Tag Archive | "Ronald Reagan"

Where are Today’s Marshal Dillons?

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Seeking freedom from “taxation without representation,” our nation’s Founding Fathers feared a takeover of their newly established government by groups or individuals, a.k.a., “the enemy from within.”  Envisioning a three-branch government to circumvent such a takeover, they installed checks and balances in the Constitution of the United States of America.  Two hundred fifty three years after the drafting of that Constitution, our government has been tested concerning those checks and balances.


Beset by economic woes, the American public of the twenty-first century questions the motives of its government.  Is there now indeed an enemy from within attempting to establish rules and regulations for it’s own dictatorial purposes?  For the answer, let’s examine some of those rules and regulations.


During the Cold War with Russia, Senator Joseph McCarthy held Congressional hearings centering on the infiltration of Communists into our society.  His targets included Hollywood writers and producers that allegedly made movies with Communist overtones, movies thought to brainwash the American people.  As a result of McCarthy’s witch hunts, Hollywood blacklisted certain writers and producers.  Once blacklisted, these people never worked in Hollywood again.  McCarthy’s agenda was based upon fear, a fear that nearly brought Communist Russia and Capitalist America to a nuclear war.


Competition between Russia and the U.S. continued with the Race to Space.  That race ended on July 20, 1969, when American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the moon.


Before and since, Congressional investigations into alleged criminal and unethical activities flourished.  Chaired by Senator Estes Kefauver from 1950-51, the investigations focused on organized crime.  From 1960 through 1967, Senator John McClelland conducted an investigation of organized labor, specifically the AFL-CIO as led by Jimmy Hoffa.  Investigations of this nature prompted Robert F. Kennedy to publish a book in 1960 entitled, “The Enemy from Within.”


In the early ’70’s, Hollywood took on the theme of organized crime with the film, “The Godfather.”  Rife with the rituals and clichés of organized crime families, the movie created a stereotype of all Italian Americans, many of whom were deeply insulted by the “guilt by association” generated by Hollywood.  Organized crime is just that: organized.  It is not restricted to one ethnicity or one strata of society.


I postulate that many of our lawmakers are guilty of organized crime.  What else can we call it when they accept favors or campaign contributions from lobbyists, in return for the passage of legislation benefiting lobbyists?  Lobbying should also be considered a form of organized crime: there is nothing more organized than big money buying special favors through legislation.  Money now outweighs morals in this country.  This situation recalls the tale of Diogenes, carrying a lantern, seeking an honest man in broad daylight.


Who in power can we trust, when the laws that affect our lives are based upon money offered and accepted?  Who indeed?  It makes us wonder if the collapse of Wall Street in 2008 was truly a market correction or a contrived plot.  The collapse prompted President George W. Bush to react with a financial plan (TARP)  to offset another Depression.  This plan proved positive for Wall Street, which rapidly recovered, but it did not stop the recession from happening. Was the collapse an excuse for financial institutions to receive large amounts of stimulus money?  Was it meant to reassure savings in failings banks by increasing FDIC limits to $250,000 per account?


Will we wake up tomorrow and find our Constitution a worthless piece of paper? Will we find that we have lost our American sovereignty to a global society?  Will the American worker have to compete for wages against his foreign counterparts in a New World Order?  Oversight from our elected representatives is critical to ensure that the answers to these questions are not, “Yes!”  But this oversight is sorely lacking.  No branch of government has stepped forward to conduct an investigation as to why we are in such dire financial straights.  The only resistance to Big Government is the people’s Tea Party.


Newt Gingrich stated in a recent debate, “It’s not government’s job to create jobs.” This responsibility belongs to American corporations. We have become too dependent on government to supply us with our daily bread.  Maybe that old fuddy-duddy Ron Paul hit the nail on the head with his vision of a free market with little or no governmental regulation and letting the chips fall where they may to resolve our economic woes.


Our legislators must be accountable for their actions.  It’s time that the American people held their own Congressional investigation: an investigation of Congress! All lawmakers would be compelled to disclose how their actions have created an untenable situation here, and how they aim to correct that situation.


At one time, our nation had public servants who actually looked out for the citizens whom they served.  Without them, the Wild West would not have been tamed, and our nation would never have achieved its Manifest Destiny to stretch from “sea to shining sea.”  Although fictional, the character of Marshal Dillon in the long-running radio and television program “Gunsmoke” characterizes the decent, honest public servant who helped America achieve greatness.


Today, we need real life men like Marshal Dillon, men who would put community and country first, fight the fights that need fighting, right the wrongs that have beset our government and society, and restore America to its rightful place – in the immortal words of Ronald Reagan, “a shining city on a hill.” 


The Tyranny of Words

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“A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.”  The familiar expression coined by American writer Gertrude Stein conveys a simple truth: no matter what something is called, its inherent qualities remain the same.  In Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare expressed a similar view through the utterance of Juliet – “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”


And yet, today, we live in an age in which a new form of language is utilized, often to circumvent the truth or conceal the fact that nothing much is actually being stated.  Who can forget the Presidency of William Jefferson Clinton.  A master of circumlocution and the parsing of words, President Clinton will forever be remembered for remarks like “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky” and “It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.”  Of course, politicians have long been noted for “stretching” if not “shredding” the truth.  And, this behavior is not confined to one political ideology.  Consider that when Richard Nixon was found to have lied, his handlers characterized his remarks as “inoperative,” or that, in attempting to justify war with Iraq, George W. Bush stated that a search of Iraq uncovered “weapons of mass destruction-related program activities” – whatever it is that that means.  Today, as Congress debates healthcare reform, Democrats and Republicans alike choose their words with extreme care as they explain or answer questions regarding their respective positions on this issue, lest they reveal the unvarnished truth.


Totalitarian regimes have long known that by controlling language, they can control the thinking of their subjects.  Those who disagreed with political oppression were branded “enemies of the revolution” in Stalinist Russia and “enemies of the Reich” in Hitler’s Germany.


In free societies, framing the terms of debate facilitates political gain.  And so, adroit politicians such as Ronald Reagan demonized the term “Liberal” at the expense of their political opponents.  Likewise, Congressmen give euphemistic titles to their bills that belie the actual content of the legislation.


Of course, political expression owes much of its development to Madison Avenue where advertising think-tanks continually find new ways to promote products that separate consumers from their hard-earned money.  Using colorful adjectives and adverbs, advertising language can create in the mind of the consumer significant differences between essentially homogeneous products like gasoline or bottled water.


In the classic dystopian novel, 1984, George Orwell describes a fictional language that he terms “Newspeak.”  “Newspeak” is a scaled-down form of English employed by the despotic regime in power to maintain control over its subjects.  By narrowing the vocabulary of the language, the government could limit alternative ways of thinking and consolidate its power by eliminating words describing concepts such as freedom and revolution.  One wonders how close our language of today comes to the fictional “Newspeak” of 1984.


And so, when you read or hear a statement that you do not understand because the language employed is purposefully evasive, question the writer or speaker.  Force him to state his position in more concrete terms.  You may be striking a blow for freedom, or at the very least clarity.

British Monarchy vs. U.S. Presidency

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1 Queen = 12 Presidents!!!

 

In an economic downturn, one wonders whether our Founding Fathers made the right choice in breaking away from England.  During the reign of England’s current Queen Elizabeth, we in the United States have had 12 U.S. Presidents!  Yes, that’s 16 elections, 12 inaugurations, and 11 pensions while our neighbors across the pond have had but 1 coronation.  Hmm!

 

Harry S. Truman with Queen Elizabeth

The haberdasher from Missouri looks a little uncomfortable in the presence of Royalty.

Queen with Truman

 

 

Dwight Eisenhower with Queen Elizabeth

Dwight compliments the Queen on her dazzling smile.

Queen with Eisenhower

 

 

John F. Kennedy with Queen

JFK appears a little preoccupied.  Maybe, he was expecting a call from Marilyn Monroe.

Queen with Kennedy

 

Lyndon Baines Johnson without Queen but with Dog with Floppy Ears

Apparently, LBJ had no photo ops with the Queen; however, he did take a photo with a dog named “Queen” (I made that up).

Queen Not Present - LBJ

 

 

Richard Nixon with Queen Elizabeth

Dick explains to Queen, “I’m not a crook.”

Queen with Nixon

 

 

Gerald Ford with Queen Elizabeth

What this bust shot does not show is the fact that the Queen is smiling through the pain of Gerry – noted for his clumsiness – stepping on her toes.

Queen with Ford

 

 

Jimmy Carter with Queen Elizabeth

Check out the smiles (or should I say grimaces).  These two clearly do not like each other.

Queen with Carter

 

 

Ronald Reagan with Queen Elizabeth

The Queen has just told a dilly, and the Gipper is either having a hearty laugh or yawning.

Queen with Reagan

 

 

George Bush with Queen Elizabeth

If you’re thinking that these two look like stiffs, you’re right!  This picture is actually of two mannequins.

Queen with George Bush

Bill Clinton with Queen Elizabeth

Clinton’s “cat that ate the canary” grin is because he had just been introduced to the Queen’s chubby intern.

Queen with Bill Clinton

 

 

George W. Bush with Queen Elizabeth

“Dubyah” is regaling the Queen on the bliss of rounding up cattle at the ranch in Crawford.

Queen with George W. Bush

 

 

Barack Obama with Queen Elizabeth

Now it’s the Queen’s turn to appear uncomfortable in the presence of our first African-American President (unless, of course, you count Bill Clinton).

Queen with Obama

 

 

Queen

Just thought I’d throw this picture in.

Queen

 

 

Thank you to Small Town Girl for the idea for this article.

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