Limited Taxation
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Barbara's Column
August 1999 #4

The Evening News
Salem, Mass.
Monday, August 30, 1999

This is the Labor Day weekend we weren't supposed to see
By Barbara Anderson

In the year 1999 and seven months,
From the skies shall come an alarmingly powerful king,
To raise again the great King of the Jacquerie,
Before and after, Mars shall reign at will.

-- Nostradamus, verse 72

Here comes a Labor Day I thought I'd never live to see!

This was supposed to be the summer that the world ended, or at least the summer World War III began.

Michel Nostradamus predicted this 400 years ago, and as the bloody 20th century unraveled, there was no reason to think he was wrong.

Many of his prophesies were extremely obscure. For instance: "The noise of the unwanted bird having been heard ... the bushel of wheat shall rise so high that Man shall be a man-eater."

But the above reference to the year 1999 and seven months seems to be rather clear, time-wise. Since Mars was the Roman god of war, some psychics have combined this quatrain with prophesies about a man in a blue turban, born in the Middle East, and predicted that Saddam Hussein (or someone named Jack) would launch nuclear missiles in July 1999.

Nostradamus was an astrologer, so I checked an ephemeris for the seventh month and decided that the fateful date would probably be Saturday, July 17, when Uranus squared Saturn. I wrote "End Of The World" in my appointment calendar and we planned a last cookout with some friends.

On July 17, John F. Kennedy Jr.'s plane crashed. Perhaps a 16th century prophet, watching the massive search in his crystal ball and seeing the military press conference, might come to the conclusion that "an alarmingly powerful king" had "come from the skies."

As I pondered this possibility, I noticed that rusty Mars -- the planet, not the god -- was prominent in the southwest skies, as it has been all summer. My Farmer's Almanac says that Mars had been reigning unusually close to the earth since April.

All that remained was to look up the word "Jacqueries" in my World Book Encyclopedia, and discover that they were French peasants who revolted against the nobles during the Hundred Years War.

So it's clear enough. Nostradamus saw a very important person who was often on the cover of "People" (or "Peasants") magazine fall from the sky when Mars was reigning. So much for the end of the world, though we all feel bad about John, of course. He really did seem like a nice person, better than many of the other members of the American "nobility."

So what now? If the world isn't going to end this summer, we're going to have to cope with fall.

Senate President Tom Birmingham and House Speaker Tom Finneran no longer have an excuse to delay the Fiscal Year 2000 budget. Governor Cellucci must take the income tax rollback to the streets -- the Legislature's plan to keep the rate above 5 percent until the end of time having been made more difficult by the delayed entrance of eternity.

Citizens will find many different initiative petitions greeting them at grocery stores, banks and town dumps. They must decide once again to participate in direct democracy, since they can no longer walk past petitioners with an apathetic wave figuring that the world will be ending soon, so their involvement is useless.

Every institution that has been assuring us it is ready for Y2K must now really get ready. The skeptics among us may now decide to stockpile a few weeks' worth of tuna and batteries after all.

If the new century lasts awhile, citizens will find out that the federal budget hasn't really been balanced and Social Security hasn't really been saved.

Look at what's going wrong already since the world didn't end! Democrats can't count on anything saving them from Al Gore's candidacy. George Bush must deal with questions about cocaine use, and Republicans may have to have a primary election after all. And Janet Reno ran out of time to hide the truth about Waco and Chinagate.

But speaking of China, maybe there is still hope; maybe the Washington politicians and big business will sell it enough technology that we can still have that third world war. Let me check my Nostradamus: "Plague, famine, death from the military hand, the century approaches renewal."

Take your time, Birmingham and Finneran; maybe we won't need the FY 2000 state budget after all.

Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation.  Her syndicated columns appear in the Salem Evening News, the Lowell Sun, the Tinytown Gazette and MediaNews Group newspapers around the state.

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