Stark: I want to know why a tax-raising, amnesty-giving, cut-and-running, negotiating-with-terrorists (Iran-Contra) guy is a hero to the conservative movement?
Yeah, why is it that a President who blew a Mount Rushmore Size hole in the budget, grew the Federal Government, delt with terrorists, cut and ran in Beirut, gave Amnesty to Illegals is a Hero to Conservatives?
Mike himself has posted the full transcript of this call without any additional comment by himself - but this is a case where what is demanded is some comment considering that after first denying that Reagan Raised Taxes Limbaugh ultimately admits that everything Mike brings up is true - then rationalizes it all as being the Democrats fault.
Like Hell it was.
Limbaugh; Reagan was forced to raise payroll taxes by a crisis in Social Security in 1983. He endorsed that rescue plan that was written by Alan Greenspan. It was reluctant. He was not a big supporter of that. Remember, Reagan did not have a congressional majority with him.
Limbaugh like many Conservatives ignore that fact that Reagan helped foster that crisis by implement draconian tax cuts for the wealthy bringing the top marginal tax rate down by over 30%. This is what his cuts did to incoming tax revenues and the deficit.
This is not the Spending - this is just the revenues coming in. You can see the initial drop in revenues after Reagan's first big tax cut, and then several increases in revenue after his later various tax increases - but it never reaches the level that things began with. It Never Paid for Itself and led to the following growing deficits.
As I've diaried before.
Reagan's first tax cut Bill was in 81' lowering the top marginal tax rate from 70% to 40%, and took effect in '83 - during which you can see a flatline then DIP in revenue. Later Reagan again cut the Top Marginal Rate down to 24%. Overall this reduced revenues by about $247 Billion. But then the Social Security Amendment Act of 1983, and the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 raised taxes and generated about $50 Billion in revenues. Nowhere near enough to plug the gap created by his cuts.
Others have pointed the finger at Congress for not implementing Spending cuts during Reagan's Presidency, but every Budget the Democratic Congress delivered Reagan spent less than what he asked for - so who was not cutting who?
It should be noted that Limbaugh isn't the only person ignorant of the budget impact of Reagan's tax policies as Sarah Palin has called for us to "return to Reagan Values".
Speaking Friday evening at the conservative Young America's Foundation, celebrating Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday, Sarah Palin warned that big government is menacing America and that the country is out of step with the values of the former president. America, Palin said, is not on the "road to national greatness" but on the "road to ruin."
The former Alaska governor offered her view of the world, in what could be construed as a presidential campaign speech, telling the audience that America must reconnect with the "steel spine and moral courage of our grandparents' generation." Palin said, "They put their faith in God, not government."
She added that government over-regulates, over-reaches and over-taxes, leaving the "little guy out in the cold."
However, the President Reagan she honored in her speech did not exactly live up to the tax-cutter label he acquired.
The reality is that Reagan raised taxes 11 times during his presidency.
"Ronald Reagan was never afraid to raise taxes," presidential historian Douglas Brinkley and editor Reagan's diaries said on NPR. "He knew that it was necessary at times. And so there's a false mythology out there about Reagan as this conservative president who came in and just cut taxes and trimmed federal spending in a dramatic way. It didn't happen that way. It's false."
It's a lie that Reagan was a tax cutter, he only cut taxes for the rich - then raised them on the poor - and created a hole in the deficits that simply grew and grew and grew.
Limbaugh: Everything he got, the tax cuts, he had Democrats outnumbering him in the House and Senate everywhere. There were certain realities that he faced. But the biggest tax increase on Social Security was authored by none other than Bill Clinton. But did you understand the notion? Ronald Reagan fought for America. He loved America. He feared where the left, based on history, wanted to take the country. Ronald Reagan set the stage for the end of the Cold War. Ronald Reagan defeated Soviet communism without firing a shot. I don't know... But none of that would matter.
In fact, it wasn't until Bill Clinton partially reversed the Reagan cuts that we were ultimately able to reach a balanced budget. Yes, he also raised social security taxes - but he also crafted a tax plan that grew the economy and created over 22 Million Jobs.
It rather interesting that Limbaugh argued that Reagan "Fought for America", since he apparently did so without "Firing a Shot". Reagan signed the original START treaty with the Soviet Union. He may talked tough and call for Gorbachev to "tear down this wall", but he was more than willing to cut deals with him, just as Nixon was willing to cut deals with communist China.
The truth is the it was Clinton who brought peace both to War Torn Bosnia and Northern Ireland without "Firing a single Shot", not Reagan.
Reagan never really "Fought" for America - but he did cut and run.
Reagan responds to Truck Bombings in Lebanon.
In response to this attack, rather than stay in Lebanan and deny the attackers a victory - Reagan removed out troops rather than fight back.
The Conservative Image of Reagan is that he "Fought For America", apparently by attacking Greneda for no good reason and very famously attempting a decapitation strike against Quaddafi in Libya.
Reagan: We did not, we did not trade arms for hostages - nor would we.
Of Course, conservatives conveniently forget that years after this and other various sinkings and shot-downs of Libyan aircraft Quaddafi retaliated Hijacking Pan AM Flight 73 and Bombing Flight 103.
The motive that is generally attributed to Libya can be traced back to a series of military confrontations with the US Navy that took place in the 1980s in the Gulf of Sidra, the whole of which Libya claimed as its territorial waters. First, there was the Gulf of Sidra incident (1981) when two Libyan fighter aircraft were shot down. Then, two Libyan radio ships were sunk in the Gulf of Sidra. Later, on 23 March 1986 a Libyan Navy patrol boat was sunk in the Gulf of Sidra, followed by the sinking of another Libyan vessel on 25 March 1986. The Libyan leader, Muammar al-Gaddafi, was accused of retaliating to these sinkings by ordering the 5 April 1986 bombing of West Berlin nightclub, La Belle, that was frequented by U.S. soldiers and which killed three and injured 230.
The U.S. National Security Agency's (NSA) alleged interception of an incriminatory message from Libya to its embassy in East Berlin provided U.S. president Ronald Reagan with the justification for USAF warplanes to launch Operation El Dorado Canyon on 15 April 1986 from British bases —the first U.S. military strikes from Britain since World War II—against Tripoli and Benghazi in Libya. Among dozens of Libyan military and civilian casualties, the air strikes killed Hanna Gaddafi, a baby girl Gaddafi said he adopted. To avenge his daughter's death, Gaddafi is said to have sponsored the September 1986 hijacking of Pan Am Flight 73 in Karachi, Pakistan.
On Iran Contra, Reagan originally denied everything.
But when the stonewall finally collapsed, he ultimately admitted his involvement after throwing tons of his cohorts under the bus.
Timeline of the Tower Commission
January 7, 1986: US Plans Further Arms Sales to Iran
In a meeting between President Ronald Reagan, Vice President George Bush, Secretary of State George Shultz, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, CIA Director William Casey, and new National Security Adviser John Poindexter, the participants discuss whether to sell 4,000 Israeli-owned, US-made antitank missiles to Iran as another arms-for-hostages deal (see September 15, 1985). Shultz and Weinberger, as they have before, oppose any dealings with Iran. Bush, according to records of the meeting, fails to express any views at all, but Shultz will recall Bush supporting the deal.
Bush was IN the Meeting and still claimed he hadn't heard anyone elses objections to the plan with Dan Rather.
Ultimately money and weapons connected this to deal found it's way to the Central American battle against communism and was used to support waves of Death Squads, Terrorism and Torture against local peasants and farmers.
This is the true face of Clandestine American Foreign Policy during the 80's.
Stockwell: (Beginning In the 30's) The U.S. switched away from using the Marines so much in Nicaragua - the U.S. began establishing a military oligarchy. We set up schools and trained tens of thousands of military and police officers in countries all over latin American, in African and Asia,.. trying to create and successfully creating a situation where we would have a fraternity of people in these countries in power, who would be more loyal to fraternity of our own military than the peasants and people of there own countries.
Meanwhile this cat and mouse game we've played with Nicaragua since 1981 is a classic case of CIA directors themselves called "Destabilization". The point is to put pressure on the targeted government by ripping apart the social and economic fabric of the country... That means Making the people suffer as much as you can, until the country plunges into chaos - and at some point you can impose your choice of governments on that country.
We spend over a $1 Billion during the 80's to destabilize the county. We set out systematically to create conditions where the farmer couldn't get his goods to market, where children couldn't go to school, where women were afraid inside their homes, as well as outside their homes of being attacked. Hospitals were treating the wounded rather than the sick. Where the government administration grinds to a halt. Where the trucks don't ride, the bridges are blown, the salaries aren't paid, you can't get a drivers license, all the infrastructure breaks down and of course eventually international capital is scared away and the country collapses into bankruptcy.
We created the CONTRA program in 1981. "We've done this before, we're going into Nicaragua again, once again we're supporting the wrong side" Newsweek said. "We have elected to support to only truly evil faction in Nicaragua" - that being the hated remnants of Somosa National Guard. Using Argentine trainers at first and then CIA Mercenaries we armed and directed this small army from bases mostly in Honduras to attack Nicuragua and destabalize. Systematically they were blowing up graineries, saw mills, bridges, schools, government buildings, health centers, mines, ambushing trucks, raiding farms and villages. We have massive documentation of all this.
This is the kind of thing that makes you hated around the world. It's what we did to Iran in the 50's, and more recently - Iraq. This is Terrorism and it was all done in the name of "America" by Ronald Reagan.
On budget policy, on his foreign policy and on domestic policy - by ignoring the outbreak of AIDS, fostering a wasteful, costly and damaging "War on Drugs" Reagan's true legacy of one of high-minded rhetoric masking horrible failure. The biggest failure of these is none other than his policy in Afghanistan supporting the "Freedom Fighters" of the Mujahadeen against the Soviet Union.
Just like with Pan AM 103, these chickens eventually came home to roost with the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon.
Let's address Limbaugh's final point.
So you, sir, a nice individual, I'm sure you're a fine guy (probably not too much fun at a ball game, unlike Bill Clinton), but still, you illustrate that people like you just have to be defeated, not met halfway and gotten along with. I mean politically.
Actually the opposite is true. Reagan is remembered well by the right largely because of his rhetoric, not his actions and policies which were for the most part dismal failures. His economic vision of leting the rich run rampant led to a decade of corporate raiding, junk bonds and ultimately the S&N Crisis and Black Monday on Wall Street. All of which we saw repeated under the policies of George W. Bush.
And we're still paying for the Reagan Administrations blase' attitude toward racial bigotry to the tunes of $Billions on the Pigford Discrimination Claims. Yeah, a Legacy to be proud of.
It's is debateble whether Reagan brought down the Soviet Union or it collapsed under it's own weight - let's also recall this occurred on George H.W. Bush's watch - but in Conservatives World Reagan is granted all credit, and Democrats and granted all the blame.
This is why Liberals and Democrats have to be shown no quarter, you see Reagan just didn't go far enough and appeased the left too much. Today I've seen Reagan called the First Tea Party Candidate.
Spend any time at Tea Party meetings and one thing you learn pretty quickly is that Tea Party activists are far quicker to criticize than praise politicians. But they do make exceptions, and President Ronald Reagan makes that list.
In the '70s and '80s, Reagan, who would have marked his 100th birthday Sunday, helped inspire a conservative era in American politics. Today, it's the Tea Party movement that's become a dynamic force on the right.
"Ronald Reagan was, in many ways, the original Tea Party candidate," says Craig Shirley, author of the book Reagan's Revolution. The book chronicles Reagan's run for president in 1976, taking on the political establishment and incumbent President Gerald Ford.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem — government is the problem," Reagan famously said in his inaugural address.
"He took on the Washington buddy system," Shirley says. "He attacked big government, big labor, but he also attacked big business."v
Reagan took on Big Business? Hardly.
But otherwise, minus the Deatherism, Birtherism and Tentherism there might be a point to that view.
It's true that Reagan inspired the optimism of the nation, that he drew a "Shiny City on the Hill" vision of America, but the truth is that his vision was a fraud maintained by the bowed backs of the poor and disenfranchised who toilsd to scrub and scrap clean the blood, bone and bile that littered that cities outer walls and gutters every night in order to support and maintain the high life-style of the rich revelers inside. Grinning as we slouch our way towards purgatory.
They Love Reagan because they Love the Lies that he told, he made it easy to ignore the screams and grinding of bodies in the background.
We on the left don't hate Ronald Reagan - he was apparently a very nice man - what we hate is what his fraudulent policies, corruption and lies did to America and the world. The bodies he buried are still showing up on our doorstep.
We can Never Afford to go back to "Reagan's America". The cost to us in our budget, honor and values internationally are far too high.
The problem with Reagan's version of the American Dream is that it's based on an illusion, a mirage, and eventually all dreams end as soon as you finally Wake Up.