On This Day In History…

St.-ronnie-the-Zombie

the Iran-Contra scandal erupted. You know, secretly selling arms to our enemy Iran, and then illegally funneling the money to death squads in South America who were trying to overthrow the democratically elected government of Nicaragua.

Thought you would want to remember, just in case your forgot.

It’s In The Stars

Nancy Reagan glamor couch

Nancy Reagan is having a bad week. First she loses Oscar De La Renta the designer (and the only straight man to put clothes on her), and now she has lost her astrologer, San Francisco heiress and socialite Joan Quigley.

In his 1988 memoir, For The Record, Donald T. Regan, a former chief of staff for St. Ronnie, revealed what he called the administration’s “most closely guarded secret.” Quigley was kept on a $3,000 month retainer and conversed with Nancy up to three times daily, and had set the time for summit meetings, presidential debates, State of the Union addresses, etc. Without an O.K. from Quigley, Regan said, Air Force One did not take off.

Needless to say, Regan was Nancy’s arch nemesis.

Once again, we turn to The Clothes Have No Emperor, by Paul Slansky (Buy this book, you will love it; oh and the author is a Scissorhead and has given me permission to excerpt it as long as there is a link to buy it.)

“5/8/88
Donald Regan’s memoir, For the Record, exposes Nancy Reagan’s secret obsession with astrology, which led her to consult a stargazing “friend,” San Francisco heiress Joan Quigley, before approving her husband’s schedule. “Feb 20-26 be careful,” Quigley would warn. “March 19-25 no public exposure … April 21-28 stay home.” Among the other highlights:
*Nancy’s comment about Raisa Gorbachev after an evening in which she held forth on Marxist-Leninist theory (“Who does that dame think she is?”)
*Her efforts to keep abortion out of Presidential speeches (“I don’t give a damn about those right-to-lifers!”)
*Her insistence that Casey be fired as he lay dying of cancer (“He’s dragging Ronnie down!”)
*The President’s reaction when fire broke out in his study (“He continued reading … until guards asked if he wouldn’t like to move while they put out the fire. He hadn’t wanted to bother anybody.”)

Actually sounds like the Regan book might be fun, too.

Tengrain Presents…

Dear Diary 1

Dear Diary 2

Dear Diary 3

Dear Diary 4

Dear Diary 5

Dear Diary 6

(Peggy Noonan’s Blog)

(UPDATE: I’m putting this on the front page because it was mentioned on The Professional Left Podcast and people are looking for it. Fresher posts below. Thank you to Bluegal and Driftglass for the hat tip.)

A Populist Rant

A cure for whatever ailes me
Turdblossom expresses himself

Majorities of the middle class have voted against their own self interest since the Reagan Era began. We remain in a death spiral where our chest-tightening, middle-class anxiety feeds our bad choices — fueled by not-even-below-the-surface racial/gender/sexual orientation hatred and the Xristian Xrazie-fueled culture wars. Pete Wilson invented wedge-issue politics, and Karl Rove perfected it with the stolen elections of Chimpy McStagger.

But, at the end of 2013, we might be on the edge of the promise of the Occupy movement: there seems to be a whiff of populism in the air, despite all the noise over distractions that Wingnuttia throws at us (See Christmas, War On), Twittering on the Twatter, Facebooking, and Reality TeeVee.

Larry Summers

In a previous post, I mentioned that Clinton-era warmed over weak-tea economic advisor Larry Summers wrote about stagnation is the new normal. Given that ol’ Larry was the one who convinced Big Dawg to sign the law that scrapped Glass-Steagall, well, maybe he was bragging that his plan was working as designed?

As seems obvious to most, this War on the Middle Class will leave us with a few people on the top of a huge pile of ill-gotten gains, and everyone else in the bottom (the 99%), you know, where they belong according to the 1%ers. We are told that resistance is futile and we should graciously accept the few crumbs that the plutocrats deign to throw our way.

reagan-loony-fascist.PNG

As I mentioned earlier, this demolishing of the middle class is not an immutable law of nature, it is the result of nearly 40 years of policy designed to do this. Let’s be clear: it is the policy of the United States government for the last 30+ years to serve only the interests of corporations and their owners.

However, policy can be changed, and we can change it.

Here’s a few ideas, in no particular order of things we must change, and can change:

  • Raise taxes on the richest Americans, back to pre-Reagan 70 percent, and close the damn loopholes.
  • paris-hiltonRestore some sanity to inherited wealth. Do we really want to enable Paris Hilton’s lifestyle? Think of it as an intervention.
  • Tax Wall Street transactions. Kick the Hedge Funders right in the balls.
  • Enforce antitrust laws to stop anti-competitive mergers and acquisitions and break up such mega-merged industries as banking, airlines, gas, phone networks, broadcasting, etc. If the laws are not robust enough, then we need new ones.
  • hoovervillesChange the tax code so that it removes incentives for bad-boy economic behavior (such as out-sourcing US jobs overseas, CEO bastards’ out-of-control compensation, and the gambling that lead to our current Second Great Depression). Maybe besides removing incentives, these changes should punish this sort of thing.
  • Enact a new Glass-Steagall law. D’uh.
  • Embark on a spending spree for research and education. K-through college needs to be funded such that anyone who wants to go on to higher ed can go on and not end up with crippling debt. We need to take first place in having an educated populace, like we once did.
  • We need a Kennedy-style man-on-the-moon challenge for clean energy, and climate change. The so-called Carbon Tax would be a good way to fund it, too.
  • star-trek-corsetNerd Alert: We must fund NASA. We need some ’60s optimism again, and every dollar invested returns in multiples of benefits. It’s not just Tang and Teflon.
  • Outlaw the influence-peddling in D.C. Some call it lobbying, but I’m a simple man and call it legalized bribery.
  • Pass a constitutional amendment to roll back Citizens United. Heck, amend the constitution to explicitly state that corporations are not people. They are not even Soylent Green.
  • Pass the union-enabling card check legislation, and make union-busting patently illegal.
  • Clinton 2008Cancel all the Free Trade deals. Just kill ‘em dead. Another fine finger-fuck from Bill Clinton, by the way. Ross Perot was right about that sucking sound. Er, that other sucking sound.
  • We are not Great Britain. We must get out of the empire business. It didn’t end well for them, and it won’t end well for us.
  • Our stimulating the economy only through a Reagan-like build-up of the military-industrial complex would be better spent on, oh, I don’t know, building and operating high-speed trains (I’m writing this draft on the train, duh). Let’s try some nation-building at home.
  • Reform the Media. It’s not just a question of the long-dead Fairness Doctrine, but the media should be serving the people. The airwaves belong to us, so news outlets that demonstrably and intentionally misinform us (Lie To Us) should be penalized for their misdeeds. (Yes, I’m looking at you Fox. I’m also looking at CBS, NBC, and ABC.)

Our Betters are doing fine, thanks. Corporate profits and cash on hand is at a record high; while real hourly wages are lower than when Chimpy was “elected” in 2000.

Wingnuttia is emboldened to cut food stamps and unemployment assistance during a depression. Gallup tells us that 72 percent of respondents said big government is a bigger threat to the nation’s future than big business or big labor. [sic, and also ha-ha. Big Labor! Killer material, dude.]

Yeah, we are dumber, less engaged in the common good than we are in reality TeeVee. I think a combination of bloggers, muckrakers, and an engaged citizenry can help to lead to a new progressive era.

 

Call to Action

I read someplace that no rant should be without a call to action. Choose a topic above, any one of ‘em, and email your representatives in Congress and ask them what they are doing about that topic, what their position is. Be friendly but be persistent. When they blow you off (and they will, usually with a form letter), call them. The staffer will blow you off, too, but they will tally the number of calls that they get on any topic or piece of legislation.

A family friend who worked as a staffer told me that almost never do the officials read their constituents’ email, and said essentially that it is the lowest form of “talking” to the representative; lower than faxes. Phone calls come next (there was some metric that they use like each call counts for 100 people), but real letters, physical mail is the gold standard for being heard. The Representative sees a stack of letters and starts to sweat a little.

Let’s make ‘em sweat.

I bet they find it…

…in Noonan’s bedside drawer, next to the lube (but I’m only guessing):

TPM

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Police were searching on Wednesday for a vandal who damaged a bronze statue of Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II in the Polish city of Gdansk by cutting off one arm of the former U.S. president and stealing it.

(TPM via Scissorhead WagonJak)

Remember the other day when…

Ilsa she-wolf of the Nazis Michelle Malkkkin said that The Kenyan was using children as props and it counted as child abuse?

(Petunia and Pals) If it’s Thursday, it must be Malkkkin. Today she says that the President is a Child Abuser. No, really.

…it of course triggered off a day of Wingnuttian outrage comparing the president’s use of children to Sadaam Hussein‘s, it’s never been done before, etc., etc., etc.

Yes it has:

The Feast of Saint Ronnie begins tonight

Tonight is a tribute to Ronald Wilson Reagan, “the greatest president of the last half of the last century, maybe the greatest president ever.” — Peggington Noonington

Feast-of-Saint-Ronnie

Today in History

1987

“I reject a potted plant presidency. I’m here to do a job.”

–President Reagan picking up his newest prop, an oversized pair of scissors, and cutting a big credit card labeled, “CONGRESSIONAL EXCESS.”

Today in History

5/30/88

At a state dinner at the Kremlin, Saint Ronnie nods off during Gorbachev’s toast, then offers his own remarks, which are dominated by a long-winded synopsis of the 1956 Civil War film, “Friendly Persuasion.”

“It has fun,” says the President, who gives his hosts a copy. “It has humor. There’s a renegade goose, a mischievous young boy, a nosy neighbor, a love-struck teenager in love with a gallant soldier …”

Today in history

5/6/88
“We have had triumphs, we have made mistakes, we have had sex …”
–George Bush, meaning to say that he and the President had “setbacks”