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Author Topic: President Reagan is 93 today
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Today is Former President Reagan's 93rd birthday. We had a thread in this forum a few months ago on McCarthyism - and thought some might want to see this article by Olasky, that helps to explain why Reagan understood Communism the way he did, and why he felt obligated to confront it.

How Reagan became Reagan by Marvin Olasky February 6, 2004: Today, Feb. 6, Ronald Reagan will turn 93. Liberal reporters, some still gnashing their teeth, will note the event. Many are remembering his Cold War leadership, but few know how the presidential fortitude that led to victory over the Soviet Union emerged from Reagan's Hollywood battle against communism.

...As director Sam Wood testified in 1947, Hollywood Communists had "a well-organized system (to) deprive people of work whenever they can." The president of the Story Analysts Guild (she also headed the story-reading department at Paramount) was a Communist; Esquire film critic John Moffit noted in 1947 that "members of this guild prepare very bad synopses of all material submitted by people who are not Communists, and they damn thoroughly in their reports any stories that are not friendly to the Communist line."

The screenwriter known as the "commissar" of Hollywood, John Howard Lawson, wrote in his book "Film in the Battle of Ideas" that "cultural workers" must "throw off the shackles of bourgeois ideology ... their vision must be transformed and made new if it is to serve a new purpose." Lawson offered advice for waging such guerilla warfare: "As a writer do not try to write an entire Communist picture, (but) try to get five minutes of Communist doctrine, five minutes of the party line in every script that you write."

Lawson also told young actors, "It is your duty to further the class struggle by your performance. ... If you are nothing more than an extra wearing white flannels on a country club veranda, do your best to appear decadent, do your best to appear to be a snob, do your best to create class antagonism." Lawson particularly wanted a "campaign against religion, where the minister will be shown as the tool of his richest parishioner."

...as Reagan saw how Communists operated with the help of liberal "useful idiots," he began to understand the shortcomings of liberalism. The threats he received while serving as president of the actors guild led him to see communism as a form of terrorism. At police request, he wore a .32 Smith & Wesson for seven months. Later, he noted that, "Our Red foes even went so far as to threaten to throw acid in the faces of myself and some other stars, so that we ‘never would appear on the screen again.'"

Opposition built determination in Reagan, and by 1951 he was reporting "frustration and failure in the party's bold plot to seize control of the talent guilds and craft unions. ... Never again can the Communists hope to get anywhere in the movie capital." But that was too optimistic. In the 1950s, Hollywood leftists gained sympathy because the tactic of "blacklisting" that they had developed was briefly used against them.

By the 1960s, the Hollywood left was firmly in control once more. Conservatives once again had trouble finding work -- but journalists did not report that. One conservative, Ronald Reagan, did find useful work, and the rest is history.

Imagine being a patriotic actor back then, told by the police they wanted you to be armed at all times because Communists wanted to throw acid in your face or worse. Imagine being privy to the clandstine agenda of people to subvert the Free Enterprise system by backstabbing and blacklisting your friends and associates - how would you have grown and matured into the person you might have been? The president of the Story Analysts Guild and Lawson were real people who did this to our country, yet I don't remember noticing their names recited very often. I guess it is easy to forget.
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Hrm. Of course, this may have been directly in response to the same stuff done by "patriotic" hollywood?

No, of course not... I forgot... Dalton Trumbo and his ilk weren't blacklisted, and driven to mexico because of their political beliefs... sorry, do continue...

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Thanks for the reminder WM.
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Everard, you sadly missed the point. The Reagan story was not about the HUAC that later on was charged with unfairly blacklisting innocent dreamers. The Reagan story is about stopping militant Communists who did blacklist Non-communists from getting work, and threatened those who would debate them by throwing acid in their faces to stop their careers. This activity was what prompted the HUAC to stop them.

According to their own words, the Hollywood Ten were actively involved in the same effort to blacklist Hollywood talents who were not Communists. Dalton Trumbo was a talented writer, but evidently he was unwillingly to argue for his choice of Communism over Free Enterprise. He went to prison as his own protest over claiming the First Amendment (that allowed for freedom of speech) somehow protected him from denying a concerted agendized attempt to overthrow that same Constitution. In a Free system like we have, you should feel proud a man will stand up for his rights and accept prison rather than argue FOR his own beliefs.

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Colin JM0397
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For the "he was an amiable dunce" crowd:
The result is "Dear Americans: Letters From the Desk of Ronald Reagan," out recently from Doubleday.

A compilation of roughly 275 letters arranged chronologically with commentary from the Webers, "Dear Americans" shows a sensitive, intelligent Reagan with flashes of wit.

"The letters are really well written with hardly anything crossed out," observed senior editor Ralph E., who has 12 other books, including "Spymasters," to his name.

The younger Weber, who served as associate editor, agreed, adding that though he's a Democrat and didn't vote for Reagan, the letters reveal a man he'd vote for today.

"Each letter is in his own handwriting so you know it's the product of his mind," he said by phone. "I was struck by how different this person was compared with what we saw in the media. There's a remarkable consistency to this man. He's also quite able to talk about substantive matters, like Iran-Contra. He displays a facility with a level of detail that belies the notion that he was simply the amiable spokesman for other people's policies."

From Reagan, in his own words
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pickled shuttlecock
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Come on. You know all conservative presidents are dunces. That's just how things are. Left is actually just plain normal, and you're an idiot if you don't see that.
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jm0397, I love that letter back to Andy Smith, that seventh-grader who asked for federal relief for his messy room after his mother declared it a disaster area. Reagan's letter pointed out a technical problem. He said, "The authority declaring the disaster is supposed to make the request" for relief, that is "your mother." Then Reagan went on to extoll the virtues of volunteerism.
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Ron Lambert
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Yes, the Reagan wit was every bit as good as the celebrated Kennedy (JFK) wit. It seems a shame to have to refer to it in the past tense, while he is still alive. But that is the tragedy of Alzheimer's.

You know he had the moral strength and courage of tested convictions to call the evil empire by its right name, and bring it down. Whatever spin pundits of the left or right may wish to put on the Reagan presidency, let us never forget that the Soviet Empire fell and the Cold War was won by the West during his watch. For those of us who grew up with the nuclear sword of Damocles hanging over our heads, that was no small thing! And that is something that can never be taken from his legacy.

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In related news, our future (perhaps the next) president turns 51 today.
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