The Hightower Report

Bush wants to militarize space; the FBI guards against the danger of … almanacs?


"My job is to secure the homeland," proclaimed George W. as he announced major budget increases for homeland surveillance, "and that's exactly what we're going to do."

To make us all feel secure, he has hiked the FBI's budget above $5 billion a year – a 60% increase since Bush took office. Good! Now maybe the agency will have the resources to redouble its keen-eyed effort to protect us homelanders from the obvious danger posed by people who carry: almanacs.

The almanac threat first came to public notice last Christmas Eve, when the FBI's "Intelligence Bulletin" went out to 18,000 police organizations, urging America's vast law-enforcement network to be on alert during traffic stops and other investigations for anyone carrying almanacs. Yes, like The World Almanac or the always suspicious Old Farmer's Almanac.

The agency bulletin noted that these deviously deceptive documents are replete with such details as weather trends, profiles of cities, and lists of tall buildings. The FBI's language was blunt, if not exactly sparkling: "The practice of researching potential targets is consistent with known methods of al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations that seek to maximize the likelihood of operational success through careful planning."

Good grief. As a World Almanac editor pointed out about the September 11 terrorists: "They certainly didn't need the almanac to locate the twin towers."

With Bush's budget hike, maybe the agency can focus attention on people who use phone books and dictionaries, too. Who knows what kind of subversive stuff such people might be looking up? One can only imagine what the FBI would have done to Benjamin Franklin, the publisher of Poor Richard's, America's first almanac. But, then, he was a subversive.

Hey, George, your job is not just to secure the "homeland," but to secure our Bill of Rights, as well – and to stop agencies from so grossly wasting our tax dollars.


Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to space we go!

George W. and the boys are all atwitter about shuttling several gabillion of your and my tax dollars into their latest grandiose scheme, called "Shoot the Moon and Mars, Too!"

Excuse my skepticism, but ... why? Maybe they got a tip that Osama bin Laden is hiding in a moon crater, or maybe the CIA now has credible information that little men from Mars took Saddam's weapons of mass destruction up to their planet, or maybe they're excited by the possibility of finding fresh supplies of water on Mars that their industrial backers can pollute.

If these rationales are too far-fetched for you, try this one: The moon/mars shot is the first tangible step toward the Bushites' goal of "militarizing space." Oh, you say, come on Hightower, that's too loopy even for these warmongering lunatics – they wouldn't go that far.

How short our memories are. Flash back with me to February 2001, when Bush gave his first speech on military policy: "In space, we'll protect our network of satellites essential to the flow of our commerce and the defense of our common interests. All of this requires great effort and new spending."

This speech reflected the zealous determination of Pentagon chief Donnie Rumsfeld to expand U.S. military domination into space – including development of a space plane to transport weapons and spy on other countries, creation of a specially trained space force, and the placement of U.S. offensive weapons in space.

Claiming that it is possible that some unnamed enemy might launch "a space Pearl Harbor" sneak attack on America, Rumsfeld created a new Pentagon post that year staffed by a four-star general who was charged with overseeing the development of new weapons systems for outer space.

By any rationale, Bush's mission to the red planet will sink our country in an ever-deepening sea of red ink – and it'll be all the more damning if our country is the first in history to weaponize the heavens.

For more information on Jim Hightower's work – and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown – visit You can hear his radio commentaries on KOOP Radio, 91.7FM, weekdays at 10:58am and 12:58pm.

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Mars, moon, space, militarization, Donald Rumsfeld, FBI, George W. Bush, almanac, World Almanac, Farmer's Almanac, al Qaeda, September 11, Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's

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