WASHINGTON, July 27, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With the first Republican Presidential debate set for August 6 in Cleveland, candidates wanting to claim the Party's nomination will again be invoking the many myths of Ronald Reagan. However, it is time for no more untrue Reagan myths, and for the reality of the Reagan presidency to be better understood, assert Robert Weiner and Eric Alves in an article featured in The Cleveland Plain Dealer yesterday (Sunday, July 26) called, "Reagan's legacy will be invoked repeatedly during Cleveland's Aug. 6 GOP debate -- but what does it really mean?"
Weiner and Alves state, "Cleveland had another major debate back on October 28, 1980. At Convention Center Music Hall, Reagan hammered Carter on mishandling government, pointing to 'the General Accounting Office estimate that there is probably tens of billions of dollars that is lost.' The debate helped seal Reagan's victory. The coming August 6 debate could frame the current election and have as much impact."
Weiner, a former Clinton White House spokesman and senior staff for four members of Congress, and Alves, senior policy analyst, show that Reagan tripled the deficit by his tax drop for the rich from 70% to 28% and expanding the military, launched the explosion of income inequality, increased government size and staffing, signed legislation legalizing undocumented immigrants, and funded and trained bin Laden leading to al Qaeda, 9-11, and ISIS. They document their case.
Although Reagan is praised for creating a thriving economy through lowering taxes and shrinking the size of government, the authors note, "Under Reagan, the federal government did not shrink, the federal workforce increased by 324,000 to 5.3 million. Federal spending rose from $517 billion to $991 billion. The national debt tripled, from $907 billion in 1980 to $2.6 trillion in 1988, the largest percentage growth of debt by any President."
Weiner and Alves note that, "While scratching the backs of big business with large tax cuts, in 1983, the poverty level jumped from 13% to 15.2%, compared to a 3.4% decrease under Clinton. Reagan contributed to the widespread income disparity currently haunting the U.S., tripling the national debt by cutting the top income tax from 70% to 28% and expanding military spending."
"The true legacy of Reagan is weakening President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal legacy," contend Weiner and Alves. "During the Great Depression, the New Deal provided families a way out through jobs and government-funded programs -- programs Reagan intentionally gutted."
The piece brings to light key findings that show the significant role Reagan's policies had in our confrontation from terrorism presently. "When the Soviet Union was invading Afghanistan, Reagan created Operation Cyclone. It was a covert plan to arm and finance the radical Islamic militant Mujahideen for their proclaimed jihad against the Soviet Union, instead of supporting less ideological resistance groups. It cost over $2 billion. Within the ranks was a young Osama bin Laden, who used the skills he gained from his American training to form the terrorist organization al-Qaeda, later giving birth to the breakaway group ISIS," the authors stated.
They add a note about Ohio's Governor: "Ohio Governor Kasich believes he has strong Reagan-like credentials, including as House Budget Chair 1995-2001 in Congress, where he led Republican domestic budget cuts and program freezes. The Washington Times even headlined the question on May 10, 2015, "Is John Kasich the next Reagan?" They point out that Kasich helped Clinton have a balanced budget. The problem with their analysis is that unlike Clinton, who balanced the federal budget three times, Reagan never balanced the budget," say the authors.
Weiner and Alves conclude, "As Republicans prepare for Cleveland, it would be accurate to say Reagan's rhetoric was legendary and inspirational. However, the retrenchment he launched against the New Deal began the rise of income inequality, and adopting his policies now makes it worse. In foreign policy, he armed the wrong people who hated us as much as they hated the Soviet Union. "
Robert Weiner, an Oberlin College graduate, is a former spokesman for the Clinton White House and senior staff for Reps. John Conyers, Charles Rangel, Claude Pepper, Ed Koch and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. Eric Alves is senior policy analyst at Robert Weiner Associates
Link to full article published online and in print edition: http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/07/reagans_legacy_will_be_invoked.html
CLINTON NY PRISON ESCAPE SHOWS NEED TO STOP PRISON CORRUPTION AND GANGS NATIONWIDE
Robert Weiner today also released a statement on his and Sylvienne Staine's recent oped in The Buffalo News asserting that the Clinton, NY prison escape shows the need for the prison system to stop the corruption and ability of gangs to exist in prisons nationwide, which they point to as a major scandal.
"New York spent a million dollars a day in the three-week manhunt for convicts Richard W. Matt and David Sweat," say Weiner, the former spokesman for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and criminal justice policy analyst Sylvienne Staines in an article published in The Buffalo News. They argue that the escapees' fiasco exposes a national prison corruption crisis that requires immediate action in all of America's prisons, not just Clinton, to vet and stop the corruption and prison gangs that support it.
The authors point out that "the recent escape became something of a national joking matter from Joe Scarborough to Jon Stewart –women workers' relationships with inmates, saws in food, the public's Bonnie-and-Clyde perception of the perverted heroism of bad guys avoiding capture." But "the reality of prison staff corruption and mismanagement--the violence, drugs, weapons, and money--are no joke. The arrests and removals of at least twelve officials including the Superintendent are a window into a national scandal of prison corruption and the need to confront it."
The authors discuss the lapses in Clinton's security procedures that ultimately showed the nation that it is time to address "the lack of vetting during the hiring and screening processes, absence of staff unity and loyalty to mission, and the need to closely monitor inmates and guards. The prison at Dannemora—as well as many other prisons even had a heroin supply ring run with guard support."
Weiner and Staines include the recent developments at the Baltimore City Detention Center, where "44 people were convicted for organizing the Black Guerrilla Family. 24 – over half -- were corrections officers. Heroin and crack cocaine flowed, inmates impregnated four guards, and the gang paid employees $16,000 a week."
They agree with David Starbek's The Social Order of the Underworld which points out that prison staffs feel they need the gangs to enforce order, define property rights, trade and profits, and protect individuals. "They are an alternative government body. It's not just a matter of blackmail—the guards fear they cannot keep order without acceding to the gangs' corruption" write Weiner and Staines. "The gangs must be stopped with no more blind eyes by guards to their existence."
At Rikers Island, physical force against an inmate was recorded 7,074 times in 2014. The authors found that Rikers employed people with "multiple arrests and convictions, prior associations with gang members or relationships with inmates on their records," CNN reported. In addition, New York City investigators found that over one-third of the new employees should have been disqualified or investigated further before hiring.
Weiner and Staines report, "every year, 80,000 men and women report sexual abuse in America's prisons. Fewer than 35% of assaults are reported, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and half of prison sexual assault complaints in 2011 were filed against staff. To date, only two states have fully complied with the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003. Texas opted for noncompliance, yet only lost five percent of federal funding."
Weiner and Staines conclude their Buffalo News article by allowing that Clinton has just added some new standards, but they must be stronger and the nation must follow. Incarceration costs taxpayers $63.4 billion dollars a year. That number eclipses 133 nations' GDP. They contend, "Our prisons are crumbling from the inside out. Daily motivational staff meetings, an increase in training and education, stopping gangs before they start, vetting employees, and a new policy of zero tolerance of guard corruption, not the wink and nod in place now, are needed not just in Clinton, but prisons across America."
Weiner is former spokesman for the White House Office of National Drug Policy, the House Government Operations and Judiciary Committees, and for Congressmen John Conyers, Charles Rangel, Claude Pepper, and Ed Koch. Sylvienne Staines is criminal justice analyst for Robert Weiner Associates and Solutions for Change.
Contact: Bob Weiner or Autumn Kelly 301-283-0821 cell 202-306-1200 [email protected]
SOURCE Robert Weiner Associates