The Vaults

Excerpts from Electric Degeneration, Degenerate Press' semi-weekly e-zine, free and ad-free. A full episode contains sections for music reviews, upcoming events, blasphemy, classifieds, and anything else we feel like saying. If you'd like to subscribe just contact us.

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Contrary to what you might have heard on local radio or read in the Loafing, Echo Lounge is open.

Last episode generated a random range of response regarding Reagan. To kick things off, here’s one from
"Reagan's Memory Honored With Sharp Increase In Federal Budget Deficit”

And here’s a couple I neglected an episode or two ago:
Thank you thank you for that Reagan commentary. I am so tired of hearing people on the news calling him a "man of the people" and "the greatest president of the last 50 years." I'm sorry for his family because of their loss, but I wish the man had stuck to B-movies.
Degenerate KG

love your comments on reagan and the path he laid........
degenerate MBF

Degenerate SR posted this on the Degenerate Press livejournal:

Degenerate RVI is an eloquent writer, and he (?) presents some interesting ideas. However, reading his lament of the 24-year "revolution," I wonder which president he'd prefer to live under? Carter? Ford? Nixon? Something before 1965, perhaps? Which end of the bus would RVI be sitting in?
Was the world a better, happier place in 1979 than it is today?
The Golden Age that RVI feels such nostalgia for has never existed.
We're moving forward. Not in Great Leaps, and not without detours or backtracking...but we're moving forward.


Zipperhead RVI:
It is time to get over yourself.
Even if you believe that Reagan's good works were
accidental -- nothing but the residue of flawed and
demonic policies akin to condensation on an icy
glassful of greed -- your life's good works, in
comparision, are nothing.
Cut the guy some slack. He's dead, and you ain't so
perfect neither.
Degenerate HPL

And another long one from degenerate JDP:

>You're pleased to see someone dead? I thought bed-wetting liberals were
>supposed to be warm and fuzzy...

Welcome back to the broadcast, PK. I have sorely missed the rapier-like
subtlety of your (almost) Swiftian wit. I could not help but notice that
you raised some good questions regarding the record of former President
Ronald Reagan. Let me take a few minutes to try and facilitate your
journey towards enlightenment.

>...We're the 80's so unlivable?...

The number of people living below the poverty line increased by roughly 20
% from 1980 to 1988. Homelessness became a serious problem as federal
subsidies for affordable housing were slashed. There was a delayed effect
from this as many landlords held contracts that did not expire until the
mid 1980s or later. I encourage all readers to go look up the numbers to
be sure. I'm disinclined to make the same arguments I had to make 14 years
ago. The economic recovery, as it was, was fueled largely by consumer
spending, as real wages decreased relative to inflation. The result being
that US consumer debt exploded, and remains at very high levels (hey, why
PAY someone enough to live on when you can LOAN it to them and rape them on
interest for the rest of their lives! -- as a double whammy [and as RVI
pointed out] help create a culture of consumerism to encourage everyone to
BUY regardless of need -- you get to claim that your economy recovers, and
everyone's in your debt! What a DEAL, huh?).

>...I mean Reagan did stop WWIII (the Cold War),...

It can be cogently argued that Reagan Administration foreign policy
prolonged the Cold War. With the deaths of the last of Brezhnev's old
guard, Andropov and Chernyenko, Mikail Gorbachev rose to power, and proved
to be willing to negotiate with the West. For several years, he was
opposed by hard-liners in the Politburo who feared Reagan's "Evil Empire"
rhetoric, and his jokes about "the bombing begins in five minutes" (the
Russians went on nuclear alert because of that idiotic remark). In
fairness, Reagan's SDI speech, although ludicrous to anyone who has passed
a physics class, did (according to Gorbachev) help convince enough of the
Soviet conservatives (many believed SDI was feasible) that the Soviet Union
would not be able to compete with the US in that field, and they acquiesced
to Gorbachev's peace initiatives. This of course, did not happen until the
last year of the Reagan presidency -- it could have begun years earlier had
the US government softened their anti-Soviet rhetoric and provocative
"rollback" strategy. At 2:37 am, I don't have time to go research an essay
to flesh our this argument. There is sufficient literature in the public
record to make Republican assertions that Reagan "won" or even "ended" the
cold war somewhat less than certain; the Soviet leadership itself saw the
end of the Cold War as an internal collapse brought about primarily by
social and economic issues. If anything, it can be argued that Reagan's
move from Nixonian Detente to Rollback placed us and the entire world on a
hair trigger that could have killed billions had anyone blinked.

>...lowered unemployment,...

It did do that. Unemployment was topping 10 percent, and it increased in
the first months of the Reagan presidency before the business cycle began
to reverse it. For all the "morning in America" propaganda, everyone seems
to forget the negativity of the "misery index" speeches given by Reagan and
Bush Sr., during the election cycle. The intent was clear. Life under a
Democratic president sucked, and now that we're in, life is great! Life
clearly did become better for some, and it clearly became worse for others.

>...cleaned up Carter's failed attempts at world peace in the Middle East,...

You refer of course to the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, which was
signed at Camp David with President Carter in attendance. That treaty has
remained intact for almost thirty years. Reagan's attempts at establishing
peace in the Mid-East brought over two hundred Marines home in body bags
and precipitated a US military retreat, while accomplishing little else
except helping legitimize Begin's disastrous invasion of Lebanon. Out of
curiosity, did you believe President Bush when he asserted on two separate
occasions that Sadaam Hussein had refused to let weapons inspectors back
into Iraq prior to our invasion? This was news to Hans Blix, of
course. There seems to be something of a disconnection between reality and
your remembrance of it. Not to worry though. Reagan once told the
Israelis that he had been present at the liberation of a Nazi death camp
when he was in California making VD training films for the Army. He was
just confused as well, I'm sure -- in the same way Bush, Sr. was when he
haughtily told a crowded VFW hall that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on
September 7th, 1941 in a botched attempt to race-bait the audience. But
we're still talking Reagan here, and not discussing whether or not
Alzheimer's Disease is contagious.

>...lowered the interest rate... blah blah blah...

Paul Volker of the Treasury resisted lowering interest rates, but Alan
Greenspan (although Greenspan was initially opposed to lowering rates for
fear of inflationary pressures) eventually did so. This, combined with
widespread financial deregulation (see below), led to a grand
liberalization of credit (see above). Ronald Reagan, except for nominating
the fellow conservative Greenspan to head the Federal Reserve, had ZERO, 0,
nada, nil, none whatsover power to lower the federal prime lending rate.

One thing the Reagan Administration DID do was deregulate the S&L industry,
which soon collapsed from corrupt lending practices and was dissolved,
leaving the taxpayers (including YOUR Libertarian ass) with over a trillion
dollars in debt. Neal Bush was indicted and convicted and sentenced for
his part in the Silverado Savings and Loan scandal that was a media
centerpiece for this fiasco (he was later pardoned by his father, IIRC).

Thank you for stating some of your misconceptions regarding the realities
of the Reagan legacy. I hope that you are not your normal
adamantine-headed self and that you will take the initiative to try and
learn a little about the truth. While many of us put Reagan in the same
basket as Pinochet, Franco, Mussolini, etc., it would be unfair of us to
say that he did not have any true successes. I can't think of any specific
ones, although I suppose it can be said that by busting the PATCO union he
made the planes land on time. Feel free to make a list and post it for
others to see. And try to keep the level of discourse somewhere above the
ankle if you wish to be taken seriously. Inflammatory rhetoric may
increase ratings, but the only ones you will wind up winning over are those
who have the same or greater level of tint on the rose-colored lenses
through which they are viewing the past. Some of my assertions may be
incorrect as well, so please correct me where I am mistaken -- I wrote this
off the top of my head when it was way past my bedtime.

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