Tag Archives: President

Politics: The Real Ronald Reagan … sigh

Yesterday marked the 100th birthday of America’s 40th president, Ronald Wilson Reagan. All over the country, prominent conservatives and Republican figures are celebrating the anniversary of Reagan’s birthday, claiming that the former president was “guided by strong conservative principles” and that he truly made America a “shining city on a hill” — “stronger and freer” thanks to his leadership. Yet what conservatives casually omit is that many of his policies sharply deviated from what is considered conservative orthodoxy today — like his strong record of trade protectionism and granting residency to millions of undocumented immigrants — and that other policies he pursued decimated the middle class, ignored pressing social crises, and stood by as tyranny fermented abroad. It was these facts that journalist Mike Stark presented to right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh that left the conservative icon speechless. Today, the Progress Report will serve to debunk the myths about one of America’s most famous presidents and introduce you to the real Ronald Reagan.

THE REAL REAGONOMICS : Conservatives often praise Reagan for his “sweeping economic reforms,” which included tax cuts, deregulation, and liberalized trade policies. Yet the truth is that, in the classical sense, Reagan wasn’t an economic conservative at all, often radically expanding the size of government and the federal budget deficit — just doing so in ways that did not benefit most Americans, especially the poor. In fact, many of Reagan’s economic policies would be considered heretical today by the modern conservative movement for the way they deviated from what is considered right-wing orthodoxy. As President, Reagan “raised taxes 11 times in his administration.” This is a stark departure from today’s conservative ideology; hundreds of elected Republicans in Congress have even signed oaths pledging to never raise taxes under any circumstances. And while modern conservatives boast of their commitment to rein in the budget deficit, reduce the size of government, and pursue free trade, Reagan seriously deviated from those policies. He nearly tripled the size of the federal budget deficit and federal spending “ballooned” during his tenure. And he notably used tariffs and trade controls to protect domestic industry, at one point imposing a 100 percent tariff on some Japanese electronic products, enacting major quotas on sugar imports, and establishing the largest steel tariff in American history. And while the right may boast of Reagan’s economic policies, the truth is that they helped hollow out the middle class and decimate America’s social safety net. Reagan cut federal funds to cities and slashed the federal housing program which more than doubled the country’s homeless population. He deregulated the savings & loan industry, which led to enormous taxpayer-funded bailouts and widespread financial industry failures, as even the Cato Institute admits was a failure. Per capita income for the bottom 90 percent of the population fell .3 percent during Reagan’s presidency while the incomes of the top 1 percent increased by 55 percent. Even his famed tax cuts did little to alleviate strains on the middle class, with the bottom 40 percent of households paying “out more of their income in federal taxes in 1988 than they had in 1980.” Rather than transforming America into a “shining city on a hill,” Reagan turned America into a “tale of two cities,” as former New York Governor Mario Cuomo (D) said, with the rich wildly prospering and everyone else fighting over table scraps.

THE REAL REAGAN FOREIGN POLICY: Today’s modern conservative movement champions Reagan as a man who freely brandished America’s military might and sought to “stand up for freedom” all over the world. Yet one has to wonder if today’s right-wing hawks would endorse Reagan’s “dream” of a “world free of nuclear weapons,” as he wrote in his diary — or if they would approve of him withdrawing the U.S. military from Lebanon following rebel attacks on Marines stationed there. And while Reagan did champion the cause of pro-democracy activists agitating against a geopolitical rival, the Soviet Union, he often sided with some of the world’s worst tyrants and terrorists — breaking with the modest human rights policies enacted by President Jimmy Carter. He called Apartheid South Africa in 1981 a country that “strategically, is essential to the free world in its production of minerals,” and bitterly fought congressional efforts to place sanctions on the Apartheid government, eventually even vetoing Congress’s anti-Apartheid act (which was later overridden thanks to a revolt of Senate Republicans). Meanwhile, his administration sold arms to Iran in order to fund a right-wing militant movement known as the Contras in Nicaragua; these Contras went on to massacre tens of thousands of people, many of them nonviolent labor unionists or Christian theology activists. Reagan funded right-wing terrorists and dictators across Central America; in El Salvador, the Reagan-funded right-wing regime even assassinated Archbishop Oscar Romero, a priest working to organize workers and feed the poor. Additionally, Reagan funded and trained the right-wing Guatemalan military, which a United Nations commission later found was a “key factor” in the military committing “acts of genocide” that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of members of the indigenous Mayan community and many other nonviolent left-wing activists. These U.S.-subsidized human rights violations became so extreme that Congress had to eventually move to rebuke Reagan and cut off funding to countries like Nicaragua that he had allied himself with. Writing about Reagan’s policies in Central America, Thomas Carothers, who was tasked with “democracy promotion” in the Reagan State Department, wrote that Reagan policies favored only “limited, top-down forms of democratic change that did not risk upsetting the traditional structures of power with which the United States has long been allied.” It was under Reagan that the United States armed and backed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, bolstering his aggressive war against Iran, leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and embittering both countries against the United States. And his administration helped lay the groundwork for Al Qaeda by financing and training an Islamist militant movement in Afghanistan and Pakistan aimed around fighting the Soviet Union.

THE REAL REAGAN SOCIAL POLICY : While leading conservative commentators have praised Reagan as having “classical virtues,” defending what they believe to be a starkly traditionalist set of American conservative social principles, there are many elements of his agenda which they’d be hesitant to endorse. And of the great stains on Reagan’s social policy legacy — the way he ignored the AIDS crisis — has all been written out of the conservative movement’s history of their icon. He completely ignored the AIDS crisis, not even addressing it until his second term when he was directly asked about it. At that point, between 20,000-30,000 Americans had already died from the disease. His administration silenced its own surgeon general, who wanted to proactively tackle the issue, and battled against comprehensive sex education. When the surgeon general was asked about Reagan’s thinking on the issue, he said that because AIDS was a disease primarily affecting homosexuals, Reagan’s closest advisers took the view that “they are only getting what they justly deserve.” And disturbingly, Reagan opposed the 1965 Voting Rights Act, saying that it was “humiliating to the South. He even gave one of his major speeches on “states’ rights” while running for president in Philadelphia, Mississippi, a town where three civil rights workers were murdered, an ominous “dog whistle” in support of racist elements. Yet not every item of Reagan’s social agenda was so harmful. As president, he engaged in a raucous immigration debate that ended when he signed into law legislation that helped three million undocumented immigrants gain residency and millions of more family members.

THE REAL REAGAN ADMINISTRATION : One fact left unmentioned in conservative tributes to the former president is the widespread corruption and scandals within the Reagan administration due to the elevation of individuals to lead agencies who did not fundamentally believe in the public sector. More than a dozen administration officials had to resign following the revelation of the Iran-Contra scandal. Reagan’s own HUD Secretary used the agency to give Republican donors favorable housing grants. Over 20 high-level EPA officials were forced to resign following revelations that they had allowed themselves to be influenced by polluters; and as CAP’s Joe Romm points out, Reagan “gutted” all of the Carter administration’s clean energy efforts. Another scandal involved Department of Justice officials both engaging in piracy and then being tasked to investigate those same acts of piracy. More “than fifty officials at the Defense Department and private contractors” were “convicted for rigging bids and falsifying results of quality-control tests,” again the result of collusion between the administration and corporate power. As the New York Times’s Gary Willis wrote about the HUD scandals, “for [HUD] administrator Deborah Gore Dean,” running HUD for “the benefits of family, friends and fellow ideologues” would serve the ultimate cause of driving the agency “into disrepute or desuetude.” In other words, Reagan’s “conservatism” that believed that government is “the problem” spawned a network of government officials who freely used the government they viewed as illegitimate for their own benefit.

source:  CAP- Joe Romm

Audubon day … April 26

Birds of America
April 26 is
Audubon daymockingbird

by Slayer

John James Audubon (1785-1851) was America’s foremost ornithological illustrator. After studying drawing in Paris under the French painter Jacques Louis David, Audubon struggled for many years to make a living from his art, shuttling back and forth between Europe and the United States and supplementing his income by giving drawing lessons, turning out portraits, playing the flute or violin at local dances, and at one time running a general store.

In 1820 he began a flatboat excursion down the Mississippi River to seek out new varieties of birds to paint. Eventually he had enough bird portraits to publish in book form. Birds of America, produced with the help of engraver Robert Havell, Jr., contains 435 hand-colored plates and was published in “elephant folio” format to accommodate the life-sized portrayals of birds on which Audubon insisted.

After his death in 1851, Audubon’s wife Lucy returned to teaching to support herself. One of her students, George Bird Grinnell, became the editor of Forest and Stream magazine and in 1886 organized the Audubon Society for the study and protection of birds. Today there are many branches of this organization, known as the National Audubon Society, and it remains dedicated to the conservation of wildlife and natural resources. Its members honor Audubon on his birthday, April 26. In some states, Audubon Day and Arbor Day are celebrated together by planting trees in bird sanctuaries.

Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/audubon-day#ixzz1t9SHCcAV

6 tips …


6 tips for putting words to music

 I am not a songwriter musician or lyrist, but I love to read definitely listen and more often than not dance to the spoken word when put to music.

 My personal interest is in the art of movement, specifically dance;  when music is combined with words in innovative patterns can soothe invigorate irritate as well as make you move and feel good.

 They say Music is said to soothe the savage beast least we talk about when done right …  Words can touch our souls and that also awakens our senses. Most of us can agree that the art of dance and or music transcends language barriers.

So, my six tips are below …

 (1) Make it personal because reading experiences about a one night stand love at first sight, first love, lust, a long term love brings a sense of connection folks sometimes look for and set to music can only enhance a good lyric . .Right

2) Be yourself  folks do go out their way to learn the lyrics to a song and will like love and feel  the performer is genuine in their delivery and not trying to be something else,  can actually be heard seen felt 

3) The kind of music that makes an impression also provides imagery and a vision of something the song is about; even if it is abstract, the image is sort of like a coffee table object.  Always up for interpretation depending on who is listening to reading or learning the lyrics … of course, when it comes to love … when someone is singing to you … take time to listen; I heard that once and then again you may have heard the song but weren’t feeling the music

 (4) Rhymes Reason and Rhythm because who doesn’t like the art of movement …and more often than not that is what kind of music makes great artist move up into the stratosphere … in my opinion. I dance because I have to and anything that has a great hook a great bass or syncopation definitely will be played more than once in my house. The rhythm of life

 (5) Always assume a video of your creation is a possibility so … be that visionary

 (6)     🙂  Always believe you were born to make music  (:

So, what makes you get onto the dance floor … 

first posted in 2013, def tweaked

“remember the ladies” a letter from Abigail Adams

womens_day_2013GOOGLEfeatured photo is from google

In a letter dated March 31, 1776, Abigail Adams writes to her husband, John Adams, urging him and the other members of the Continental Congress not to forget about the nation’s women when fighting for America’s independence from Great Britain.

The future First Lady wrote in part, “I long to hear that you have declared an independency. And, by the way, in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.”

Nearly 150 years before the House of Representatives voted to pass the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote, Adams letter was a private first step in the fight for equal rights for women. Recognized and admired as a formidable woman in her own right, the union of Abigail and John Adams persists as a model of mutual respect and affection; they have since been referred to as “America’s first power couple.” Their correspondence of over 1,000 letters written between 1762 and 1801 remains in the Massachusetts Historical Society and continues to give historians a unique perspective on domestic and political life during the revolutionary era.

Abigail bore six children, of whom five survived. Abigail and John’s eldest son, John Quincy Adams, served as the sixth president of the United States. Only two women, Abigail Adams and Barbara Bush, have been both wives and mothers of American presidents.