. I guess you feel the others didn't get the handouts nor the benefits of quotas/affirmative action that other administrations felt they "earned" or "were entitled to"? I guess life's hard when you're forced to take some responsibility for yourself.
OK, OK, I ment the Bonzo movie. Bed time For Bonzo in 1951, and then Bonzo III: Bonzo Goes to Washington; and then Bonzo IV: Bonzo goes to Iran with the Contras; and the final Bonzo movie: Bonzo The Great Communicator Forgets His Lines. What ever else you can say about Ronald Reagan, his wife Jayne Wyman was right, "He's just not worth it."
For the youngsters in the group here is the "October Surpise" boiled down by Wikkipedia:

"Jimmy Carter had been attempting to deal with the Iran hostage crisis and the hostile regime of the Ayatollah Khomeini for nearly a year. Those who assert that a deal was made allege that certain Republicans with CIA connections, including George H. W. Bush, arranged to have the hostages held through October, until Reagan could defeat Carter in early November, and then be released, thereby preventing an “October surprise” from the Carter administration in which the hostages would be released shortly before the election. The hostages were released the day of Reagan's inauguration, twenty minutes after his inaugural address."

None of this was ever proven but added to the Iran-Contra Affair is a possibility. At some point in the future the files of the SAVAK (Iran's Secrete Police formed and trained by the H. W. Bush's CIA under the Shah) that made the transition into the Ayatolah's Iran will become open to historians, just as the KGB and NKVD files did from the Soviet era. Then and only then will we know all the truth about the October Surprise and Iran Contra.
M. Brandon Robbins said...
"Surprisingly enough, I did my own rememberance for this day at my blog"

An excellent job of rememberance of one of the most influential fighters of the 20th century. During this time of eulogy to Reagan, heroes of his caliber should not be ignored.
Fine work MLB.
I am grateful for: the spectacle of George Will sucking up to Nancy Reagan, one of the dullest, shallowest astrologicious FLOTUS ever, in a very crowded field. Who could take him seriously after that.

That's me - all process, no product.
Oooh, Rich Bachelor's piece is right snarky!

Right you are ER.
RB deserves the title of Boojum of the Snarks.
REM said:

"That's it? Those few things taint all the good he did (or at least, all the good he is currently credited with)?"

Those "few" things? Getting the US charged with AND convicted of WAR CRIMES in a world court is a little thing to you?! All the while going illegally against congress to do so?!!

If Reagan did nothing else beyond his actions in Central America, he should be reviled as one of our worst, most evil presidents in our history. HE SUPPORTED TERRORISM, for God's sake!

Geez! Where do you get these people, ER?

[sorry to weigh in so late in the day...]
Oh, Rem is a relatively longtimer 'round here. And I like to keep it stirred up -- and the best way to do that is to take all comers. That's the Erudite Redneck Way. Don't just want ameners!
With all due respect to Brandon, Dr. Lobo and anyone else who understood the piece on Brandon's blog, but I just don't get it. I've never, ever understood how anyone could be so fanatical about science fiction, in general, and Star Wars, to be specific.

Most don't understand my fascination with the Kansas City Chiefs, etc., so that's why I offer this with no disrespect intended. I've worn some sort of Chiefs attire from as early an age as 3, so I was brainwashed early. Fell in love with the sport of football and played it competitively from the age of 9 through my junior year in college -- I would've played longer had I actually been talented enough, but, alas, that just wasn't in the cards.

Still, I never enjoyed Star Trek nor any other science fiction-based work -- whether in a book, on TV or in a movie. I can say that I was tickled by Star Wars, mostly by the stars and the wars and the lights and funky sword-lookin' thingymabobs. But I was also 10. Didn't enjoy any other Star Wars movie and still have no plans to watch another ever again.

While some may be floored if they watched me in my Chiefs uniform with my Chiefs cap, biting my fingernails and cussing at the TV on a Sunday afternoon, I'm just as shocked that someone can view something of science fiction and be enthralled by it.

But to each his own. Enjoy your lives and whatever makes ya happy.
Well, "Star Wars" is a great, complex story, with BIG characters. I saw them all but the last one.
Well, I thought the original Star Wars was great from a 10-year-old's eyes, but I was over it by 12. Unbelievable storylines, silly characters, ever-to-long drug-out themes.

As I said, to each his own.
Less "hero worship" than an honest appreciation for real and substantial positive change: Elminating the threat of nuclear war, ending the cold war, liberating millions in Eastern Europe and destroying the Wall.

All that while restoring America's economic powerhouse and our military.

Opposed every step of the way by people who claimed they wanted those things too.

The lesson from history is pretty clear, too bad the ideological blindness of many on the left prevents them from knowing a good thing when they have one. Same with President Bush.
Alzheimer's or dementia paitients usually live an average of 8 to 10 years after onset of first acute symptoms. Life spans after first diagnosis however can vary for a short period of 3 years to twenty plus years. It is not uncommon however for the disease to affect the person from two to five years before the first diagnosis can be made.

My mother-in-law died from Alzheimers in 2004 the same year that Ronald Reagan did. She had been diagnosed with the disease in 1986, 18 years befiore she died. her sister however had been telling her children that something was wrong with her for 3 years prior to that. so she most probably had the disease by 1983.
By the time Ronald Reagan announced publically that he had the disease he was well advance in the symptoms. That was 1994. Reagan supposedly had Alzheimers for 10 years, but that is just the length of time since his public announcement to his death.
How long did he actually suffer from dementia? Is this going to be the dirty little secrete that comes out 10 to 20 years from now?
If he had paralleled my mother-in-law it would have been 1983 when he was first affected. Dementia victims are artist at hiding the fact of their problem from people.
Did Reagan do this?
Reagan was, indeed, a "great communicator": like Clinton, he did a fantastic job of conveying the persona of a normall, down-to-earth, very likeable guy.

One of the big problems with him is that the thing he's given most credit for--ending the cold war--came about partly as the result of disasterous fiscal policy. His deficits seriously damaged the public sphere and helped usher in the kind of every-man-for-himself libertarianism/free-market theories that have significantly weakened any sense of community or responsibility towards our fellow Americans in their times of need. Remember the whole "welfare queens" thing?

It's interesting, because I honestly think that the thing that is most likely to bring left and right together is a mutual agreement that we have duties to others. For the right, this revolves around issues like abortion, popular entertainment (sex and violence = bad, unchristian; kids watch too much tv), the importance of children, moral values, and so on. For the left, issues like affirmative action, support for the poor, popular entertainment (sex and violence = bad, unfeminist; kids watch too much tv), unions and living wage laws, and so on.
I'd say a mini-harbinger of whether left and right will ever get along is how Mike's America responds to Bitch.

In the meantime, hey, Mike, re: "The lesson from history is pretty clear ..."

Well, obviously not or there wouldn't be any disagreement over the Reagan legacy at all, would there? Even granted Reagan's accomplishment: At what cost?

Get the ideological lumber out of your own eye before you start pointing out mine, man.
Oh, Drlobo, You may be right. It would explain the regency that ran the country back then. But what's Dubya's excuse?
Teditor said...
"With all due respect to Brandon, Dr. Lobo and anyone else who understood the piece on Brandon's blog, but I just don't get it."

No sweat from my quarter. I have never gotten the "Sports" thing myself, or the opera thing, or the ballet thing, or ......
I think the best of all the Star War Movies however is the second movie The Empire Strikes Back or Episode V.
Lucas blew off the last three Star Wars movies with his greed and meglomania.
I have been deep into science fiction, written and/or movies, since I saw the first Sputnik travel across the sky down in SW Oklahoma when I was twelve. In fact one of the things that bothered me most about Reagan as President was his cut backs on NASA's civilian space projects and funneling those resource to his version of "Star Wars"; now talk about science fiction, that was bad science fiction.
I slipped back over to America Mikes just now to re-read the comments. Mike puts up an excellently formated blog. Lots of work goes into it, and it LOOKS great. Notice however that he has 12 comments to your 51. Now that indeed is odd. I could be wrong, but I swear just over an hour ago there were 21 comments, and several of those were from someone named Waynes World(?), those comments had some real nasty flashback to them. Could they all be gone now? Like Mark and Tim, does America Mike use the memory hole as well?
Th' hell is a 'boojum'?
Alas, no one got it. The whole Yoda post WAS IMMATURE AND NOSE-THUMBING SARCASM! While everyone is bowing down in front of their pictures of Reagan standing in front of an American flag and smiling I was posting about Yoda.

Okay, maybe my sense of humor is a little strange.

Reagan was a cheat and a liar, a swindle. Sure, he made people laugh and he was rock-solid manly and all that, but by God the man was a crook! A crook! The fucking October Surprise sounds like something out of a damn political thriller, BUT IT REALLY HAPPENED!

So "celebrating" Yoda's election to the Jedi Council on the day that the right wingers were setting aside their Christianity in favor of Reagananity (not that they NEED a special occassion for that) was my little way of having a laugh and quite honestly hoping to push somebody's buttons.

I think ER got it though.

And I ususally don't try to push buttons, so you know when I do I've really had it.
The more I looked at the adoring pictures of Reagan painted by the several reactionary web sites the more I had the feeling that something was really wrong. Then it finally hit me. It was Star Wars again. ( Teditor Star Wars is definately central to our culture these days. )
What was missing from the descriptions of the God of Light version of Reagan was the Dark Side.
And Reagan himself had a name for his Dark Side, He called him "My Darth Vader". He was of course refering to Lee Atwater, the very inventor of the phrase "Welfare Queen", and Reagan't dirty trickster number one. Mr Smashmouth Politics of the 1970s and 80s and mentor to Carl Rove.
Harvey Leroy "Lee" Atwater, the man who called President Jimmy Carter, a "n*gga lovin homo" who couldn’t even defend Americans abroad in Iran. Lee Atwater knew how to exploit the worst fears in people and that woulld win an election. He was the one who was responsible for Reagan’s "unspoken campaign promise" to kill off the Civil Rights movement after he was elected in 1980.
Lee also gave Reagan the phrase "Evil Empire", well Darth would know about that wouldn't he.
Th' hell is a 'boojum'?
# posted by rich bachelor : 7:41 PM

The Hunting of the Snark: An Agony in Eight Fits

Fit the Third: the Bakers Tale
And the Baker replied "Let me say it once more.
It is this, it is this that I dread!

"I engage with the Snark -- every night after dark --
In a dreamy delirious fight:
I serve it with greens in those shadowy scenes,
And I use it for striking a light:

"But if ever I meet with a Boojum, that day,
In a moment (of this I am sure),
I shall softly and suddenly vanish away --
And the notion I cannot endure!"

Fit the Eighth: The Vanishing

It's a Snark!" was the sound that first came to their ears,
And seemed almost too good to be true.
Then followed a torrent of laughter and cheers:
Then the ominous words "It's a Boo-
Then, silence. Some fancied they heard in the air
A weary and wandering sigh
Then sounded like "-jum!" but the others declare
It was only a breeze that went by.

They hunted till darkness came on, but they found
Not a button, or feather, or mark,
By which they could tell that they stood on the ground
Where the Baker had met with the Snark.

In the midst of the word he was trying to say,
In the midst of his laughter and glee,
He had softly and suddenly vanished away -- -
For the Snark was a Boojum, you see
The End
By Louis Carroll
Hey Dan, one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter. And no, I couldn't care less what some 'world court' decided about the United States of America.
I'm afraid that we will all care, one day, what a world court decides. That, or we will all be livin' here in our own little fortified continent, armed to the teetch, cut off from the rest of civilization while it passes us by.

Led by China, probably.

There's a reason Samuel Huntington's book is still talked about lo, these many years after it was pubbed.
Boojum! Ol' MST shoulda got that!
The Huntington book I meant was "The Clash of Civilization," published in 1998. I resd it lightly and reefered parts of it in a paper I did for a seminar on recent China history and present.

From Amazon:

"The thesis of this provocative and potentially important book is the increasing threat of violence arising from renewed conflicts between countries and cultures that base their traditions on religious faith and dogma. This argument moves past the notion of ethnicity to examine the growing influence of a handful of major cultures--Western, Eastern Orthodox, Latin American, Islamic, Japanese, Chinese, Hindu, and African--in current struggles across the globe."

Lucas blew off the last three Star Wars movies with his greed and meglomania.

I try to cut Lucas some slack. He has a great imagination and comes up with some great ideas, but he cannot...write...dialogue. And he loves playing with film technology ("OOOH, a new gizmawhatchacallit! Can we use it?") so much he often ignores things like, um, acting and plot structure.

But I try not to write him off as a media whore. Like Luke and Padme said about Anakin "There's still good in him."

I approach the Star Wars movies as one big work, and I end up liking them all that much more. Of course, I've not only been fans of the movie but of the whole Expanded Universe and everything else, so my view is a little skewed.
Brandon what do think of the Fire Fly 'verse?
It's always fun to insult and demean a dead man and his widow. I personally enjoy knocking over tombstones, but this is a damn good time, too.
rem said:
"Hey Dan, one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter."

Would it concern you that the Catholic Church found that the US was supporting terrorists in central america?

"And no, I couldn't care less what some 'world court' decided about the United States of America."

You and the 9/11 terrorists, both.
Demeaning the presidency, Anon., not the man who happened to wear it. You knew that, though.
Just a clarifying point. I just said:

"You and the terrorists both."

And while I'd hope my meaning should be obvious, I thought I better say a bit more. I'm NOT calling you a terrorist, nor saying you are like terrorists.

I'm saying that the philosophy of "We're above the law. We don't care what about any world court - it has no jurisdiction over us." THAT philosophy and way of thinking mirrors exactly the terrorist's thinking on the point.

We broke international laws. Waged a terroristic war (according to several independent investigations including one by the Catholic Church) in various nations in central america and enough evidence was found to convict us of such in a court of law. THAT should be extremely troubling to people of good will everywhere.
One nation, under God . . .

The USA bows to no nation and no court.
What Dan posted, redacted: (Dan, feel free to clarify, minust further reference to the specifics of the deleted part; it is NOT paranoid if they really ARE spaying, and they ARE.)

Do you realize the hyprocrisy, foolishness and danger of ignoring a valid court opinion and international law? You are agreeing with the terrorists that sometimes it is more important to commit heinous acts that are against international and local laws because you think it right! The only difference is the specifics. Is that what you intend to say?

In other words, are you saying you agree with the 9/11 terrorists' philosophy, if not their target?

10:28 AM
One nation, under God . . .

The USA bows to no nation and no court.

Under God, not in direct communication with.

So until we establish a hotline with The Almighty, I'll put at least some degree of trust in courts and nations.
er said:
" What Dan posted, redacted..."

You two are pathetic. It is because of reactions such as yours that Winston Churchill opposed the Nuremburg Trials. He didn't want the precedent set of some international body deciding through 'law' the fate of those deemed worthy of death. Until the conclusion of WWII, the victor dealt with 'war criminals' swiftly through military tribunals and hangmen (or firing squads). Churchill, blinded by empire though he was, understood that the sovereignty of a nation is sacrosanct. The only legitimate way to enact your will on another nation is to conquer it, threaten it, or buy it off - not to make judgements against it. International courts are a joke - as is the UN. The United States of America stands alone in deciding her fate, we do not look to the courts.

As to your post that ER edited (minus specifics) - you are a citizen of the United States. As such you are under the jurisdiction of her courts. The US stands alone, under God. We are under God's jurisdiction - nobody else's.
Well, and including the jurisdictions of nations we have treaties with, on issues pertaining to those treaties, as per the Constitution. When we feel like it.

But I actually agree, fundamentally, with Rem on this one -- unless we have signed treaties establishing such direction.
Oh, I am a weenie. Spooks take that stuff extremely seriously.
rem said:
"The US stands alone, under God. We are under God's jurisdiction - nobody else's."

1. OK, let's take that at face value (ridiculous as it is). Then Reagan's team ignored US LAW to illegally fund the Contras in Nicaragua by illegally selling arms to Iranians.

Will you join me in boldly and roundly criticizing the Reagan Whitehouse for this?

2. So are other countries also under God's jurisdiction alone? If so, and God tells them to blow up our towers, ought they? What's that you say? God wouldn't tell them to blow up towers? But God would tell us to blow up their towers?

We need international laws to make clear what is and isn't legal and what is and isn't acceptable and what actions will result in what conseqences. We have laws that apply in our various states, even though each state is independent.

Why is it such a leap to agree to abide by something as simple as: I will not blow up your country? If we don't have international laws, then by who in the hell's authority are we over in Iraq waging war? Our own? Then why is it not okay for Iraq, Iran, etc to decide on their own who they can and can't wage war with?

Don't you see? If there are no international standards for us, there are no international standards for anyone. You're talking about anarchy, might makes right, hedonism.
you are a citizen of the United States. As such you are under the jurisdiction of her courts.

The USA bows to no nation and no court.

Which is it?
Dr. B,

You're late to the party. The US courts have jurisdiction over US citizens. No court has jurisdiction over the US. It's not an either/or.


I never said that other nations could not choose with whom to war against. There are consequences, though. If you choose to bomb the US, we will probably go after you. We do not require international support. The Constitution does not require it - only that the legistative branch authorize it.

Our forefathers fought a war and established a nation in large part because they had no say in how they were governed. You could say, that in effect, we answer to ourselves.

As to your first point, I will not condemn Reagan for the Iran-Contra affair. I will agree that it was handled improperly, with large portions of it being illegal (or at least in the gray areas - once again we have the argument of the unitary executive doctrine).
I was waiting for some weepy Anonymous to make the point above that we're all piling on the dead guy ('and his widow').
Here in 'Murka, we have this whole 'say only good of the dead, 'cuz they're aaaan-gels' bullshit going on. There is a much older saying that I like so much more:
"Of the dead, only the truth."
It is not only much more realistic, but in the long haul, more respectful, I think. It treats the dead person as a person, and not some idealized Thing that we can't really address in an honest fashion.
And to Rem: you're joking, of course. Because only sub-kindergartners fail to understand the rule, stated above: "When you change the rules for yourself, you change them for everybody."
Or in your particular scenario: declare the nation you live in to be celestially mandated and legally immune, then All Of Them can.
No one is that stupid, and I assume that you're doing that whole State the Most Extreme Example of a Reactionary's Point of View to get a Rise out of the Liberals thing, right?
Because otherwise, you're merely being a fool.
And welcome, my friends, to the thread that never ends...
Let's try to lkeep the dang name-caling to a minumum, por favor.

Hey, Rem, I know yer gone home for the night.

Rich, this is for Rem. Nothing personal, OK? Seriously.


"Don't be a jackass, Rich," Rem said.

ER added, "Really. I mean, I get angry sometimes and sling mud, but I always regret it."

Seriously. The spirit of the ER Roadhouse is this: Lefties, reactionaries, libs, jingoists, Christians, Jews, blacks and cripples (nod to James Watt), are by-God welcome.

And their extreme views. ... and the horse they rode in on ... and the three-legged dog named lucky that followed them into town.

There are huge swaths of the country where Rem's views are the norm. Huge, huge, swaths.

Some of my best friends are, um, red. (Boy did THAT meaning change in the twinklin' of an eye ...)
Well,of course. And I owe it to them as a fellow American to tell them what the rest of us are thinking. And I sorta suspect that they might just owe the rest of us a listening.
Thing is, I truly think that Rem is smarter than the observation he(?) made above. I mean, come on.
As far as names go, 'fool' certainly ain't the worst thing I've ever been called.
Well, it really wasn't the words you used, I mean, yer right, "fool" ain't the worst name to be called.

But you were engaging Rem, not Rem's assertions.

I guess I'm particularly touchy about this becaue it wasn't too long ago that I, without question, held the same views. Now, I still hold them, but I'm willing to listen to others -- as long as they don't diss me in the process.

The fact is, the rest of the world CAN judge this country, but as long as we have the power we do today, it's all academic. It's true. Doesn't make for a very secure long-term future, but it's true.

Unless the Senate passes a treaty making us a party to an international system of justice -- AS IF THERE WERE anything resembling an international system of justice -- this country is NOT bound by any court outside the United States itself.

Which is not to say the USA shouldn't be a good neighbor. And strive to be an amicable member of the community of nations -- as if THAT had any real meaning.

Several months ago, I suggested getting the US out of the UN, the UN out of the US, and forming the United Nations of America.

Why? Not?

The UN is so flawed, it ain't even funny. The U.S. can't go it alone forever. China will have to be dealt with, perhaps as friend, perhaps as foe, absolutely as competitor. The world is more unstable, actually, with one superpower instead of two, IMHO.

UNA, all the way!

(Posited as a discussion point.)
Wait a minute. Which comment of Rem's has ya fired up, Rich? Maybe I'm confused.
If it was the war in Central America you mean, well, Reagan should've ben impeached over that.
Well, just the idea that our country is above the law merely because we are currently the best armed (which is sort of a paraphrase, to be sure): that's what I had a hard time with.
Now, I'm enough of a student of history to know that the nicest guy is not necessarily the one who gets out alive, but all the same, it sickens me to see the one who takes the most shortcuts (morally speaking) always accusing the resta them of being morally deficient.
It's a minor point, perhaps, but I'm not even reminding the pros on this one: I'm reminding what remains of the American polity, of which Rem is a member.
Be a world killer if you wish, in short: but please don't try to act like there's some sort of legal precedent for it. There isn't, and may your dreams haunt you unto the tune of No Sleep if you think so.
Now what I'm wondering is, Red, are you just mad because I said a lot of not very nice things about not just Christianity but God-belief in general on my last post?
I would understand if it was that, but on the other hand I would remind you: if you saw this virulent form of insanity that had overtaken the rest of the species that you were a part of , wouldn't it scare the living hell out of you?
No pun intended, in the least. Truly; imagine how scary that would be. Be it called God, Allah, or whatever, most of the human race is in rather strong disagreement with me on this one...And the mob is often wrong. The mob, in fact, generally seeks the simplest answer.
And that's the problem with democracy. Frankly, that's the problem most of the framers had with the "great God Demos" as John Adams put it. He recognized that the greater mass of people just ain't that bright, and especially in a mob.
But even so, I trust them even more than a select few who run some profitable companies that are amenable to our current administration: you make your allies where you can.
There is no god, and its name is Demos?
rem said:
"As to your first point, I will not condemn Reagan for the Iran-Contra affair. I will agree that it was handled improperly, with large portions of it being illegal..."

Well which is it rem? You said we were not accountable to world laws, only our own. Now here you are saying you won't condemn Reagan for breaking our own laws. I'm confused.

Are we a nation that obeys even our own laws, or is it sort of on a whim for you - as long as you like the Prez, he can break what laws y'all deem necessary?

Amoral Anarchists: You can't live with them and you can't let them run wild in the streets or White House.
This just won't end.


Just because a law is broken does not mean that the law-breaker must be condemned. I broke the speed limit on my way to work this morning. Should I be condemned? Most would say, "That's such a minor offense, no you shouldn't be condemned." The offense for which you accuse the Reagan administration is a much larger offense. It was wrong and I agree with you. However, I believe the intentions were good, as was the end result. Had this decision resulted in something which harmed this country in a great way (great loss of life, economic collapse, loss of territory, etc.), I would feel differently. As it is, I see no detrimental effect on this country nor its citizens, therefore I do not condemn the man on this point. I don't see any sort of a contradiction in my view. If you do, I'm sorry - you've done your job in pointing it out, but I still don't see it. Perhaps I am just not able to communicate to you in such a way that I make myself clear. Sorry. I'm done with this topic.

ER, looks like somebody has taken my name in vain. ; )


I do not recognize international law, therefore I do not see how we can be above the law (or below it, or outside of it, etc.). I thought that I was clear that I believed all nations have the right to act as they see fit. I did not change the rules for only myself (my country). Our current might (both economic and militaristic) allow us unparallelled flexibility in the decisions we make. Some believe that we should use that might to our advantage while said advantage still exists. Others think we should never exercise our supremacy for fear of alienating other nations. I fall somewhere in the middle, closer to the action side than the passive side.

And to clarify my point of being "One nation, under God". I did not mean to imply that I believed that the Lord sanctioned, or commanded, each of the actions that the US takes. My point is that in the end, only God may judge this nation and hold this nation accountable - not some international body. I believe you have been clear in your disbelief in God. Therefore, I do not expect you to understand and/or accept my statement, but there it is.
"Perhaps I am just not able to communicate to you in such a way that I make myself clear."

Oh, you've made yourself perfectly clear. You think it is okay to commit atrocities (so defined by the Catholic Church amongst others) as long as those atrocities are not against US citizens. That sum it up nicely?

There's a word for that, what was it?...Immoral? Godless? Accursed?

You know, I’ve visited Nicaragua, as have many of my friends. We have friends who live there. I’ve been to a village where the contras made frequent terroristic raids and I've talked to the elders there about that war. One grandmother who’d lost family to the contras (they’d ALL lost family to the contras) looked me in the eyes and asked, “I want to know, who? Who gave this man, Reagan, the right to come and destroy our country?”

You wanna answer that one, Reaganboy?

“You have plowed iniquity, you have reaped injustice, you have eaten the fruit of lies. Because you have trusted in your chariots and in the multitude of your warriors, therefore the tumult of war shall arise among your people, and all your fortresses shall be destroyed.”

-The Prophet Hosea

There's also a word for claiming your immoral actions are done in God's name: blasphemy. Look it up.
I am so behind on this. Work is a bear this week.

But Rich: No, I reacted to what I thought was a decline in civility in a heated discussion between two sidely held understandings of the nature of sovereignty, and the U.S's place in the world. Both positions are considerd extreme by the others. And it's easy to get pissed and engatge the debater rather than the debate. That's all. I'm as guilt of it sometimes as the next person -- and, as I said, I always regret it. I'll have to play catch up to this afterwhile.
Mr. ER I hope this doesn't count as too heated, but like the fool I am, I can't let it go.

Mr (I think you're a Mr, I apologize if I'm wrong) REM and then some numbers I forget-- I am struck struck! by your comment about expecting people to take care of themselves or be responsible for themselves or somesuch.

That literally make me want to weep. Do you really feel no compassion? I do not mean that snarkily, I ask sincerely.

Whatever happened to "whatsoever you do to the least of my people you do unto me?"

I don't know about you, but I believe down to my very soul, that I am my brother's and sister's keeper. Their suffering touches my heart.

Re, "Just because a law is broken does not mean that the law-breaker must be condemned ..."

It might be the Dickel talking, but I agree with this, too. Makes me think of the "He Needed Killin' Law," although in a somewhat perverse way.

In other words, yes, I hold Reagan, or the Reagan Regency anyway, accountable for the laws that were broken in the war in Central America.

However, the law was unable to respond because of politics. Laws with criminal pentalites were in place. And a political solution was in place, as well -- impeachment -- but it too could not be mustered.

So, he, and-or the regency, got away with it.

IF some other nation had had the power to remedy the situation, and it had, that would have been justice.

How is that the He Needed Killin' Law?

If someone close to me is killed, maimed or otherwise permanently harmed, yet the law is incapable of dealing with it, and I take the law into my own hands to administer justice, then that is justice, as far as it goes -- if he actually needed killin'.

It's vigilantism, but only if I am then brougbt to some "higher level" of justice. If it stops there, that is the highest level of justice, by definition, because no one else had the power to answer it.

But then, I AM drinkin'.
Are you saying the same thing you censored me for (except about Reagan) or am I just misunderstanding you?
No, although when I read back over it I can see how it might seem that way.

This is the key to what I meant):

"IF some other nation had had the power to remedy the situation, and it had, that would have been justice."

I made a slightly intoxicated, sloppy comparison. I meant that if another nation had had the power to go to war against this country as a remedy for U.S. acts in C.A.

I meant to say nothing about the man occupying the WH at that time, other than he should have been impeached or prosecutred criminally for the actions under his watch.

The "A" word is a dangerous word, and it represents a specific act, the mention of which even in this forum is a dangerous thing, considering today's climate. Ergo, I edited it out of your remark -- nopt being a government, I do not have the pwer to censor -- and certainly did not mean to suggest its use in my own example.

So, Dickel did not makie myself clear. Sorry for the confusion!

Dang, words is tricky.
Holy liberation theology! Only 8 more comments to 100.
Oh, howdy SuperB! Heat wadn't the problem. I love heat! Bring it on.

But that's different from personal haranging. I don't want to see anyone feel run off from here just because they espouse ideas that go against the flow of the thread.
Sounds to me like some of the postees here best stay within the confines of the USA and it's territories lest they find out about what treaties and international law can do for them personally.
In the long run laws are enforced by economics not politics, and as Andy Granatelli once said, "You can pay me now or you can pay me latter."
Reagan's problem was the same problem that I have with the majority of conservatives today, their fear is far too evident.

Constantly, they bypass justice in America to chase their fears.

True courage and toughness isn't fighting to make sure your enemies can never strike you...but knowing that you are strong enough to shake off the sneak attacks of the cowardly.
True, Thomas. On the other hand, I don't think we could "shake off" a nuke on this continent, maybe not even a dirty bomb.

I am all for spying on our enemies, even if some of US get looked at too -- as long as the damn law is followed.

Dubya's (Rove's) arrogance is going to start rubbing people the wrong way. This BS today is galling.
Of course we can shake off a nuke and a dirty bomb, and a new F-6 tornadoe catagory, and the loss of a whole city like New Orleans, and the total loss of San Fransico due to an earth quake, and the wind and drought destroying our bread-basket farming land for a decade, and even the dollar declining in value by two thirds overnight. We have done most of that already. We are a big country, with deep pockets, and big hearts, that can take care of its own.
We are not a tiny little France, or a dry dusty good for nothing patch of archeological sites like Iraq. Hell, we have absorbed 14 million illegal emigrants within just the last 3 years and have just now started griping about it for real. Blow up one of our cities, we will just build it back, (after we argue for a few years as how to do it).
Absorb, you bet we will. Then we will play a game called Tit for Tat X 10. Because anything less than a 10 to one kill ratio is unacceptable to us. The question is can they absorb us, or will the choke to death trying?
And you know boys and girls, when it comes down to killing people, Democratic Presidents in the last Century had a kill ratio of 50 to 1 per Republican Presidents. Republicans shed blood by the pint, Democrats do it by the acre-feet. Who historically are the real pussys at this game? When it come down to throat cutting time, elect a Democrat and get out of their way.
Two. More. To. 100.
Just did the real math on numbers of Americans killed in Wars under Democratic Presidents in the Last 100 years compared to Republicans. In rough numbers Democrats 410,000 deaths to Republicans 20,000 deaths.
So the Ratio is 1:20. The Democrats have had to oversee 20 times the American soldiers die than the Republicans did.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?