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Posts Tagged ‘Ronald Reagan

Reagan Library

It’s that time again!  It is time for the quadrennial hajj to Simi Valley, California, to pay homage to Ronaldus Maximus – seer, sage, and believer of ketchup as a vegetable.  In addition to the four-year butt itch that comes from this spectacle, there will be an umrah as well.  An umrah is a non-mandatory “come with” kinda pilgrimage.

The call to worship for the main hajj will be this evening at 8:00 EDT with the umrah children’s table being two hours earlier at 6:00.  The umrah could prove to be entertaining with Lady Lindsey serving early tea to George, Rick, and Piyush (Pataki, Santorum, and Jindal).  Reports these four will be wearing mau maus with Thank You for Being a Friend from the Golden Girls playing in the background are unconfirmed.

CNN Libary DebateThe physical format will be the same as the scene from the Twilight Zone – you know the one where the monster is on the wing of the plane.  The difference here is that there will be eleven googly-eyed miscreants mumbling “Raygun, Raygun, Raygun” whilst they pee a little bit in their men’s Depends from the excitement of breathlessly yattering his holy name.

Someone will be missing from these festivities and his passing definitely merits a drive-by booting.  Last Friday evening, Rick “Pretty Hair” Perry and his wonderful, most marvelously superb glasses climbed up on the vet’s table and promptly euthanized his mongrel campaign.

Pretty Hair Perry was at a loss as to why his campaign hadn’t blown up like an uninspected Texas warehouse full of ammonium nitrate.  He seems to think a large part of his personal non-combustibility is due to his 2012 back surgery leading up to his famous “Oops” moment.Rick Perry

A fair enough assessment given the fact that Pretty Hair’s back surgery was an unapproved stem cell infusion of his own arse-goo by a friend who ran a medical day spa and had never before done the procedure.  The Oopsmeister’s aggressive use of opiates to heighten his pre-existing dullness probably didn’t help matters.  In any event, may his glasses rest in peace otherwise the mega-donors wanting their money back might be wearing them sometime soon.

Tucked away in a corner of Ventura County (named after Jessie I’m sure), the stomp-worthy weasels of the main hajj will miss Pretty Hair and have to settle for fixating upon Forrest Trump’s pate of the finest, kangaroo scrotum hair money can buy.

One thing for sure, someone is going to find a metaphorical shiv between their third and fourth ribs.  These presidential inmates are all going to be defensive.  They will claim Raygun was a playah; thereby, making him their long-lost daddy.  They will adopt the Reaganesque concept of a “welfare queen” as their mother since none of them were hatched into households with indoor plumbing.  And by the gods of Lincoln Republicanism, they were second year MBA or law students before they could afford shoes.

While their podiums will be made from the finest laminated plywood, it will pale in comparison to the wood they will be sporting behind the podiums as they lovingly call out Raygun’s name as if in the ecstasy of conservative carnal copulation (you know, the good kind of sex that can only occur in the bedroom or church choir loft).   Rest assured, as they pander and grunt, we will hear nary a word about Ronaldus awarding amnesty to 3 million undocumented aliens.

Ronaldus MaximusLikewise, there won’t be a whimper about his Medicaid expansion or raising taxes eleven times while tripling the deficit.  No one will remember his calling the old Soviet Union an “evil empire,” whilst he went right ahead negotiating with them.  And good Nancy almighty, no one will mention when Raygun, as California ”gubnor”,  signed the nation’s most liberal abortion law before Roe v. Wade gave sexless hyenas a reason to live.

None of these facts will be mentioned, but you can bet you’ll hear “trust, but verify” so often you’ll think the Gipper had whispered it into the uteri from whence these wankers sprang.

You will hear Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Scott Walker, John Kasich, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, and others wax poetic about how, at any moment, Raygun will roll back the stone from his tomb and just before ascending to the heavens strapped onto an ICBM missile he will pronounce the Afro-Kenyan in the White House an apostate.skateboarding

In case you haven’t seen CNN in the last six months where the the debate commercials have debate commercials, the event is tonight.  We will be live blogging the event, so tell your friends and come on by.  It should be entertaining in the same way bot fly removal is a fast growing spectator sport.

In any event you can be sure about this:  A dozen or so of these candidates would have a far more productive evening if they visited the Skateboarding Hall of Fame, which also happens to be in Simi Valley, and learned the intricacies of navigating a half-pipe as opposed to smoking one.

As always, your comments and thoughts on any subject are encouraged and anticipated.

Good Thursday, Widdershins.  I hope that your week is progressing nicely.

After many dismal evenings of watching endless cable news. I have arrived at the conclusion that the Repubs have kept to their infamous format Of “noun, verb……….”. They have simply replaced “09/11” with the name of the Lord High Guru Ronald Reagan. The former was intended to frighten us, the latter is to make us believe that all was glorious during that eight year time period – the veritable shining city on the hill scenario.  Had I not been an adult trying to make a living during that glorious period, I might fall for it, too.

Ah yes, Ronald Reagan. …..who rode tall in the saddle at his California ranch almost as often as he rode his desk in the Oval Office.  Ronald Reagan, who despite being an unmitigated whore for American business, despite being borderline cruel to those Americans who were struggling, despite appearing to be almost out of it during his last few years in office, would be deemed too liberal if not a near-Socialist by the party he lifted to power.  Nevertheless, he is a veritable icon, unless you look closely at his “accomplishments”.

Let’s look at these points..  First, “The Cold War was ended by Ronald Reagan.”

Most of the policies that brought about the collapse of the USSR began during the Nixon administration.  Ford, who unwisely brought on both Cheyney and Rumsfeld, eventually abandoned further efforts.  President Carter stressed human rights and nuclear disarmament.  Meanwhile, the Vatican-backed Solidarity movement had taken hold in Poland, and was beginning to spread outward in the Soviet Block.  However, Reagan aficiandos insist that the end of the Cold War was signaled by the now famous “Take down that wall” speech.  Of course it was……

Second, “America loved Ronald Reagan”.

Perhaps some did.  Here was this smiling happy guy who insisted that it was just fine to drive your enormous vehicle long distances whenever and wherever you wanted to.  Life is great, there’s plenty of gas.  Don’t worry about paper, either.  (Anyone else remember that great speech when Reagan defended cutting down trees because they create too much dangerous carbon dioxide?) I suppose that, f you were not too bright, that cheerful countenance telling you not to worry would be easier to swallow that than Jimmy Carter’s  dour warning to break your dependence on petroleum products and to try to salvage the environment.  No worries – oil is self-replicating and there are lots of other planets out there,  Oh, and try to forget that Carter has been proven to be spot on.

Third: “Mount Rushmore needs Ronald Reagan”.

Oh, absolutely.  We should commemorate the man who armed Osama bin Laden,  could not recall the who Iran Contra affair, backed every repressive right-wing government in Latin America and armed them so that they could easily crush any revolt, and the HUD scandal that rigged grants to favor Republican contributors.  Then there were the EPA scandals, one of which diverted funds into Republican campaign war chests, and the Inslaw Affair, where DOJ officials were involved in pirating software,  Don’t forget the Savings and Loan crisis, described by John Kenneth Gailbraith as “the largest and costliest adventure in public misfeasance, malfeasance, and larceny of all times”. Don;t get me started on his  lack of attention when AIDS was first described.

Fourth:  “Ronald Reagan should be on the $5 bill”.

Don’t kid yourself.  This has been proposed by some Southerners in an effort to dislodge Lincoln, who is after all on the penny (which is likely on its way out.)

To his credit, he did sign a bill to compensate Japanese-Americans who had been wrongly detained during WWII, and opposed banning gays from teaching school.  I suppose no one is all bad, but that’s a might sparse set of laudable achievements.  Noun, verb, Ronald Reagan.  That’s the ticket.

This is an open thread.

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Good afternoon Widdershins.

James S. Brady 1940-2014

James S. Brady
1940-2014

With the death of James Brady, I’ve found myself somewhat contemplative — or better said, as contemplative as someone with my limited reflectivity can be. Mr. Brady’s devastating injury from a stray bullet resulting in a permanent incapacitation morphed into an indefatigable activism for gun safety. Although he couldn’t walk, he stood for commonsense regulation resulting in untold lives being saved from gun violence.

With that said, I can’t but wonder that Mr. Brady didn’t at times ask, “what if?” What if he hadn’t accompanied The Reagan that day to the Washington Hilton? What if he had lingered to answer one more question before approaching the presidential limousine? What if he had been a foot or two behind where he was on the sidewalk as Hinckley fired? What if Hinckley hadn’t been psychotically enamored with Jodie Foster?

While we are spinning the roulette wheels of history, what if Hinkley’s shot had gone wide not striking Brady, would we have had the Brady Bill and enjoyed a ten-year ban on assault weapons?

All the time in the world spent contriving “what ifs” can’t undo what was, but it is amazing how much energy is spent spinning webs of alternative history. For whatever reason, be it pessimism, regret, or anger, we engage in the fool’s errand of enhancing the negativism of what was by wistfully wishing “what if“.

Conversely, we also fall victim to the overly fanciful “if come.” “If comes” are to the optimistic what “what ifs” are to the pessimists. Having been a campaign scheduler at one point in my career and knowing the claims event organizers make, I’m sure Mr. Brady heard about the great things and benefits The Reagan’s speech would produce on that chilly March day, but of course, those results were on the “if come.”

Jim Brady and The ReaganExamples of the “if come” are all too plentiful. If we just cut taxes and let the results trickle down, prosperity will soon arrive on the if come. If we invade Iraq it will just take a few months and the war of choice will pay for itself on the if come. If we deregulate banks, the competition will pay untold benefits on the if come. If we just unbridle corporate greed then the confidence fairy will paint the streets with gold on the if come.

The self-serving optimism of the “if come” is the same magical elixir you hear whether in Las Vegas or the halls of Congress — the folly of offering a future of certitude. Of one thing we can be certain, anyone engaging in the sale of the “if come” will be long gone before time unfurls the truth — much like the old door-to-door encyclopedia salesmen who were long gone before report cards disproved their overly optimistic sales pitches.

What I’m trying to say in a decidedly inartful way is that there is nothing inherently wrong or particularly productive with engaging in the slightly delusional thought experiments of “what ifs” or “if comes”. We just have to remember these mental flights of fantasy are untried by time and will most likely be untrue in execution.

What is wrong and terribly dangerous is if we allow these thought experiments to guide policy to the exclusion of hard data and analysis. The “what ifs” and the “if comes” are the phantasmagorically designed redoubts constructed inside the castle walls of reality for those of faint heart and feeble mind to flee in times of crisis. To listen to cable news, such times now occur on the hour and only break long enough for commercial interruption.

Of this I am quite sure — James Brady is a mighty fine example of a life lived untarnished by the retreat into the “what ifs” and the “if comes”. His even greater contribution might be the cautionary decoder key he offered us with which to decipher contemporary political-speak: What if the if come never does?

That is my feeble attempt at profundity today, please feel free to take the discussion wherever you like since this is an open thread.

Congressional Polarization from 1879 to Present

Congressional Polarization from 1879 to Present

In the sixties we were numbed and dumbstruck by watching two brothers and an eloquent preacher senselessly gunned down while war splayed itself in our homes every night at the dinner hour. In 1972, we collectively held our breath for two years hoping against hope that Watergate was just another petty break-in. In 1980, we mourned John Lennon and in 1981 watched a President survive an assassin. In 1986, we watched seven souls taken as the Challenger exploded in crystalline skies. On September 11, 2001, we experienced vulnerability and violation to an extent we had never known before — so much so, we were led into a war and were lied into another one.

All of these events affected the collective zeitgeist, but somehow we climbed out of the miasma of grief and carried on — after a time. The common thread is that we allowed ourselves time to process the events and in turn, enjoyed the palliative benefits of reflection.

Then we have Columbine, Fort Hood, Virginia Tech, Tucson, Aurora, scores of others, and then Newtown. Monday we watched as a madman used bombs to kill, dismember, and maim in Boston.

We weren’t allowed that processing and soothing time of reflection on Monday. The blood hadn’t yet dried in the streets of Boston before the minstrels of hate goaded us out of our stupor by 8:00 p.m. on cable news. Five hours — is that the new standard of freedom from vituperative name calling before hostilities reignite?

This week, barely four months after twenty 6 year olds had their tiny bodies ravaged with exploding bullets, the children’s parents were being called nothing more than “political props” by opportunistic politicians. The unpardonable sin of these grief-stricken parents, they dared to have an opinion on gun safety.

As 91% of Americans wanted something to be done, the U.S. Senate dared tell these grieving parents there wasn’t anything this government wanted to do. Not that there was nothing we could do, not that it was too hard to do, not that it was the least we could do, just — there was nothing this government wanted to do — the status quo will do nicely, thank you very much.

We have allowed these minstrels of hate to anesthetize us to what used to be unspeakable horrors. The inaction on guns is prima facie evidence of their success.

The danger presented by failing to reflect on the gross inhumanity of the aberrant is that eventually we come to expect so much less of humankind. Our ideals of humanity become every bit as hardened and dispirited as the events themselves.

I find it appalling that we now have a formulaic national mourning service — call in the families and the politicians, go the yellow pages and find every denomination in town, book some great music, pick the appropriate media anchor, and there you have it. An hour and a half later the world can go back to the way it was before the travesty du jour interrupted the daily divisiveness that passes as news and commentary.

While keeping ourselves safe is paramount, steeling ourselves against accepting such horror is just as important. The chances we will personally face the horrors of Newtown or Boston are infinitesimal, but the daily deluge of divisiveness and polarization is a certainty.  The only unknown is whether we will continue to accept it.

This is an open thread.

I know that tonight we are going to have a debate between two conservative politicians, in which each man will struggle to convince Americans that he, and he alone, is qualified to lead this country out of the economic doldrums in which we reside. Pardon me for being rather uninterested in the words each man will speak tonight (and yes, of course there will be no women on that stage tonight). Words are meaningless; only actions matter. Right now the biggest difference I continue to see between the actions of conservative Democrat Obama and those of moderate Republican Mitt is…uh…Obama’s half-hearted support of women’s and LGBT rights, which doesn’t go all the way through to the policies he enacts. The best thing about Obama right now is that he has Joe Biden instead of Paul Ryan on his team. (Heh-heh, I can’t wait to see THAT debate.) Oh, and Bill Clinton is even more fun to watch these days than he was as President. So he does have both Clintons on his side, something that Romney will never be able to say with a straight face.

Anyhoo, I’m much more interested in the latest Newsweek atrocity right now. Last week, Newsweek had a conservative commentator telling Obama it’s time to hit the road. This week, Newsweek has….a conservative commentator claiming that Obama is poised to achieve St. Ronnie status amongst the Democrats. (Excuse me while I breathe into this brown paper bag for a moment.) Quoth Andrew Sullivan:

If Obama wins, to put it bluntly, he will become the Democrats’ Reagan. The narrative writes itself. [MB: Oh, if it does, Andrew, then why are you writing it for us?] He will emerge as an iconic figure who struggled through a recession and a terrorized world, reshaping the economy within it, passing universal health care, strafing the ranks of al -Qaeda, presiding over a civil-rights revolution, and then enjoying the fruits of the recovery. To be sure, the Obama recovery isn’t likely to have the same oomph as the one associated with Reagan—who benefited from a once-in-a-century cut of top income tax rates (from 70 percent to, at first, 50 percent, and then to 28 percent) as well as a huge jump in defense spending at a time when the national debt was much, much less of a burden. But Obama’s potential for Reagan status (maybe minus the airport-naming) is real. Yes, Bill Clinton won two terms and is a brilliant pol bar none, as he showed in Charlotte in the best speech of both conventions. But the crisis Obama faced on his first day—like the one Reagan faced—was far deeper than anything Clinton confronted, and the future upside therefore is much greater. And unlike Clinton’s constant triangulating improvisation, Obama has been playing a long, strategic game from the very start—a long game that will only truly pay off if he gets eight full years to see it through. That game is not only changing America. It may also bring his opposition, the GOP, back to the center, just as Reagan indelibly moved the Democrats away from the far left.

Hoo boy, where do you even begin with this crap?

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