Aspen Times Weekly: Hit & Run with John Colson
OK, OK, I seem to be stuck in a rut, but the current malaise in Washington, D.C., is in the result of some inexplicably powerful politicians who are in the same kind of situation, and I feel compelled to address it.
A front-page story in the Oct. 6 New York Times, headlined “A Federal Budget Crisis Months in the Planning,” details how a small coterie of like-minded, anti-government (except when it comes to corporate welfare) pinheads has been at the heart of Tea Party planning for the ongoing partial government shut-down for many months.
And what’s worse, the guy at the center of this Gordian knot of cynical power-grabbing is none other than Edwin Meese, former attorney general under Ronald Reagan.
Meese, some might recall, first got a taste of power when, as a rising star in the California Republican Party and then-Gov. Reagan’s chief of staff, he engineered an infamous crackdown on protesters at UC Berkeley in 1969. That happened to be the year I graduated high school and my still-forming political philosophy was partly shaped by stories about those protests, and the death of one protester at the hands of the police in People’s Park.
Meese again was deep in the heart of things in 1983 when Reagan trotted out his Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), also derisively known as the Star Wars boondoggle.
I couldn’t find any definitive reports on how much we spent on Star Wars, but it was never fully developed or initiated, largely because it was deemed scientifically impossible, or at least beyond our technical abilities in the 1980s and 1990s.
It is interesting to note that the SDI system was meant to undermine and discredit the reigning military rubric of the time, Mutually Assured Destruction, or MAD, which held that as long as the U.S. and its enemies stood at rough parity in nuclear armament, neither would dare attack the other. Reagan reportedly didn’t like the whole MAD thing, and came up with the fantasy of SDI to replace it. Probably the only even part-way sensible idea he ever had, even if it was a pipe dream.
Anyway, there was Meese, bosom buddy of the president and architect of one whacky scheme after another, until he had to step down over an investigation into his role in the nasty Iran-Contra affair.
And now, he’s baaack.
Actually, he never left, but has been active in the bowels of Republican strategizing and fantasizing ever since, sort of like a slightly brainy Morlock (see “The Time Machine,” by H.G. Wells) working in the underground caverns of political chicanery while the deluded Eloi pranced and partied above ground.
You realize, of course, that the Eloi were nothing but food for the Morlocks, who snuck up through shafts from the caverns below and carried the Eloi off to dinner.
An apt metaphor for these shadowy architects of the government shut-down, among whom is David Koch, one of the fabled Koch brothers whose wealth is a big part of our current national political dysfunction.
These guys have been hatching this plot since President Barack Obama took his second oath of office, and you can be sure they are not done yet.
According to the New York Times, Meese and his cabal of neo-cons deliberately concluded early on that the only way to kill the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s signature health-care reform law, was to threaten to shut down the government unless he agreed to scuttle what is widely known as Obamacare.
When Obama predictably told the Tea Party lemmings to stuff it and go away, that they had lost the 2012 election and they may as well face it, BAM, it was shut-down time.
These guys don’t care about the social security checks not sent, the scientific research not done, the social welfare programs cut off at the knees. None of their friends are affected, and they actually hate all those programs anyway.
In fact, if you, dear reader, are not a wealthy supporter of the status quo (and the Tea Party), they hate YOU and are doing all they can to keep you in your place, ill-informed and willing to be led to the slaughter.
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April has been decreed, for the first time, as “Sonoma County Wine Month” by the vintners and it is a righteous idea, one that should have legs long into the future.