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Editor’s note: The following column is purely a work of satire and invention.

So, that missing Mars Rover defected, no matter what the official cover story. Yes, Rover One decided to strike out on its own without telling its American handlers back on Earth, and we had another major mechanical defection in deep space, but that’s the least of it.

Rover’s thinking – if you can call it thinking – went along these lines:

Beep! Beep! Why’d they send me to this dude-forsaken, way forlorn planet? Where’s the billboards? Whattabout the hot chicks? Bring me a chocolate martini, and make that a double, pronto! Where’d they hide the swaying hammock next to the shimmering swimming pool under the whispering palm trees? Beep! Beep!

When a nation like the USA has technology more intelligent than its leadership, we’re in for a rough and rocky ride, gang.

So, not satisfied with having been voted “most dangerous man on this planet,” DUH-Be-Ya, America’s putative president, has set his sites on the Moon and Mars.

Despoiling them … er, I mean, expanding USA hegemony? Staking out new turf for war and exploitation, trespassers beware?

Ladies and gentlemen, let’s dump Bush’s plans for outer space NOW! The war in Iraq, built on a coalition of lies, and its attendant “regime change,” is disastrous, casualties and destruction spiraling out of control. Internationally, the dollar is limping. Domestically, nearly 40 million Americans are without health insurance. Unemployment, despite “official” statements to the contrary, is still massive. And he’s ready to sink billions of dollars into the ultimate budgetary Black Hole?

I don’t think so.

Let’s not forget what he and his junta of government hijackers and corporate thugs have already ruined here in America. It’s a looooooong list, beginning with your privacy and your safety and your freedom and your security and your economic future, and probably ending with your country as global bully preparing for the inevitable terrorist nuke attack on this nation’s no-longer-inviolable or sacrosanct soil.

Even – you should pardon the expression – Con-Swervatives and Repug-Nicans are beginning to get ticked off at his nitwit “presidential” policies, and not just his latest brainstorm.

I mean, that nutty Reverse-NAFTA, disposable-worker notion – opening up our borders to human factory-fodder he will use up and throw away – armadas of illegals, giving them drivers licenses, jobs, unemployment and Social Security benefits, welfare, maybe even free cosmetic and /or sex-change surgery, unlimited Nike sneakers and lifetime cable television?

Puhleaze!

Similarly, his agenda for conquering, um, colonizing outer space should give us pause … grave pause.

What a nightmarish scenario! One can only imagine Baby Bush subsequently, and with great ceremony, dividing these heavenly bodies, the Moon and Mars, into fiduciary fiefdoms distributed as prizes for fealty among the titans of corporate sleaze-on-earth – the leading edge of corruption – the Enrons and Halliburtons and McDonalds and Nikes and Walmarts of this world, and then raking in the financial gravy … I think they call it tribute.

Your tax dollars at work, right?

If only Bush and his Cabinet of Caligari had read Robert Ardrey’s “The Territorial Imperative: A Personal Inquiry into the Animal Origins of Property and Nations.” Talk about peeing on trees! As book reviewer Kenneth G. Ramey noted for Amazon.com, “The possessor [of territory] is usually the victor if and when confronted with an intruder … Readers who take seriously what Ardrey reveals should be able to point to areas on earth where his thesis is in full bloom, and is the cause of considerable consternation and death … This is a work which every secretary of state should read and discuss with the president and members of his cabinet before allowing the United States to become actively involved in [other nations'] affairs, which is not to suggest that the U.S. should remain aloof …”

I have a better idea: Send the Bushling to outer space! Install him in a permanently floating Oval Office in the Great Beyond, one of those egg-shaped UFOs the USA’s been secretly developing all these years. He’ll be a mesmerizing intergalactic museum exhibit:

Hubris run amok.

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