Ronald Reagan - R.I.P.

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Re: Ronald Reagan - R.I.P.

Postby OperaTenor » Mon Jun 07, 2004 6:28 pm

Originally posted by Shapley:
OT:

The "Arms for hostages" deal you speak of, usually called the "October surprise", is only a figment of the imagination, and is kept alive by the pens of journalists who refuse to accept that it never happened.

The "Arms for hostages" deal the Reagan took responsibility for occured in 1986, when he was president, and thus in position to actually be involved in foreign policy.

V/R
Shapley
Huh?

Were there some other hostages I didn't know about? The conspiracy around the "October Surprise" didn't break until well into the Reagan presidency, and the hearings were held in 1985/86, or at least that's what I heard/saw at the time.

Okay, I'm wrong. The Iranians released the hostages on President Reagan's inauguration day because they were afraid of him. Nope, can't buy it.

(this is a whole lot more fun than making stupid remarks and backing off, right Ajax?)
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Re: Ronald Reagan - R.I.P.

Postby EJA » Mon Jun 07, 2004 6:55 pm

Jim (B. that is), are you sure you aren't confused about your history here? I was a lot younger than you at the time, but I don't recollect any hostage issue in the Iran-Contra affair (and I watched a large part of the Iran-Contra hearings because I ended up at my grand-aunt's for a whole weekend and had nothing else to do and could find nothing more interesting on the TV). The hostage issue arose during the election year of 1980, and the hostages were released right as Reagan took office. This has indeed been attributed to the hostage-taker's fear of Reagan. The Iran-Contra matter involved certain branches of US intelligence selling arms to Iran to fund support for Nicuraguan contra rebels. The rebels were attempting to overthrow a communist regime. The United States could not support these rebels directly because of a law passed by the chicken-livers in Congress who didn't want to anger the USSR by supporting an anti-communist movement. It was also illegal to sell arms to Iran. In essence, the Iran-Contra affair was a sort of money-laundering scheme that enabled the US to support our allies without appearing to do so and without violating our own laws. It began around October 1984 and came to light around October 1986. It was wrong. The end never justifies the means. However, I think both the fact that end was good and that the investigation found no credible evidence that President Reagan violated any criminal statute soften the blow considerably. What Reagan did do was tell Oliver North to keep the contras alive -- very understandable in view of their and our mutual enemy. North apparently found it necessary to fracture the law to do this, but maintains to this day, I believe, that the President was ignorant of North's infractions of the law. In any case, I cannot recollect any direct connection between hostages and Iran-Contra. I'll bet that when Haggis notices this thread he will be able to add some additional insight.
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Re: Ronald Reagan - R.I.P.

Postby shostakovich » Mon Jun 07, 2004 10:26 pm

What I remember of the hostage issue was that Reagan, or somebody on his behalf, stalled the release of the hostages till after the election, thereby inhibiting Carter's chances at re-election.

Call me cynical about the great deal of eulogizing on Reagan's behalf. I can't help wondering how much of it is a subconscious lament over what we have in the White House now. Reagan was Bush's model, but he (Bush) is a pitiful shadow of the man he would emulate. Reagan had warts, but put me in the eulogy line when it comes to comparing what we have to what we had.
Er --- "Cynical"
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Re: Ronald Reagan - R.I.P.

Postby barfle » Tue Jun 08, 2004 7:28 am

I find Shos's conspiracy theory about the Iran hostages requiring more than a tad of salt. While the timing may have been good for Reagan, I believe it was more intended to be a slap in the face to Carter by the Iranians.

The other hostages were held by Palestinians, guys like Terry Anderson, who was, if memory serves, a teacher at the American University in Beiruit and held for something like three or four years.

Also, as I recall, we were trying to screw the Iranians while making them believe we were doing them a favor by selling them arms. I don't believe the hostages were part of the deal, although my memory may be as bad as Ronnie's.
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Re: Ronald Reagan - R.I.P.

Postby rwcrooks » Tue Jun 08, 2004 8:39 am

Nicole,

It certainly is our tradition to make money off of dead people! How about:

A Washington's Birthday sale?
A Presidents Day sale?
A Memorial Day sale?
Oliver Stone's JFK movie?
Bowling for Columbine? ;)

And let's not forget:

Elvis,
John Lennon,
George Harrison (The Concert for George$$)
All the JFK conspiracy books,
Our rush to buy recently deceased authors' books and musicians' CDs
The continuing TV stories about Princess Diana.

<small>[ 06-08-2004, 09:44 AM: Message edited by: RichC ]</small>
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Re: Ronald Reagan - R.I.P.

Postby Shapley » Tue Jun 08, 2004 8:53 am

Yeah, what he said.

There was never any evidence concerning the "October Surprise" and after months of hearings and years of investigation, there was still no evidence.

Oliver North was put in charge of coordinating efforts to rise private funds to arm the contras, after the Government was forbidden from supporting them directly. The arms were mostly coming from some Saudi arms dealer, whose name was a household word for a time, but it eludes me now. Somehow, during the process, some of the arms were diverted to the Iran in exchange for help in freeing the hostages held by Palestinian militants. President Reagan stated that once it became evident that this was an "Arms for hostages" deal, they called it off.

V/R
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Re: Ronald Reagan - R.I.P.

Postby shostakovich » Tue Jun 08, 2004 7:50 pm

Barfle wrote:

-----------------------------------------
"I find Shos's conspiracy theory about the Iran hostages requiring more than a tad of salt. While the timing may have been good for Reagan, I believe it was more intended to be a slap in the face to Carter by the Iranians.


Also, as I recall, we were trying to screw the Iranians while making them believe we were doing them a favor by selling them arms. I don't believe the hostages were part of the deal, although my memory may be as bad as Ronnie's."

------------------------------------------------

Regarding the first paragraph, Jimmy Carter was interviewed last night. He claimed that all hostage negotiations were done under his watch. The planes were full of hostages ready to take off, but they were not allowed to till Reagan took office. That does seem to be the Iranian's choice.

As for paragraph 2, there were film clips of Reagan saying he would never trade arms for hostages, and a later one when he admitted it happened. His demeanor and preface to that second clip suggested he was denying awareness.
Shos

PS: In today's paper there was an article by Mark Weisbrot (co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research ------ referred to as a "liberal think tank" in DC). It was titled "The Great Communicator's Dark Economic Legacies". Weisbrot calls Reagan's economic policies "mostly a failure --- partly because he had promised something arithmetically impossible: to increase military spending, cut taxes, and balance the budget."

He later goes on to say about our support of the Contras in South America that Congress finally cut funding because of the genocidal practices of those Contras. "The Reagan administration continued to run the war from the basement of the White House, and paid for part of it with the proceeds of illegal arms sales to Iran. Hence the Iran-Contra scandal, in which Reagan escaped prosecution because his subordinates claimed that he had no knowledge of their crimes."

There may be some debates about Reagan's greatness coming soon to a TV near you. I would prefer to see a moratorium on that for at least a year, so that objectivity can creep back into it. This is the time to mourn his death, pay him tribute, and let his family have some peace.
Shos
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Re: Ronald Reagan - R.I.P.

Postby OperaTenor » Tue Jun 08, 2004 8:41 pm

Originally posted by shostakovich:
...Jimmy Carter was interviewed last night. He claimed that all hostage negotiations were done under his watch. The planes were full of hostages ready to take off, but they were not allowed to till Reagan took office. That does seem to be the Iranian's choice.
I recall(perhaps incorrectly) that the Iranians announced the hostages were to be released approximately two minutes after President Reagan was sworn in.


There may be some debates about Reagan's greatness coming soon to a TV near you. I would prefer to see a moratorium on that for at least a year, so that objectivity can creep back into it. This is the time to mourn his death, pay him tribute, and let his family have some peace.
Shos
Shos is right, IMO. I've been "but, but"-ing on this, and now I'll desist. I hope we can prove Mein Kampf wrong and revisit this in the future.
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Re: Ronald Reagan - R.I.P.

Postby barfle » Wed Jun 09, 2004 8:13 am

Somehow I doubt that the Reagan family is keeping tabs on the opinions expressed on the BBB.

Of course, in order to balance the budget, cuts would have to be made in other programs - those he and many others felt the government had no business being part of. His primary failure, IMNSHO, was his inability to reduce the size of the government, which would have gone a long ways toward balancing the budget.

BTW, JFK cut taxes and increased revenue, because the tax cut fueled an improved economy, so it can be done. Conditions have to be right, and I don't know if they were during Reagan's administration, or if they are now. I make no claim of being a clairvoyant economist.
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Re: Ronald Reagan - R.I.P.

Postby Shapley » Wed Jun 09, 2004 8:33 am

After the Reagan tax cuts, revenue doubled, but spending more than trebled. While President Reagan did increase military spending markedly, bringing about the Pax Reagana and the eventual fall of the Soviet Union, most increases were in intitlement spending. The military budget was typically only 13-16% of the overall budget, and that percentage that did not change markedly during the term of Ronaldus Maximus.

If you will recall, President Reagan's budgets were declared DOA by the Democratic held Congress. Unfortunately, now that the Republicans hold Congress, the spending is still not being trimmed, its just being spent in different places.

V/R
Shapley

<small>[ 06-09-2004, 05:34 PM: Message edited by: Shapley ]</small>
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Re: Ronald Reagan - R.I.P.

Postby barfle » Wed Jun 09, 2004 10:59 am

I do find it difficult to comprehend a President who describes himself as "conservative" and has yet to veto a single spending bill.

And Kerry's going to out-liberal him how? :confused:
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Re: Ronald Reagan - R.I.P.

Postby Ajax » Wed Jun 09, 2004 11:54 am

"What is a political conservative and what is not"
this depends on your historical context. But, I am in agreement with you barfle. DUBYA is a global capitalist. He is not, nor ever has been a conservative. I would struggle to label Reagan a conservative as well.
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Re: Ronald Reagan - R.I.P.

Postby barfle » Thu Jun 10, 2004 7:42 am

As I noted, Reagan's biggest failing as a conservative was his inability to reduce the size of the government. While some programs were cut, nowhere near enough cutting was done to offset the increased defense spending (although I read in the paper this morning that the "peace dividend" has more than covered that spending - no actual figures were provided).

I attended the funeral procession in Washington yesterday, and was quite moved. There's an amazing level of symbolism, and the "missing man" flyover really got to me. I was on the curb for the procession, almost directly under the flyover, and about a half mile from the Capitol as his casket was carried up the steps. Mrs. Reagan clearly showed how much the past ten years has done to her, but was remarkably gracious. I only hope that keeping him alive wasn't what was keeping her alive.
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Re: Ronald Reagan - R.I.P.

Postby haggis » Thu Jun 10, 2004 8:28 am

James Lileks

"I watched the Marine who accompanied Mrs. Reagan. Not a muscle on his face moved. His name was perfect: Jackson. She had composure and strength as well, and I say that as someone who never felt much warmth towards the woman. There was something insular about the Reagans’ marriage that kept us all at arm’s length. I think that people understood that Reagan madly loved his wife, but they didn’t quite know why. She was brittle and steely; whatever personal warmth she had didn’t come across on camera. She wasn’t a Hollywood knockout. But he was nuts about her, and he had his reasons. She repaid him with the long twilight vigil. She endured sadness you can only hope you never know, and in the end she wasn't hanging on the arm of a Marine like wet crepe. She looked as if she could have helped Jackson to his feet if he’d wilted in the heat."


I'm sorry I missed most of it, I'm on the road this week and had to settle for the radio accounts. I sadly count myself among those that didn't vote for him the first time; a relatively small group, it turns out and I didn't appreciate him until he left office.
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Re: Ronald Reagan - R.I.P.

Postby Shapley » Thu Jun 10, 2004 4:29 pm

Ray Charles passed away today. May he rest in peace!
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Re: Ronald Reagan - R.I.P.

Postby barfle » Thu Jun 10, 2004 4:49 pm

I'm afraid I have to include myself in the long, long list of people who underestimated him. By the time he was running for President, I had already become disenchanted with the Republican Party, so my preferred candidate wasn't him.

Also, like Haggis, I never really understood what he saw in Nancy. Yesterday, I think I finally realized the depth of her devotion to him. She looked pretty beat up, but I don't know if I could even survive an ordeal like she had over the past decade.

BTW, we're going to the Capitol tonight. No cameras allowed, but I'm bringing an umbrella because of the likelihood of thunderstorms and a long line outdoors. It promises to be a late one, so my first post won't be as bright and early as usual.
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Re: Ronald Reagan - R.I.P.

Postby 1st_oboe » Thu Jun 10, 2004 6:28 pm

Don't you have one of those nifty little Umbrella-camera-phones? :p

<Oops, wrong thread...>

Cheers!
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Re: Ronald Reagan - R.I.P.

Postby haggis » Thu Jun 10, 2004 10:11 pm

Barfle,
Good for you. All the years I lived in the DC area would have been worth it if I could have been there for this; if for no other reason than to try and atone.

Alas no, I’m in Texas (purgatory???).

I was an American serviceman in the U.K. when Reagan was elected President. I vote for Carter (Sigh) The majority of Brits, very similar to what we are hearing today, loathed Reagan as a “Cowboy” a “Simpleton,” a “buffoon.” ……. And, to my everlasting shame, I (and my wife) agreed.

I was so sophisticated and cool, and I was soooooo embarrassed by this idiot who always grinning and made my (to me then, stupid”) parents proud they were Americans.

Silly people, life and liberty couldn’t be assured by calling the Soviet Union “evil”!!!

But…combined with a crystal vision of what “WE” stood for and what “THEY” DIDN’T stand for, it could, and was a start of a conversion that has led to the person I am today.

For the first time in my life and because of him, I was proud to say that I was an American.

I’ve never, once, since then felt anything other than pride in my country and what we stand for.

“Desert Shield” and “Desert Storm,” followed by “Restore Hope” (Somalia) and countless other good thing operations started to make me realize that we (the U.S.) have a role to play in the world. Rightly or wrongly, we have to fulfill that role because we are the only ones who can do it and remain anti-imperialistic.

As a country and a people we haven’t done anything remotely imperialistic since 1898, and I think we should be proud of that.

President Reagan made me realize that and I will always be grateful to him.

I’m sorry if some feel ashamed to be Americans.

I’m not.
Haggis

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Re: Ronald Reagan - R.I.P.

Postby haggis » Fri Jun 11, 2004 8:58 am

Virginia Postrel put it more eloquently than I.

"Many of (Reagan) conservative allies, taught by the terrors of the 20th century, firmly believed that history is a tragedy, that the best we can do is to fight a long, twilight struggle. They believed that evil is as strong as, perhaps stronger, than good, and that tyranny is more powerful than freedom. At the time, I believed them too."
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Re: Ronald Reagan - R.I.P.

Postby barfle » Fri Jun 11, 2004 2:18 pm

Haggis, while you and I disagree about some recent decisions made by our leaders, we clearly agree on our love of our country, and I can't help but think that the policies Reagan initiated have a lot to do with our feelings.

And as far as his campaign promises were concerned, I was a heck of a lot better off at the end of his term than I was at the beginning. He let us show our greatness, and we felt good about it.

I stood in line about four hours last night, and was fortunate to be in the rotunda as they changed the guards. I've been witnessing a lot of solemn military ceremonies lately, and that one was right up there. I gratefully accept the privelige of witnessing this history.
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