Presidential state of mind: automatic pilot

“You Ronald Reagan?” Its an old debate: whether Ronald Reagan’s onset of Alzheimer disease occurred while he was in office. according to son Ron, the President became mentally impaired by the disease and the end of his first term in office.It opens the questions on other presidents health status while serving ….FDR’s health condition was concealed from the public. It does appear, that throughout   his term, there was a definite degeneration of Reagan’s speaking skills. He went from glib, quick thinking, quick on the uptake and  to slow, stumbling, stammering and needing cue cards to remember speeches. Some could be attributed to age, but it remains that son Ron’s theory is plausible though difficult to substantiate.

Conrad Black:To be fair, Wolff is correct that Murdoch is very perceptive about people. I once asked him what he thought of President Reagan; after a few seconds, he said: "He is a cunning, charming, old peasant." read more: photo:

“facts are stubborn things” – Ronald Reagan.Hard to know where the real story is with these 100th anniversary books. A sick president conveys the sense that the presidency is almost a figurehead position for an able puppet and that the power of decision making is behind the throne. In addition it throws light on the murky circumstances surrounding the assassination attempt as well as Reagan’s fascination with occult science; astrology, numerology and other forms of esoterica.

Add to this Ron Reagan’s role as atheist spokesman, and the questioning of “in god we trust” and other foundational myths of America. Toss in the the infamous “page-boy” scandal and deeper issue of child abuse, UFO’s, alien invasions, and we have a real commemorative festival  to mark the centenary.Also, Reagan promoted constantly the imagery of what James Truslow Adams coined” the American Dream in 1931. He used it to embody the idea that with enough hard work and luck, anybody could achieve what they wanted in life. …Jacques Rancière argues that what is at stake in politics, just as it is in aesthetics, is the distribution of the sensible, and that politics happens not only through the disruption of a certain aesthetic organization of sense experience but through the eruption of a distinct aesthetics. The aesthetics that Reagan politics “must disrupt” were certainly far reaching…

Reagan as liberal democrat 1948:" The Republican promises sounded pretty good in 1946, but what has happened since then, since the 80th Congress took over? Prices have climbed to the highest level in history, although the death of the OPA was supposed to bring prices down through "the natural process of free competition". Labor has been handcuffed with the vicious Taft-Hartley law. Social Security benefits have been snatched away from almost a million workers by the Gearhart bill. Fair employment practices, which had worked so well during war time, have been abandoned. Veterans' pleas for low cost homes have been ignored, and many people are still living in made-over chicken coops and garages....

Manuel Roig-Franzia: The son, now 52, can’t muster enthusiasm for present-day Reagan worship, either. He disdains the communal gushing and deifying, “the fetishistic veneration,” while nurturing a private, though complicated, affection. Ron’s mother, Nancy Reagan, is always after him to attend this or that commemoration or unveiling. He always has the same reaction: “Oh, no. Not another aircraft carrier. Not another bridge. Not another highway!” In the national dysfunctional family that is the Reagan clan, Ron might be the most ephemeral. The others chose highly public proximity — either through emulation (Michael channels the father’s politics on radio and in books, and Maureen, now deceased, tried briefly and unsuccessfully to follow him into elected office) or confrontation (Patti bared family secrets in a memoir and thinly veiled novels and bared herself in Playboy). Ron Reagan has appeared on MSNBC and done radio-talk shows. Read More:

Each child has reminisced controversially in print. (Ron and Patti, who uses her mother’s maiden name, Davis, are the children of Ronald Reagan and his second wife, Nancy; Maureen was the daughter of Ronald Reagan and his first wife, the film star Jane Wyman. Michael, 65, was adopted by Reagan and Wyman.)

"Biographer Edmund Morris noted Reagan’s fondness for apocryphal tales and his “Dalíesque ability to bend reality to his own purposes.” Yet he added that the president’s stories “should be taken seriously because they represent core philosophy.” This influential (and sometimes inscrutable) president of the late-twentieth century found an illustration of his core belief in America’s purpose within the pages of an occult work little known beyond its genre. Lucky numbers and newspaper horoscopes were not Reagan’s only interest in the arcane." read more:

Mitchell Horowitz: In spring of 1988, White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater acknowledged publicly what journalists had whispered for years: Ronald and Nancy Reagan were devotees of astrology. A tell-all memoir had definitively linked the first lady to a San Francisco stargazer, confirming speculation that started decades earlier when Reagan, as California’s governor-elect, scheduled his first oath of office at the eyebrow-raising hour of 12:10 a.m. Many detected an effort to align the inaugural with promising heavenly signs. Fitzwater also confirmed the president’s penchant for “lucky numbers,” or what is sometimes called numerology. read more:

But Ron refrained from memoir-writing for decades, and he removed himself physically, straying far from the touchstone locales of Reagan legend — Washington, Sacramento, Southern California — in favor of the Pacific Northwest. Like his sister Patti, he strayed politically, too, espousing a liberal mindset that was the antithesis of the standard set by his parents.

---When President Ronald Reagan bombed Tripoli in 1986, Zinn wrote: "There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people for a purpose which is unattainable." He denounced the invasion of Iraq and also criticised President Barack Obama's intensification of the war in Afghanistan. He was sharply attacked in Israel and by many of his fellow American Jews for saying that war was morally the equivalent of terrorism.--- read more:

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During an Oval Office visit with her family as she was ending her time as a White House correspondent in 1986, Stahl wrote that “Reagan didn’t seem to know who I was. He gave me a distant look with those milky eyes and shook my hand weakly. Oh, my, he’s gonzo, I thought. I have to go out on the lawn tonight and tell my countrymen that the president of the United States is a doddering space cadet.”

As their meeting wore on, Reagan became more animated and aware, Stahl wrote, which is one of the reasons she decided not to report on his apparent condition.

Howard Zinn: The notion of American exceptionalism—that the United States alone has the right, whether by divine sanction or moral obligation, to bring civilization, or democracy, or liberty to the rest of the world, by violence if necessary—is not new. It started as early as 1630 in the Massachusetts Bay Colony when Governor John Winthrop uttered the words that centuries later would be quoted by Ronald Reagan. Winthrop called the Massachusetts Bay Colony a “city upon a hill.” Reagan embellished a little, calling it a “shining city on a hill.” In reality, we have never been just a city on a hill. A few years after Governor Winthrop uttered his famous words, the people in the city on a hill moved out to massacre the Pequot Indians. read more:

However, she eventually concluded that he must have had Alzheimer’s in office. In an email exchange with Mother Jones, she wrote: “Later, when I would ask White House officials if they had ever seen him float away like that, they’d say yes, but that, as with me, he always pulled himself together. It was confusing for everyone.”

In her memoir, Stahl concluded: “I now believe [Reagan aides and his wife Nancy] covered up his condition, and many continued to as they wrote their memoirs. But then, the public knew something wasn’t right. There were all sorts of signs. We all looked the other way.” read more:

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…Mitchell Horowitz:It was there in 1944 that the occult thinker produced a short work, one little known beyond his immediate circle. This book, The Secret Destiny of America, caught the eye of the future president, then a middling Hollywood actor gravitating toward politics.

Hall’s concise volume described how America was the product of a “Great Plan” for religious liberty and self-governance, launched by a hidden order of ancient philosophers and secret societies. In one chapter, Hall described a rousing speech delivered by a mysterious “unknown speaker” before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The “strange man,” wrote Hall, invisibly entered and exited the locked doors of the Philadelphia statehouse on July 4th, 1776, delivering an oration that bolstered the wavering spirits of the delegates. “God has given America to be free!” commanded the mysterious speaker, urging the men to overcome their fears of the noose, axe, or gibbet, and to seal destiny by signing the great document. Newly emboldened, the delegates rushed forward to add their names. They looked to thank the stranger only to discover that he had vanished from the locked room. Was this, Hall wondered, “one of the agents of the secret Order, guarding and directing the destiny of America?”

Zinn: Expanding into another territory, occupying that territory, and dealing harshly with people who resist occupation has been a persistent fact of American history from the first settlements to the present day. And this was often accompanied from very early on with a particular form of American exceptionalism: the idea that American expansion is divinely ordained. On the eve of the war with Mexico in the middle of the 19th century, just after the United States annexed Texas, the editor and writer John O’Sullivan coined the famous phrase “manifest destiny.” He said it was “the fulfillment of our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions.” At the beginning of the 20th century, when the United States invaded the Philippines, President McKinley said that the decision to take the Philippines came to him one night when he got down on his knees and prayed, and God told him to take the more:

At a 1957 commencement address at his alma mater Eureka College, Reagan, then a corporate spokesman for GE, sought to inspire students with this leaf from occult history. “This is a land of destiny,” Reagan said, “and our forefathers found their way here by some Divine system of selective service gathered here to fulfill a mission to advance man a further step in his climb from the swamps.”

Reagan then retold (without naming a source) the tale of Hall’s unknown speaker. “When they turned to thank the speaker for his timely words,” Reagan concluded, “he couldn’t be found and to this day no one knows who he was or how he entered or left the guarded room.” read more:

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Michael Kazin: Zinn’s conception of American elites is akin to the medieval church’s image of the Devil. For him, a governing class is motivated solely by its appetite for riches and power-and by its fear of losing them. Numerous historians may regard George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton as astute, if seriously flawed, men who erected a structure for the new nation that has endured for over two centuries. But Zinn curtly dismisses them as “leaders of the new aristocracy” and regards the nation-state itself as a cunning device to lull ordinary folks with “the fanfare of patriotism and unity.”

Katharine Wolf: For Rancière, politics is that rare event that occurs when the confluence between sanctioned dispositions to partake of the shared world and positions within the partition of the sensible is ruptured. Politics not only interrupts common sense but also erupts into the shared sensible world. As the title suggests, The Politics of Aesthetics argues that the distribution of the sensible is an aesthetic enterprise, and what is at stake in any politics is more:

Such phrases may hint of Marxism, but the old Rhinelander never took so static or simplistic a view of history. Zinn’s ruling elite is a transhistorical entity, a virtual monolith; neither its interests nor its ideology change markedly from the days when its members owned slaves and wore knee-britches to the era of the Internet and Armani. Zinn thus sees nothing unusual in the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. It simply “meant that another part of the Establishment,” albeit “more crass” than its immediate antecedents, was now in more:

James Truslow Adams: “ The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position ”

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