Thursday, August 6, 2009

FireDogLake, Libtard Sewerhole

One of the leading stories within the last 24 hours at Memeorandum was this post by Mike Stark over at FDL. Mike attended a recent YAF event where Newt Gingrich was the featured speaker, and found the two young conservatives who produced the 'Young Cons' rap video. Admittedly, I am not a huge fan of rap, and this isn't the greatest representation of conservatism or rap, however, they had the ballz to get on the interwebbynets and post thier beliefs, so bravo. Anyhow, Mike Stark begins to question the two gentlemen about Reagan's legacy stating that he was 'sorry to put [them] on the spot like this,' but justifying it by stating that the two have 'taken on a very public role.'

Stark asked the following questions of the Young Cons:
  • Did you know that Reagan doubled the Social Security Tax? It was at 6% and he took it to 12?
  • Did you know that Jimmy Carter didn't give an inch to 'those Iranian bastards' who took the American hostages, refused to negotiate? What he did do is send in some helecopters that got lost in a sand storm, kind of like the sand storm in Iraq that slowed our progress right in the beginning. On the other hand, Regan traded arms for hostages with the Iranians. Did you guys know about-?
  • Did you know that he bailed out of Lebanon? I spent four years in the Marines, he kind of bailed out of Lebanon, you know, after, you know, 280 some of our 'Devil Dogs' got blown up. Do you think that- does that improve or diminish his image in your view?
  • Do you think Barack Obama is in a 'terrible time' in Iraq and he should pull us out of Iraq as soon as he can to get us out of that terrible [crosstalk]?
  • Why didn't you guys join, just out of curiosity, why didn't you join the military?
  • What did you think was more important than serving your country?
So, as we've done before, let's analyze the questions and posit the answers that should have been given and would have, had the Young Cons known that they were going to get ambushed at the YAF event.

Reagan doubled the Social Security Tax from 6% to 12%.
The question makes it seem as if on the morning of January 20, 1981 the Social Security Tax rate was 6.0% and by the morning of January 21, 1981 Reagan had doubled it to 12.0%. Unfortunately, that just isn't the case. Looking at this chart we can see that in 1981 when Reagan took office the total rate of contribution from Employees and Employers, each to Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance and Hospital Insurance combined was at 6.65%. The rate of contribution from the self employed to Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance and Hospital Insurance combined was at 9.3%. When Reagan left office in 1989, the Employee/Employer rate had risen to 7.51% and Self-Employed rate had risen to 15.02%, neither considered a doubling. Here is another chart for comparison.
Something liberals tend to forget when going after Reagan is that during his entire Presidency, the congress was controlled by Democrats. Even though he won with a large majority of the electorate voting for him in '80 and in '84, Reagan's policies still had to pass through the Democratic controlled congress for approval. I can't remember anyone claiming that Reagan never raised taxes, as a matter of fact, he raised taxes in a few areas.
However, Reagan was also able to cut taxes in several other areas, most notably corporate tax rates. We can see here what the result of those tax cuts have been.

Reagan traded arms for hostages with Iran
That's right, Reagan himself handed Mahmoud Ahmadinnerjacket the keys to a hummer, 1,000,000 lbs. of C4 and the triggering device for a nuclear device. Or not... That insinuation is patently false and intellectually dishonest. After a long investigation by Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh, it was never proven that Reagan even knew about let alone authorized the arms sales to Iran. This, of course, has come to be known as the Iran Contra. Certain individuals within the Defense Department authorized the sale of military weapons to Iran in order to help secure the release of 6 US hostages being held by Hezbollah. A portion of the monies generated from the sales of these weapons was diverted to fund anti-Sandinista and anti-communist rebels, or Contras, in Nicaragua. So Reagan did not trade weapons for hostages. As to the Jimmy Carter thing, what can I say that hasn't already been said. Arguably, if it weren't for him turning his back on the Shah, Iranian riots never would have taken place and the US Embassy in Tehran never would have been over run leading to the (separate) hostage crisis in Iran.

Reagan 'bailed out' of Lebanon after the Marine Barracks Bombing, In Beirut.
Here is Reagan in his own words on why we were in Lebanon to start with:
"The purpose of having our troops and those of the other three nations in Beirut was to help keep the peace and to free the Lebanese army to go after the various militias and warlords who were terrorizing the country. We never had the intention of getting involved in Lebanon's civil war. For a while, our policy seemed to be working. There was genuine peace on the streets of Beirut. Still, as we were learning, the situation in Beirut was much more difficult and complex than we initially believed."
In fact, the Syrians were informed that the Marine presence in Beirut was defensive in nature. After the attack on the US Marines, Ronald Reagan authorized retaliatory attacks against enemy artillery points. Here is Reagan in his own words on that event:
"Although there was some resistance from Cap and the Joint Chiefs over whether we should retaliate, I told him to give the order for an air strike against the offending antiaircraft batteries. We had previously let the Syrians know that our reconnaissance operations in support of the marines were only defensive in nature. Our marines were not adversaries in the conflict, and any offensive act directed against them would be replied to. The following morning, more than two dozen navy aircraft carried out the mission. One crewman was killed and another captured by the Syrians. Our planes subsequently took out almost a dozen Syrian antiaircraft and missile-launching sites, a radar installation, and an ammo dump. When the Syrians fired again at one of our reconnaissance aircraft, I gave the order to fire the sixteen-inch guns of the battleship New Jersey on them. Two days later, we had a new cease-fire in Lebanon, a result, I'm sure, of the pressure of the long guns of the New Jersey..."
And finally, here is Reagan on the decision to pull the Marines out of Lebanon:
"As 1984 began, it was becoming clearer that the Lebanese army was either unwilling or unable to end the civil war into which we had been dragged reluctantly. It was clear that the war was likely to go on for an extended period of time. As the sniping and shelling of their camp continued, I gave an order to evacuate all the marines to anchored off Lebanon. At the end of March, the ships of the Sixth Fleet and the marines who had fought to keep peace in Lebanon moved on to other assignments. We had to pull out. By then, there was no question about it: Our policy wasn't working. We couldn't stay there and run the risk of another suicide attack on the marines. No one wanted to commit our troops to a full-scale war in the middle East. But we couldn't remain in Lebanon and be in the war on a halfway basis, leaving our men vulnerable to terrorists with one hand tied behind their backs."
The insinuation, again, here by Mike Stark is that we were attacked and Reagan immediately ordered the withdrawal, and the US left with it's tail between it's legs. In fact, the original attack was on October 23, 1983 and the order for withdrawal wasn't given until February 7, 1984, three and half months later.

Should Barack Obama pull US troops out of Iraq.
Mike attempts to draw a parallel between the circumstances of Lebanon 1983 and Iraq 2009, a comparison that is murky at best. The Marines had been stationed in Beirut as part of an international peace keeping force, something liberals love, and to free the Lebanese Army to do battle with the PLO. Our involvement in Iraq was to dispose the despotic murderous tyrant Saddam Hussein. A military presence in Iraq must be maintained until such time as the Iraqi government and military can take over the daily security concerns for the fledgling democracy. For the United States to pull out before said time could possibly result in a massive civil war, or lead to an invasion by a more powerful neighbor, further destabilizing the region. The Marine presence in Lebanon was merely defensive in nature and their presence ultimately was inconsequential to the security of the government as a whole. The force of 800 marines were part of a larger Multi-National Force assigned to cover the evacuation of Syrian troops and PLO fighters from Beirut.
Different mission, different stakes.

Why didn't the Young Cons enlist and serve in the Military? What was more important to them than serving the country?
The beautiful thing about the United States Military is that it is an all volunteer force, and no one can be compelled to serve. Each person has their own reasons for why they choose to, or not to enlist and serve in the military. However, an individual's viewpoint on political matters cannot and should not be discounted because of their involvement or lack thereof in the military. Where the hell would Barack Obama be as POTUS if his views were discounted as a result of him choosing not to serve in the military? As a Marine, Mike has the right to ask these two why they did not serve, but again their choice to serve, or not to serve should have no bearing on the validity of their political philosophy.

Overall, I think it was bullshit for Mike to grab these guys coming out of a speech by Newt Gingrich and put them on the spot regarding some political history, most of which occurred before these guys entered grade school. His justification for putting them on the spot is worthless... Using his reasoning, these guys should be Obama experts, and ready to give a defense of the $1.3 trillion stimulus package and his attendance at Reverend Wright's church for 20 years.

As an aside, the Young Cons can't be any more than 26 years old, which would place them being born in 1983. Do you have a real good grasp on the President or policies that were in place the year that you were born, or the first 6 years of your life? Can you be a vocal proponent of a political philosophy, or a fan of an individual without knowing all the details on their life? I certainly hope so, otherwise there is no explanation for all the Bill Clinton fans running around the world...

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