THE PAVILION ANNEX

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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FrankChurch
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby FrankChurch » Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:03 pm

Thank Goodness there is no copyright law on politics. :)

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robochrist
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby robochrist » Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:43 pm

"He's a dumb son-of-a-bitch"

The keenest, most alpha male quotes about Reagan of all time came from the top mobsters themselves, Nixon and Kissinger:

President Nixon: What's your evaluation of Reagan after meeting him several times now?

Kissinger: Well, I think he's a--actually I think he's a pretty decent guy, but...Well, his brains, are negligible. I--

President Nixon: He's really pretty shallow, Henry.

Kissinger: He's shallow. He's got no...he's an actor. When he gets a line he does it very well. He said, "Hell, people are remembered not for what they do, but for what they says?" That's an actor's approach to foreign policy--

President Nixon: It shows you how a man of limited mental capacity simply doesn't know what the Christ is going on in the foreign area.

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

Later, of course, the media helped the even dumber cattle-like voters across country forget all that and buy into the mythspin, thereby spiraling the whole country backward domestically for the next 30 years. The yellow-brick road to widespread poverty, class and racial rifts, staggering and ongoing financial scandals that we'd have to pay for, deregulation, increased homelessness, inflated deficits, negotiating directly with terrorists illegally, and greedy stupid yuppies who'd turn Wall Street into the Camelot of Corruption. And that's leaving out the 16th century religious mentality that resurfaced, attached itself politically and culminated in the applesauce we see today!

Here's what's interesting: socio-economic attitudes that devolved in the course of Reagan's domestic policies logically progressed into the ultimate foreign policy disaster; Reagan's laissez-faire rhetoric sold well and its delusional popularity having shaped the generations to come lead to the mistake of letting a freak like Bush grab the White House.

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Robert Nason
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Robert Nason » Mon Jun 09, 2014 4:39 pm

Yes, Nixon and Kissinger thought they were very clever fellows, far more clever than anyone else indeed, and look at the mess they left: Vietnam -- lost, and much later than it had to have been; "détente" with the Soviets, which allowed them build up their military and expand further into Third World countries; rampaging inflation leading to "stagflation"; and so on. Reagan promised to bring inflation down (he did) and bring the Soviet Union to its knees (through out-spending, through placing Pershing missiles in Europe, supporting dissidents and consistently treating the Soviets as "an evil empire" (that phrase drove the liberals insane and you can't help but wonder why except you know why), and the threat of SDI, more popularly known as "star wars" (which Gorbachev later admitted was the final nail in the Soviet coffin -- he knew they'd never be able to keep up with America's high-tech military). Nixon hugged Brezhnev and gave him cars; Reagan stood in Berlin and said "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" And in 1989 it came down. The left is torn between those who refuse to give Reagan credit for ending the Cold War and those (pace Stephen Cohen) who hate him for doing it, i.e., winning.
"Thought is a strenuous art -- few practice it, and then only at rare times." - David Ben-Gurion

Mark Tiedemann
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Mon Jun 09, 2014 7:26 pm

Detente was the start of spending the Soviet Union into oblivion. Cheaper in the long run than fighting them outright, which everyone would lose. It took as long as it did to end Vietnam because of the South China Railway, which was the Soviet Union pipeline to Vietnam. Check it out. Stagflation was a result of high domestic spending during an abrupt demobilization after ending Vietnam, a highly unusual occurrence, and it was Volker who began to wrestle it into submission---who was a Carter appointee. Reagan merely benefited from the momentum. Let us not forget Reagan nearly doubled the debt with his 600 ship fleet.

Everyone knew SDI was unfeasible, but it may well have contributed the crisis of confidence in the Soviet Union which came to a head when they saw how useless their war machine was in Gulf War I---against our conventional military might.

Personally, I think Reagan's reputation is based entirely on the good feelings he emanated. Policy-wise he was a wash. We're still dealing some of his nonsense with this new "reverse mortgage" crap. Reagan was the beginning of a decline, I think, in civic confidence and public sector morality.

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robochrist
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby robochrist » Mon Jun 09, 2014 8:05 pm

Reagan was the beginning of a decline, I think, in civic confidence and public sector morality.


I can't forget the image (or more correctly, audio) of Reagan giving a speech in behalf of big business, where the then Secretary of Treasury - a former Merrill Lynch CEO - standing behind him suddenly leans over with an icy face and - clearly over the speaker system - mutters a command to Reagan, "let's speed it up"; Reagan goes "oh," and obeys like a loyal dog. A moment when we see Reagan for the crony that he was.

The big picture is what counts. How a President's policies affect the country's future should be, but rarely is, in the forefront of a voter's mind. By the late 80's we had the S&Ls. That was only the beginning. To this day, so many of us have paid out of our asses and worse.

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Robert Nason
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Robert Nason » Mon Jun 09, 2014 9:19 pm

So can we say that Reagan's economic policies thereby cleared the way for the economic boom of the dot.com revolution that Clinton benefited from? And the collapse of the dot.com boom helped lead to the economic collapse of the 2000s? We can.play this Ponzi scheme with presidents all day.

I would say that the real breakdown of America's civic culture began in the 1960s (yes, yes, I'm blaming the sainted 60s, sorry) when the liberal consensus fell apart after being rigorously and systematically attacked by the counterculture of the left. Remember, it was establishment liberals like Johnson and Humphrey who were the enemies of the counterculture ("Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?"), not.conservatives. Every liberal institution in American life was challenged and found wanting -- universities, the press, the judicial system, liberal policies to help the poor, liberal interventionism, and on and on. The New Right and neoconservatism came to prominence as a reaction to the counterculture's excesses. And we've been fighting each other ever since.
"Thought is a strenuous art -- few practice it, and then only at rare times." - David Ben-Gurion

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Robert Nason
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Robert Nason » Mon Jun 09, 2014 9:52 pm

(Bear in mind that Volcker served as head of the Fed from August, 1979 to August, 1987 -- two years under Carter and six years under Reagan. So if Volcker's policies were good, Reagan was clearly smart enough to keep him on three times longer than Carter did. Of course, Carter did not expect to lose his re-election bid, and with such a thumping defeat...)
"Thought is a strenuous art -- few practice it, and then only at rare times." - David Ben-Gurion

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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Moderator » Mon Jun 09, 2014 10:27 pm

Robert - I might be tempted to agree with were it not for the fact that the social polarization turned to overdrive with Gingrich's Congress. Many of the dysfunctions and intolerance of the current culture began there and then, including the Contract with America; the completely irrational hounding of a President; and the beginning of a complete culture of deception from the far Right in behalf of the wealthy. Neoconservatism started with Gingrich, not before. By that point counterculturalism was already gone.

The Right of Ronald Reagan is the Moderate of today. For all his saintedness, he would be drowned out as far too Liberal by the folks in Washington.
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Robert Nason
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Robert Nason » Mon Jun 09, 2014 10:45 pm

Steve, your remark about Reagan reminds me of a mordant joke often told among conservatives: "Liberals always hate living Republicans but love dead ones." I fully expect the media to develop a Strange New Respect for Bush 43 after he's passed from this vail of tears.

Neoconservatism really started in the 1970s by former liberals and leftists disillusioned by what the left had become. You can look it up. Some of its brightest stars went on to support and even work for the Reagan administration -- Jeanne Kirkpatrick was just one of many. The culture wars between left and right were fierce in the early 80s. I remember -- I was there.

It continued into the 90s and up to today. Clinton of all people should be grateful to Gingrich for saving his presidency. He was way down in the polls, all his major policy initiatives had stalled, and and his prospects for 1996 looked dim when Gingrich and the Republicans threw him a lifeline (forgive the mixed netaphor) by forcing him to balance the budget, reform welfare, and even announce "The era of big government is over." Clinton was re-elected. Gingrich saved Bill Clinton.
"Thought is a strenuous art -- few practice it, and then only at rare times." - David Ben-Gurion

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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Tue Jun 10, 2014 5:42 am

Robert,

You're both right. Neoconservatism did begin in the 70s and was part of the machine that got Reagan elected. But Gingrich oversaw a new form of it, more virulent and irrational than that. These were not neoconservates so much as neocons and they exhibited a cult-like loyalty to their cause. A cause I'm still not sure I understand.

Yes, I agree, as one former hippy once famously put it "Reagan was our punishment for fucking in the street." The Sixties so repelled enough maionstream Americans that the counterculture practically handed the country to the Right. It's ironic, don't you think? The counterculture was an antigovernment as the tea Party claims to be. They weren't attacking liberal institutions, they were attacking institutions. Claiming one was liberal the other not made no difference, they saw it all as a vast machine designed to chew up young people and turn them into drones.

I think the dot.com boom would have happened anyway. It's seeds were in the mid-70s with the homegrown hackers clubs. What Reagan's policies did set the stage for was the inability of the regulatory institutions to deal with it in any meaningful way and perhaps leaven the effects when the bust came. Reagan's policies set the stage for our lack of any reasonable means of dealing with the changed economic and technological landscape---because after all "government is the problem." That sounds great, very Heinleinian in its way, and a lot of SF fans loved it---but it's a hollow trumpet-call to a kind of anarchy that has led to the rise of oligarchs. I think Ronnie did this country a great disservice, albeit unintentionally.

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Rick Keeney
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Rick Keeney » Tue Jun 10, 2014 6:17 am

Robert Nason wrote:Gingrich saved Bill Clinton.


Get me that quote on a tee shirt!

Mark Tiedemann
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Tue Jun 10, 2014 8:19 am

Note, when I say Ronnie did what he did unintentionally, I mean just that---I think he was duped as much as the American people. I do honestly believe he had a different idea how things were going to play out and he trusted the wrong people to help implement it. He was sold a bill of goods in exchange for relaxing regulations and rolling back taxes and instead of the investment and rebuilding that should have happened the tax havens boomed. I think he was screwed like everyone else. But I'm not sure awareness on his part would have made any difference. He really bought that "it's for the good of the country" bullshit the Wall Street branch of his government handed him.

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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Robert Nason » Tue Jun 10, 2014 2:46 pm

Mark,

You could say that Gingrich's "Contract with America" (detractors are still fond of calling it the "Cobtract on America," though the joke got old pretty fast) was thethird wave of modern conservativsm: the first was when Buckley founded National Review in 1955, banishing aniti-Semites, anti-Catholics, and Birchers from the movement, as well as reorienting conservatism away from its previous isolationism and towards an internationalist, interventionist approach (paleoconservatives like Pat Buchanan are busy trying to revive isolationism; the secobd wave was the rise of neoconservatism and the New Right in the 1960s and 70s and its ascendence to political power in the 1980s with the election of Reagan; and the third wave was Gingrich becinibg Speaker of Republican House of Representatives in the 1990s. If they seemed a bit overzealous, bear in mind that it was the first time the Republicans had control of the house in 50 years. During that half xentury the ruling House Democrats had increasingly behaved as if the House was their permabebt sinecure, and treated the Republican minority with disdain and contempt, blocking their bills, not allowing them to speak, and so on. Little surprise that when Republicans finally took the House in 1994 for the first time since 1954, they overreached.
"Thought is a strenuous art -- few practice it, and then only at rare times." - David Ben-Gurion

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Robert Nason
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Robert Nason » Tue Jun 10, 2014 3:30 pm

I think that remark by the forner hippy was pretty funny. But the Tea Partiers (the fourth wave of modern conservatism) may share the hippies' suspicion of government but are not "liberationist" in their social philosophy: they are, for the most part, traditionalist -- they do not want to abolish marriage, private property, the military, or bathing.

The intellectual [sic] wing of the counterculture was profoundly opposed to the liberal ideas and institutions of American society: their high priests were Marx, Mao, and Marcuse, Paul Goodman, Norman O. Brown, Charles Reich, Timothy Leary, R. D. Laing, William Appleman Williams, Che, and a host of others. (See Theodore Reich's seminal THE MAKING OF A COUNTERCULTURE.) Marcuse was against the sexual revolution: he called it "repressive desublimation." He oppposed free speech if it included "counter-revolutionary" speech: he called it "repressive tolerance." The Peace Corps was condemned by radicals because they considered it "imperialism with a human face." The Black Panthers opposed Civil Rights (they were "bourgeois rights") and rejected Martin Luther King's assinilationist "I have a dream" in favor of "Burn, baby, burn" and black nationalism. The Vietnam War had been waged and prosecuted by, yes, liberal administrations and presented to Americans as a liberal war against communism. Little wonder that liberals like John Updike later wrote, "I had voted for Lyndon Johnson, not Abby Hoffman and his friends."

All liberal ideas were under attack; it's no surprise that many liberals strove to separate themselves from the newly radical wing of the Democratic party, some even jumping ship to the Republican party, others trying to work within the Democratic party with less and less success. It continues to this day: the left of the Democratic party mistrusts Hillary Clinton's perceived "hawkishness." And if Reagan would be unwelcome in today's Republican party, then surely JFK would be unwelcome in today's Democratic party.
"Thought is a strenuous art -- few practice it, and then only at rare times." - David Ben-Gurion

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Robert Nason
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Robert Nason » Tue Jun 10, 2014 3:42 pm

With regard to regulations on Wall Street and business, I assume you must be discouraged by the number of Wall Street grandees in the Obama administration ("Hope and Change"?) and even more disconcerted by the avidity with which Hillary is courting the advice (and money) from Wall Street. Expect a challenge from her left if she actually runs. (Bernie Sanders is already suggesting he might oppose her.)

Could the dot.com boom have played out differently if Reagan's economic policies been different? Ask Jeff Greenfield: he now writes alternate histories like IF KENNEDY LIVED (which I recebtly read) and THEN EVERYTHING CHANGED (which I'm reading now). The man does know his history, including the parts he makes up.
"Thought is a strenuous art -- few practice it, and then only at rare times." - David Ben-Gurion


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