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Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Friday, January 20, 2006
 
25 Years Ago Today
25 years ago today, the United States inaugurated Ronald Reagan its 40th President. Here are some excerpts from the address he delivered on the West Front of the Capitol that day.

From time to time we've been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else

We have every right to dream heroic dreams. Those who say that we're in a time when there are no heroes, they just don't know where to look. You can see heroes every day going in and out of factory gates. Others, a handful in number, produce enough food to feed all of us and then the world beyond. You meet heroes across a counter, and they're on both sides of that counter. There are entrepreneurs with faith in themselves and faith in an idea who create new jobs, new wealth and opportunity. They're individuals and families whose taxes support the government and whose voluntary gifts support church, charity, culture, art, and education. Their patriotism is quiet, but deep. Their values sustain our national life.

Our forbearance should never be misunderstood. Our reluctance for conflict should not be misjudged as a failure of will. When action is required to preserve our national security, we will act. We will maintain sufficient strength to prevail if need be, knowing that if we do so we have the best chance of never having to use that strength. Above all, we must realize that no arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today's world do not have. It is a weapon that we as Americans do have.
Read the whole speech here.
Comments:
Wow. I read the whole thing. Inspirational and timeless. I didn't appreciate him when he was President. What a great man.
 
At best he was fair and at worst he was pretty damn bad.
 
Jack: Care to give some specifics to back your scurrilous libel?
 
America was fortunate and the world was fortunate to have a man like Reagan in the White House at just that time. He alone had the vision to see (contrary to the beliefs of BOTH Democrats and Republicans at the time) that the Soviet Union was vulnerable and COULD be brought down, and he had more to do with the liberation of the captive peoples behind the Iron Curtain than any other human being.

In fact I would have to say that it was Divine Providence that put Ronald Reagan in office at that critical time.

He was a good man and a great president. May his memory be blessed.
 
Reagan is not the sole reason that the USSR collapsed. He did a fine job of ensuring that our streets would be filled with hordes of homeless people. The mental institutions that housed them lost their funding and now we get pretend that they do not exist.

Does someone want to discuss the Iran Contra affair or talk about feel good operations in which we overrun little Carribean islands that couldn't possibly hurt us.
 
Ms Katz: I love you.

Jack: Oh, so influenced by the dark side you are. Let's do this point by point. Hear me now; believe me later.

1) Liberals are now saying that Reagan is not the sole reason that the USSR collapsed. Two weeks before the Berlin wall fell they were saying that the USSR is a permanent fixture in global geopolitics and we have to accommodate to them. The only ones disagreeing were Reagan and Thatcher (may her name be emblazoned on every mountainside). Fine – Reagan wasn't the sole reason – Thatcher was the other reason.

Even so, do you give him some credit for winning the cold war, which in terms of the number of humans freed stands as one of the biggest boons for humans ever, or no?

2) Remind me again what the homeless have to do with the federal government? Read the tenth amendment before you answer. Oh, and another thing, civil rights groups at the same time were working very hard to "protect" the rights of the mentally ill by making it increasingly difficult to institutionalize them. Why will you give Reagan full credit for deinstitutionalizing mentally ill people when he had lots of help from civil rights groups, but you won't even give him partial credit for winning the Cold War?

3) Iran-Contra was the greatest idea since sliced bread. What's wrong with Iran-Contra? I mean, it was illegal, but in moral terms, not legal terms what was wrong with it. What Rosa Parks did was illegal, but it was great. What Iran-Contra did was sell weapons to Iran so they could fight their war with Iraq longer. That's good, right? And it used the proceeds to support the Contras in Nicaragua. No one serious now denies that without the Contras Nicaragua would not be a democracy now. So fast forward 25 years: Nicaragua is a democracy, and Iraq is under US occupation. Where’s the bad?

Back when I was a Democrat, I voted for Dukakis (OH THE SHAME!) because I suspected that Bush (41) knew about Iran-Contra, a scheme I thought was terrible. Now I think Iran-Contra was genius and would gladly vote for anyone who had any part in it.

4) Re: overrunning little Carribean islands. We were in a Cold War. Reagan's policy was that we would "overrun" any country that was threatened to be over run by the Commies. So we "overran" some places that weren't little Carribean islands, like Afghanistan and Nicaragua and El Salvador. And it was all good because we won, and you'll note that there are no US troops now in Nicaragua or El Salvador or the little Carribean islands. I'm not sure what your point is. Should we have made an exception for little Carribean islands?
 
Doc Bean,

The only ones disagreeing were Reagan and Thatcher (may her name be emblazoned on every mountainside). Fine – Reagan wasn't the sole reason – Thatcher was the other reason.

Don't forget the Pope!:)

Your forensic skills on this issue are perfect and need no further elaboration.

God Bless Ronald Reagan!
 
Doc,

If Iran Contra was successful I missed it because we are in Iraq for the second time and trying to figure out what to do about Iran. A lot of money for questionable returns.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

And how does this apply to the homeless. It doesn't say anywhere that the state or Feds should send the homeless into the street.

Have to focus on other things now but I could make a case that from both a Jewish and US perspective our treatment of the homeless and mentally ill is shameful and wrong.
 
Legal Eagle: Thanks. You and b&c are largely responsible for my conversion to the vast right-wing conspiracy, so I hope you're proud of the results. You're, of course, right about the Pope.

Jack: You're not making any sense.

A lot of money for questionable returns.
No. It cost America nothing. Don't you see? It paid for itself. We sold weapons to Iran. That money went to the Contras. We're in Iraq the second time, yes. But we weren't in Iraq then; Iran was.

My point about the tenth amendment is that homelessness is not a federal problem. The way I read the Constitution (I recongnize I'm in the minority) the federal gov't is proscribed from having anything to do with homelessness, or lots of other things.

homeless and mentally ill is shameful and wrong
OK. I don't even have a big argument with that. I just think it's a state problem and that if you want to make it better, work to undo how difficult it is to institutionalize the mentally ill against their will. You won't have opposition from conservatives. You'll have opposition from civil rights groups. I can hear it now: "You're trying to illegalize homelessness." "It's not a crime to be mentally ill."
 
Jack: You're not making any sense.

Why? Because I pointed out that Iran contra bought us nothing. What did we gain? I supported both Gulf Wars, but that doesn't change the reality that we have spent billions of dollars on something that may not give us a solid ROI.

It cost America nothing. Don't you see? It paid for itself. An illegal activity does not always lead where we want it to go. There are precedents that are being set each time we do something like this. Machiavellian tactics are not always smart. I could write 5000 words about why this could be problematic.

Let's leave it at this. I am not a fan of being lied to by any party or elected official. I am not a fan of telling people that it is ok to be above the law. Neither am I someone who thinks that laws always have to be followed, there are shades of grey, but there is nothing here that makes me think that anything good came of this.

OK. I don't even have a big argument with that. I just think it's a state problem and that if you want to make it better, work to undo how difficult it is to institutionalize the mentally ill against their will. You won't have opposition from conservatives. You'll have opposition from civil rights groups. I can hear it now: "You're trying to illegalize homelessness." "It's not a crime to be mentally ill."

Doc, at best that is speculation. The reality is that a socially responsible society looks out for its members not just for moral reasons, but because it is good for everyone.

The Feds get involved because no other organization has the bank account/influence that they do.
 
It was the ACLU that put mentally ill people on the street, not Reagan, and I agree with you, it's shameful. Saying that a schizophrenic has a constitutional right to freeze on a subway grate or sleep on the sidewalk in his own feces is like saying that a baby has a "right" to leave home and sleep in the street.

The ACLU put helpless human beings out to fend for themselves and even their closest relatives can do nothing for them "against their will" -- even when their "will" is nothing but the construct of a horrible disease.


As for Iran-contra, the Democratic Senate cut off funding to the contras -- so Reagan was forced to find alternate funding. He was not willing to betray America's allies (in the way that the US has often, shamefully, done), nor was he willing to cede one inch of ground to the Soviets. What he did was morally heroic and will be so recognized in centuries to come. He refused to turn his back on Nicaragua or on any other country threatened, or ruled, by Marxist thugs. He was acting in the heroic tradtion of Franklin Roosevelt, who sent arms to England at the beginning of WWII against a plain act of Congress, thus preventing England's defeat at the hands of the Nazis and saving countless Jewish and British lives.
 
Toby: Amen sister. Some day Reagan will be recognized for what he did.
 
How about supplying facts and not allegations about the ACLU.

America has a short memory. It doesn't matter who it is in regard to the whitewashing covers everyone regardless of political affiliation.
 
"The Feds get involved because no other organization has the bank account/influence that they do."

Are you just describing the way things are, or is this how you think things should work (or, both, I guess)?
 
Ralphie,

The answer is yes to both.
 
Jack's Shack:

Please google these two books:

*Madness in the Streets : How Psychiatry and the Law Abandoned the Mentally Ill* by Rael Jean Isaac and Virginia C. Armat.

*Nowhere to Go: The Tragic Odyssey of the Homeless Mentally Ill* by E. Fuller Torrey, MD.
 
Jack: I googled the info you are looking for and found that the story is far more complicated than "Reagan shut down the mental hospitals and left the homeless to fend for themselves." The story is something like this. During the sixties as psychiatric drugs got more effective it was decided that it would be more humane to take people out of sub-par facilities and treat them on the outpatient basis. This was done out of compassion and with the full consent of a Democratically controlled state senate. Unfortunately, the web of outpatient facilities was never funded by this same Democratically controlled state senate. This confluence of circumstances combined with the ACLUs championing of the mentally-ills' rights has created the situation we have today. Sorry, you're just wrong.
 
During the sixties as psychiatric drugs got more effective it was decided that it would be more humane to take people out of sub-par facilities and treat them on the outpatient basis.

Are you suggesting that all of the facilities in the US were sub-par, that the majority provided inferior care and in effect were a waste of time? Or did the author of the article you read say that?

This was done out of compassion and with the full consent of a Democratically controlled state senate.

That is a lovely sentiment and it sounds really good, but it doesn't say anything. Anymore than the first line does. It is just an opinion and I can't find any facts to chew on there. Would you be able to provide the URL of the article you used to make this determination.

BTW, I don't think that the ACLU is as evil as many want to paint it. I know that right now it is considered cool by many to bash it, just as some people think that it is cool to use liberal as a pejorative term. Neither is based upon anything other than the sentiments of a few people who disagree with policy and those disagreements are often based solely upon emotion and not upon fact.

All of this is a long winded way of saying that your comment Sorry, you're just wrong can be turned around and said to you with the same ease with which you said it to me.
 
Jack you should google the books yourself, and even better, you should read them. Deinstitutionalization was the result of court decisions (in several cases the cases were brought by the ACLU or its state branches, eg the New York CLU) which resulted in mentally ill people being left to fend for themselves on the street.
 
Toby,

I live in California and am well familiar with Reagan's policies as governor here and his policies as POTUS, that stands for President of the United States.

You haven't provided an inkling of fact to support any allegation here but that is typical of how you operate.

It is really easy to point fingers and much harder to deal with when they are pointed back at you.

I have read the books and written papers on this. While you are busy lecturing on Taharat Mishpachat, Bava Metzia or however you choose to spend your time I am engaged in the real world and dealing with fact.

The fact is that Reagan cut funding and that he suggested that there would be some sort of growth of clinics to deal with mentally ill who were suddenly thrust onto the street.

Those clinics never materialized and it is a complete and intentional obfuscation of the truth and reality to suggest that the reason these problems exist is because of the ACLU.

So why not get off of your tuchus and prove that you have an understanding of what is happening here with fact.

Or is it easier to hide behind B&C's apron and ask me to do the work that you clearly haven't done.

Have a good shabbos.

P.S. I am happy to give a nice drash about Tikkun Olam and our responsiblity in helping those who cannot help themselves.
 
Jack, I think you just said what I said. I don't know that the fcilities were all sub-par but that it was considered more compassionate to treat people as outpatients. The clinics never materialized because Democrats never funded them. The Governor, after all, does not fund anything. After that the ACLU and other mental-illness rights groups took over and forbade the forced institutionalization and medication of the mentally ill. All I was saying is that the screw-up was not Reagan's fault, not that there wasn't a screw up.

OK, smarty-pants now, in 2006, how do you propose to solve the problem? I propose forcefully either institutionalizing or medicating the sad, sick people who push shopping carts down the streets. I propose starting with those people whose family members wish for their homeless brothers, sisters etc. to be medicated and ending with people who have no family or whose families have lost contact. I think this would be tru Tikkun Olam and much more effective than either handwringing or bringing the homeless sandwiches to eat as they sleep over grates. But then, I'm a Republican and we actually care about taking care of people more than we care about the finer points of civil liberties law.
 
Oh, and the ACLU is evil or at least amoral in a time that calls for great moral clarity.
 
Jack -

If you refer to Library of Congress record 2904a (1999) you will find that 93 senators at the time determined that I am rubber. If you then proceed to check Lexis-Nexis for articles in 2002 about "glue" you will find that this substance is what you are. Finally, after a review of Smith v. Spackler(2003), you'll see that a 5-4 majority ruled that whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you.
 
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