How Bob Marley Saved the World

11 June 2023 07:32 

Moscow’s Candidate

Russia had always been listening, and helping.

Vlad and Don sat atop Vlad’s prize stallion as it cantered through the birch trees. Both were topless. Vlad spooned Don, nestling his chin on the fleshy, orange shoulder, wisps of chemically-treated hair teased his cheek, their hands entwined in the leather reins. They shared a set of earbuds, and when Don pushed Play, they expected to hear their song, Ennio Morricone’s sound track to The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.

They heard something else.

Ululating..
Them crazy, them crazy
We’re gonna chase those crazy baldheads out of town
Chase those crazy baldheads out of town….

Sta-diddly doo dit stip stop steal dil ya do stop steal ya diddily dil ya di day...

It was a song about removing oppressors, yet when Marley started skatting, it was so alive, so wonderful, so anathema to him, that Trump, enraged, frothing, tore out the earbud, but in doing so slipped off the horse, and hit his head on a rock. Putin was also thrown, but not weighed down by so many cheeseburgers, only bruised himself.

Their security details were thrown into panic. Trump lay on the ground, chest heaving, his mouth a soundless, gaping rectum. As they called for help and medical attention, a Secret Service agent carefully, reluctantly held the earbud close to his own ear. It was Bob Marley’s ‘Crazy Baldheads’. The Secret Service agent passed the earbud to one of Putin’s security detail, who listened a moment then frowned; his English was excellent, and he looked at his boss. Someone had written a song about chasing Putin out of town? Was Jamaica invading Russia? That was not good.

Don had been visiting Vlad’s dacha to get help, again, on getting into power. Once he had re-taken the presidency, he planned to bolster his reputation among his MAGANs, something like when Reagan won glory with the invasion of Grenada. Maybe invade Haiti, which his constituents would like because there seemed to be a lot of black people there, and it sounded kinda like hate-y. He wondered if they could make a slogan out of that.

Here comes the con man
Coming with his con plan.
We won’t take no bribe;
We’ve got to stay alive

~

Dear leader

Just about at the same time the dynamic duo were horse-back riding, when he expected to hear hear to George Thurogood’s ‘Bad to the Bone’ on his Walkman, instead Marley’s ‘Exodus’ started playing as North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un worked out on an elliptical machine.

Are you satisfied (with the life you’re living)? uh! We know where we’re going, uh!
We know where we’re from.
We’re leaving babylon,
We’re going to our father land.
2, 3, 4: exodus: movement of jah people! oh, yeah!

He pressed his fingers to his temples for a moment, then fell to the ground. Dennis Rodman was there and saw Kim fall. That morning, their fourth in a row, he had been trying to teach Kim to do a layup, but the ball kept ricocheting off the bottom of the rim and hitting Kim in the head.

After he awoke, Kim asked his advisors for a briefing on Helmut Kohl and Erich Honecker.

A few weeks later after several meetings with South Korea’s president, all agreed that Jong-Un should take a leave of absence, others would work out the details. A plan was put in place for a gradual unification of the Korean people, using the German model from 1989.

Rodman and KJ/FU (as he likes to go by now) were last seen in an all white 1976 Eldorado convertible, top down, cruising down the strip in Las Vegas.

~

Origins

It was never confirmed how it all started, nor was there any understanding of where or when the music might start playing.

At a press conference, when asked directly, Ursula von der Leyen would only say she was working with other leaders of the EU to understand what was going on.

Bono and Drake denied any involvement. Jacinda Ardern, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Saara Kuugongelwa, Yoon Suk Yeol, along with Trey Parker and Matt Stone, all have declined to comment.

Nor was there any substance to the rumor about Madonna. During a press conference with Stephen King, she announced she would play the lead in a role she felt she was born to play: the movie version of his novella, The Breathing Method. It was the story of a woman in 1930’s America, pregnant out of wedlock, who at the end of the story is accidentally decapitated while giving birth (yes friend, this is really the story). At the end of the conference, when asked if Madonna knew anything about the Marley Phenomenon, as it came to be known, she just smiled

~

Travel agent Ron

Evenings, after a busy day of returning Florida to its golden age of the Confederacy, Ron Desantis secretly logged in to travel web sites: Skyscanner, AirBnB, Expedia. Having tasted the sweet nectar of being a travel agent, he couldn’t get enough. It all started when he arranged travel for those Venezuelan asylum seekers in Texas to those snobs on Martha’s Vineyard: searching for flights, making connections – he was like a chess master moving pieces around. He ignored those who called him a human trafficker; after all he had not made any money on the operation, and the state of Florida had paid for it.

He dare not tell anyone of his new fetish.

As he was thinking of a way to move Honduran refugees in Anderson, South Carolina, to Winooski, Vermont (maybe train and bus travel, he thought with joy and not a little arousal), an aide came into his office to tell him that there was someone in the lobby dressed as Mickey Mouse, here to deliver a singing telegram. Security had searched the mouse, and felt there was no harm in the Governor listening to his song. Maybe it was a peace offering from Disney, that they were interested in his setting up a libertarian theme park, Ayn Rand Land.

But it wasn’t a typical singing telegram. The Mouse started singing

Oh, please don’t you rock my boat
(Don’t rock my boat)
‘Cause I don’t want my boat to be rocking
(Don’t rock my boat)

It was Bob Marley’s voice. How was that possible?

Satisfy my soul
You satisfy my soul (Satisfy my soul) Oh yeah
Satisfy my soul
You satisfy my soul (Satisfy my soul)
Every little action (Satisfy my soul)
There’s a reaction (Satisfy my soul)
Oh, can’t you see what you’ve done for me, oh, yeah
I’m happy inside, all, all of the time (Woah)

After the Mouse left, Desantis walked slowly back into his office. What was his true calling? What satisfied his soul? It wouldn’t be easy, but he had to do it.

Although his term ended in 2027, Desantis resigned, moved to Jupiter (Florida), and set up his own travel agency. He now specializes in planning tours of baseball Spring training camps, tours for seniors to the Holy Land, and cruises to Castaway Cay.

~

Fooled again, and again, and again

As he was uploading the latest files, the true founder of QAnon tuned his radio to KFBK AM in Sacramento, which instead of its talk/news format, was playing a reggae music marathon.

They got so much things to say right now
They got so much things to say
They got so much things to say right (now)
They got so much things to say

It had all started with a young man from Turlock, California, with an active imagination and a quaalude addiction. He had started an organization for those seeking help, which originally named Quaaludes Anonymous, then shortened to QAnon, modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous.

During a relapse, he became fatigued and delirious. He had started re-posting various conspiracy theories from around the web. Amazed at the stupidity and gullibility of the American people, he had been unable to stop posting all that craziness. In an interview, he stated, “I even made stuff up: pizzagate, the Rothschilds, alien autopsies, Jewish space lasers, Soros, you name it, and people loved it! They will believe anything. Literally, anything.”

“After I heard that Bob Marley song ‘So Much Things To Say’, I realized enough was enough, and it was time to come clean.”

So much things to (say) rumor about
They gotta rumor without humour, they don’t know what they’re doin’, yeah
They got, well, well, well, well, we we we well, la la la la la la laLa la la la la la la la, they lubberin’ all the time

~

Wayne’s world

He was a bad ass. An apex predator. A modern day Jeremiah Johnson.

Wayne LePierre stopped his ATV to check his tablet-controlled drone. Where was that nine point buck? It would be an easy kill, even from 1,000 yards, with his high powered Remington and Leupold scope. He looked at the gas gauge – there was plenty of fuel remaining. Still, if he could pinpoint its location, it would save him hours of driving around.

He had not heard her coming, and only noticed her when she stepped out of a grove of aspen trees. The bowhunter’s camo was typical enough, but the sky blue frames of her Pierre Cardin glasses contrasted with her streaked brown tan black painted face. She was carrying out a large wild turkey. LePierre snorted. That turkey wasn’t anything that could be mounted; she was probably just going to eat the thing.

The woman’s glance took in his ATV, rifle, and tablet. Just then her phone sounded, her ringtone a song.

We no know how we and dem a-go work this out, oy!
We no know how we and dem a-go work it out

“Ah,” she said, “a news alert. There was a shooting at a kindergarten in Mississippi. Seventeen children and five adults. All dead. Mostly black or Hispanic.” She looked up at LePierre, smiling, but not really. “AR-15.”

“That’s horrible. They’ll certainly be in my thoughts and prayers.”

But someone will have to pay
For the innocent blood
That they shed every day
Oh, children, mark my word
It’s what the Bible say, yeah! Yeah!

Why didn’t she turn off her phone?

“It says here they had just completed their active shooter drill that morning. The gunman appeared after lunch.”

“Well clearly those children were not very proficient in the drill. You know, the NRA is working with C-FARs to come up with a rating systems for school shooter drill proficiency. Parents can use this score, along with academics, of course, to decide what school to send their child to. Clearly it will incentivize schools to beef up their drill execution, and also to arm their teachers. If those adults were armed and wearing bullet proof vests, this never would have happened. Shame on them.”

“Cfars?”

“Christians For Automatic Rifles. But we’ll also rate and certify other types of schools, say Jewish schools. Maybe. We’re also thinking of starting a competition to see which school performs the best shooter drill. The working title is The Hiding Games.”

“It says here one child was shot in the head five times.”

LePierre said nothing. As the woman put her phone away, she said, “But there is good news. Most parents now take a picture of their child every day as they drop them off for school. That way they know what their child was wearing. This makes it easier to quickly identify the body in case the face is destroyed. Within a few hours, the police were able to identify all the victims using the parents’ daily photographs.”

Enough of this. LePierre drove off, but he was distracted, still hearing the words of the song, did not see where he was going.

But someone will have to pay
For the innocent blood
That they shed every day
Oh, children, mark my word
It’s what the Bible say, yeah! Yeah!

As he plummeted over the cliff into the gulch below, he last thought was that this was all really fucked up.

The woman walked over to the edge of cliff, having already called the ranger station to send a rescue team. The ATV had landed on top of LaPierre; all that was visible was his cold, dead, empty hands.

In time the originalist argument for the second amendment won out: firearms of a certain category were reserved for use within the context of being in the armed forces. The NRA evolved back to its original role of staying out of politics, refusing any money from the firearms industry (previously officials had been dismissed from the organization for this violation), and sponsoring competitions and training to handle firearms safely.

~

Citizen Charlie

Charles asked a servant to select a particular Gilbert and Sullivan record and put it on the phonograph. Yet instead of hearing He is an Englishman

Get up, stand up
Stand up for your right

At the moment the Prime Minister of the moment, Rishi Sunak, walked in to participate in some archaic credentials presentation ceremony. He too, heard the song.

You can fool some people sometimes
But you can’t fool all the people all the time
So now we see the light (watch you gon’ do?)
We gonna stand up for our rights (yeah, yeah)
So you’d better…

Charles looked embarrassed, and why not? Finally ascending the throne at age 73, during the crowning looking like a total wanker, a prop for a commercial, that over-sized crown on his head, some sort of bejeweled, purple-headed metal and meat knob.

Sunak was thinking: enough was enough. It’s fucking obscene that this one bloody family, which hasn’t done jack shit, owns so much of England. And they’re really Germans, aren’t they? Shit, Indians have been a part of it all longer than those inbred albinos. We’ve served and suffered for the empire much more than they have. They’ve been buggering off for years. That coronation ceremony had cost north of £100,000,000. The Frogs had it right: off with their bloody fucking heads.

The monarchy was laid off. After hiring downsizing consultant Bain and Company, the Windsors were given a one time severance, but only after signing a termination agreement, a non-disclosure, and a non-compete agreement. The Windsors were allowed to keep Anmer Hall; a ten-bedroom home should suffice. The remaining properties returned to the government, where they were repurposed into schools and libraries, or sold off to private owners, who converted them to cafes, restaurants, technical training schools, co-working spaces, and hardware stores.

~

The Court

Although he had not personally heard any Marley songs, in a surprising show of integrity, Chief Justice Roberts requested that confirmation hearing transcripts of each justice be compared to that judge’s actual Supreme Court opinions and decisions. Any discrepancy or ambiguity would result in an investigation.

Neil Gorsuch agreed to the review, which resulted in an investigation. The outcome is still pending. Amy Coney Barrett’s record was reviewed, and Roberts agreed that there were no discrepancies. She was last seen having lunch with Elena Kagen and David Souter.

The fate of some others was different.

~

Brett Boy

Brett Kavanaugh refused to participate in the process, and resigned from the court. He was last heard from when Vince Vaughan announced that in the process of casting Old School II, Kavanaugh had auditioned to be Will Farrell’s drinking buddy side kick.

“Will turned the guy down,” Vaughan told Hollywood Today. “Will said the judge was just too over the top, really, too convincing of an entitled, drunken frat boy. We’re thinking of going with someone a little less rowdy, maybe Jack Black.”

~

Infallible Alito

While working on a a sympathetic biography of the Inquisitor Dominican Tomas de Torquemada, Samuel Alito put on some Gregorian Chants, but instead heard:

There’s a natural mystic blowin’ through the air
If you listen carefully now you will hear

He was engulfed in a pillar of smoke and fire, there was a vision of all the divinities, a galaxy of all they had brought forth: all those gods; so many prophets, crusades, jihads, conversions and indulgences, charities and alms and executions and sects, the wonders of the human spirit and imagination, the cruelty, the system that provided cover for so many human pathologies. Alito wondered if this was the Rapture.

Let them all pass all their dirty remarks (one love)
There is one question I’d really love to ask (one heart)
Is there a place for the hopeless sinners
Who has hurt all mankind just to save his own beliefs?

In that moment Alito felt something he’d never felt before. He looked at his bookshelf: there was the gift from Justice John Paul Stevens, never opened: The Spirit of Liberty: Papers and Addresses of Learned Hand. The book was glowing. He pulled it off the shelf and laid it on his desk. It opened on its own:

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which seeks to understand the minds of other men and women; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which weighs their interest alongside its own without bias…

A few moments later, the pages turned to:

What will be left of these principles? I do not know whether they will serve only as counsels; but this much I do know — that a society so riven that the spirit of moderation is gone, no court can save; that a society where the spirit flourishes, no court need save….

What is the spirit of moderation? It is the temper which does not press a partisan advantage to its bitter end, which can understand and will respect the other side, which feels a unity between all citizens — real and not the factitious product of propaganda — which recognizes their common fate and their common aspirations — in a word, which has faith in the sacredness of the individual.

Alito now recognized this strange feeling: doubt. Self-doubt.

Though I try to find the answer
To all the questions they ask
Though I know it’s impossible
To go living through the past

A few days later, Justice Roberts declined Alito’s proposed penance of public flagellation, but did accept Alito’s resignation. He is now a Trappist Monk, reading the works of Thomas Merton at the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani.

~

Peeping Thomas

Ginny Thomas was at her computer engaged in the online role playing game, Donald Trump’s Vigilante Vixens, a sort of fascist Charlie’s Angels. Her online name was Ivana – DT liked Russian names. Her sidekicks were Lauren Boebert (Natasha) and Marjorie Taylor Green (Svetlana). Rudy Giuliani (Boris) played the role of Bosley, their handler and contact with DT. Their mission that night was to capture, then water-board members of the Squad. As avatars, Boebert was a leather clad dominatrix, Green wore a red and black mini-dirndl with her hair in Austrian style braids, Ginny was (not) dressed as Clarence’s favorite, from the film Boogie Nights, Roller Girl.

Meanwhile, Clarence Thomas had told his wife that he was doing research for a case before the court. Alone in his office, he put on Marvin Gaye’s ‘Sexual Healing’ as he enjoyed the delights of the latest pornhub uploads.

As she was getting ready to pour another bucket down the throat of Representative Ilhan Omar, having already torn off the terrorist’s head scarf, Ginny heard a loud moan from Clarence’s office. Ginny messaged Boebert and Greene; they’d have to finish off the bitch later – something was wrong with Clarence.

Boebert messaged back: that was fine; she wanted to see if the game developers had added a battery and jumper cables to their virtual toolbox. Green wondered if they could stuff slices of pork sandwich meat in Omar’s mouth between waterboardings.

Ginny found Clarence upright, staring at the screen, in a catatonic state. Coming from the computer speakers:

Man to man is so unjust, children
You don’t know who to trust
Your worst enemy could be your best friend
And your best friend your worst enemy

Onscreen was a woman, clothed, an African-American professor of law. Ginny sighed, not her again.

And who the cap fit
Let them wear it
Who the cap fit
Let them wear it

After he was discharged from St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, Thomas cast about for something to do. Harlan Crow did not return any of his phone calls. Now off the Supreme Court, Thomas was no longer useful. However, a ‘friendship’ with Gorsuch might be worth cultivating.

Thomas applied to work as a clerk at the Graffiti Video store in Washington D.C. He had been a long time customer, and had fond memories of their adult video rental inventory. However, things had changed: they no longer rented videos.

But our story has a happy ending. They moved to Kentucky. Ginny got a job at the Piggly Wiggly, where the recently retired Mitch McConnell was seen in line, buying frozen grits and a carton of Egg-Beaters. As for Thomas, sometimes dreams do come true: he now spends his days as a greeter at Walmart.

~

Many changes everywhere

It was hard to keep track of it all. It didn’t help that a Marley song might come forth anytime, anywhere.

In the United States, there was talk of a de-Magafication process, modeled after the de-Nazification in Germany after World War II. But in the end, the plan was abandoned; contrition must come from within, and it seemed best to move on. Instead, only the most egregious crimes were prosecuted, as well as removal of local MAGAN officials in charge of elections, school boards, and libraries.

Tax laws reverted to something fair, before ‘Bag of Hammers Reagan’ became president, before the laughable Laffer curve, and before the fairy tale of trickle down economics.

Socialism was finally stamped out in the United States: the country returned to regulating businesses instead of subsidizing them, requiring companies to serve the common good as well as their employees and stock holders (these weren’t mutually exclusive and it had been done for years). No more bank or auto manufacturer bailouts, taxpayer-funded stadiums, or taxpayer money for already profitable companies. Off-shore tax havens were eliminated. Non-compete agreements, stock buy-backs, and at-will contracts were made illegal.

The military industrial complex was brought under control: the U.S. armed forces finally got what they wanted, which was less. For too long porky Congress and greedy weapons manufacturers had insisted on unneeded weaponry simply for their own gain. A five year moratorium placed on ex-military officials going to work for defense contractors.

The Justice Department blocked the hostile takeover of Fox News by NPR.

Mitt Romney, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren were given the task of developing a national health insurance program. After reviewing the merits of various systems in other countries, they recommended a program based upon the Swiss model: an array of private health insurance companies, tightly regulated to control rates. For those in lower income brackets or unemployed, there was an excellent government health care program. As in all civilized countries, there was absolutely no possibility of a pre-existing condition clause—that would have been cruel.

In the ironically named Holy Land, things were a little harder. After decades of apartheid, the people of Israel realized that having a homeland and recognizing the rights of those who had already been there for centuries were not exclusive concepts. Otherwise, how were they different from any other authoritarian group? A program of resettlement and reparations was set up, headed by Israeli historian Ilan Pappe. The United States embassy was moved back to Tel Aviv. AIPAC has lost most of its congressional members.

It’s not clear if the writer Rebecca Solnit, author of Orwell’s Roses, and whose essay inspired the term ‘mansplaining’, coined the terms ‘Christian exhibitionist’ and ‘performance Christianity’. This applied to football coaches and all others who felt their faith validated only when others could see their piety. In a rare showing of ecumenical cooperation, the leaders of most major Christian denominations advised their congregations to follow Matthew 6:5:

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly

All the major news organizations agreed to finally stop referring to abortion opponents as ‘pro-life’, clearly a misnomer, since its followers preferred ideology over the lives of women, never mind their views on health care, social support, gun rights, and the already born. Instead, they are now correctly referred to as ‘Anti-choice’.

Gerry-mandered districts were reorganized according to logical geographic boundaries, so that the districts were competitive with regard to candidates and fair to voters.

The two party system fractured into a five party system: the conservative Greens, the progressive Christians (they emphasized that their Christianity was based upon the Sermon on the Mount, not all that old testament strangeness; membership was open to all), a Labor party, and the leftovers of the Democrats and the Republicans.

The electoral college was eliminated. Now, the candidate who got the most votes would win. Sadly this had come too late to prevent the atrocities of the Bush (George Walker) and Trump administrations.

The Senate was reorganized not by state, but by a system of regions. The newly created Pacific Region (four states: California, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii), representing 16% of Americans, now had eleven senators. Meanwhile, the Rural Region (twelve states: Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska), representing a combined total of 9.52% of Americans, have two senators, total. In fairness, the Rural Region senators were given an additional travel budget so that they could visit regularly with their few, but widely scattered constituents.

Oklahoma, however, was interested in joining Texas, which had seceded and formed its own country; this was known as the Texit. There was a bit of shock to the Texans when all American federal installations, services, and subsidies were removed from the state; the fourteen military bases alone accounted for over $100-billion in local economic activity. Head Honcho Abbott promised that the revenue would be made up by paying pilgrims come to visit the Branch Davidian Shrine and Weapon Warehouse in Waco, eliminating all income taxes on the wealthy in order to stimulate businesses, raising the sales tax, and taking a page from the former German Democratic Republic’s playbook, requiring foreign visitors to exchange a minimum of 25Dillos (their currency name, taken from armadillo) per day, thereby giving the Republic a source of hard currency.

Saudi Arabia was the first country to recognize ROT (Republic of Texas), and invited the republic to join OPEC.

Meanwhile Austin declared itself a free city, still affiliated with the United States, a sort of West Berlin circa 1965.

~

Bottom feeders

It wasn’t clear how Marley’s ‘Real Situation’ was broadcast to all those fundamentalists, the toe-jam of the human race.

Check out the real situation
Nation war against nation
Where did it all begin?
When will it end?

They had more in common than they would have believed: no positive ideology, no policy ideas, just hate and violence. They fanatically refused to recognize any notion of progress: the heliocentric universe, vaccines, women’s rights. If they followed any sort of religious doctrine, it was merely a cover for their misogyny, sadism, and insecurity; they all believed that to be redeemed required the murder of non-believers.

It seems like, total destruction the only solution
And there ain’t no use, no one can stop them now
There ain’t no use, no one can stop them now
Ain’t no use, no one can stop them now
There ain’t no use, no one can stop them now

Australia set aside land north of the Gibson Desert for the Taliban, Christian fascists, Hamas, The Proud Boys, militant Buddhists, Oath Keepers, assorted Jan 6ers, the Jewish Defense League, Hindu nationalists, and others to fight it out. In a few months the Australian Army, along with the Red Cross and Red Crescent, will go in to evaluate the situation.

Nobody really cares what happens.

Well, it seems like, total destruction the only solution
And there ain’t no use, no one can stop them now
Ain’t no use, nobody can stop them now

~

Some things die hard

The billionaires didn’t go down without a fight. On hand for the hearings about the revised tax code were Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Peter Thiel, and Elon Musk. There was standing room only in the gallery.

Which man can save his brother’s soul?
Oh man, it’s just self control
Don’t gain the world and lose your soul
Wisdom is better than silver and gold
To the bridge

“Well, there’s lot of millionaires,” answered Gates.

“That wasn’t my question, sir” replied AOC. “And really, I don’t have much of a problem with millionaires. The should pay a somewhat higher tax rate than the average citizen, but nothing onerous.”

Gates said nothing.

“But we’re not talking about millionaires, are we, sir? We’re talking about people whose wealth is significantly greater. I’m sure you’re aware of this already, but let me make sure this is entered into the record. If we use a time scale to clarify the differences, then you’re aware that one million seconds is about eleven minutes, whereas a billion seconds is about thirty-one years, and while we’re at it, a trillion seconds is over thirty-one thousand years. So I’d say there’s a significant difference between a millionaire and a billionaire, wouldn’t you?”

“Is there a question for me?” asked Gates.

AOC smiled, 10,000 watts. “Mr. Gates. Isn’t it true, sir, that the square footage of your Seattle home is about 66,000 sq. ft.?”

Rocking back and forth, Gates mumbled something about privacy.

“Isn’t that over 1.5 acres? Just for the house? Not including the land? And did you know that the average American home size is about 2,000 square feet.”

“That sounds about right,” replied Gates.

“So, what would say, sir, if you were to be taxed so heavily, that you could build a home that’s about 44,000 square feet, an acre. Do you think you could live in a house that’s only an acre? That…small? I realize you’d have to make some sacrifices, although I’m not sure what.”

There was laughter from the gallery.

“You would be taking money I made.”

“Yes, but we’re not talking about any excessive taxes. We’re not France. And it was our system, our government, laws, patent system, infrastructure, government funded research, schools and universities, and much more, that allowed you allowed you to make so much money. Don’t you think you should have to pay back into that system?”

“I GAVE $10 BILLION TO FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE!” blurted out Bezos, not even waiting for Gates to finish. Bezos’s eye was twitching.

AOC paused. The Capitol Police officers stationed in the auditorium all looked at Bezos. AOC looked at the Sergeant at Arms, who after a moment, nodded to her.

“That’s very generous of you, sir, a very good thing, but doesn’t $10 billion represent about three weeks work of your salary?”

“What are you? Some sort of math FREAK!?” Bezos was now blinking and twitching, a bit of saliva on his chin. She thought it best to move on.

The Washington Post later reported that the bomb vest Peter Thiel wore to the hearings was fake, but he wanted to make a point about the cause of liberty. No one was sure what that point was. No action was taken against him. The Capitol Police are reviewing their security procedures.

When AOC turned to address Elon Musk, he burst into tears and ran for the door.

~

Some things die even harder

Some conflicts can never go away, because that’s how people are. Those old rivalries, competition, ego, pride….

Vanilla or chocolate
Yankees or Red Sox
Paris or Berlin
Hendrix or Santana
Carhartt or Filson
Washington Post or New York Times
Webster’s or American Heritage
F-150 or Silverado
San Francisco or New York
Single malt or blended
Roosevelt or Lincoln
Color or black and white
Muddy Waters or Johnny Lee Hooker
Full Windsor or Half Windsor
Hopper or Rockwell
Dior or Chanel
Camembert or Brie
Corn or Flour

Pro tip with regard to the above pseudo-dichotomies: there’s no wrong answer, and of course, there are so many other excellent possibilities.

~

The mills of the gods grind slowly…

If he comes out of his coma, Donald Trump will be charged with sedition for his role in the January 6th  attempted coup d’etat. It’s unclear if the prosecutors will ask for the death penalty, but it’s considered unlikely, given his age and heart condition due to obesity. However, since the latest revelations from Jack Smith about the documents found at Trump’s home, legal observers are citing not only the case of Timothy McVeigh, but also Jonathan Pollard.

The rumor has not been confirmed that Vladimir Putin is being held at the Ipatieve House in Yekaterinberg.

~

Bob Marley

In time less and less was heard of Bob Marley’s songs. It was never understood why it happened to be Bob Marley, not the Grateful Dead, not StereoLab, not the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Perhaps it was a universal appeal to his music, cutting across the usual barriers of race and religion, class and education, age and experience. The themes applied to nearly everyone: the hardship of life, joy, difficulty, love, and the hope to make the world a better place.

We’re jammin’
To think that jammin’ was a thing of the past
We’re jammin’
And I hope this jam is gonna last
No bullet can stop us now
We neither beg nor we won’t bow
Neither can be bought nor sold
We all defend the right
Jah Jah children must unite
For life is worth much more than gold

~

Writer’s note

This piece was indirectly inspired by Ray Brabury’s short story, ‘The Toynbee Convector’, and Carl Sagan’s novel, Contact. In these stories the world, at least for a while, does not destroy itself. However, both rely on a sort of deus ex machina, as I have with Bob Marley. We will not be so lucky.

Until the philosophy,
Which holds one race superior
And another inferior,
Is finally and permanently
Discredited and abandoned,
Everywhere is war.

Until there is no longer first class
Or second class citizens of any nation.
Until the color of a man’s skin,
Is of no more significance than
The color of his eyes,
I’ve got to say “war”.

That until the basic human rights,
Are equally guaranteed to all,
Without regard to race,
I’ll say “war”

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  1. I loved the piece. You have a lot of insights. I wish we could have the worls=d and Bob Marley keeps on singing for years to come and people listen.

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