The truth about Reagan

The media cannot wash away the truth about Ronald Reagan even with a torrent of sickening sentimentality since his death.

On Aug. 6, 1981, Reagan fired 12,000 PATCO air traffic controllers for daring to strike to protect their own health and the safety of airline passengers. It marked him forever as a union-buster and labor-baiter.

Actually, Reagan got his start in politics as an FBI informer against progressive trade unionists and others. He was a “friendly witness” or stoolpigeon before the infamous House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947, ratting out fellow actors and screenwriters whose careers were destroyed by the Hollywood blacklist.

He was the president of the Screen Actors Guild in 1959 when the union’s members walked out on strike. Reagan’s treachery forced the workers to settle in an agreement known ever since as the “Great Giveaway.” Reagan was forced to step down before his term was up, but he had played his role in corporate America’s drive to smash organized labor after labor spearheaded the victory over fascism in World War II.

Reagan’s election as president in 1980 opened the way for ultra-right Republicans to seize control of the federal government. It was during the Reagan administration that the CIA armed and trained thousands of anti-Soviet terrorist mujahideen in Afghanistan, including Osama Bin Laden. The Iran-Contra conspiracy exposed a secret cabal in the White House basement where Oliver North and his cohorts plotted the sale of Pentagon weaponry to Iran, diverting the profits through Swiss banks to bankroll CIA mercenary killers in Central America. Many thousands of innocent people died. John Poindexter, Elliott Abrams, John Negroponte, and other Iran-Contra criminals serve today in the George W. Bush administration. It proves that Reagan’s “off the shelf, covert capacity” for terrorism (his CIA director, William Casey, wrote the handbook on the subject) is alive and well in the Bush White House.

Reagan’s legacy is one more compelling reason to end right-wing domination of our government and turn the nation in a different direction.

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Remembering D-Day

George W. Bush spoke at Colleville-sur-Mer on the coast of France, Memorial Day, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landing June 6, 1944, in which 9,000 American soldiers died.

His speech made no mention of the Grand Alliance, which united the democracies of the world, including the Soviet Union, to defeat fascism. He didn’t mention the long struggle for the “Second Front” to relieve the heroic Red Army on the Eastern Front.

Strangely, according to the official White House transcript, Bush praised American soldiers who died in the current war in Afghanistan, but he made no mention of U.S. troops who have died in Iraq.

The entire scene in Normandy dramatized the isolation of the United States, the worldwide opposition to the Bush Doctrine and the abhorrence of the U.S. occupation of Iraq since disclosure of the Abu Ghraib prison atrocities. What a contrast to D-Day, when so many American soldiers gave the ultimate sacrifice and were hailed as liberators around the world.

At the request of Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, and at considerable cost, the Soviets launched an offensive just a few days before D-Day to prevent the Germans from shifting troops from the Eastern Front to repel the amphibious landing.

Victory over fascism sent an enormous liberating wave around the world. Colonialism on every continent faced a massive popular uprising and the colonial occupiers were thrown out. Here at home, it spurred the struggle to end the system of racial segregation. The UN was born and a worldwide peace movement struggled to end the scourge of war.

Now the main threat to these gains for humanity are ensconced in the White House and the Pentagon. A fitting memorial to the many soldiers who died storming the beaches of Normandy would be the defeat of George W. Bush Nov. 2.