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On Ronald Reagan's birthday, plans take shape for next year's centennial

President Reagan
Ronald Reagan was born on this day 99 years ago, and his presidential library is preparing to mark the day in style with a live webcast of the festivities from the facility near Simi Valley, Calif.

The webcast will be streamed on the library’s website starting at 10:30 a.m. Pacific time. Elizabeth Dole will be the featured speaker.

As our colleague Richard Simon reports, plans are taking shape to mark the Reagan centennial next year:

"Events are planned across the country: A Reagan-themed float will grace Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena during the Rose Parade on Jan. 1. His boyhood home of Dixon, Ill., has commissioned an original piece of music — the “Reagan Suite” — to honor him. A program at Eureka College, from which Reagan graduated, will reflect on his Midwestern roots. Warner Bros. has been contacted about a possible event looking at the former president’s Hollywood years. An effort is even underway to name a mountain in Nevada after him."

 Follow this link for Simon’s full report.

 -- Steve Padilla

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Photo: Ronald Reagan in 1989. Credit: Los Angeles Times.

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America will never recover until it understands how disastrous Reagan was. A disaster for California and a disaster for America. His radical right wing, extreme anti-government ideology. Watch what California is experiencing and get ready. Republicans are anti-civilization.


During Jimmy Carter's last year in office (1980), inflation averaged 12.5%, compared to 4.4% during Reagan's last year in office (1988).[100] Over those eight years, the unemployment rate declined from 7.5% to 5.3%, hitting highs of 9.7% (1982) and 9.6% (1983) and averaging 7.5% during Reagan's administration.[101]


Tell me exactly how that is disastrous. Not to mention he ended many international conflicts with minimum military force.

THEBOB & dan -

At the time Regan's economics made sense, right now they make sense, but during the previous Administration they didn't that's what's led us to the disaster we're in as far as the economy right now.

Look where we are now, we're in the worst depression since the 1930's, due to 4 major reasons.

A) Two major military campaigns both financed by the Government. Prior to this only Vietnam was totally financed by the Fed, and it led to an economic turn down also, other long term campaigns had War Bonds backing them. Or like the Gulf War in 90 were so short it didn't really hurt much.

B) Bush's "Health Care Reform" that tied the Prescription Drug Plan to the Pharmaceutical companies at a time when the largest number of people ever were about to enter eligibility, resulting in higher costs for the Government and rising drug prices, without increases in funds to be payed out.

C) Removal of restrictions that facilitated rampant sub-prime lending by financiers. Granted Bush didn't sign a repeal, he just let them lapse instead of signing a continuation.

D) Tax Cuts that removed the then Government Surplus trend started by Clinton's budget.

People can gripe and scream about Obama spending like he has, but some of that money comes from economic safe guards put into place through older laws, other parts are doing exactly what has to be done in order to stimulate the economy. If money isn't there to circulate, it can't recover and to get it in circulation it has to be spent. To be honest if you go and research much of Regan's economic actions they are very similar to Obama's in many ways.

reagan was one of americas greatest presidents, his strength and leadership hasnt been matched since when he left this country it was much better then when he took it over lower unemployment rates, inflation, and intrest rates which were lowerd under reagan boy do i miss him even though i was very young when he was in office not to mention he declared war on drugs, that started the long decline in drug related crimes in america in the 1990s not to include the 1990s economy was much do because of reagas policys in the 1980s god bless you all and ronald reagan. amen.

I think liberals will say just about anything to defend their reasoning behind why they dislike Reagan or the GOP. That's because it's all about political competition.
The GOP is too liberal right now; they need to embrace the conservative Tea Party movement that symbolizes what Reagan stood for and they will gain many seats in the 2010 midterm elections.
George Bush was actually not very conservative when it came to finance. He was a strong social conservative but when it came to the economy he was pretty liberal in some of his policies. However, nothing can get as bad as the radical left-wing liberalism we are experiencing right now.
But what do we conservatives know? We aren't as "intelligent" and "politically correct" as you Harvard-grad liberals are.

For Joe :

On the 3rd of June of 2010, I will be conmemorating the dissapearance of my late father- Kidnapped by right wing death squads in El Salvador 27 years ago. A tragic event that left me and my two siblings orphans. It is a known fact the Reagan Administration openly funded and trained these paramilitary groups with full knowledge.
John Dimitri Negroponte executed Reagan's orders for funding and training Salvadoran military men from his base in Honduras as US embassador from 1981 to 1985. This war left 68.000 dead and 15000 missing . I do wish I'd been able to bury my dead father==I primary school teacher who had nothing to do with the guerrilla movement. but his body was never found.
While there's no doubt in my mind of Ronald Reagan's innate skills as a politician and a THESPIAN, It is with great regret I observe so many Americans revering the memory of a man who caused unimaginable human pain and suffering in Central America during the 1980's.
Every time I visit Los Angeles, from Europe where I now reside, The first thing that strikes me as a foreign visitor is the sheer number of mentally ill people wondering the streets. ( even in affluent areas on the west side ) This is also part of the legacy of the Reagan Administration.
Viewed from a religious standpoint, It would seem Mr. Reagan must be in considerable discomfort in the bowls of hell.
If we forget our mistakes, we are only condemed to repeat them.

So you think Ronald Reagan was a great president? Or you have a friend who believes that? Well, if you're not afraid of having your convictions challenged, below is some information that probably won't change either your mind or that of your friend, but at the very least it's worth reviewing. Here, then, is a look at the Reagan years – in alphabetical order, for your convenience.

 AFGHANISTAN: In an effort to force the occupying Soviet forces out of Afghanistan without direct U.S. military involvement, the CIA was instructed to provide arms and at least $7 billion to Islamic militants in western Pakistan, who then slipped into Afghanistan and committed acts of terror against the Soviets, which in turn eventually forced them to abandon the country. And from those rebel forces which the Reagan administration so handsomely equipped emerged a fearsome group of terrorists known as al-Qaeda, led by Osama bin Laden. This group, in turn, became a dangerous threat to all civilized societies over the following decades. Today, political and military analysts fault Reagan's policies in that area with facilitating religious orthodoxy and Islamic militancy in Pakistan. For example, some repercussions of Reagan’s actions include the following: (1) In 1996, al-Qaeda was believed to have been behind the bomb attack on a U.S. military housing complex in Saudi Arabia, in which 19 Americans were killed; (2) In 1998, Bin Laden and four of his associates called for Muslims to begin killing Americans, after which the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed, killing 220; (3) In 2000, suicide attackers trained by al-Qaeda rammed their explosive-laden boat into the USS Cole in Aden port, killing 17 Americans; (4) In 2001, nineteen al-Qaeda members hijacked four passenger jets, two of which struck the World Trade Center, killing more than 3,000; another struck the Pentagon. The U.S. responded by launching an attack on Afghanistan six weeks later.
 BANKING: Congress and the Reagan administration joined forces to deregulate the savings and loans. Later, some 745 S&Ls failed, costing around $160 billion, of which 77% was borne by taxpayers, either directly or through charges on their savings and loan accounts. This in turn contributed to the large budget deficits of the early 1990s. Also, during Reagan’s two terms in office, nearly a thousand FDIC-insured banks failed, and these problems led to the failure of more than 700 other commercial banks during the one-term presidency of Reagan’s successor, George H.W. Bush.
 BUREAUCRACY: Reagan promised to curtail the federal bureaucracy, but instead expanded it by almost five percent. In 1981, he announced his goal to achieve a “smaller government” by cutting 37,000 federal jobs. However, by the end of his presidency there were actually 230,000 more civilian government workers than had existed when he first entered the White House.
 CITY & STATE GOVERNMENTS: By the time Reagan left office, federal assistance to local governments had been cut 60 percent. His administration eliminated general revenue sharing to cities, slashed funding for public service jobs, job training, and public transit, and greatly undercut the legal services for the poor. Federal funding for highways was left alone, but that program essentially helped only the more affluent suburbs. These cutbacks had a disastrous effect on cities that depended on federal aid to help with their high levels of poverty. It proved to be a heavy financial blow to urban schools and libraries, municipal hospitals and clinics, as well as sanitation, police and fire departments – many of which had to shut their doors.
 CORPORATE AMERICA: Thomas Jefferson once said that the purpose of representative government was to curb "the excesses of the moneyed interests." However, the exact opposite occurred during the Reagan administration, for a great corporate merger movement began; indeed, of the ten largest mergers in American history, nine of them took place during the first four years of the Reagan presidency. The argument is that mergers increase shareholder value and boost corporate efficiency, but ample evidence exists that they also produce a greater degree of market concentration and thus produce those who gain an unnecessary degree of market power and political influence. Mergers during the Reagan years were largely financed through “leveraged buy-outs”, i.e., borrowed money – the very thing that would later America to its core during the 2007-2008 economic meltdown. This merger and takeover mania continued throughout the 1990s, well after Reagan left office, but they involved stock swaps rather than cash transactions, which in turn bloated the value of that stock. That merger mania was accompanied by the privatization of state-owned companies and public infrastructure — to which was added deregulation, the liberalization of trade, investments, bulging capital markets, and the trumpeting of the “Age of Globalization.” By 1999, one third of the worldwide merger value was concentrated in just three sectors: the telecommunications industry ($569 billion), commercial banking ($377 billion) and radio and television broadcasting ($246 billion).
 CRASH: On October 19, 1987, the stock market experienced its largest one-day percentage drop in history, falling 508 points or 22.61 percent. Between the start of trading on October 14 to the close on October 19, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 760 points, a decline of over 31 percent. By comparison, the 1929 crash saw a 40% decline.
 DEFENSE SPENDING: At the same time the Reagan administration showed no fondness for social programs to help average Americans, it generously threw money at the defense industry. During his two terms, defense spending skyrocketed, totaling more than $3 trillion over eight years, a jump of about 35 percent, thus creating the largest peacetime military build-up in American history. In 1981, defense spending was $317.4 billion; in 1988 it was $426.4 billion. Get this: In 1987, the Reagan Administration’s budget for military marching bands was $154.2 million. And yet all that Reagan and his successors spent on the military didn’t make Americans feel any safer, nor did it stop a bunch of rag-tag terrorists from later destroying New York City’s World Trade Center in 2001. Nor was it effective in rounding them up in either Afghanistan or Pakistan over the following nine years.
 DRUG WAR: The “War on Drugs” program was accelerated. In 1986, Reagan signed legislation which budgeted $1.7 billion dollars to fund the drug war and which specified a mandatory minimum penalty for drug offenses. Consequently, drug offenders became the fastest growing “criminal” element in America and the prison population began to bulge with drug violators. In the federal prison system, they would represent 56% of the offenders, and the taxpayers had to pay about $4 billion per year to house them. In 2009, twenty years after Reagan left office, that drug war caused America to become the world's largest jailer, imprisoning more people than all of Western Europe does for all offenses.
 EL SALVADOR: During the Reagan years, the U.S. funded the Salvadoran military, which used death squads to murder tens of thousands of Salvadorans.
 ENVIRONMENT: During the Reagan years, there was a 79 percent decline in the number of EPA enforcement cases sent from the EPA’s regional offices to its main office in Washington, and there a 69 percent decline in those cases that were forwarded from the main EPA office in Washington to the Justice Department. Moreover, the EPA’s budget was cut 22% and almost a quarter of its staff was eliminated. The Reagan administration simply refused to take global warming seriously.
 FEDERAL DEFICIT: Federal deficits exploded in the 1980s, averaging $210.6 billion. (Compare that to the annual deficits during the administration of his predecessor, Jimmy Carter, which averaged $54.5 billion annually).
 FEDERAL RESERVE: Reagan appointed Alan Greenspan as the chairman of the Federal Reserve, who believed that the nation’s free market system would always correct itself when needed and so he opposed tougher regulations on derivatives. This would later prove to be a catastrophic error, for Greenspan was seen as the one who helped to create the great housing bubble during the first decade of the 21st century, for he failed to rein in the explosive growth of risky and often fraudulent mortgage lending, and the derivatives swung way out of control, thus creating economic havoc in 2007 that put the nation on the brink of another great depression.
 FEDERAL SPENDING: During the Reagan years, overall federal spending nearly doubled, jumping from $590.9 billion in 1980 to $1.14 trillion in 1989.
 GUATEMALA: The Reagan administration funded Guatemalan General Rios Montt, who was responsible for the genocide of tens of thousands of his countrymen, often engaging in grotesque torture.
 INCOME GAP: The income gap between America’s richest and poorest reached peak proportions. While the top one percent of Americans saw their income jump by 228 percent, the results for the bottom half of American households was not so good, for their income rose only a modest 6% over the next 25 years. This was in stark contrast to the 30-year period prior to the Reagan years (1946 to 1976) when the income growth for the bottom 90% of households was, on average, 92%, versus 25% for the top 1%. When Reagan took office in 1981, only 5,000 Americans had incomes of $1 million or more; however, by the time he left office, there were more than 35,000 millionaires and 50 billionaires. From 1981 until 2005, the top 5% of American families saw their real incomes jump 81 percent, while the bottom 20% saw their real incomes decline 1%. When Reagan became president, the average income of the top five percent of American families was 11.4 times as large as the average income of the bottom 20 percent; however, by 2005 the average income of the top 5% was within a whisker of being 21 times greater.
 IRAN: At the same time the Reagan administration was publicly identifying Iran as a sponsor of international terrorism and urging other nations not to sell military hardware to them, President Reagan and members of his administration were secretly encouraging the sale of arms to that country via a triangular deal. Simply put, it worked like this: (1) Israel supplied a group inside Iran with over 2,000 anti-tank missiles, 18 anti-aircraft missiles, and well over 600 spare parts; (2) the U.S. then re-supplied Israel with the same military equipment, and, in turn, Israel gave the U.S. the money she received from Iran; (3) the Reagan administration then used that money to secretly and illegally fund the rebels in Nicaragua. The Reagan administration also hoped that the arms sales would secure the release of those Americans being held hostage in Iran, which many analysts described as an arms-for-hostages deal. What this also means is that, through the Reagan administration, the U.S. taxpayer (1) provided a hostile country with military hardware, (2) gave money to rebels in another foreign country, and (3) had nothing to show for it at the end.
 IRAQ: During the Iran-Iraq war, the Reagan administration secretly assisted Iraq’s ruler, Saddam Hussein, by providing him with US intelligence and hundreds of millions of dollars in loan guarantees. UH-1H helicopters and Hughes MD-500 Defender helicopters were sold to Saddam Hussein as civilian aircraft, which he quickly converted for military use. By 1985, Iraq was given export permits for high tech equipment that proved crucial for its weapons of mass destruction programs. Iraqi chemical attacks continued not only on Iranian forces but also on Kurdish civilians.
 LABOR: The Reagan administration conducted a bold assault on American labor. For example, in 1981, the president summarily fired 12,000 air traffic controllers who went on strike for better working conditions, which in turn ushered in a grim period of labor relations. Employers were subliminally given the green light to "permanently replace" striking workers. The median real wage remained stagnant throughout the 1980s. And the minimum wage was never increased, although it’s pertinent to note that it had been increased ten times over the eleven years prior to Reagan’s presidency.
 LEBANON: After Israel bombed southern Lebanon in June 1982, and some 30,000 Israeli troops initiated a two-month siege of that country, killing 14,000 Lebanese and Palestinian civilians, President Reagan ordered 800 U.S. Marines into Lebanon as peacekeepers. Subsequently, Hezbollah was born … the U.S. embassy in Beirut was bombed in 1983, killing 17 Americans and over 40 Lebanese … in 1983, terrorists struck the Marine barracks near the Beirut airport, killing 241 … in 1984, CIA station chief William Francis Buckley was kidnapped in Beirut by the Islamic Jihad and died a year later while still a captive … Thomas Sutherland, the Dean of Agriculture at the American University in Beirut, was taken hostage in 1985 … two Lebanese hijacked TWA Flight 847 in 1985 and 40 passengers were held hostage for two weeks … Special envoy of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Terry Waite, was kidnapped In Beirut in 1987 … the Islamic Jihad kidnapped three Americans in Beirut in 1987 … U.S. Lieutenant Colonel William Higgins was taken prisoner in 1988, whereupon he was tortured and later died.
 LIBYA: Following a terrorist bomb attack at a Berlin discothèque in 1986 in which a U.S. serviceman was killed and 63 were injured, Reagan authorized a series of air strikes against Libya, claiming that the leadership of that country had been behind it. Two years later, on December 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 people on board, 189 of whom were Americans, as well as 11 on the ground.
 NATIONAL DEBT: During the Reagan years, in order to cover ever-rising federal budget deficits, the U.S. Government borrowed heavily, both domestically and abroad. Indeed, more money was borrowed during Reagan’s eight years than all the previous presidents combined. As a result, the national debt climbed from $908 billion to $3.2 trillion, which transformed the U.S. from a creditor nation into the largest debtor nation in the world. Interest payments on that debt rose from $69 billion in 1981 to $169 billion by the time Reagan left office.
 NICARAGUA: Operating out of the basement of the White House, the Reagan administration defied the Boland amendments, which prohibited the federal government from providing military aid to the contras in Nicaragua. It circumvented these limitations by using an agency that was not explicitly covered by that law, namely, the National Security Council. The NSC used the money that was illegally obtained when arms were sold to Iran to provide covert military aid to that rebel group. This crooked scheme later became a front-page news item known as the Iran-contra Scandal.
 POVERTY: The poverty rate worsened during Reagan’s presidency. In 1981, the year he entered the White House, it was 13 percent. Two years later it was 15.2 percent. It didn’t return to 13 percent again until his last year in office; in fact, at one time it was 14 percent.
 SOCIAL PROGRAMS: Reagan and his fellow conservatives in Congress felt that government was not obligated to care for its poorest citizens. Indeed, at one point Reagan said that the homeless slept on city grates through their own choice. In the first budget he sent to Congress, $41.4 billion was slashed from 83 federal programs. Over the next eight years, 54% was cut from those social programs tailored for low-income Americans, and nearly a third of domestic discretionary spending disappeared, falling from 4.7% of GDP in 1980 to 3.1% in 1988. His budget director, David Stockman, later admitted that their principal objective was to force Congress to reduce spending on social programs. In 1985, 21% of the Social Security Administration’s staff members were cut from the payroll. Massive cuts occurred with respect to subsidized housing (80%) … job training (68%) … housing assistance for the elderly (47%) … and HUD (75%).
 SOUTH AFRICA: Although neither President Reagan nor anyone in his administration ever said that the U.S. approved of racial separation, they did not condemn that country’s death squads which killed black South Africans, nor for that matter the carnage, and the massive imprisonment totals. When the U.S. Congress voted to impose sanctions against South Africa, Reagan vetoed the measure.
 TAXES: The Reagan administration believed that money given at the top would “trickle-down” to the rest of America. So, in 1981 Congress cut taxes that mostly benefited upper-income Americans and large corporations, reducing their annual tax rate from 70% to 50%. Later, in 1986, Congress passed the Tax Reform Act, and the wealthy saw their tax rate cut reduced from 50% to 28%. Overall, the wealthy saw their taxes reduced by 60%. Meanwhile, the tax rate for average income earners rose 4%.
 TRADE DEFICIT: The U.S. trade deficit exploded during the Reagan years to $152.7 billion, an astonishing six-fold jump compared to the Carter years, when it was only $24.2 billion. In the 1980s, the country spent more on imported goods than it earned from its exports.
 UNEMPLOYMENT: The unemployment rate averaged 7.5%. It didn’t drop below 7% until 1987, when Reagan had been in office for seven years and it fell to 6.2%. But that was the average in the 1970s, and it was still higher than the 1960s, when the average unemployment rate 4.7%, and from 1966 to 1969 it was below 4%, and the 1990s, when it averaged 5.7%.

Reagan was the Grestes President that this Great Country ever had. Have you forgotten the he didn't want to tax the wealthy any more, which would include Reagan, so Reagan taxed the unemployment instead. Unemployment wasn't much, but with taxes taken out we had even less. Don't forget, Reagan stopped all financial aid for college education. Reagan helped the spread of AIDS across the United States, Reagan's comment was, If they live by the sin, let them die by the sin. Reagan would not address the United States about how AIDS was being spread and nor would Reagan tell all the blood banks have blood screened for the AIDS virus, Reagan had HIS morals to uphold. As far as theBerlin wall Carter started the talk and the party stopped Carter's talk so Reagan could take over so Reagan would look good. The only prpblem was, Russia was planning to take down the wall before Reagan said anything. The only thing Reagan did was to increase the sell of Jelly Beans. And you can see what Reagan started in California, because it continues today.
Reagan was worthless. When the oil cruch hit in the 80"s he sat on his a$$ and did nothing. Typical Reagan and actor and not avery good on at that. He wants to talk about morals, what about his forst marrage?

The major regret I have had about the Reagan presidency is that he wasted the precious and overwhelming goodwill he was granted by the US people. He could've molded the US economy, foreign doctrines, and just about whatever else he wanted.

Oh, but wait a minute. He did.

He gave us the October Surprise, allthetime acting the cowboy who would bring respect and fear and loathing from our enemies.

Deregulation brought us the S&L catastrophe and the biggest bailout thus far in US history. Neil Bush, the vice presidente's son benefited from that one.

Trickle-down gave us the clink of champagne glasses throughout the land and the wealthy upgraded their toys and vacation plans while no one else did.

He brought us El Salvador and four raped and murdered nuns, Nicaragua, the Contras, the right wing death squads, the disappeareds and of course an airstrip in Grenada. He gave us secret lifelong CIA agent George-the-Ist Bush for vp, who was neck deep in the "secret" Iran-Contra missiles-for-drugs-for-guns deals, the "secret" BCCI/CIA/Pakistani/Saudi ( drugmoney laundering scheme and heaven only knows what else. Well, read the link and you'll see "some" of what else.

Oh yes, and super-patriot Ollie North, the brave soul who dodged the rage of the Jackal and would stand on his head in the corner for his president if only he can keep doing his treasonous thing for the American people and the world.

And he poured cocaine onto the streets of American while his faithful wife shrugged he shoulders and implored us to Just Say No.

He visited a Nazi cemetery and laid a wreath at hero SS graves, and told Gorbachev to tear down a wall. He ignored the CIA analysts' concensus that said the USSR was crumbling, and ratcheted the billions for Star Wars. Why, he single-handedly ended the cold war.

He gave the republican party, the neocons, just exactly what they wanted in their recipe for Any American Century, another bumbling fool in the Mold of Gerald Ford and George-the-idiot II, who would delegate authority and watch the world burn.

Yes, other than being party to treason and delegating authority to traitors, Reagan was a swell guy, a cowboy, you know. A C- grade actor who once made a movie with a monkey.

Hey, President Reagan. Happy 100th birthday. Let's have a swell party and watch the accolades from the 21st-century media roll on.

Sam, Liberals don't just say anything, they do try to tell the truth. There are a lot of facts in these comments, you haven't disputed one. When you claim "We aren't as "intelligent" and "politically correct" as you Harvard-grad liberals are" you flatter yourself. The chances the good people on here who have done their home work are Harvard grads is slim at best. With a high school diploma you can do what is needed to look up and check facts, it's not rocket science, you just need the will to except facts that go against how you "feel." Stop thinking education is synonymous with lying, it doesn't make any sense and is downright stupid.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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