Ronald Reagan

Photo of the Day

The Chicago press covered Linda Taylor’s 1977 trial extensively, and she dressed to court the cameras.
Charles Knoblock/Associated Press

Reagan’s ‘Welfare Queen’ Was a Real Person

Her Story Is Bananas

Back in the 80s, Ronald Reagan paid a lot of rhetorical attention to the story of an anonymous “welfare queen” who drove a Cadillac and lived high on the taxpayer’s dime. For those who knew her decades ago, Linda Taylor was a terrifying figure.

The life and times of “Linda Taylor” (in quotes because that’s only one of her many, many aliases),is the real woman who served as the basis for Reagan’s story. Taylor really did drive a Cadillac and perpetrate a decent amount of welfare fraud. But her story isn’t really representative of the typical sort of welfare fraud ? let alone the typical welfare recipient, in general. In fact, Taylor was the sort of person that gets armchair diagnosed as a sociopath. She spent most of her life grifting somebody and was possibly involved in the deaths of multiple people.

She was a woman who destroyed lives, someone far more depraved than even Ronald Reagan could have imagined.?In the 1970s alone, Taylor was investigated for homicide, kidnapping, and baby trafficking.?The detective who tried desperately to put her away believes she?s responsible for one of Chicago?s most legendary crimes, one that remains unsolved to this day.?Welfare fraud was likely the least of the welfare queen?s offenses.

Reagan told the story of a benefit stealing ?welfare queen? to argue for smaller, leaner government. Liberals have complained about the generalization ever since. It turns out there was a real welfare queen, and that name was given to her by the Chicago Tribune, not Ronald Reagan.

Read more »

Lindsay Perigo on the US Elections

“It’s morning again in America,” said Ronald Reagan when running for re-election in 1984. The facts and the voters backed him, and he was returned to the presidency in a landslide.

America in 2016 has endured a dark night far longer and blacker than that inflicted by Jimmy Carter, but the reinstatement of morning should be no more difficult for Trump than Reagan given The Donald’s astounding sweep of both Houses of Congress as well as the Electoral College.

What is most gratifying is to tote up all the disgusting things that voters repudiated yesterday, contrary to the pontifications of the usual insufferable suspects in the media. I have been doing it all day and laughing non-stop. The media in fact are foremost among the disgusting repudiated. Their brazen abandonment of any pretence of a distinction between reportage and commentary, their explicit avowal of a duty to root for the inexpressibly corrupt Clinton, their shameless ignoring of her criminality, their comprehensive unprofessionalism?in all of this the mainstream media have written their own epitaph and earned the contempt towards them evinced by voters yesterday. Journalism is dead; long live journalism.

Read more »

Good point Chris, why do Labour keep going around and around in circles?

Chris Trotter wonders why Labour constantly goes round and round in circles.

WHY DOES LABOUR do it? Why is it forever tying itself up in ethical knots and programmatic contradictions? Its policy-making does not seem to proceed from any discernible core of political principle. On the contrary, it comes across as the sort of haphazard collection of fleeting public obsessions a party guided exclusively by opinion polls and focus groups might present to the electorate.

Voters are prepared to forgive National for this sort ?suck it and see? approach to policy-making. Most of us understand that the only principle that National will never abandon is the one commanding it to remain in office for as long as possible. Everything else is negotiable ? as the Government?s recent swag of policy tweaks and re-adjustments makes abundantly clear.

Nor can the voters object too strenuously to National?s governing style. After all, it is their own likes and dislikes that are being so assiduously fed back to them by the party?s pollsters and marketing specialists.

If democracy is about giving the people what they want, then John Key?s preternatural sensitivity to the slightest change of pitch in the vox populi makes him a democratic leader of no mean ability.

Read more »

Photo of the Day

boosterCocaine Cowboys

Back In the Day

When They Used To Market Cocaine

Through the 70s and 80s, one drug rules them all.?That drug was cocaine.

Before it was rendered illegal, the sale of drug paraphernalia was big business.?These vintage commercials show luxurious black sofas, sexy women, and lots of cocaine.

These advertisements, ripped from magazines such as?Head,?High Times,?Rush?and Flash?offer a glimpse of the wide range of flashy gear and accessories offered to the cocaine connoisseur of the late ?70s and early ?80s.

The 1970s were a weird time, not least because you could apparently advertise cocaine in magazines despite this being the first decade of President Nixon?s Controlled Substances Act.

In June 1971, Nixon declared a war on drugs. He said that drug abuse was ?public enemy number one in the United States?. Which is right where all of these ads were published.

The devices and gadgets up for sale include the practical, such as a spray to ease irritated nostrils and products to keep the powder dry and free of clumps. Then there’s more performative and ostentatious gear, including gold-plated razor blades and ornately carved, ivory snorting straws. For a drug as classy and luxurious as coke, a rolled-up dollar bill simply won?t do.

While the War on Drugs was underway???Ronald Reagan popularized that infamous?phrase???and cocaine was still very much illegal, selling and marketing paraphernalia (?Not intended for illegal use!?) was a legitimate and lucrative business.

Read more »

RIP Nancy Reagan


Ronald and Nancy Reagan aboard a boat in 1964

Ronald and Nancy Reagan aboard a boat in 1964

Nancy Reagan has died, aged 94.

Nancy Reagan, the former actress who was fiercely protective of husband Ronald Reagan through a Hollywood career, eight years in the White House, an assassination attempt and her husband’s Alzheimer’s disease, died on Sunday at age 94, the Reagan library said.

Michael Reagan said on Twitter he was saddened by his stepmother’s death. “She is once again with the man she loved,” he wrote.

Reagan became one of the most influential first ladies in US history during her Republican husband’s presidency from 1981 to 1989,

[…] ? ? Read more »

Apparently free trade is a ‘virus’ killing off the Labour party

The rhetoric of the TPPA argument has now reached the absurd, with free trade being described as a “virus” that infected Labour and is killing it off.

The precise nature of the vector which carried the Free Market/Free Trade virus into Labour?s ranks in the early 1980s is still not 100 percent clear. Part of the answer no doubt lies in the examples made of the governments of Chile?s Salvador Allende, Australia?s Gough Whitlam and the UK?s Harold Wilson, by the enemies of Democratic Socialism. The policies of the New Right governments of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan had, similarly, made it plain to New Zealand?s Labour politicians that democratic economic planning and the preservation of national independence were well-and-truly off the ?Free World?s? political agenda.

What a revealing analogy from Chris Trotter. He considers free trade and free markets to be a virus. ? Read more »

Phil Goff admits he?s double dipping, so agrees not to. For all of four weeks

Same old red wine, new bottle

Same old red wine, new bottle

Once a trougher always a trougher.

Phil Goff started his political career in 1981 and for all of the ensuing years bar three of them has lived in a publicly funded trough.

Now he is going to spend the next year campaigning to be Mayor of Auckland and you and I are going to pay for it all…except for the last 4 weeks.

Auckland mayoralty candidate Phil Goff is standing on a platform of eliminating wasteful spending and says he will take leave from Parliament without pay to campaign during the last month of the local body elections.

MPs continue to be paid during general election campaigns and if they are away from Parliament with the leave of party whips, but Mr Goff said that would not be right given he would be focussing on the campaign and would offload much of his Parliamentary work to colleagues. He would ask Parliamentary Service to halt his pay for that period of up to a month before the elections.

“If I’m not doing my Parliamentary business, then I’d feel more comfortable if it was leave without pay if they can do that.”

He joked he could put in a claim for lieu days, given the amount he had worked over his Parliamentary career. “But it’s about perception and it would be better if I could get leave without pay.”

Mr Goff has also invested in a separate cell phone to make phone calls related to the campaign and said he had driven himself round Auckland to media interviews rather than take taxis funded by taxpayer. “I’ve got to be pretty scrupulous about separating the two roles, which is a challenge.” He conceded he could pay for taxis out of his own pocket rather than drive “but you know me, I don’t have a Scots background but I should.”

Read more »

Rodney Hide on poll driven fruit cakes

Rodney Hide explains at NBR about how it is polls and polling that drive politics now, not policies.

Policy is now made by public feel. Every decision is open to review and reversal especially if the pushback is from middle voters.

And it works. Prime Minister John Key remains wildly popular and National is well ahead in the polls.

There was a time when government was idealised as rational, with the aim to deliver the best policy backed by a political resolve not to blink and with the benefits to be achieved, or at least understood, by the time of the next election.

It was never such but that was the ideal aspired to.?It was what public servants were taught if not what they practised. And it was what politicians admired even if they themselves never quite possessed the needed intellectual grunt to grasp policy options and implications or the necessary political fortitude to stand and argue for sound policy. They nonetheless admired the ideal and followed it when there was political leadership.

That was back a time. This is now.

We have never had a better demonstration of policy by public feel than with Mr Key.

There are no bottom lines. There are no decisions that can?t be overturned. There are no guiding policy principles or political philosophy.

It?s policy management, not policy reform.

Read more »

Oppose, oppose, oppose just means lose, lose, lose

Arts, travel and lifestyle blogger, David Farrar, ?must have enjoyed himself last night at the Decade of Dirt because he has a cracker?of a post about Labour’s problems.

A lot of NZ ?s problems come from its ideological hatred of the private sector, and their knee-jerk opposition to anything involving the private sector ? regardless of the impact a programme may have in helping the most disadvantaged.

They?re against privately managed prisons, even if they do a better job of rehabilitating prisoners.

They?re against charter schools even if they do a better job of helping the most disadvantaged students gain qualifications

And we?re seen it again with their knee-jerk opposition to . Labour seem to have no fresh ideas of their own, just a long list of things they oppose.? Read more »

The lies of Hillary Clinton keep on coming

Hillary Clinton just keeps on lying, it seems she just can’t help it.

She of course calls it mis-speaking.

Andrew Bolt explains:

Hillary Clinton campaigns for the immigrant vote in Iowa:

?All my grandparents, you know, came over here [to America],? Hillary Clinton claimed, reinforcing her immigration reform bona fides.

Except, of course, it?s another Hillary lie – one so astonishingly obvious that you can only conclude that she lies reflexively and habitually.

Only one of her grandparents was born overseas, although another was the child of immigrants, forcing Clinton?s staff to offer this cringing explanation:

?Her grandparents always spoke about the immigrant experience and, as a result she has always thought of them as immigrants,? a Clinton spokesman told BuzzFeed News. ??

Read more »