Category: history

The seductive Memory Hole, and the allure of Fox News

The Wall Street Journal bade our collective past ‘adieu’ the other day.

Bye, Bye, American History

Good catch by a Fox News correspondent, Daniel Henninger.

The memory hole, a creation of George Orwell’s novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” was a mechanism for separating a society’s disapproved ideas from its dominant ideas… In the U.S. the memory-sorting machine may be the College Board’s final revision of the Advanced Placement examination for U.S. history, to be released later this summer.

What the high schoolers end up learning will directly affect this reality, ma’am. If you’re going to teach them about Japanese internment and the Ku Klux Klan, they might conclude America isn’t exactly a downtown act. If they learn the actual facts they might get the idea this country is little more than an off-route gin joint juggler, with a penchant for ethnic jokes.

At one point the curriculum’s authors say: “Debate and disagreement are central to the discipline of history, and thus to AP U.S. History as well.” This statement is phenomenally disingenuous. From Key Concept 1.3: “Many Europeans developed a belief in white superiority to justify their subjugation of Africans and American Indians, using several different rationales.” Pity the high-school or college student who puts up a hand to contest that anymore. They don’t. They know the Orwellian option now is to stay down.

Should I argue that the slavemasters never pretended to be above their slaves? Or should I go with the fashion? Seeing how wildly popular the option is these days I’ll probably go with Orwell. Look at me everybody, in my leopard skin shut-up chapeau.

Incidentally, you know who else liked to blitzkrieg the America of History? Downtown Dan Henninger.

Let us assume that Mr. Obama’s “smarter” view had prevailed, that we had left Saddam in power in Iraq. What would the world look like today?

Mr. Obama and others believe that Saddam and his nuclear ambitions could have been contained. I think exactly the opposite was likely.

Let’s not bother with Saddam’s imaginary “stockpiles of mass destruction” that he wanted to export to his terrorist pals, which is a rare and extraordinary moral justification for a peace-loving people to invade an Arab country (heavens). Let’s instead talk about how Saddam would maybe have wanted to become a nuclear power someday, which is a rare and extraordinary capital crime, and let’s do so years after we hanged him and posted the video on YouTube.

At the time of Mr. Obama’s 2002 antiwar speech, three other significant, non-Iraqi events were occurring: Iran and North Korea were commencing toward a nuclear break-out, and A.Q. Khan was on the move.

In March 2002, Mr. Khan, the notorious Pakistani nuclear materials dealer, moved his production facilities from Pakistan to Malaysia.

In August, an Iranian exile group revealed the existence of a centrifuge factory in Natanz, Iran.

A month later, U.S. intelligence concluded that North Korea had almost completed a “production-scale” centrifuge facility.

It was also believed in 2002 that al Qaeda was shopping for nuclear materials. In The Wall Street Journal this week, Jay Solomon described how two North Korean operatives through this period developed a network to acquire nuclear technologies.

You’re thinking: Ehh Whaa..? This editorial just fell off the rails. The writer is now running around in circles, spouting random foreign policy headlines. But no, dear reader – this is Daniel Henninger. So you should wait for it. That’s right, wait…and…ta-daaa:

In short, the nuclear bad boys club was on the move in 2002. Can anyone seriously believe that amidst all this Saddam Hussein would have contented himself with administering his torture chambers? This is fanciful.

How you like THAT? American intelligence figures that Saddam would’ve developed an atomic bomb by now because…Kim Jong-Un. And, also, because Iraq’s best friend: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Let’s not forget why every country on Earth now has long-range nuclear missiles: Barack Obama. What Daniel Henninger would think of the Memory Hole if he weren’t pounding it nightly in his dreams, I wonder.

Bonus: I forgot. Normally a persuasive argument requires no multi-media enhancement, but every once in a while a picture helps.

Henninger and Hussein

…and it has to be true, because it’s sourced.


History weighs in, heavily: Conservatives are the racists

I am so sick of reading this revisionist crap.

Drop the Racial Rhetoric
Obama should blow his own dog whistle and tell his partisans to desist.
By Deroy Murdock | National Review

Congressman-for-Life Charles Rangel blah blah . .

Oh I’m sure the President has got a dog whistle of his own he can blow. Ugh. And everyone will know it’s time to stop the bigoted anti-racial farce or something. Anyway, here comes the lying again.

Biden’s comments were just a bizarre and crude effort to scare black people into voting Democrat, again. . .

While one may disagree with Romney, his running mate Paul Ryan, and every Republican on Capitol Hill, the notion that the GOP is itching to re-enslave blacks is an outrageous, disgusting lie that utterly mutilates American history. As most students learn in junior high school, abolitionists launched the Republican party to end slavery. Republicans defeated the Confederacy and then spent Reconstruction trying to incorporate blacks into American society. Democrats fought them at every turn.

After the War of Northern Aggression, after the waves of cursed reconstructionists and carpetbaggers receded, the Republican Party was unwelcome in the South. All politics was conducted through the Democratic Party. It was both conservative and liberal, left and right (but mostly waaay right). During the debate over the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 21 of the 22 senators that represented the South were Democrats. 87 of 94 Southern members of the House were Dems.

Saying your party wasn’t guilty of Southern racism while your party was exiled from the possibility is no argument at all. Murdock plays games with words like “Democrat.” The Southern Republican may have barely existed but the familiar reactionary conservatism was certainly there. To this point, look at the differences between voting patterns North and South regarding that historic act:

On the Senate version, the Northern Democrats voted 45 -1 for it and the Southern Democrats voted 20 -1 against it. It didn’t particularly matter what party you said you belonged to, once you got below the Mason-Dixon line you were a right winger. And do you remember the powerful voting bloc the Southern politicians composed at the time?

In the United States, the conservative coalition was an unofficial Congressional coalition bringing together the conservative majority of the Republican Party and the conservative, mostly Southern, wing of the Democratic Party. It was dominant in Congress from 1937 to 1963 and remained a political force until the mid 1980s, eventually dying out in the 1990s.

These were America’s most conservative politicians: Southern Democrats. To say they were or are linked to liberal or progressive politics in any way is to lie. These were the racist white supremacists, like Strom Thurmond, that the GOP received with open arms after the successes of the civil rights movement.

And the “Southern Manifesto,” remember that?

The Declaration of Constitutional Principles (known informally as the Southern Manifesto) was a document written in February and March 1956, in the United States Congress, in opposition to racial integration of public places. The manifesto was signed by 99 politicians (97 Democrats) from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. The Congressmen drafted the document to counter the landmark Supreme Court 1954 ruling Brown v. Board of Education, which determined that segregation of public schools was unconstitutional.

How’s that for Originalist States’ Rights Tea Party activism?

The Southern Manifesto accused the Supreme Court of “clear abuse of judicial power.” It promised to use “all lawful means to bring about a reversal of this decision which is contrary to the Constitution and to prevent the use of force in its implementation.” The Manifesto suggested that the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution should limit the reach of the Supreme Court on such issues.

Tenthers. You get my point. Back to hooray! Deroy:

President Ronald Reagan named General Colin Powell to be America’s first black national security adviser and authorized the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday.

My butt. Presidents authorize no such thing. They either sign or veto the legislation, and Reagan wanted to veto it.

Reagan staunchly opposed the King Holiday bill. And he did not oppose it as later historical revisionists claim solely for cost reasons, that is that the federal government couldn’t afford to give federal employees another day off. This is the politically palatable cover.

At a press conference October 19 two weeks before he grudgingly signed the bill he quipped that he’d sign it only “since Congress seemed bent on making it a national holiday.” It took every ounce of the congressional bent that Reagan ridiculed to get him to put his signature on the bill. Congress passed the bill with an overwhelming veto-proof majority (338 to 90 in the House of Representatives and 78 to 22 in the Senate).

And don’t forget:

Reagan revealed even more of his true thinking about King in a letter to ultra-conservative former New Hampshire governor Meldrim Thompson. He unapologetically told Thompson that the public’s view of King was “based on image, not reality.” Reagan was roundly criticized for besmirching King, and he subsequently publicly apologized to King’s widow, Coretta Scott King. In assailing King, Reagan simply followed the well-worn ultra-conservative and racist script that King was a radical, racial agitator, and a closet communist.

Got it, Deroy? Reagan had to apologize to Mrs. King for being a stupid ass. For being your typical commie-baiter of the conservative Republican sort that is still found flogging his race jitters today. All of a dozen days ago Rep. Todd Akin said he was open to repealing both the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. So enough of your garbage, Murdock.

ADD . . This is good:

Mr. Reagan’s letter replied to one he received from former New Hampshire Gov. Meldrim Thomson, who asked the President to veto the bill. In the letter, Mr. Thomson called Dr. King “a man of immoral character whose frequent association with leading agents of communism is well established.”

Mr. Reagan replied, “I have the same reservations you have, but here the perception of too many people is based on image, not reality.”

Mr. Reagan telephoned Mrs. King before leaving for a weekend of golf at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, which has no black members.

Yes, your precious Ronnie really cared about the likes of you Deroy.


Katie Pavlich speaks to history, the weirdo right-wing one

What makes conservatism special? In a sentence, this:

Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal
by Katie Pavlich | News Editor, Townhall | April 15, 2012

Operation Fast and Furious is the deadliest and most sinister scandal in American history.

War is never a scandal. Vietnam and the War in Iraq are gymnastic expressions of military power and therefore, by definition, fine. Really they’re damned impressive if you’d like to know. Also they’re not bloody. That pertains to something other than what you think. It’s a thing that certain people do when its politically advantageous. Like innocent Mexicans, very suddenly. Now you know.

A scandal so big, it’s worse than Iran-Contra and makes Watergate look like a high school prank gone wrong.

Additionally: When the actual President does something bad, like when Nixon directs the government to destroy the Democratic Party’s chances in the 1972 election, attack his political enemies through the IRS, destroy his critics by stealing their psychiatric files, then launches a massive cover-up to avoid jail, that’s like a “high school prank.”


You animal lovers killed six million Jews (and you’ll do it again)

It is amazing all the things you find out by listening to right-wing scholars.

Couple days ago, I was surprised to learn that founding father Thomas Paine advocated for Creation Science to be taught in school. Didn’t I feel foolish, laboring under the misapprehension that Scientific Creationism didn’t exist until the 1960s.

Couple days before that, I was shocked to learn that Paul Revere rode across New England, ringing his musket and firing a bell, to warn the British. Now there’s an eye-opener (if you’re a limey).

Now, just today, I finally learn the truth about the Holocaust. And I can tell you, I’m a little shocked. Wasn’t it the Nazis who did it? Yeah, sure, it was them. But it wasn’t all the Nazis. It was the most vicious, most homicidal sub-group of the National Socialists that did it. Turns out there’s a name for this cadre of psychotic mass-murderers, and — shock — they live amongst us, today, in America. These people, they call themselves . . “Animal Lovers.”

Credit right-winger extraordinaire Rabbi Daniel Lapin for my epiphany:

. . look, it’s not an accident that some of the most brutal and cruel, demonic tyrants of history loved animals. It’s not an accident. It’s not an accident that Adolf Hitler was almost never seen without his dogs, whom he was petting constantly. Loved his dogs! Well, what we understand is that there is a potential, it’s not going to happen to everybody, but there is a potential within a large society that, if we obliterate the distinction between people and animals, it’s not that people will start treating animals better, they’ll start treating people worse . .

This makes sense to me. The cosmos is a big see-saw suspended above a pit of gnashing razors, with us on one end and the animals on the other. It’s your job to lob heavy scorn and violence onto their side. That way, you keep your friends from taking a saber in the ass.

If you’re kind to their side, if you don’t skin them alive, boil them and eat them for dinner, if you won’t run them over with your Sherman tank, what will become of us? Remember, while you’re powdering their butts with talcum and bedazzling their fetlocks with jewelry, they’re shitting on your carpet, or occasionally eating one of your camping or mountaineering friends. You feed them high protein bonemeal in the morning, they hump your priceless ’59 Stratocaster once you leave. While you’re playing kissy-face with wolverines, humanity is getting a cosmological rump-carving. Makes perfect sense.

It was after Hitler and his animal compassion fetishists took over the German government that homo sapiens took a beating. Next thing you know, millions of us are dead. Yikes. I thank you sincerely, Rabbi, for opening my eyes. Anything else?

The reality is that the lives of most women are not as good today as they were years ago, they’re just not good. Now, there are people, “Oh they’ve got opportunities,” yeah they do, like they can get shot up and tortured in Iraq . . but no — we really are making life tougher on people, and all of this is, of course, consistent with the idea of promoting rights for animals.

Yep, the animals, and the women. Crystal clear.


Richard Cohen knows nothing. Others, too.

This caught my eye:

School yearbook lists Bush, Cheney among the worst people ever
By Stephen C. Webster | June 3 2011

Officials at a middle school in Arkansas are investigating how a list of the worst people of all time came to be published in their recently-released yearbook.

They’re investigating namely because former President George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney were included on the list.

They placed fourth and fifth, respectively, right after Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, terrorist figurehead Osama bin Laden and Charles Manson.

Reminds me of the time the venerated historians at Right Wing News polled their fellow intellectuals to determine who were the Worst Americans Evah. The second most vile, most disgusting American in all of history turned out to be President Obama. Jimmy Carter came in at Number One. Missing from the list: Lee Harvey Oswald, James Earl Ray, Ted Bundy, and pretty much every other bad person you could think of.

The razor-sharp historians were exposed to much heat and laughter, so they changed the post. Then they deleted it. Boo hoo. It’s a difficult thing, coming to terms with your entertaining lameosity.

But that’s not always the case: for WaPo’s Richard Cohen, it was a piece of cake. That’s probably why he bragged about it. Alex Pareene’s got an hilarious post on Cohen in Slate. Poor Richard knows he no longer knows anything about, well, anything.

Cohen says he now lives in a strange and bewildering place called “Xanadu” where he no longer understands anything. Like, what is Twitter, and why do people “follow” members of Congress on it?

“I have seen this Weiner. He is a homely fellow, certainly not handsome and not what you would call a hunk. Yet this college student all the way on the other side of America follows him on Twitter? Why? What does it mean to follow someone on Twitter? Xanaduns (Xanadunians?) apparently do it, but I don’t know why.”


But this is perhaps the truest paragraph Richard Cohen has written in many years:

“I don’t remember moving here, a country where I have never been before and where I know nobody. I don’t even know why I think I am in Xanadu, except that the name just came to me. It seems to make sense, which is more than I can say for anything else. I used to understand everything. I was even paid to explain things. Now I understand nothing. I live in a strange place and understand just a piece of what’s going on. At the moment, I am hungry and going across the plaza to that cute outdoor café. I think I’ll have a Kardashian.”

Have you ever seen anyone so fully embrace his reputation? Good for you, Richard. Now send me your paycheck.


Silly Sarah still stupid

Sarah Palin’s clusterbus tour continues. As does everything else Palin: the meaningless chaos, the adoring clueless, the media recording her every mewl and skree. The history lessons on in-your-face Americans:

. . he who warned, uh, the, the British that they weren’t gonna be takin’ away our arms, uh, by ringin’ those bells and, and, uh, making sure as he’s riding his horse through town, to send those warning shots and bells, that, uh, we were gonna be secure and we were gonna be free. And we were gonna be armed . .

So, Paul Revere warned the British (traitor). By shooting up their town with his Glock, loaded with hollow-point bells.

Palin’s heroes are drunken trash on payday. Minutes later, a shirtless, incoherent Revere was beaten into a paddy wagon . .


Mike Huckabee tells of the time Reagan saved America from Black disco people

This TPM post caught my eye:

Mike Huckabee Fixes American History (VIDEO)
Evan McMorris-Santoro | May 11, 2011

Don’t worry, American youth: Mike Huckabee has fixed American history. No longer will you suffer under what Huckabee calls “the ‘blame America first’ attitude prevalent in today’s teaching.”

Late Wednesday, Huckabee announced, a sort of BMG Music Club for what he calls “unbiased” historical lessons for kids. For around $15 each, the company will send you a new animated tale of American history each month, told through the eyes of a gang of time traveling kids.

The initial Learn Our History lesson recalls the “Reagan Revolution” (full clip here). Oddly, it does not instruct the kids about a mannequin-president obviously slipping into Alzheimer’s oblivion, unable to command even the most prominent facts and features of modern America or his hopelessly corrupted administration.

Instead, the cartoon lectures the children about the hopelessness of Democratic presidencies. There the kids go, back to a time when Jimmy Carter malaised the nation. Back to a time when thieving Kenyans roamed the cityscape, listening to Lipps Inc. Back when they mugged time travelers to score tickets to the Rose Royce butt-wagger at the Odeon Stalinplex.

That thug’s voice sounds oddly like a White person’s. A lot like a White Republican impersonating a Black Person, as far as Republicans know. But I remember well the Negro of the nineteen seventies and his disco culture. Songs like “Doing The Five To Ten,” and “Shake That Newborn, Baby!,” “Business District Inferno,” and “Who’s That Parolee?”.

Whatever the case, the animated lesson certainly reminds you of just how bad things were. There was little regard for good government. There was little regard for forthright politics, for honest discourse, even for simple facts and figures.

Those were the Reagan years. It was a time when the president, unwilling to fight his polluter buddies, once lectured Americans that “Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do.” That was not true. Even if it were, you can bet not one ficus would have been outfitted with a catalytic converter, so there wasn’t even a practical point in saying it. He said of Michael Dukakis:

“You know, if I listened to him long enough, I would be convinced that we’re in an economic downturn, and that people are homeless, and people are going without food and medical attention, and that we’ve got to do something about the unemployed.”

You get the drift. A fantasy world gratefully fogged Ronald Reagan, thus he did not believe your truths. He believed his own. He did as he pleased, regardless. The AIDS epidemic exploded, and Ronnie neither acknowledged it nor lifted a finger to stop it. He was uncomfortable with the gays, so thousands upon thousands died from research delays.

He wanted overseas American hostages returned, but never bothered to figure out how to get that done. So he just sold missiles to the terrorist captors. When caught, he denied he did it. After articles and exposes and reports and a commission, and months and months of bullshitting, long after the evidence proved he’d been lying, he bizarrely and finally took the blame:

“A few months ago I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that’s true, but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not.”

That’s the best our gee-whiz president could do. I didn’t do it, but I guess I did it. Reality was always the unwelcome guest in the presidency of Ronald Reagan.

Which brings me to this, the animation’s perhaps triumphant bit, the Jupiter of iconic moments in the Pantheon of Reaganism. There the president looms in West Berlin. “Mister Gorbachev — tear down this wall.”

Let’s ignore Reagan’s frighteningly large mocha jack o’ lantern visage and inky pompadour. Instead, let’s offer to agree, to think the animation is iconic of Ronnie as well. It’s indicative of Mike Huckabee’s apparent need to focus the past and make it perfectly accurate, too.

Yes, there the Gipper stands astride history at Brandenburg Gate. But who’s history? What kind of history?

Tell me, folks — where are the attendees? Where went the flags and that memorable fence with the window? Where did Chancellor Helmut Kohl go?

Hell, Mike — where is the fricking Berlin Wall? There was some point in having it nearby.

And what post-modern city is Ronnie in, incidentally? With all the buildings across the background? With the skyscraper and its lightning rod over his shoulder?

It ain’t Berlin in 1987, that’s for sure. It’s not any Berlin, ever. So it’s Reagan’s Berlin, isn’t it?


Doug Giles breaks Roman news. And time.

Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God
Doug Giles | | Jan 23 2011

. . Yep, to the serfs of Caesarland, their heads of state were just dreamy, and as they were divine everyone was expected to toe their line. Because of this blind faith in Caesar, the Roman government found it a piece of cake to tax the plebes to death, snatch their kids or their houses, and create crises that ginned up even more robust control of Rome’s citizens. I’m talkin’ Caesar had them on a short leash because of their faith in the state.

The early church, however, made it clear amidst this crapola that their allegiance was to Christ and not the edicts of Caesar — especially when Caesar’s dictates conflicted with the Word of God.

I know, you’re not gay. But, Doug . . ?

. . And that’s exactly what first-century Christianity did: It adhered to God’s laws versus Rome’s. The Church believed that Christ was Lord and therefore, respectfully of course, Caesar could kiss their fish sticker.

Caesar was a general. Not an emperor. And he was killed in 44 B.C.


Michael Reagan says Ronald a better president for Blacks than Obama. This is easily disproved.

To the zombified conservative champions of Ronald Reagan, nothing other than Him is apparently sacred. There are no truths insufficiently Reagan that deserve to survive his worship.

To witless: some of the gilded “truths” of Reagan’s presidency. While the almost-a-century opposition of American leaders to Soviet Communism, at a cost of thousands of lives and probably trillions of dollars, is a trifle you might remember it was actually a bunch of tough talk from the actor/President that wiped the Evil Empire out. Pay no mind to the freedom-hungry Soviets who chose Gorbachev to remake their world because Reagan’s lips were what did the trick. And, lest we forget, it was he, Ronald Magnus, that proved you could slash the government to balance budgets and spark Great American Prosperity. Just forget the nuclear record-setting explosion of the debt that forced both Bush 41 and Clinton to raise taxes in order to avoid fiscal catastrophe. Oh, and forget the recession he left Poppy with as well.

It seems that reality is only loosely associated with The Greatest President Ever.

Exactly. Now comes the latest bit of historic psychedelia attributed to Him. Did you know Ronald Reagan was totally awesome to black people?

Who was the first black president?

Two decades before the election of Barack Obama, novelist Toni Morrison dubbed Bill Clinton “our first black President.” She even said that Clinton was “blacker than any actual black person who could ever be elected in our children’s lifetime.”

Well, I could make an even stronger case for my father, Ronald Reagan, as “our first black president” — but I won’t make that claim.

Ronnie’s adopted son will stop popping tabs of Silky Burkean Pulsar to write this:

But the past two years have made one thing clear: Ronald Reagan was a far better friend to black Americans than Barack Obama has been. Just compare the Reagan and Obama records. Under Obama, black unemployment rose from 12.6 percent in January 2009 to 16.0 percent today. This means that black unemployment has increased by more than one-fourth since Obama took office.

And the Reagan record? African-American columnist Joseph Perkins has studied the effects of Reaganomics on black America. He found that, after the Reagan tax cuts gained traction, African-American unemployment fell from 19.5 percent in 1983 to 11.4 percent in 1989.

WHOA groovy. Let’s ignore the bizarre notion that presidential policies benefiting a certain population magically turn a president into a member of that group. Otherwise, the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ would be bad news for the First Lady.

Let’s just say any notion that Ronald Reagan was a friend to black people — almost any African American person — is ridiculous. Media Matters knocks down that first bit of fantasy:

So what happens if we compare apples to apples by looking at the first two years of data for both presidents? When Ronald Reagan took office in January 1981, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate among African Americans was 14.6 percent. In December 1982, it was 20.9 — 43 percent higher. When Barack Obama took office in January 2009, seasonally adjusted unemployment was at 12.7 percent. In December 2010, it was 15.8 — 24 percent higher.

So, if you compare equivalent portions of their presidencies — which is really the only honest way to go about things — Michael Reagan’s lead piece of evidence for his provocative claim that his father was a “far better friend to black Americans” than Obama completely disintegrates.

Any claim like Michael’s would at least disintegrate, if not spontaneously ignite like a burning cross. Wigga, please:

Reagan launches presidential bid assuring racist whites in Neshoba County, Mississippi, of ‘State’s Rights.’

The murders [“Mississippi Burning” –ed.] were among the most notorious in American history. They constituted Neshoba County’s primary claim to fame when Reagan won the Republican Party’s nomination for president in 1980. The case was still a festering sore at that time. Some of the conspirators were still being protected by the local community. And white supremacy was still the order of the day.

That was the atmosphere and that was the place that Reagan chose as the first stop in his general election campaign. The campaign debuted at the Neshoba County Fair in front of a white and, at times, raucous crowd of perhaps 10,000, chanting: “We want Reagan! We want Reagan!”

Reagan was the first presidential candidate ever to appear at the fair, and he knew exactly what he was doing when he told that crowd, “I believe in states’ rights.”

Either that, or he knew nothing about race relations, Mississippi, civil rights struggles or the United States of America in general. Obviously, that must have been the problem:

He was opposed to the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was the same year that Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney were slaughtered. As president, he actually tried to weaken the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He opposed a national holiday for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He tried to get rid of the federal ban on tax exemptions for private schools that practiced racial discrimination. And in 1988, he vetoed a bill to expand the reach of federal civil rights legislation.

Yeah, the poor guy just didn’t know any better.

President Reagan goes to war with the inner city and virtually all social programs.

His indifference to urban problems was legendary. Reagan owed little to urban voters, big-city mayors, black or Hispanic leaders, or labor unions – the major advocates for metropolitan concerns. Early in his presidency, at a White House reception, Reagan greeted the only black member of his Cabinet, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Samuel Pierce, saying: “How are you, Mr. Mayor? I’m glad to meet you. How are things in your city?”

…By the end of Reagan’s term in office federal assistance to local governments was cut 60 percent. Reagan eliminated general revenue sharing to cities, slashed funding for public service jobs and job training, almost dismantled federally funded legal services for the poor, cut the anti-poverty Community Development Block Grant program and reduced funds for public transit. The only “urban” program that survived the cuts was federal aid for highways – which primarily benefited suburbs, not cities.

…Another of Reagan’s enduring legacies is the steep increase in the number of homeless people, which by the late 1980s had swollen to 600,000 on any given night – and 1.2 million over the course of a year. Many were Vietnam veterans, children and laid-off workers.

That’s the Ronald Reagan I remember well.

Reagan, racial scapegoater, practically invented “Welfare Queen.”

The term “welfare queen” is most often associated with Ronald Reagan who brought the idea to a national audience. During his 1976 presidential campaign, Reagan would tell the story of a woman from Chicago’s South Side who was arrested for welfare fraud:

“She has eighty names, thirty addresses, twelve Social Security cards and is collecting veteran’s benefits on four non-existing deceased husbands. And she is collecting Social Security on her cards. She’s got Medicaid, getting food stamps, and she is collecting welfare under each of her names. Her tax-free cash income is over $150,000.”

Most people don’t believe this woman ever existed. No one ever actually saw her. But somehow everybody remembers the color of her skin.

Reagan refused to oppose South African Apartheid in any form.

On Capitol Hill, [Nobel Peace Prize Winner Bishop Desmond] Tutu became a public relations disaster for Reagan. Tutu started off the hearing by saying apartheid itself “is evil, is immoral, is un-Christian …” I was there, and all breathing stopped.

Tutu continued: “In my view, the Reagan administration’s support and collaboration with it is equally immoral, evil, and totally un-Christian…. You are either for or against apartheid and not by rhetoric. You are either in favour of evil or you are in favour of good. You are either on the side of the oppressed or on the side of the oppressor. You can’t be neutral.”

…Reagan was not moved. Over the remainder of his presidency, at least 3000 people would die, mostly at the hands of the South African police and military. Another 20,000, including 6000 children, according to one estimate by a human rights group, would be arrested under “state of emergency” decrees.

I would think this sad legacy forever makes any detente between American blacks and St. Ronald impossible. Conservatives are stupid to hope otherwise.

Nobody with as dismal a race record as Ronald Reagan is a friend to anybody’s people but his own. And I find it appalling that, even when it’s his son, anyone would use the celebration of Martin Luther King jr. to make the ‘case’.

As seen above Ronald Reagan was opposed to the creation of the national holiday to celebrate him. But that was hardly Ronnie’s only mistake in revealing his true feelings for the civil rights leader.

King, of course, was not a Communist and had broken no federal laws, but by challenging the status quo, King and the Civil Rights Movement discomfited the Washington establishment. Charges of Communism were a popular way to discredit people who dared speak truth to power during the 50s and 60s, and King’s opponents made liberal use of that tactic.

When Helms tried to revive that tactic, Reagan defended him. A reporter asked Reagan about the charge of Communist against King, and Reagan said that Americans would find out in around 35 years, referring to the length of time before any material the FBI gathers on a subject could be released. Reagan later apologized, and a federal judge blocked the release of King’s FBI files.

There you go. So, I went the long way ’round to prove something you already knew of the great Reagan, race-wise: he stank.

Of course, I could have just shown you this, the racial breakdown of the 1984 election:

. . but you know some zombie would have said black people don’t know who their real friends are, or something.


Having been widely ridiculed, RightWingNews deletes its ‘Worst Americans’ list…

Right Wing News took it upon themselves last week to poll 100 bloggers from over 40 conservative websites about U.S. history. ‘Who were the worst Americans of all time?’ they asked.

Considering all the warmongers, murderers and rapists we’ve spawned, it could have been a difficult list to compose. But it rarely pays to overestimate the intelligence of right-wingers, they made it look easy. The top three slots were all American presidents. Democrats, of course. Above your Benedict Arnolds, Lee Harvey Oswalds and Alger Hisses, the wingnuts put FDR, Barack Obama and — number one — Jimmy Carter as the worst Americans who ever blighted our planet Earth.

list of conservative evilThis did not go well with a lot of folks. Towering stupidity rarely does. I mocked the sad little list here. Then I made a mental note to write a few words on the monsters and criminals the patriots omitted, and then spent all weekend on a lengthy (now annoying) piece I’m putting together on an especially curious right-wing hero (maybe later, if I don’t just chuck it and get on with my life).

So I went back to the original list for this post, but — oops — theirs had been deleted. I can’t imagine how pissed off all the college-educated Republicans who jumped onto the lengthy thread must feel. From the definitive pronouncements of geniuses on history’s national disgraces to a vacant webpage, all in a matter of a couple days. How sad.

Well, thanks to Google’s cache-ing, this Gem of Historical Analysis is not lost. It’s there above, right. You will notice how the conserva-storians, between Richard Nixon and John Wilkes Booth, crammed Jane Fonda, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. Will anybody remember Pelosi’s name even 10 years from now? Why of course, because she is so very evil. I can’t find Harry Reid’s name in my “Lions of State” rolodex, right now, as I keep looking back at the list to remind myself, but Senator Kittyclaws has really done a number on America. Jane Fonda chokes our nation’s neck with a sturdy and stylish scarf as we speak.

Which brings us to this: How could 100 Americans of any stripe not consider these people?

james earl rayLee Harvey Oswald
James Earl Ray
John Hinckley
Charles Guiteau
Leon Czolgosz
Aaron Burr
–Spies like Jonathan Pollard and Robert Hanssen.
–Criminals and gangsters like Jesse James, Al Capone, and Lucky Luciano.
–Serial killers like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy.
–Serial child molesters like Father John Geoghan and Dean Schwartzmiller.
–Sociopaths like Ted Kaczynski, John Muhammad and Lee Malvo.
–Spree shooters like James Huberty, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris.

Now there’s a list of evil people. How did the wingnuts miss all of them? There are two more people that I would nominate. Why these men didn’t end up on the original, I think, is a little more obvious: These are their kinda guys. These two are still heroes to much of America’s right wing:

Joseph McCarthy. A demagogue and political hack first, last and always. Lied about his World War II record to look good to voters. Said he’d flown dozens of missions though he’d flown 12, said he got wounded in battle when it was just a hazing incident, personally forged a ‘letter of commendation’ from Admiral Nimitz. Exploited Cold War hysteria by claiming he had a list of 200 (or 50 or 80) commies in the State Department. Never managed to prove a single one was, in fact, a Soviet plant. Created an atmosphere corrosive and paranoid, and it broke out of the Capitol and ran across the nation. Encouraged Americans to joe mccarthysuspect their neighbors and co-workers, changing American life for the worse. Forced innocent people to testify in public hearings seen by millions, upended or ruined scores of careers. Accused anyone who opposed him or his methods, including Edward R. Murrow, of also being Communist. After 4 years of madness, the nation returned to its senses and came to despise the Wisconsin senator. He drank himself to death in less than another 4 years. Right-wingers like to claim he was right about the commies — several reports out of the former USSR showed there may have been 10 or more of his ‘names’ that were colluding with the Soviets. What they fail to realize is that McCarthy almost single-handedly destroyed America’s ability to figure that out. Unchecked rage and paranoia destroy perception and rational thought. ‘McCarthyism’ is still a poisonous pejorative to this day.

Nathan Bedford Forrest. An unqualified military genius of the Civil War, revolutionizing cavalry tactics and strategy. Brave to the point of crazy. May have been built for war: when only twenty, killed two men and knifed two more in an act of blood revenge. Became a millionaire before the age of forty relying on two things: cotton farming, which the slaves did, and the buying and selling of commodities — his slaves. Joined the Confederacy, killed 30 men during the War. Refused to accept the surrender of dozens of mostly black Union soldiers at Fort Pillow, resulting in a massacre. While even letters from his soldiers bore the massacre’s nathan bedford forrest capitolfact out, he refused to acknowledge it, to his death. After the War, became the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, legitimizing America’s greatest and longest-lived terrorist organization. Stripped of his slaves, unable to continue his previous businesses, he ran a railroad and bankrupted it. Ran a prison. Became a great hero to the South after his death, spawning Forrest City, Arkansas, Forrest County, Mississippi, Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park in Tennessee, and the state’s naming July 13 “Nathan Bedford Forrest Day.” A bust of Nathan sits in the Tennessee State Capitol to this day. He’s an emblem of the sweet and sour nature of the memories of the Civil War and the South’s still wounded pride: a great warrior, but a horribly flawed American. Tennessee chooses to embrace Nathan as a “Defender of the South.” He defended a helluva lot more than that.


A fresh look at whacko: Conservative bloggers name history’s worst Americans

If you aren’t familiar with the inner workings of cuckoo clocks, well, here’s your chance. No need for the coke bottle specs, these boing-ed springs and toothless gears merely lie around, here on the internetz.

jimmy carter reallyHere’s the question: who are or were the worst Americans? Like Hitler, for Germany. The USSR’s Stalin. Rome’s Caligula, Romania’s Vlad the Impaler. Nancy’s Spike, Tommy’s wicked Uncle Ernie: yuck.

Who are our worst citizens? Well, wouldn’t we like to know? Especially when the undisputed Top Guns of American History — CONSERVATIVE BLOGGERS — are the judges? Hell, yeah, I’d like to know because I could always use a good laugh.

Right Wing News did the polling:

Conservative Bloggers Select The 25 Worst Figures In American History
August 13, 2010

Out of all the gangsters, serial killers, mass murderers, incompetent & crooked politicians, spies, traitors, and ultra left-wing kooks in all of American history — have you ever wondered who the worst of the worst was? Well, we here at RWN wondered about that, too, and that’s why we decided to email more than a hundred bloggers to get their opinions.

Did and done.

Okay, ready for some highlights? Here we go:

–Number 23: Hillary Clinton. Former First Lady and Senator from New York. Current U.S. Secretary of State. What damage has she done to the United States? Not sure. The White House and the state of New York seem to have recovered. Maybe she’s doing something awful right now? Maybe we should scan the news.

–Number 19: Michael Moore. Moviemaker. He makes movies. Popular movies.

–Number 13 (tie): Richard Nixon. Illegally bombed Cambodia (ushering in the Khmer Rouge), refused to end Johnson’s deadly war (until later), carried out Kissinger’s literally mega-murderous Central and South American foreign policies, broke into the Democratic national headquarters to steal an election, broke into the office of the psychologist of a political enemy to destroy him, conspired to cover up multiple crimes, fired the special michael_moore reallyprosecutor looking into the allegations, generally subverted the government for political gain. Lied to the American people without end or shame. Destroyed Americans’ faith in government. Resigned in disgrace.

–Number 13 (tie): Nancy Pelosi. First female Speaker of the House, serving 3 years and 7 months. Sought to pass Democratic legislation. Seeks to pass Democratic legislation.

–Number 11: John Wilkes Booth. Giant Wingnut. Assassinated probably the greatest American in history, the Great Emancipator, the man who saved the union, Abraham Lincoln. Threw American politics into disarray, leading to the impeachment of Andrew Johnson and the disastrous, thoroughly corrupted Presidency of U.S. Grant.

–Number 9: Timothy McVeigh. Not just America’s Worst Terrorist, one of the world’s worst terrorists. 168 dead, including 19 children.

–Number 7: Lyndon Johnson. Vietnam. And Vietnam and Vietnam. Used an imaginary skirmish, the Gulf of Tonkin incident, to start a war. 57,000 Americans dead, maybe as many as 2,000,000 Vietnamese in addition. Aaaaaannnnnd . . . cut! The Civil Rights Act of 1964? The Voting Rights Act of 1965? The WAR ON POVERTY!?!? AAAUUGGHH!

–Number 4: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. American Commies. Spies. Well, Julius was. Passed on nuclear secrets to the Soviets. Probably. Both executed.

–Number 2: Barack Obama. U.S. President from January of last year to the present, 19 months. Umm . . healthcare reform? Nobel Peace Prize? The War in — oh, he didn’t start that. The War in — nope, not that one either. The Great Recession? Nopey nope. Yes, he’s got to be the second worst American in over two centuries. Still, he’s no . .

–Number 1: Jimmy Carter. Another of the Nobel committee’s devils. Evil incarnate. The Simpsons encapsulated the neon nightmare of pestilence and plague that Carter wrought upon the nation with these two words: Malaise Forever. His most disastrous policy would be . . ? I’m drawing a blank on Carter policies. Any of his policies. The whackos executed Ethel Rosenberg, just think of what they’d like to do to Jimmy. Better sneak up on him, Lucifer Himself is often swinging a hammer putting up houses for the poor.

Well, there you have it. And Good Golly.

But they seem to have skipped over quite a few thoroughly detestable Americans. Many of the Conservative ilk, perhaps? Don’t ya think? I do. More later.

ADD: Readers of Right Wing News throw in their own two cents:

Bhruic 3 hours ago

John Wilkes Booth as one of the worst Americans? His only mistake was that he was 4 years late.
john wilkes booth really
Gbvic 2 hours ago in reply to Bhruic

ahmen brother.

Bildo 3 hours ago in reply to Bhruic

Liberal troll?

Bhruic 2 hours ago in reply to Bildo

Classical liberal? Sure. Troll? Not so much.
Abe was less faithful to the constitution than any other president in American history. He is responsible for the deaths of a few hundred thousand human beings because he wanted to collect tariffs from southern ports, not to free the slaves. Lincoln was a tyrant that has been deified by revisionist historians.