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Facts are Stubborn Things

Posted by Mark · June 15th, 2004 · 38 Comments

At the 1988 Republican National Convention, Ronald Reagan said, “Facts are stupid things.” This was one of the few times he flubbed his script. He was intending to quote President John Adams, who said, “Facts are stubborn things.”

For the purposes of this article, let’s go with the words of Adams and not Reagan, and let’s look at some of the stubborn facts that, despite mythmaking by neoconservatives, simply will not go away.

Please also note that what I include under these headings is a small fraction of what I could write. I must consider the other demands on my time, as well as your patience in reading this tome.

Myth: Reagan was an honest straight-shooter.

Fact: While Reagan ran for President saying he believed in smaller government, during his eight years in office, discretionary federal spending rose 25% (and that’s after accounting for inflation). The civilian federal government workforce grew by 200,000 under Reagan. By comparison, the civilian federal government workforce was reduced by 365,000 during the eight years of Clinton.

Fact: While Reagan ran for President saying our government should have a balanced budget, he gave us what were (at the time) record high deficits. While the White House writes the budget before Congress gets to vote on it, Reagan repeatedly acted as if he had nothing to do with budgets. He blamed the Democrats in Congress for high spending. But the fact was that if Democrats in Congress had not reduced the spending levels in the budgets Reagan sent them, the Reagan deficits would have been even higher.

Fact: Reagan told then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir that he had helped liberate the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz. Reagan made the same claim to Rabbi Martin Hier of Los Angeles. The truth was Reagan never left the United States in World War II. He spent his military service making movies in Hollywood.

Fact: Reagan made up stories about “welfare queens” driving fancy cars paid for with our tax dollars, but he was never able to produce such a person. No such person existed.

Fact: Reagan denied dying his hair, but the White House did eventually admit that he used a “color rinse.” I guess it depends on what your definition of “dye” is.

Myth: Reagan was a strong man who inspired fear in others around the world.

Fact: In October 1983, a suicide-bomber terrorist killed 241 U.S. Marines in Beirut. Reagan’s reaction was to withdraw troops from Lebanon immediately. He ran like a dog with his tail between his legs. Days later, he had our military invade Grenada, an island not much larger than Disneyland. The supposed purpose was to keep Cubans from building an airstrip there, an airstrip that was later completed with our tax dollars.

Fact: While Jimmy Carter never gave an inch to Ayatolla Kohmeini of Iran, Reagan courted him for years. There is strong evidence that Reagan emissaries cut a deal with the Iranians to hold the American hostages captive in Iraq until after Carter left office. Once in office, Reagan violated the law by secretly selling 107 tons of arms to Iran (a move that could have easily been considered treason). Reagan lackey Oliver North once flew to Tehran with a birthday cake for Kohmeini. That must have frightened the mullah out of his wits. He did these things while declaring, “America will never make concessions to terrorists.”

Myth: Reagan was moral.

Fact: Reagan supported the continuation of apartheid in South Africa.

Fact: Funds raised by Reagan’s illegal Iran Contra operation were used to fund guerillas in Nicaragua who were attempting to overthrow a democratically-elected government. This was after Congress had passed the Boland Amendment, which specifically forbade any direct or indirect support of military or paramilitary operations in Nicaragua. The CIA was aware that the contra rebels Reagan was financing were trafficking in drugs, including the sale of cocaine in the United States. The husband of the woman who was repeatedly saying “Just Say ‘No’ to Drugs” didn?t care.

Fact: Reagan repeatedly funded and supported bloody dictatorial regimes in Guatemala, the Philippines, Argentina, and Haiti.

Fact: Reagan armed and funded Osama bin Laden and his followers in Afghanistan. The explosives bin Laden used to blow up two U.S. embassies in the late 1990s were explosives he was given by Reagan.

Fact: Reagan armed Saddam Hussein, giving him weapons components, military intelligence, and even some of the ingredients needed to manufacture biological weapons such as anthrax. This was after Reagan had learned that Hussein was using chemical weapons against his own countrymen.

Fact: Reagan’s White House gave us Savings and Loan deregulation, which ultimately cost taxpayers $150 billion and resulted in more than 1,000 felony convictions.

Fact: 38 members of Reagan’s administration were convicted of crimes while he was in office. Another 100 were investigated and/or indicted.

Myth: Reagan brought about an unprecedented economic boom.

Fact: Economist James K. Galbraith writes the economy grew by 49 percent during the eight years of Kennedy & Johnson, by 34 percent during the eight years of Clinton, by 32 percent during the eight years of Reagan, by 24 percent during the eight years of Nixon and Ford, and by 21 percent during the eight years of Eisenhower.

Fact: The Congressional Budget Office estimates the after-tax income of a typical family, adjusted for inflation, grew by more than twice as much during the eight years of Clinton than it did during the eight years of Reagan.

Myth: Reagan was the most popular president of our age.

Fact: Gallup polling data shows that his average approval rating was sixth out of the last ten Presidents. His 52 percent average was lower than Kennedy (70 percent), Eisenhower (66 percent), George H.W. Bush (61 percent), Clinton (55 percent) and Johnson (55 percent). Reagan’s lowest approval rating was 46 percent, right after the Iran-Contra scandal broke. His highest rating was 68 percent, three points lower than Clinton’s maximum approval rating of 71%.

Myth: Reagan won the Cold War.

Fact: The Soviet Union was already in steady decline by the time Reagan took office. Its failed economic system ensured eventual failure. Unlike the United States, where most citizens speak the same language and are exposed to largely the same media, the Soviet states spoke many different languages and had very little in common with each other culturally. Economists and other observers were predicting the collapse of the Soviet Union for years before Reagan’s arrival. Soviet leader Gorbachev made many political reforms that led to the break-up of the Soviet Union and therefore the end of the Cold War. Reagan’s reaching out to Gorbachev did more to eliminate any possibility of the Soviets being a threat to us than did his irresponsible spending on such wild, never-realized ideas such as “Star Wars” missile defense.

As I have conceded in previous comments, Reagan was a fairly decent actor, and he did make some Americans feel good.

The “stubborn” facts above, however, are a few of the reasons that there are plenty of other Americans who didn’t feel particularly good or safe when Reagan was in office.

Categories: Politics-In-General


38 responses so far ↓

  • 1 nick meyer // Jun 15, 2004 at 7:54 pm

    What a waste of time. I could not get past the third or fourth line of this piece of trash. You used the same saying about President Bush in a past post about him running and hiding. History correctly recorded President Reagan’s achievements (as evidenced this past week by the outpouring from the majority of Americans.) People in much higher positions and held in much higher esteem than you. Thoughts from one in my mind do hot hold much credence with me. My morals and ethics won’t allow me to respond any more strongly than to say I feel , you sir, are an idiot!!! Why don’t you run on Kerry’s ticket as his vice. You are a perfect fit. Rick did you know I don’t shave my head. I am naturally bald. That is as big a lie as this piece of trash you allowed on your blog. Rick is this the new poster you informed us about earlier. I hope not!! I have enjoyed the discussions and debate up until now. I will really miss this blog if that is the case,you and Bob are great. Why ruin a good thing???

  • 2 Rick // Jun 15, 2004 at 8:43 pm

    Nick, all you have to do is show where he’s lying, since that’s what you seem to think.

    It shouldn’t be hard to do…unless he’s telling the truth?

    Did you know, for example, that when Reagan took us into Nicaragua, Nicaragua sued us in the International Court of Justice…and won? Did you know that the United States, until two days before the trial used the ICJ ourselves? And when the case went to court…did you know that the ICJ basically said, “The United States right now says that the law that forbids attacking countries without provocation is okay. But the last time they brought someone to court here, they said it was not okay. Why should it be different now, just because it’s the United States doing the attacking?”

    It’s not a hard case to find. And it’s not the only one. As the quote Mark used from Adams says, “Facts are stubborn.”

    It will be sad if you quit reading, simply because there were some truths told here that you didn’t like. Sorry if this ends up sounding like an attack because attacking you is the farthest thing from my mind, but I have to ask: Is that what your G-d stands for, shutting down because someone states a fact you you don’t like?

  • 3 Mark // Jun 15, 2004 at 9:31 pm

    Sadly, Rick, neocons are prone to shy away from the facts. Facts make them so incredibly uncomfortable.

    There are facts about everyone that can be troublesome. Clinton, for instance, made some serious errors in judgment while he was in the White House. His supporters, terribly embarrassed by his choice of person, place, and time for his physical activities, confronted him about it and told him so. They didn’t simply deny the truth of what happened.

    Jimmy Carter, another Democratic President, made some serious errors (in my opinion) in his management style and in appointments he made to positions of authority and responsibility. Again, his supporters expressed their dismay to Carter. They didn’t simply act as if those things had never happened.

    I would think that the Republican party would be stronger, more moral, and more patriotic if Republicans as a group would be willing to face uncomfortable and embarrassing facts head on and address the issues. The Stepford-like submission that Republican leaders seem to demand and that Republican followers seem ever so willing to provide hurts the credibility of their party in the eyes of those who are not doing the goose-step to Karl Rove’s marching orders. And in weakening the Republican party and therefore ideas put forth as Republicans, I believe it hurts all of us.

    We would be stronger and more vibrant as a nation if we had two political parties that were willing to face cold, hard facts head-on and deal with them. I am optomistic that this can someday be a reality. But we won’t get there by deifying politicians whose talk and whose walk were as different as night and day.

    Teddy Roosevelt? There’s one Republican whose actions matched his words. He was a man who honored his commitments and his principles, even when it hurt him personally and politically. It doesn’t bother me at all for Teddy Roosevelt to be on Mount Rushmore.

    Now there’s talk of putting Reagan on our currency. While I think that putting his image on credit cards would be far more fitting and appropriate, I would be willing to go along with the concept that one politcal wag had this week of putting Reagan’s face on the ten dollar bill — but only if we start printing ten dollar bills with red ink!

  • 4 Rick // Jun 15, 2004 at 9:39 pm

    Well, I know Nick. And I doubt he’s a “neocon.” In fact, I’m pretty sure he’s not.

    He has some pretty darn good reasons for wanting to see Reagan as “one of the greatest Presidents who ever lived.” And I don’t begrudge him his warm feelings for Reagan on those grounds.

    I’ve said this before, I’m not aware of anyone who is wholly evil. That would include Reagan.

    I do agree that it’s hard when we learn that the people we admire have done some pretty bad things, which they shouldn’t have done. In my mind, the proper response is to convince them not to do it again. In politics, that means voting them out of office.

    The problem is that we should not shirk from recognizing the truth merely because it’s painful, or contradicts our current world-view. This is one of the reasons I’ve been talking about the need to present information in a more palatable way. We can’t coat medicine in an arsenic capsule and expect people to swallow it.

    Nick, I believe, is an honorable person.

    And the Republicans are very, very good at packaging themselves and at hiding their blemishes.

  • 5 Mark // Jun 15, 2004 at 10:05 pm


    I will agree that Republicans are skilled at hiding their blemishes. Their control of the mainstream media plays no small part in this.

    I can’t say that former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards is someone I admire as a person in the sum of who he is. Edwards was convicted of being corrupt, for one thing. I will, however, admire his honesty and openness about some of his vices. Edwards was routinely quoted as saying that he liked to drink, to gamble, and to sleep with women other than his wife. All of these things were true. And the voters in Louisiana kept sending him back to office (four terms in all). Honesty can be refreshing.

    I would have felt a lot better about Reagan if he had simply told people that he believed in bigger government, monstrous deficits, running away from terrorists, giving arms to our enemies, and suppporting right-wing death squads who killed innocent civilians and tried to overthrow democratically elected governments. Given his sunny disposition that many viewed as charming, I don’t know if his honesty about these things would have hurt him at the ballot box. I, for one, would have at least been able to respect him for telling the truth.

  • 6 Mark // Jun 15, 2004 at 10:08 pm


    Regarding whether or not Nick is a neocon, I’ll take your word on that. Obviously, you know the man.

    I predicted to you in a private email that those who were uncomfortable with what I wrote would not try to refute the facts (the cold, hard facts cannot be refuted), and would likely resort to name-calling.

    Nick has written some things on your blog that have caused me to look upon him kindly. I am disappointed that he was the one who proved my private prediction to you to be accurate.

  • 7 nick meyer // Jun 16, 2004 at 8:46 am

    I had to go back and reread my comment because I could’ve sworn I did not write the word “lie “anywhere in my response. I was wrong and must apoligize. It slipped out in the emotion of the moment. I stand by the trash comment though. Rick in our talk I must agree that no one in my mind is wholly evil, bad things do happen to good people with good intentions.. I do not see the reasoning behind this post. In my mind there is nothing constructive about it. Who cares that President Reagan dyed the hair? I see Mark continually stereotyping groups of all kinds. His comments about Christians, republicans etc… serve no purpose. Rick in answer to your question about my GOD. To be honest I feel my GOD would not have wanted me to post a comment. We are to walk away from anything that would have us say or do something that is not of a Christian ethic. We should align ourselves with like minded people. For examplke- I do not go on a lot of different bike runs because of the different influences there. Alcohol, wet t-shirt contests etc… Our GOD wants us to walk away from something that could lead to sin in our lives which is what I should of done before I commented. The references in this post basically imply that President Reagan personnally stood on the street corner and sold drugs to our kids, that he personnallly handed over weapons to Saddam and Osama.(Yes this morning I went back and read the whole piece) It does not state anything about the administration, it says Reagan. Mark the last problem I have with your writings is your lack of respect, calling President Reagan by just Reagan, calling President Bush “shrub.” What purpose does that serve? I would love to see you in that great office so the world would be perfect. Mark King for President!!!! Than you could change your name to King Mark and run your monarchy the way you see fit and it would be a perfect world because you say it is. That is all.

  • 8 Bob // Jun 16, 2004 at 9:01 am

    Fact: Reagan told then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir that he had helped liberate the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz. Reagan made the same claim to Rabbi Martin Hier of Los Angeles. The truth was Reagan never left the United States in World War II. He spent his military service making movies in Hollywood.

    This one is where I want to see the sources. Reagan may not have been a brave fighting man but he wasn?t stupid enough to be caught in a ridiculous lie.

    Fact: Reagan denied dying his hair, but the White House did eventually admit that he used a ?color rinse.? I guess it depends on what your definition of ?dye? is.

    Unless the purpose here is to embarrass and impugn the witness I fail to see relevance, Your Honor.

    All humans have their own personal quirks. The personal grooming aisle at the store is filled with products for men and women to make them look younger, take out the grey, etc, and most people would not publicly admit to using those products.

    If your purpose is to show that Reagan lied then you probably succeeded, however, isn?t the magnifying glass just a little too close? Do we ask about false teeth next? How about which candidates use Viagra? Does that make them less qualified to hold office?

    A relevant personal question like Cheney?s heart condition and how it could possibly affect the country makes more sense to me.

    What I am saying is can?t we let people in office have some room to be people?

    Fact: Reagan armed and funded Osama bin Laden and his followers in Afghanistan. The explosives bin Laden used to blow up two U.S. embassies in the late 1990s were explosives he was given by Reagan.

    To me this is an incomplete statement. The Carter / Reagan administrations supported the Afghans with an enormous amount of weapons over the years to defeat the Soviets. When the Soviets finally did retreat did anyone think they would give this stuff back?

    If I recall my reading correctly, CIA was spending $30 million a year for this purpose and the Saudi?s were matching the funds. How can you be sure it was American explosives since all $60 million was spent on the black market to purchase CHINESE rifles, grenades and explosives?

    And since you mention bin Laden, it was widely known that he was a Saudi agent used to transport cash to the Afghans and Islamic fighters. He also built roads and buildings in Pakistan to help warehouse and deliver these weapons. (His family is still the most influential contractor in Saudi Arabia). These explosives were not ?given? to him. Considering how lax security was then and now in those countries, all bin Laden had to do was back the truck up to the loading dock. There is nothing in any book or article I have read that says America had any relationship with bin Laden at all.

    The book I am currently reading is called “Ghost Wars” and it’s about this very topic. I believed I mentioned it in a previous comment.

    I hope your statement regarding Reagan and bin Laden is not intentionally misleading since in its current form tells less than the truth. If there are additional sources I would really like to read them.

    Mark, I know you to be a very intelligent and thoughtful man. I also know you to be a Democrat down to your bones. I also hope you don’t consider me as a “Neocon” in any form but I have to take respectful issue with some of your writing.

    I hope you are not “spinning” the truth here. I personally have seen enough of that on this blog and in the press in general. This is the “UNSPUN” zone, I am hoping that here the truth has a fighting chance to prevail.

    Reagan, like anyone who makes it to the presidency, is not a saint. He had his hand caught in the cookie jar with the Iran Contra affair for example.

    But he deserves a TRUE legacy, good or bad.

  • 9 nick meyer // Jun 16, 2004 at 9:19 am

    Thank you Bob.

  • 10 Groundpounder // Jun 16, 2004 at 9:23 am

    Dear Mrs. Reagan,

    I would like to personally extend my deepest condolences on the passing of your husband. He was a great man and his mark on this nation and us as a people will be indelible to be sure.

    Ma’am, thank you for your show of strength and of character over the course of his illness I cannot imagine how difficult the past years have been on you and your family. I hope now that you can find some measure of peace in knowing that you remained faithful to the tenants of your vows taken so many years ago.

    Thank you for the tenacity and determination to defend your husband when he came under attack by various agencies while he was in the political spotlight. He was your husband first, and our President second. Any man would count himself fortunate, and doubly blessed to have a wife such as yourself at his side. I hope that there are those that would find inspiration in your actions.

    Thank you for shielding the President from public view for the last years of his life, and thus preserving our memory of a bright, loving man who was able to see the positive in the worst of situations. By stepping in and acting as a shield, you were able to preserve the dignity of a man who entered into the final years of his life with the greatest humility.

    Finally, thank you for allowing this nation the opportunity to participate in the rememberance of the President by State Funeral. The fabric of this country has been showing signs of wear. We are not a nation united toward one cause. We have taken to petty name calling and back-biting. We have lost our moral compass. By your allowing a State Funeral for your husband, I hope that people will see that we are indeed a great nation, comprised of many peoples with diverse ideas, and yet can be united toward a common objective. We are Americans. We are a kind people, a generous people, and I hope that the example that you have set will serve to remind us of these traits that we hold so dear.

    You have allowed us to mourn with you in what should be your most private moments. You have shown bearing beyond all call. You have shown us that indeed no man is greater that the love that his wife has for him.

    May the Lord grant you His peace.

    Semper Fidelis,


  • 11 Rick // Jun 16, 2004 at 9:24 am

    Both Nick and Bob say a couple things that make me feel good about having this blog and particularly about having it as a blog where people can post comments.

    A couple of points of clarification seem to me to be in order, though.

    The Christian G-d, from my readings (you can’t tell this from watching Christians, particularly Christian in politics), wants “his” people to stand as a light to the world. (Matthew 5:14-16.) While it’s true that “he” would not want you to participate in the activities you described in your comment, Nick, in the example of Jesus, he did not shun those who did. On the contrary, when “organized religion” shunned them, he welcomed them to him. You, in your own work, do not shun bad people. I know this, because you’ve told me so: You work to help them.

    Now…if it’s easier for you to think of helping those who disagree with you, then by all means do so. The proper response is not vilification, but correction. If Mark has stated something untrue or incorrect then, in your response, provide the evidence to correct him. After all, it is the knowledge of the truth that sets one free (John 8:32) — and the freedom wrought by truth is not limited to the spiritual dimension.

    For both you and Bob, the story of Reagan’s comments regarding Auschwitz has been mentioned before, although I cannot find many references to it (perhaps because it’s as absurd as his comment that he did not trade arms for hostages?). You can find information on it here.

    (As an interesting sidenote, look what else I found while documenting the quote: Go to this page http://www.vnnforum.com/main/2004b/41004letters.htm and do a search on the word “reagan” on that page. Scroll to the “Editor’s Note” which, on my monitor, comes up in blue text.)

    Bob has one critical thing wrong about Unspun™. Unspun™ was, indeed, created as a counterpoint to the Republican mantra that they put out stories with “no spin.” O’Reilly, by the way, may have cornered the market on that phrase, but he isn’t the only neo-conservative to have used it. Republicans have been arguing, Orwellian-style, for a couple of decades that the reason liberalism was so popular — and it was popular all the way back to the most liberal of times: the American Revolution — was because they twisted reality. In fact, Republicans have repeatedly twisted stories in recent times and are now even occasionally moving beyond that to outright revisionism.

    You won’t believe this — you can’t believe this, because you don’t give yourselves the opportunity to question anymore — but the “news” you hear in the United States is largely made up these days. Sure, there are elements of fact within “news” stories. But the packaging of it is such that you don’t know which parts are real and which are not.

    Here’s a question for you: How come before 9/11 most Americans had never heard of al Queda, even though we had heard of embassy bombings, terrorist attacks and general hints of worldwide discontent and why, now, are there no other terrorists in the world except al Queda (and the occasional Palestinian, who is apparently somehow linked with al Queda)? Am I the only one who wonders where all the other terrorists went? Or maybe I’m just the only one who thinks it was okay to subsume every sign of discontent worldwide into the boogeyman of “al Queda.”

    Give us more money for Iraq! Why? Al Queda, you idiot! Stop talking against the policies of the Bush Administration! Why? Al Queda, you communist! Don’t ask why 50% to 70% of all the stories on television these days are about Al Queda! Why? Al Queda, you succoror of the enemy! Look! Over there! It’s al Queda! Wait! Now al Queda is over there! Watch out! Behind you! Under your bed! It’s al Queda!

    Better just let us take over folks. Don’t ask questions. Come on, move on. Get back to your cubicle. We’ll take care of everything. Uh…could you leave that wallet? We might need that. For evidence. You understand.

    Unspun™ was created not with the primary idea of telling things like they are without spinning them. Sure, one of the primary ideas here is to try to be truthful, honest and avoid any tinge of yellow journalism whenever possible. But all people spin. Unspun™ spins. Why? Because you cannot tell a story — even a true story — without imbedding your own point of view into the telling of it. Unspun⁜ aims for veridicality, but with the Kantian recognition that we cannot get outside the world in which we live to some ultimate objectivity. It’s this recognition and self-reflection (I hope) that makes this way of talking (I hope) more honest (I hope).

    It’s no accident that people outside the United States — including American citizens living abroad — have a different and increasingly negative view regarding the Bush Administration than we on the inside have. We on the inside have exposure to Fox “News”, CNN, MSNBC and other drivel packaged for the purpose of promoting particular political views more than for informing. The best our “news” programs here can do to “inform” us is to try to provide “balance.”

    “Balance” is bullshit. In the old days, news reporters used to report, to the best of their ability, truthfully, after careful investigation. Today, someone says, “In the news today: Low Carb Diets: Your Path to a Sleek Body.” Tomorrow — or sometimes within the same program if it’s one of the new format shows like “Hannity & Colmes” which gives all (that would be “both,” because there are only two) points of view — the program is “Low Carb Diets the Path to a Sleek Body? This Breadmaker Disagrees & He’s Living Proof!”

    Don’t believe in “ghosts”? What kind of idiot are you! Haven’t you see the “news” lately “proving” such things? And did you know that the military increasingly relies on clairvoyants for military strategy? (This, by the way, is more b.s., but I’ve seen it “reported” — because that’s what our fact-checking “news” reporters do these days.)

    The result of this, frankly, is that Americans are becoming stupider as each “news” day passes.

    Unspun𔭕 was created with the hope that questions could be raised, not by providing “an alternative point of view,” but by a variety of methods that include challenging false “news” stories and beliefs, pointing out the potential problems with policy directives of the government, pointing people to outside sources for reading (i.e., outside controlled media like Fox and CNN) and/or even using Fox and CNN, where possible, to point out inconsistencies and problems, among other things.

    Get pissed if you want. That’s fine. Rag on Mark, me, Bob or each other if you want. That’s fine. Perhaps in all that, though, you might consider thinking, as well. Calling names, attacking something because you don’t like it, as opposed to because you’re able to argue against it, is just more of the same b.s. that got our country into the fix it’s in today. Discuss, think, read. In doing so, you may hear about something you didn’t now. That’s why I don’t censor the blog.

    And it’s why I always write more stridently after someone responds to an apparently fact-laden post, whether it’s Mark’s or Nat Dawson’s, by saying things like “What a waste of time. I could not get past the third or fourth line of this piece of trash” and leaving it at that. Build a counter-argument, for goodness sake! (Nick, I’m not picking on you. Seriously. This was just the most recent and quickest example to pull from the blog comments.)

    And don’t be afraid to consider a point of view that differs from your own.

    And, please, don’t be afraid to treat one another like fellow citizens who disagree, rather than mortal enemies who must destroy one another to “win.” If winning is the goal, it needs to be a win for everyone.

  • 12 Bob // Jun 16, 2004 at 9:29 am


    Just to follow up my last statement. Reagan desrves a TRUE legacy, as does Clinton, as does Bush (I & II). And so does the next guy to hold office.

    The truth, in my humble opinion, should not be colored by political affiliation. All these men can live or die based on their achievements (or lack thereof).

  • 13 nick meyer // Jun 16, 2004 at 9:34 am

    Jeff this is awesome and I am positive HEARTFELT. Thank you for your sincerity and warmth towards Mrs. Reagan. She has always held her head high and walked with dignity. I wish that your feeligs, and mine, could be sent to her in a massive card. Can we see about that?

  • 14 Groundpounder // Jun 16, 2004 at 10:01 am

    The political spectrum is not linear. It is circular. “Neo-cons” and “Neo-libs” are cut from the same bolt of cloth. They stand linked arm in arm and scream the same shrill mantras. From my own experience I have found that the greater the tantrum, the sillier the issue.

    FYI Mark. Ronald Reagan passed away a couple weeks ago.

  • 15 Mark // Jun 16, 2004 at 10:23 am


    I will be happy to provide the sources for Reagan’s lie about his service in World War II. I am at work now, and I have a commitment tonight. It will likely be Thursday night before I have the time to dig that out of the stack of papers I used in compiling my article. Be patient. I have it and will be happy to provide it.

    The hair thing simply illustrates that Reagan was not honest in any area of his life. I went through a period when I dyed my hair. During that time, I freely admitted doing so when anyone asked. People who lie tend to lie all the time. It’s a way of life for them. This was simply one of many examples of Reagan’s unfamiliarity with the truth.

    bin Laden is something we could talk about for days and days. Not only did he receive funds and assistance from the Reagan administration, his family (as I’m sure you know) has a lot of business ties with George H. W. Bush. His family was gathered up and flown out of the United States in the days after September 11, days in which you and I were not permitted to fly. Books have been written about those connections. I’ll provide you with more specifics on Reagan’s connection there. Again, it will likely be Thursday evening before I have the time. I apologize in advance for the delay and hope you can wait.

    I will grant you that Carter supported bad actors in Afghanistan, but not nearly to the degree that Reagan did. I can also look for more documentation on this.


    You DID use the word “lie” in your original comment, yet you cannot refute any of the facts I put forth. I would also appreciate it if you could stick to the issues. This isn’t about me, Nick. It’s about real issues and real public figures and real lies that the mainstream media have fed us for years. I’m sick of the lies, and I was trying to balance out this week of deification with some truth. I’m sorry that the truth hurts you so, Nick. But that’s not my fault. If the cold, hard facts about Reagan hurt you, blame Reagan.

    And the way I address occupants of the Oval Office? It will be a cold day in hell before I take lectures from Republicans on showing respect to Presidents. Think about it. What Reagan did, what Shrub has done were FAR worse than fibbing about a blow job. Yet my party hasn’t spent $60 million in taxpayer money investigating them. I’m sure you write Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Lielly to complain about the way they refer to Clinton. When you do, then come back to me and talk about respect, Nick. Get off your pulpit. Your preaching is making me reach for the barf bag.

  • 16 Rick // Jun 16, 2004 at 10:35 am

    You’re all making me reach for the barf bag. 😉

    How I long for the time when reasoned discourse took place instead of ad hominem.

    You know…the days when if someone said something you didn’t like you…uh…oh. Well, I guess you challenged them to a duel and one of you got killed. 😉

    Really, though, is it possible to actually discuss? Or is the blog a waste of time, because minds are made up and there is no compromise?

    Heaven help America and the world we’ll help destroy if that’s the case.

  • 17 nick meyer // Jun 16, 2004 at 10:59 pm

    To mARK and all you other Republican admirers, I am sitting here watching the news and thought I would share the great story just reported. Normally a past president is not to be honored on a postage stamp until 10 years after his death. It was announced today that the late, great President Reagan will have a stamp with his likeness out for release in early 2005. Have a great night.

  • 18 Rick // Jun 16, 2004 at 11:50 pm

    If this were true (it’s not; see below), then this shows…what? Stupidity on the part of Americans, for continuing steadfastly to honor a man who began the long slide toward the end of our time as a world power? The man who first showed the world that there was one set of rules for the rest of the world and another set for the United States of America? The man who taught us that Democrats and Republicans are to be mortal enemies and must fight one another to win, rather than compromise, at all costs, thus beginning the national split and making it impossible for us to actualize a government of the People, by the People and for the People? (And, of course, by helping us solidify into our political positions, helped us believe that there are and only can be two parties?)

    Just remember what we talked about earlier today, Nick. According to your religious views, there is no Teflon® in heaven. Not for the choices he made; not for the choices of those who simply fail to do their homework before voting. Go right ahead and continue worshiping Reagan for all I care. But you might want to read Exodus 20:5-6 first. 😉

    At any rate, to correct your incorrect statement about stamps:

    Q: How did President Richard Nixon end up on a stamp so quickly after his death? When Elvis Presley died, fans were told they would have to wait at least 10 years before his face could grace a stamp.

    ?Sean Scheiderer, Columbus, Ohio

    A: Nixon’s stamp actually came nearly five months late, compared to standard United State Postal Service (USPS) policy.

    But yes, he and the other presidents do not have to wait 10 years like everybody else. That’s because of a different corrupt president?Warren Harding.

    No matter who you are, you have to be dead to be honored by a stamp. In most cases, that means dead at least a decade.

                                                     * * *

    However, under a separate tradition, presidents get a stamp on their next birthday following their death. Thus, recently deceased President Ronald Reagan will be so honored on his birthday, next Feb. 6.

    The birthday celebration is because modern presidential stamps are “commemoratives” — special, limited-edition stamps that at least nominally celebrate some kind of anniversary.

                                                     * * *

    U.S. federal postage stamps didn?t exist until 1847. President George Washington was honored on the first series (along with Benjamin Franklin) — a lot more than 10 years after his death.

                                                     * * *

    It took a while for presidential commemoratives to get going. Abraham Lincoln got a stamp in 1866, rushed into production after his assassination the year before, but it was technically a ?definitive,? or regular, stamp, not a commemorative. A 1909 Lincoln stamp marking his 100th birthday, however, was a commemorative, and perhaps the first official presidential commemorative.

    After that, commemoratives quickly became political. The USPS had a hard time saying no to political pressure and to the money commemoratives raked in.

    This led to the frenzied tribute to Harding, which changed the presidential rules forever. Harding died on Aug. 2, 1923 and had himself a stamp by Sept. 1 — still one of the fastest stamp commemorations in U.S. history.

    Commemoratives were already coming on pretty fast at the time, but Harding shattered the stamp speed record. For example, President William McKinley, who went to the trouble of getting assassinated in 1901, still had to wait about 2.5 years before showing up on a stamp. That was a standard presidential wait until Harding kicked the bucket.

    Harding’s effect was twofold. On the one hand, it allowed popular presidents to be commemorated very rapidly. (Today commonly viewed as either mired in corruption or incompetently oblivious to corruption around him, Harding was beloved in his time. [Rick’s Note: Like Reagan.]) Thus, President Franklin Roosevelt was on no fewer than four stamps within three months of his 1945 death.

    On the other hand, it allowed unpopular presidents to go stampless for a long time. The first victim was Woodrow Wilson, who died shortly after Harding and was forgotten for about a year, then only got a definitive stamp. Calvin Coolidge’s stamp came more than 5 years after his 1933 death.

    Following decades of fitful clamor to rein in this highly politicized stamping, the USPS finally adopted the birthday-after-death system, and has generally adhered to it since President John Kennedy’s 1963 assassination.

    The one exception was Nixon, who died April 22, 1994 and was commemorated on April 26, 1995, missing his Jan. 9 birthday by miles. The official reason was to avoid the chaos of a January rate increase, but many philatelists believe the Watergate president’s massive unpopularity played a role. Likewise, the USPS has always declined to verify stories that the Nixon stamp was one of the worst-selling commemoratives ever.

                                                     * * *

                                                                                                                      — Stupid Question™ by John Ruch, Week of June 14, 2004, emphasis added.

    I guess it’s a little less unique and tremendous than your news program lead you to believe, eh? That’s the thing about propaganda and entertainment masquerading as news. It’s easy to hoodwink the masses, but facts are stubborn things.

  • 19 Mark // Jun 17, 2004 at 7:18 am


    Here’s the link to the source I used for Reagan’s claims about liberating Auschwitz:


    It is an article by Alexander Cockburn, an author and a columnist for The Nation. This story has been around since the 1980s, but has been largely buried by the mainstream media. I can remember contemporaneous accounts of Reagan making this claim in public, as well. But I cannot find (yet) references to this on the internet.

    It’s one of dozens if not hundreds of published accounts of Reagan making wild claims about one thing or another that were obviously not true. Those who heard Reagan’s fantasies first hand came to understand that Reagan somehow believed his tall tales, in spite of cold, hard facts to the contrary.

    You say you don’t believe Reagan was “stupid enough” to be caught in such a lie.

    I used to think Reagan was a dim-wit. That was before the most recent Supreme Court appointment to the White House. That being said, Reagan was certainly no Rhodes Scholar. I think there can be valid speculation as to whether Reagan’s mind was sound while he served as President. Many observers wondered if Reagan could tell the difference between a movie script and real life. When you look at the total package, from the “color-rinsed” hair and rouged cheeks to the urban legends he spun about welfare queens, I think it’s a valid question.

    Throughout his political career, Reagan gave fuel to the fire of those who questioned his ability to separate movies from reality. In 1966, he was asked what kind of governor he would be. His reply? “I don’t know, I never played a governor.”

  • 20 nick meyer // Jun 17, 2004 at 8:20 am

    I hate getting spanked when I am mistaken. In the heat of the moment I wrote exactly what was reported on the news without verifying the content. Rick, lesson learned. (again) I will try to be more careful in writing unsubstantiated stories, as time allows. With work, home and David my time is pretty well used up but that is no excuse for not doing homework before I open my mouth. Although that does not take away from the good news about the Honor bestowed upon our late, GREAT President Reagan.

  • 21 Rick // Jun 17, 2004 at 9:46 am

    When you do your homework, Nick, you’ll find that there’s a lot more than what I pointed out that you’re getting through the news that isn’t always what it seems to be…including the things that make you think Reagan was a great President.

    He was a President. Some Presidents are good, some are bad, most are probably just Presidents…period. They do the job, but neither well nor badly.

    When Presidents follow either their own agenda or an agenda that the majority of Americans have to be tricked about before they will offer their consent, then that, by definition, makes them something other than great.

    Regardless of whatever Reagan did for you personally, he appears to have participated on more than one occasion in the deliberate deception of the American public. This is hardly the sign of a great man, let alone a great President.

    I’m very sorry to say that. I’m very sorry to remind you that “popularity” — especially when it’s based on something harmful which has been hidden from you — is not what makes one great. As we discussed in person, the things your Jesus purportedly did were decidedly unpopular. They were so unpopular that he was sentenced to die by a most hideous death, if you believe what was written.

    If popularity were all that mattered and if those of us currently arguing unpopular ideas were wrong because our ideas were unpopular, then I think any Christian with half a shred of honesty would have a very difficult time with the Bible, because the ideas of Jesus were very unpopular in their day — still are, in many parts of the world. Supporting those ideas supposedly got him (and some others) crucified, thrown from buildings and subjected to other hideous deaths and persecutions.

    Some people say he sought the truth. Some people claim to emulate him. So why do they refuse to take the simple step of “doing their homework” even after they’ve seen where they’ve been mislead? If someone misleads me — particularly if it’s a bold and brazen lie — I am much more careful about what they say to me in the future.

    Note that I said “careful.” I didn’t say I stop listening to them. I didn’t stop listening to Nat Dawson, for example. If I had, I couldn’t have researched and corrected all his lies to help prevent others from being tricked into believing them. And sometimes even liars tell the truth. Sometimes even people who do lots of bad things do some good things — like what you feel Reagan did for you.

    But people who lie to me, trick me, deceive me and mislead me are not “great” in my book. Particularly when, in the process, they’re destroying the world your children (not mine, since I don’t have any) will inherit.

    If I were you, I’d be saying, “Hmmmm…Rick’s pointed out several things and shown me evidence that I’ve often been given incorrect information. I wonder how many other times that’s happened!” And then I’d be watching out for my family’s future by being a more attentive voting citizen.

    Question, man. Think. Question me, too. I don’t mind. Sometimes I’m wrong about some things — Mark corrected me on one recent posting concerning damage awards in personal injury lawsuits. Other times, I’ve been misinformed and need correction so that I learn something. But I’m confident that, because I almost always do my homework I’m less often mislead and less often tricked.

    That should be your goal, too. Question me. Question others. Learn. Protect your family.

  • 22 Bob // Jun 17, 2004 at 1:06 pm


    Thanks for the link. I read the article.

    I have an honest question for you and the blog at large, and it stems from your source.

    In my opinion, the source you provided is opinion, not news, not nearly close to “fact”. By the tone and direction of the author’s writing, he is obviously not interested in fact, but presentation of “spin”.

    I know that sometimes “fact” cannot be completely proven but, in this case, this “opinion” does not support the original statement.

    I don’t know the rules of trial court but at some point “Fact” is distingusihed from “Rumor” or “Heresay” or even “Opinion”.

    That biased article is not something I would consider as a source for anything except similiar opinion, in short it can only simply reinforce itself.

    Is there a more independant, more “newsy” source for this “truth” if it was so well known? If it was common knowledge as claimed then there must be some additional sources to draw from. If not, then it only fuels my doubts.

    I have a problem with “spin”. I don’t like to be “spun”.

    Your source is not a reputable source in my mind.

    Respectfully, posting with that as a source compromises all your sources and statements.

  • 23 Bob // Jun 17, 2004 at 1:30 pm

    If popularity were all that mattered and if those of us currently arguing unpopular ideas were wrong because our ideas were unpopular…


    Respectfully, Nick is entitled to an opinion, even if it’s considered wrong or unpopular. Even in light of “fact” people can still “believe” in what they want.

    Whether Reagan was great is a point no one can prove. It creates debate which is a wonderful thing, a learning tool for many, including myself.

    But despite the “facts”, everyone believes what they want. In some circles that’s called faith. If Nick has faith in Reagan, Jesus and the Boogy Man then that is where he chooses to place his faith, and it’s not wrong or right, it just is.

    You can lead Nick and everyone else to your sources, explain how things are reported or not reported as the case may be, but be prepared at the end of the day to allow Nick to believe in what he chooses.

    I am not going out on a limb here to say that my comment will not be popular with everyone who reads it. That’s fine, as long as we agree to be respectful about each other’s opinions and beliefs.

    What I would like to clarify here is that I have no agenda other than free speech. I am not a Reagan supporter or basher. I have more reading to do, more questions to ask before I decide.

    But my decision will be based on research and reading and I will make value judgements about the quality of the sources. If all news is “spun” as you claim, then I have to decide for myself which sources are the least “spun” according to my personal set of values, ethics and morals.

  • 24 Rick // Jun 17, 2004 at 2:25 pm

    First, as to your most recent comment (second of two in that series) about what I said: I was not indicating that Nick’s comment was unpopular. On the contrary: I think he expresses the popular view. It’s some of your articles, but particularly my articles and now Mark’s article to which I referred when I used the term “unpopular.” And, as I said, my point was that veridicality does not depend upon a popularity contest; some aspects of reality, maybe we vote on (e.g., social constructs), but other aspects — such as what did or did not happen — do not change just because we wish to revise history to make it more palatable.

    And Nick, me, you, Mark and everyone else is, indeed, entitled to their opinion, even if it flies in the face of reality. I work (until informed otherwise) under the assumption that most people wish to hold opinions that do not fly in the face of reality. All I said, as I recall, was that one has a responsibility and duty as a citizen of the United States to ensure that one is not just blindly accepting crap in place of reason or lies in place of truth and that a citizen has this responsibility and duty because our country depends upon that. I did not, in saying that, state or mean to indicate that one cannot hold even unsupported opinions.

    One way we can communicate better is not to read more into people’s words than they said; if we believe they actually intended more, particularly if what we think they intended comes out as something negative (e.g., telling someone they aren’t allowed an opinion), we should query them to find out whether that’s what was really said. I can assure you in this case, it was not.

    Incidentally, it was also a subjunctive statement. I said, if such-and-such were the case and followed that by indicating it would mean…. The point of that whole section being that popularity or lack thereof does not determine the truth of a message. Since there has been more than one indication here on the blog that some might think that popularity does determine the rightness or truth of a message, I wanted to draw upon an example that was not, particularly in its own time, popular, knowing that the people to whom I was speaking believe that it was nevertheless a right and true message. This was offered, as I said, as my proof that popularity does not determine truth, or rightness.

    And I disagree that regarding placing faith in a person we can say “it’s not wrong or right, it just is”: Putting your faith in the wrong people can definitely be wrong, when you have cause to believe that the faith is misplaced, when that faith is placed in the highest-elected government official of our nation and when you are a citizen whose duty it is to protect this nation. You do not protect this nation, liberty or the Constitution by shirking your responsibility as a citizen.

    Secondly, as to your first comment post in the series of two:

  • It’s not a matter of “opinion” if I tell someone that so-and-so said [fill in the blank]. If I said that so-and-so indicated something, that’s different.

    I don’t have an “opinion” that Bob, Mark, Nick, or any other human on the face of the earth has said something. If I “read between the lines,” that’s justifiably called an “opinion.”

  • It remains to be proven whether the source Mark used is reliable or unreliable. If one checks his source and is unable to validate it in some way, this may call the source into question by itself; if one simply says, “I don’t like/trust/believe/value that source,” that’s another story. An honest person needs a reason not to like the source. Calling a source “biased” because the source expresses opinions different from yours does not seem to me to count. If that were true, I couldn’t believe any of you here, because I don’t think there’s a single person on this blog with whom I always agree.
  • If I use a source that turns out to be unreliable — and, as per 2 above, I need to show this to be the case — that brings down a comment and possibly some argument or arguments based upon that source. Using one source that turns out to be false does no more to destroy my credibility than when LadyLawyer visited us and thought my getting someone’s first name wrong made it impossible for anyone to believe anything I ever said or would say. If I routinely quote unreliable sources, this still does not ipso facto mean all my sources are always unreliable. While it would create justifiable doubt regarding the credibility, if we operate solely from the question of logical argumentation, each would have to be validated independently. Someone may not wish to do that and so might just disregard or refuse to read my work. That’s fine. Even their doing that would not damage the argument; it’s a simple refusal to engage the argument. (And I have no problem with saying that would be justifiable, as well; it just wouldn’t damage the argument. Unreliable people and sources can still say true things and make good arguments. They just don’t usually do so.)
  • In this particular case, if I successfully prove that Mark’s source is actually wrong, that will essentially wipe out that leg of Mark’s argument that Reagan was not actually “an honest straight-shooter.” There were five legs on which that argument stood. There could easily have been more. (I know, because I considered writing an article about Reagan myself and have done some research for one.) At any rate, to destroy Mark’s argument, you need to show more than that one leg is false. Just as my proving to you that Bush has done one or two things wrong would not suffice to show (depending on what they were) whether he should be re-elected or not, so, too, is more needed here to defeat Mark’s argument.
  • It seems, these days, that too many people — and, Bob, I don’t actually mean to indicate that you operate this way, although perhaps on this one article you did…maybe — but too many people in multiple political parties seem to think that if they can just show that someone or something they oppose is subject to one flaw, however minor, that’s it; they’ve accomplished all they need to accomplish. End of story.

    This is why in a country that spent $60 million and more than 8-10 years of investigation by people who really really wanted to nail him we ended up “getting” Clinton for what?

    He lied about cheating on his wife. No other man in America would do that. Any other man in America, whether he was a politician or not, would have immediately stepped up and said, “I’m sorry. I did have sex with that woman.” It happens daily. And no man ever does otherwise.

    Please get a pen and an envelope. Open your checkbooks. I want to tell you where to send the money for the oceanfront property I’m selling in Kansas — I’m not in Kansas anymore, but obviously many of the rest of you still are. No doubt you can make better use of this than me.

    As badly as they wanted him, as much money as they spent, as hard as they hounded, they ultimately treed the man because he tried to keep quiet the fact that he received a blowjob from someone other than his wife. I’m surprised he is still roaming free. He deserves a life sentence for that, if not the death penalty. That one fact is all it takes to ruin the guy.

    But Iran-Contra? Exploding budgets from the people who say they’re for cutting taxes (where’s my tax cut? did you get yours?) and small government? Savings and loan deregulation? Enron? Taking credit for ending an already dead system? Taking a nation to war and killing our poorer citizens (because they can’t avoid being sent like those who can pull strings to get into safer areas)? Telling us we had to do this because of weapons of mass destruction? High-level discussions about how “quaint” the Geneva Convention rules regarding humane treatment of prisoners are? Concealing the fact that the government’s energy policy was apparently set by America’s energy CEOs?

    That’s peanuts! That’s chump change! We want the head of the man who lied about cheating on his wife! Where the hell is that semen-stained dress?

    Please tell me who sounds biased.

  • 25 Rick // Jun 17, 2004 at 2:40 pm

    Incidentally, in response to your comment that you “have no agenda other than free speech,” I don’t think there’s any doubt that I advocate free speech.

    Anyone believing I’ve done otherwise merely post a comment inviting someone to email them (all our email addresses are linked to the posts, if you’ll notice) and example of my censoring anything — even here on my own blog — and forward that to me.

    I’ll post it, just as I did someone’s prior comment indicating that he was being censored. 😉

  • 26 Bob // Jun 17, 2004 at 2:57 pm

    It remains to be proven whether the source Mark used is reliable or unreliable. If one checks his source and is unable to validate it in some way, this may call the source into question by itself; if one simply says, “I don’t like/trust/believe/value that source,” that’s another story. An honest person needs a reason not to like the source. Calling a source “biased” because the source expresses opinions different from yours does not seem to me to count. If that were true, I couldn’t believe any of you here, because I don’t think there’s a single person on this blog with whom I always agree.

    The writer of the article Mark pointed me to was beyond opinionated. He was just being rude. His use of language made it obvious that he was not reporting fact or even heresay but grinding an ax. He was not informing or persuading, he was entertainling like minded people in my humble opinion. That makes for a biased source.

    In this particular case, if I successfully prove that Mark’s source is actually wrong, that will essentially wipe out that leg of Mark’s argument that Reagan was not actually “an honest straight-shooter.” There were five legs on which that argument stood.

    Since the source I read was so biased I would have to …

    If I were you, I’d be saying, “Hmmmm…Rick’s pointed out several things and shown me evidence that I’ve often been given incorrect information. I wonder how many other times that’s happened!”

    If someone misleads me ? particularly if it’s a bold and brazen lie ? I am much more careful about what they say to me in the future.

    If I sniff a “spin” I’ll only make you work harder to gain my trust. If I see a “spin” then I will place a value judgement on all your work until such time that value judgement can be changed by “unspun” labor.

    Question, man. Think. Question me, too. I don’t mind.

    If there is anything I have learned on this blog it’s to question you and everyone else who posts here. Thanks for the lessons.

  • 27 Rick // Jun 17, 2004 at 3:09 pm

    As you noted (quoting me),

    If someone misleads me — particularly if it’s a bold and brazen lie — I am much more careful about what they say to me in the future.

    That is, indeed, a good policy to follow. So you’re saying Mark mislead you and told you a bold and brazen lie?

    I guess I didn’t see that. I still don’t know that just because the source he quoted appears to dislike Reagan that this means he told a bold and brazen lie, but I’m relatively certain that it doesn’t mean that Mark told a bold and brazen lie — or even that he mislead you. (I don’t, by the way, know that he did not do those things, although I don’t think he did. But I’m pretty close to 100% sure that I don’t think he did do those things.)

    I meant to say in my last note, also, that being “respectful about each other’s opinions and beliefs” doesn’t mean not challenging them. It doesn’t mean we respond with silence. It doesn’t mean we say, “Oh, that’s nice. I didn’t realize you believed that. I didn’t know that was your opinion.” It definitely doesn’t mean that if we have information that might alter that opinion, we shouldn’t say so (and share that information).

    Nick knows me; I know Nick. Nick and I talk nearly every day. He’s aware that I do respect his opinions. (As a matter of fact, I challenged Mark’s comment/belief that Nick is a neocon, as well. I don’t respect neocons.) That doesn’t mean I agree with all Nick’s opinions. It doesn’t mean I won’t challenge them.

    It just means if I run over him backing out of my driveway, it was an accident. 😉

  • 28 nick meyer // Jun 17, 2004 at 3:21 pm

    Thank You Bob for taking the time to research mARKs lead. Unfortunately I just can’t find the time. I’ve been told not to just blindly trust what is in print as fact, but the same kind of people that are telling me this will list as fact something in print when it suits their need or agenda. I will admit I am a staunch republican but I do not go about trashing all Democrats because that is what they are. “It will be a cold day in hell before I take lectures from Republicans on showing respect to presidents.” This statement was to me proof of the unbridled hate mARK feels for all Republicans. And then to use a critics opinion and state his words as fact are further proof how far people will go in distorting, spinning the truth. I respect your neutrality in seeking out the truth and calling someone to the carpet who misstates the same.

  • 29 Bob // Jun 17, 2004 at 3:23 pm

    If someone misleads me ? particularly if it’s a bold and brazen lie ? I am much more careful about what they say to me in the future.

    Was the original. Perhaps I should have edited it for my purposes to:

    If someone misleads me … I am much more careful about what they say to me in the future.

    And in this instance, I am referring to the author of the article, who in my opinion, lost credibility by his intent and choice of language.
    I would not believe anything that writer says without further study just as I don’t believe anything on Foxnews without further study.

    As I stated before, if this is “common knowledge” then other sources will surface, sources with less opinion and closer to “news” than “entertainment”.

    I meant to say in my last note, also, that being “respectful about each other’s opinions and beliefs” doesn’t mean not challenging them.

    In my opinion, the original arguement by Mark is built on sand and should be able to withstand scrutiny if it is true.

    And a quick message to Nick, don’t cross Rick’s driveway! I have driven with this man! He means it!

  • 30 Mark // Jun 17, 2004 at 3:25 pm


    You are certainly entitled to your opinion about the source of the Reagan concentration camp claim. I’ll dig more this evening and try to find additional documentation.

    For what it’s worth, I deeply appreciate the respect and courtesy (towards me) that you show in your comments. It is possible to disagree and to do so agreeably. Thank you.

    I don’t share your opinion about the piece by Cockburn. I don’t think simply reporting the facts is being rude. I don’t know of anything he reported in his piece that can be shown to be false or any source he used who can be shown to have ulterior motives.

    Just out of curiosity, were you upset when certain Republicans paid people to lie about Bill and Hillary Clinton?

  • 31 Rick // Jun 17, 2004 at 4:34 pm

    And then to use a critics opinion and state his words as fact are further proof how far people will go in distorting, spinning the truth.

    Apparently, there’s some confusion here still, indicating to me that what I write is essentially ignored and that folk aren’t using their G-d-given brains (or maybe it’s Webster-given dictionaries we need).

    Once again: if someone says, “so-and-so said such-and-such,” that’s not an opinion. It’s either true that so-and-so said the thing, or it’s not true. The exception to this would be if someone said, “so-and-so said — well, I mean, he didn’t use those words, but that’s what he meant….” In that case, it’s an opinion.

    If you read the article, this isn’t what was said. There’s no person saying, “Reagan didn’t really say these words, but he meant that.” No. What is said is “Reagan said this.” And the intended meaning is that Reagan said actual words that meant that which he is said to have said; it’s not reading between the lines.

    Keep your heads on straight, folks, and realize what I’m saying here and what I’m not saying. I’m not saying it’s true that Reagan said those things. I actually don’t know. I am saying that the author said those things are true. This does not make it the author’s opinion. It makes him either a) lying, b) telling the truth, or c) mistaken.

    I appreciate the fact that it makes you feel better to call people liars when you don’t like what they say. I understand that you’re more comfortable saying that something is “someone’s opinion” when you’re unable to show it’s a lie. I’m just confused as to why you pretend to debate it, when clearly the point here is “I wouldn’t believe this if Reagan told it to me himself!”

    It’s wonderful to say that someone else has an agenda, isn’t it? But, on the one hand, we have someone making statements that you assert are false why? Because you don’t like them and you don’t have time to research them. We have someone using those statements to build arguments.

    I particularly like the way that you’ve honed in on one statement, admittedly the most difficult one for Mark to prove is true, if that were what was required. Virtually everything else he said is part of the public record, written about over and over. This one statement is apparently less widely published.

    That does, by the way, make it suspect. It doesn’t make it false. I don’t know if it’s true or if it’s false. (I do think the burden is on Mark to prove this is true; not upon you to prove it isn’t. That doesn’t change what you’ve been doing to something that is right.) What I do know is that there’s something screwy in going after one possibly false comment and thereby concluding that Mark is pushing his own agenda by spinning things.

    Perhaps we should just admit something here:

    Nick is never going to change his mind, not if he personally is told that these things are true by Ronald Reagan himself. And that’s okay, Nick. You’re entitled. You have to live with it. I don’t. Personally, I don’t even have to live with it in the next life, if there is one. You do.

    Bob will change his mind if Reagan tells him these things are true, but that won’t happen for a long time (if Bob’s lucky) or, if my religious beliefs are correct, it will never happen. 😉

    I will also admit that I’m not going to change my mind about Reagan. There’s one difference here: I’ve actually read the stuff, including, but not limited to, the Case Concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities In and Against Nicaragua, Nicaragua v. United States, 1986 I.C.J. 14, 1986 WL 522 (Merits). Call it opinion, if you want, I call it what it is: A court case. (“I.C.J.,” by the way, stands for “International Court of Justice,” which is a judicial arm of the United Nations. The United States has repeatedly endorsed the ICJ, except on some occasions when they ruled against us. We even accepted some of their judgments against us, though. This is not some illegitimate court. We use it to sue other countries, also.)

    Now that we know we aren’t going to change anyone’s mind, whether they can find the time to do the research or not (meaning, of course, that they have nothing to base their opinion on), how’s about we at least quit calling people who are doing research and building real arguments liars or spinners without proof of such claims?

  • 32 Mark // Jun 17, 2004 at 6:41 pm

    Here is more documentation that Reagan claimed to have been on hand when Nazi death camps were liberated in World War II — something that could not have possibly happened, since he never left the United States during the war:


    This article does not have the tone that apparently didn’t sit well with Bob.

    I must warn you, if you are a big Reagan fan, you won’t like what you see by clicking on that link. You won’t like it one bit.

    Facts can hurt sometimes. I know from personal experience. At the same time, it’s good for all of us to face the facts head-on.

    Reagan DID make these claims. The source I have linked above is pretty solid. If anyone out there has any evidence that the author Lou Cannon had a motive to lie about this, I’d like to see it.

  • 33 Bob // Jun 17, 2004 at 8:43 pm

    Reagan stayed awake only for the cartoons, where the global balance of forces were set forth in simple terms, in the tiffs between Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, or Tom and Jerry.

    Mark, this is the first paragraph of the article. This is just the beginning of an article that claims to pass meaningful information to America. How can I honestly look upon the rest of the writing when it starts with such a slanted view?

    You could replace Reagan’s name with just about anybody’s name and still question the motive of the writer. OK, maybe not Rick’s name …

    Just out of curiosity, were you upset when certain Republicans paid people to lie about Bill and Hillary Clinton?

    Yes, as a matter of fact, I was. I thought Newt was the worst thing to happen in American history. Shutting down the Federal government should have been a crime. And I voiced that to the very Republican neighborhood in Palm Springs that we lived in at the time. I was shunned. It was ok.

    The question I asked myself about Bill Clinton was (ironically) answered this week. When asked about the impeachment by CBS, Bill said he refused to give in to the Republican pressure and was proud of that. I question what that pride did to this country.

    I always thought that if Bill had the integrity he claimed then he would have admitted to the affair but to nothing else, in other words, been honest. He would not have lied to any committee or prosecuter. (For the record, Kenneth Starr has no integrity in my book either). The American people may have forgiven him and that may have been the difference in the Gore / Bush election. Let’s face it, anything could have been the difference in that election.

    For what it’s worth, I deeply appreciate the respect and courtesy (towards me) that you show in your comments. It is possible to disagree and to do so agreeably. Thank you.

    My hat is off to you as well. I don’t promise to agree with every word you write but I do promise to treat you and your beliefs with respect (unless you mention the Red Sox, in that case all bets are off).

    Mark, I will continue to read every word you write and anything that looks biased or suspicious will be researched.

    Just like I do to Rick. Just like I did to Nat Dawson. Just like I do to Bill O’Reilly and Al Franken. Just like I do to Bush and Kerry.

    Deservedly, you are in good company.

    I look forward to your next article.

  • 34 Bob // Jun 17, 2004 at 9:04 pm

    Rick stayed awake only for the cartoons, where the global balance of forces were set forth in simple terms, in the tiffs between Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, or Tom and Jerry.

    I know Rick personally. If I put this out to the general public, what opinion would be formed by those who do not know Rick?

    How can anyone take that statement seriously? It screams of an anti Rick agenda.

    If I stated…

    Rick could not conceive of the intricate details presented him regarding the balance of forces in the world

    …this too is opinion but without the obvious implied insult to Rick’s intelligence. This will be more seriously considered by a majority of the population. At least it will be considered as fact depending on what follows it.

    One allows most of us to use our “G-d given brains” to decide. The other states such a bias that everything that follows is suspect and needs to be proven twice to be considered as fact.

    Here’s a statement for the masses…

    Bunny was crazy to marry Rick

    Oops, no one will doubt that one, let me keep looking for a better example!

    Seriously, I will continue to use my “G-d given brain” to decide when a writer goes over the edge and prints biased opinion versus something I can consider as fact.

    And I still have “faith” that people like Nick and Bob (and Mark and Rick) can change their opinion when presented information as close to fact as possible. I have “faith” in people, as silly and expensive as that is.

  • 35 Bob // Jun 17, 2004 at 9:46 pm

    OK kids, here is what I found when I seriously researched Mark’s comment that Reagan claimed to help liberate a Nazi concentration camp when in fact he helped edit film footage of those same camps.

    “But Reagan was often at the center of such spin cycles. He quoted movie lines (“Go ahead, make my day”) and mixed up movies with real life (as when he told Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal he had been part of liberating a concentration camp, when he had actually logged grim movies about the Holocaust). He was played by Phil Hartman in a particularly wicked “Saturday Night Live” sketch about his detachment, mocked by the British in their satirical puppet series “Spitting Image” and faced off against Soviet leader Konstantin Chernenko in Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s video “Two Tribes.” ”


    “The troubling truth? and it?s true of the best politicians?is that he was just as compelling when he was fudging the facts. Reagan could recount a scene from a movie as it actually happened. He told Israeli prime-minister Yitzhak Shamir and Nazi-chaser Simon Wiesenthal that he had photographed the death camps for the Army Signal Corps when he?d merely screened and perhaps helped to edit, the film footage of the liberation.”


    So there you have it.

    Mark 1 Bob 0.

    But the game is never over …

    At least Mark and I could debate without the name calling etc. That gives me hope about this blog and the future of the country.

    If I were Nick, I still wouldn’t stand in Rick’s driveway though…

  • 36 Rick // Jun 17, 2004 at 9:51 pm

    What fun! Bob says (and morphs Cockburn’s comments about Reagan in the embedded portion),

    If I stated…

    Rick could not conceive of the intricate details presented him regarding the balance of forces in the world

    …this too is opinion but without the obvious implied insult to Rick’s intelligence. This will be more seriously considered by a majority of the population. At least it will be considered as fact depending on what follows it.

    And, yet, this is not equivalent to saying,

    Rick told — that is, he spoke words that explicitly make this very claim! — then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir that he had helped liberate the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz. Rick made the same claim to Rabbi Martin Hier of Los Angeles. The truth was Rick never left the United States in World War II, indeed, he was not even yet born! He [reportedly] spent his military service making movies in Hollywood [more lies from Rick!].

    I’m sensing that there’s something missing here in the communicative “link” (I use the term loosely) between us, so let me reiterate that I’m not validating the veracity of the prior quote about Reagan. I, personally, do not know if it’s true. Mark has now given two sources indicating it is. It’s my belief that this would not be enough, even if one of those sources were Ronald Reagan himself. Nevertheless, my point is simple: There’s a difference between saying that someone said a certain thing and characterizing the statements of another and/or inferring something from their statements. Making the claim that “So-and-so could not conceive…” and making the claim that “So-and-so said…” are two things distinctly different in kind.

    P.S. Bob…I just installed new software that limits the number of posts you can make in a row without an intervening comment by another. (Not.) 😉

    P.S.S. (or is it P.P.S.?) You mean Mark wasn’t lying? And his source wasn’t, either? Mark! [Insert Trump face here.] You’re fired!

  • 37 Mark // Jun 17, 2004 at 10:01 pm


    Whatever facts about Reagan that you find seem to upset you. As I have said before, blame Reagan. Don’t shoot the messenger.

    With all due respect, I can remember finding out that pro wrestling was fake. I was about six. I was crushed. But I got over it, and I was glad (eventually) that I knew the truth.

    Despite the deification we were exposed to for a week in the so-called “liberal media,” Reagan was not particularly popular (check the facts listed in my blog), not particularly strong as a man (ask the terrorist who made Reagan run from Beirut), and not particularly familiar with the truth (numerous examples listed in my article).

    The more I read about what Reagan did, the more I am coming around to the belief that the overtures he made to the Soviets (not his saber-rattling) were good, sensible, moral, intelligent moves that helped the cause of world peace. I won’t say they “won” the Cold War. But they were good moves. I hope to work on an entire article regarding the Cold War and Reagan’s actions in its waning years sometime this weekend. The reality of what Reagan did with the Soviets is very different from the image Reagan fans have stuck in their minds (as is the case with most things about Reagan).

    That being said, the damage Reagan did to this country and to others around the world far outweighed any good that might have come from his administration. That is my opinion. It is founded upon the facts that I listed in my article — facts that no one has yet successfully refuted, I might add.

  • 38 Adrian Apollo // Jun 21, 2004 at 10:20 am

    >There is strong evidence that Reagan emissaries cut a deal with the Iranians to hold the American hostages captive in Iraq until after Carter left office.

    Really? What is the evidence?

    I thought the “arms for hostages” thing had to do not with the embassy hostages in Iran but with the seven hostages held in Beruit–a different sitation altogether:

    >[Reagan] had become frustrated at his inability
    >to secure the release of the seven American
    >hostages being held by Iranian terrorists
    >in Lebanon.



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