If we can survive financially into next year – to the 100th anniversary of Reagan’s birth – we will surely be a lonely voice describing Reagan’s presidency as it was, not in the happy-talk version now in vogue.

In our view, the Reagan era took the United States down a very dark road, a route that in three decades has left hundreds of thousands of innocent people dead in places from Central America to Africa to the Middle East.

Along that grim highway, the Reagan administration also left the remains of battered American democratic institutions, including effective labor unions, an independent press corps and a vibrant middle class.

Ronald Reagan lured millions of rank-and-file Americans down that path by promising that an unregulated corporate America would be their best friend, that government was the enemy, that tax cuts for the rich would trickle down.

The destructive consequences should now be apparent, but the narrative that Americans will hear in 2011 – from virtually every major news outlet and the national political leadership – will be one of unrestrained fawning over Reagan’s legacy.

Already, General Electric, which owns NBC and its cable affiliates, has announced that it “is proud to be the presenting sponsor of the Ronald Reagan Centennial Celebration.” So, don’t count on MSNBC to do much to challenge the conventional wisdom regarding Reagan’s “greatness.”

Indeed, the prevailing liberal position is to surrender to the powerful pro-Reagan tide and be pulled along, while trying to find something to praise, such as Reagan’s late-in-his-presidency talks with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

However, in our view, this liberal maneuver – if-you-can’t-beat-them-join-them – misses the point. The truth about Ronald Reagan was that his easy smile and aw shucks manners were a cover for some of the ugliest crimes in the modern history of the United States.

In Central America alone, Reagan put the United States on the side of death squads, torturers, rapists, terrorists, drug traffickers, and committers of genocide. Then, to conceal this reality from the American people, he oversaw an Orwellian “perception management” operation that smeared anyone who dared to tell the truth.

Reagan’s propaganda schemes – like so many of his other harmful policies – have also not gone away. They continue to eat at what’s left of American democracy three decades later.

At Consortiumnews.com, we are committed to tell this difficult history. But we need your help.

In this year's spring fundraiser, we set out to raise $50,000, but so far we are less than 10 percent of the way there.

So, please give what you can. Contributions to our 501-c-3 non-profit are tax-deductible.

There are four ways you can help:

--By donating either by credit card at the Web site or by check – to Consortium for Independent Journalism (CIJ); Suite 102-231; 2200 Wilson Blvd.; Arlington VA 22201. Or you can use PayPal (our account is named after our e-mail address “consortnew@aol.com”).

--By signing up for a monthly donation. With contributions of $10 or more a month, you can qualify for war correspondent Don North’s new DVD, “Yesterday’s Enemies” about the lives of former Salvadoran guerrillas. For details, click here.

--By scheduling a joint speech by former CIA analyst Ray McGovern and journalist Robert Parry. The suggested fees – $2,000 for community groups, $5,000 for colleges and larger non-profits, and $10,000 for those who can afford it – go entirely to keeping Consortiumnews.com alive.

--By buying the three-book set of Robert Parry’s Lost History, Secrecy & Privilege, and Neck Deep (co-authored with Sam and Nat Parry). The discount price is only $29. Our goal is to get as many of these books into libraries as possible. For details, click here.

As always, thanks for your support.

Robert Parry, Editor

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. He founded Consortiumnews.com in 1995 as the Internet's first investigative magazine. He saw it as a way to combine modern technology and old-fashioned journalism to counter the increasing triviality of the mainstream U.S. news media. 

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