A few days ago, I had a conversation with a college student who did not remember the US beating the USSR in the 1980 Winter Olympics. He could not relate to the story off the ice or what the world was like when that game was played. So I told the student to read a bit about President Reagan and get back to me for more conversation about communism.
Like many of his generation, President Ronald Reagan was a strong anti-communist. He understood the evil empire and knew that you have to negotiate from a position of strength rather than weakness. Over the Christmas holidays, I found this from the late President Reagan:
“How do you tell a communist? Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin.”
In my life, I have found that this is true. Most people who favor communism in polls do not really understand what it means or have lived under it. They see it as some romantic idea based on false promises of equality and justice. On the other hand, we Cubans, along with others from who experienced communism directly, see it for what it is.
Communism was, and is, a great lie. We need to keep teaching that to the new generation.
“On August 5, 1981, President Ronald Reagan begins firing 11,359 air-traffic controllers striking in violation of his order for them to return to work. The executive action, regarded as extreme by many, significantly slowed air travel for months.
Two days earlier, on August 3, almost 13,000 air-traffic controllers went on strike after negotiations with the federal government to raise their pay and shorten their workweek proved fruitless. The controllers complained of difficult working conditions and a lack of recognition of the pressures they face. Across the country, some 7,000 flights were canceled. The same day, President Reagan called the strike illegal and threatened to fire any controller who had not returned to work within 48 hours. Robert Poli, president of the Professional Air-Traffic Controllers Association (PATCO), was found in contempt by a federal judge and ordered to pay $1,000 a day in fines.
On August 5, an angry President Reagan carried out his threat, and the federal government began firing the 11,359 air-traffic controllers who had not returned to work. In addition, he declared a lifetime ban on the rehiring of the strikers by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). On August 17, the FAA began accepting applications for new air-traffic controllers, and on October 22 the Federal Labor Relations Authority decertified PATCO.”
It was a tough call but President Reagan was right. It was also one the first times that a leader of a democracy had stood up to a public sector union and prevailed.
Who said that? James Carville. About whom? Ted Cruz.
“I think he is the most talented and fearless Republican politician I’ve seen in the last 30 years. I further think that he’s going to run for president and he is going to create something. I’m not sitting here saying he’s going to win, and I think Senator DeMint is right. I’ve listened to excerpts of his speech in South Carolina. He touches every button, and this guy has no fear. He just keeps plowing ahead. And he is going to be something to watch.
“And a lot of Republicans feel this way, George, and you hear this a lot: “If we only got someone who was articulate and was for what we were for, we would win elections. And we get these John McCains and these Mitt Romneys and these squishy guys that can’t do anything.” Well, there’s one thing this guy is not – he ain’t squishy, not in the least.
“Ted Cruz is going to eat their lunch. That guy, I’m telling you, he will out debate. I am just saying, he is a talent. I’m not rooting. I’m really sincere here. We watch him, he does things, I mean when he started talking about William Travis in South Carolina and the Alamo, this is a guy, and you go, “This guy is something.” Now I don’t agree with him. I think he’s out there. But I’m telling you, he’s more talented than all of these other guys.”
It wasn’t just Margaret Thatcher’s steadfast economic and foreign policies that helped to defeat the Evil Empire and to bring down the Iron Curtain. She also changed hearts and minds — and this author, who grew up on the other side of the Iron Curtain, has a personal story to tell.
As many Soviet kids did in the 1970s and 1980s, I occasionally tuned my shortwave radio to Voice of America or the BBC Russian Service, hoping to hear their alternative take on world events and, if I was lucky, get the latest rock-music updates. One of the functions of the Iron Curtain was to keep us, the “builders of communism,” blissfully unaware of the outside world. All our news had to be processed by the state-run media filter and approved by the formidable censorship apparatus.
In contrast, foreign Russian-language radio broadcasts, courtesy of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, gave us unfiltered news and commentary. These programs were to the Soviets then what Rush Limbaugh and Fox News are for many Americans today — a gasp of fresh air for some, enemy propaganda for others, and an object of demonization for the official state-run media.
Produced mostly by ex-Soviet exiles, these broadcasts never failed to satisfy my curiosity. The problem was that our government was mercilessly jamming their signal. I learned that this radio jamming was more costly than the actual broadcasting, but no expense was spared to maintain our ideological purity, paid for by our own tax rubles. Oh well, at least we knew the Motherland cared.
At times the broadcast quality was almost undecipherable: imagine trying to watch a movie while your neighbor mows his lawn. The noise occasionally trails off to the other end of the property, but mostly it hovers below your window, and you know that the lines you missed had to be the best.
A few times my friends and I tried to tape these programs simultaneously in our homes, so that later we could combine salvageable parts from two or more reels. That resulted in a much clearer compilation. We mostly did this for rock and roll programs, but political commentary would get into the mix as well — and it was just as fresh and exciting.
If we had ever been caught, we could have been easily expelled from our state-run schools (paid for by our tax rubles) and become marked for life as “politically unreliable.” But we were too young and too reckless to think about it. […]
I wrote this on January 2 of this year when I announced that I was finally changing my party affiliation to “no party affiliation” on my Voter Registration:
[…] There may still be some real conservatives left in the GOP, but the majority of the party is populated by professional politicians, spineless boot-licking ass-kissers, Rockefeller Republicans, and belt-way RINOs who only want to maintain the status quo, their constituents be damned. I do not want to be associated with a political party that talks the talk of conservatism while walking the walk of liberalism. […]
I meant every single word.
The events in the Senate over the last week regarding so-called “gun control” have only further cemented my opinion that the GOP is lost to us. Then there’s this from the House:
Speaking today after the Senate voted to allow debate on the Democrat’s gun control bill, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R) opened up the possibility of the H0use taking up the Senate bill should it pass the Senate.
This goes against Boehner’s previous comments which seemed to point to a gun control bill not even making it to a vote in the House.
Boehner said the House would wait to see exactly what ended up being in the bill and they “would take appropriate action from there.”
Keep an eye on this as the GOP controlled House could be the last line of defense against a restrictive federal gun control bill.
Keep in mind that House Representatives are elected every two years and represent smaller numbers of people which usually makes them more responsive to public feedback.
The article, “How clueless is the RNC?” is a must read for anyone who is still attached to the post-Reagan Republican Party…
[…] Obviously, neither Reince Priebus nor anyone else at the RNC will read this blog item, since apparently they don’t even know that blogs exist and are read by the most committed and intelligent political activists. But I [have] to say that is both shocking and pathetic
Note: Elizabeth Warren now sits in the United States Senate, in part because the GOP powers-that-be failed to take advantage of the excellent work Legal Insurrection did uncovering her lies and evasions about her claim of Cherokee ancestry.
Today, Ronald Reagan’s Evil Empire speech turns 30 years old. It stands as one of the most memorable orations of the last three decades. It coined a phrase, a tag, a label — one that utterly fit. If the shoe fits, wear it. Well, this jackboot fit the Soviet ogre’s foot.
It was a searing speech, not merely because it was so provocative, which it was, or incendiary or controversial, which it also was, but because it was such an obvious truth that so desperately needed to be said by someone at the presidential level. Ronald Reagan cut through the clutter, and the moral equivalency and accommodation, and spoke loudly and boldly, with the uncompromising courage and confidence that was so uniquely Ronald Reagan.
Why did Reagan say what he said? Here’s his later explanation: “Although a lot of liberal pundits jumped on my speech … and said it showed I was a rhetorical hip-shooter who was recklessly and unconsciously provoking the Soviets into war, I made the ‘Evil Empire’ speech and others like it with malice aforethought.”
What malice aforethought?
The speech must be viewed from two crucial perspectives: 1) Reagan’s personal/spiritual motivation; and 2) his larger international/geo-strategic motivation. Both of these two contexts came together as part of a broader Reagan intention to try to undermine atheistic Soviet communism and peacefully win and end the Cold War. […]
I haven’t yet decided if I will give FX’s “The Americans” any full attention. I have a hard enough time remembering to watch the one or two shows I do watch, and often times need to either wait for a re-showing on the network schedule, or find them on my cable company’s “On Demand” or on Hulu.com (if carried there). I will look for the pilot first episode of “The Americans” on one of my go-tos this weekend and watch it.
However, apparently the series has already had what I like to call a “Colonel Jessep Moment” (a few of them in the first episode alone), in that the writer and director (with “A Few Good Men” it was Aaron Sorkin and Rob Reiner) craft a scene intended to make someone or something look negative or bad in order to intentionally damage it or damage what it represents, but an opposite viewer reaction and perception negates that intent.
Brent Baker MRC: FX’s new series which debuted Wednesday night, The Americans, is centered around husband and wife KGB sleeper agents who live with their kids as ordinary Americans in suburban Washington, DC when Ronald Reagan becomes President. Joe Weisberg, the creator and executive producer conceded to TV Guide that “this series, to a large extent, is told from the perspective of the KGB and the Soviets. We’re making them the sympathetic characters. I’d go so far as to say they’re the heroes.”
Yet, in the 95-minute pilot aired January 30, there were scenes which should hearten conservatives who believe in Reagan’s righteousness and the superiority of the United States.
(Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell play “Philip and Elizabeth Jennings,” Soviet agents who speak perfect English without hint of an accent.)
Colonel Nathan R. Jessep’s boisterous “You Can’t Handle The Truth” speech in a murder trial testimony told the cold hard truth and reality of unflinching duty in a dangerous world filled with enemies and critics in the face of the writer/director trying to make him, and by that the whole of the U.S. Marine Corps, look and sound barbaric and insane. Most people I know who have seen the movie feel that Jessep scene was written with that intention, but find it one of the best pro-military scenes ever in a movie. Jessep knew, in the end, he was going to be nailed for his personal involvement and guilt in the murder, but he would not be taking the Corps down with him.
If the series “The Americans” succeeds it will be due to good writing and acting, and not in making us commiserate with and cheer for the anti-American/pro-communist aspects of it … or the attempts to make a strong and resolute anti-communist/pro-American Pres. Ronald Reagan look and sound like a paranoid lunatic that instigated the Soviet’s defensive and offensive actions on our soil. Remember, Progressives/liberals in this country credit Soviet Pres. Gorbachev for ending the Cold War, not Reagan. I imagine that will be an underlying set-up within this series. As a matter of fact, I suspect the series will inadvertently fall into a few more “Colonel Jessep Moments” before all is said and done. Nice try…
The most successful Republican presidential candidate of the past half century — Ronald Reagan, who was elected and reelected with landslide victories — bore little resemblance to the moderate candidates that Republican conventional wisdom depicts as the key to victory, even though most of these moderate candidates have in fact gone down to defeat.
One of the biggest differences between Reagan and these latter-day losers was that Reagan paid great attention to explaining his policies and values. He was called “the great communicator,” but much more than a gift for words was involved. The issues that defined Reagan’s vision were things he had thought about, written about and debated for years before he reached the White House.
Reagan was like a veteran quarterback who comes up to the line of scrimmage, takes a glance at how the other team is deployed against him, and knows automatically what he needs to do. There is not enough time to figure it out from scratch, while waiting for the ball to be snapped. You have to have figured out such things long before the game began, and now just need to execute.
Very few Republican candidates for any office today show any sign of such in-depth preparation on issues. […]