Chapter 18 Bob Dylan plays Charlotte, the new Banking Capitol of the Nation, on May First

I was married yesterday in the Auditorium of Lince Municipality in Lima, Peru. I arrived in Lima six months ago and it took us this long to get all the documents in order. Every time you attempt to enter a government building here, the security forces assume you have no business there.  It takes much arguing before they suddenly relent and tell you what room to enter. I have known Kel, my fiancée, for over six years, but we only met in the flesh this past November. It might sound weird, but we know each other better than most couples who met in a bar, shacked up, got hitched, and still haven’t read their favorite books, listened to their favorite music, or watched their favorite movies together. I am happy to get out of the United States, because I see no future there, only a growing ignorance and intensified madness. Nothing will change until the whores are elected to office instead of their sons.

I think the whores might understand my plan for the country’s economic revival. Unless their pimps get in on the act.  The gross national debt is the amount of money owed to the banks by the citizen, so my first step is to clean up this debt.  It could be easily done with a $640 billion bailout.  Each of the country’s 120 million households would receive $54 thousand, which is the average amount of credit card debt for each household in the county.  This money would be direct deposited into one back account per household, and that household’s debt would automatically be deducted and paid to the creditor.  Those households with less than the average debt would keep the money left over after the debt was paid off, and the spending of this windfall would stimulate the economy.  Those with an excess of the average debt would pay the remainder of that debt out of their own pocket, although all interest charges would be waived.  The second phase of the plan is to criminalize usury, limiting all the amount of interest a bank can charge to the amount of interest they give. So if a bank pays 5% per annum on your savings deposits, it is allowed to charge no more than 5% interest on your loans.  (An example of the dwindling interest paid to the depositor: In 1962, I put $100 into the bank and earned $5 in interest.  In 2009, I put $10,000 into a savings fund that I was prohibited from touching for a year, for which I received $5 interest.)

Those finding this plan unfeasible because of the government pay out, consider that the total cost of the wars in the Middle East has been estimated at between one and tour trillion dollars.  Here are some official figures:

  • 2003 Supplemental: Operation Iraqi Freedom: Passed April 2003; Total $78.5 billion, $54.4 billion Iraq War
  • FY2004 Supplemental: Iraq and Afghanistan Ongoing Operations/Reconstruction: Passed November 2003; Total $87.5 billion, $70.6 billion Iraq War
  • FY2004 DoD Budget Amendment: $25 billion Emergency Reserve Fund (Iraq Freedom Fund): Passed July 2004, Total $25 billion, $21.5 billion (estimated) Iraq War
  • FY2005 Emergency Supplemental: Operations in the War on Terror; Activities in Afghanistan; Tsunami Relief: Passed April 2005, Total $82 billion, $58 billion (estimated) Iraq War
  • FY2006 Department of Defense appropriations: Total $50 billion, $40 billion (estimated) Iraq War.
  • FY2006 Emergency Supplemental: Operations Global War on Terror; Activities in Iraq & Afghanistan: Passed February 2006, Total $72.4 billion, $60 billion (estimated) Iraq War
  • FY2007 Department of Defense appropriations: $70 billion(estimated) for Iraq War-related costs[4][5]
  • FY2007 Emergency Supplemental (proposed) $100 billion
  • FY2008 Bush administration has proposed around $190 billion for the Iraq War and Afghanistan[6]

Tonight Bob Dylan ventures into Charlotte, North Carolina, where Yankees go to breed.  The city is kept clean by squads of Mexicans who look like aliens with blowers on their backs as they blow the refuse off the sidewalks and into their bags.  The women here lived, until six years ago, in anticipation of a close encounter with Tammy Faye Bakker at the beauty parlor, while their husbands continue to  proudly drive by Billy Graham’s house when entertaining friends from out of town.  This is where the gray has turned the bluest, and the old time residents chortle at the phrase “The New South.”

Charlotte is the center of the United States banking industry. The few normal people who remain get up early on Sunday mornings so they can beat the church crowd to the buffet. I met a newly reborn Christian at a barbeque in Charlotte whose eyes lit up when I sang “The Needle and the Damage Done” because it brought back memories of his life as a drug addict. When I finished, he borrowed my guitar and played “Cocaine.” There are some nice things about the city, though.  Since there is no hip scene where fake artists pose, the artists stay home and work.  That’s why so many of them are successful, while in poseriums like Seattle, all they do is sit around coffee shops and whine about being ignored.  I know a guy there who hasn’t managed to draw a crowd of more than twelve since he started writing songs about fifty years ago.  And this includes when he plays at street fairs and other festivals where there is usually a huge crowd around every stage. The reason this guy has never been able to draw any fans is because he spends all his time wising off in coffeehouses rather than staying home and learning something about how to put words and music together.  Were he living in Charlotte, he would get so bored that he might even consider learning how to read.

I’m here in Lima after a lifetime of living in places like Charlotte and Seattle. Yesterday I got married to the most extraordinary woman I have ever met. This morning I woke up with her and she was even more beautiful that she was when I fell asleep beside her.  In a week or so, we are moving out of Lima so she can fulfill the requirement of working a year in a province in order to become eligible for a residency.  My wife is a doctor and doesn’t make much money.  It’s not like it is in the states where you pay a doctor a year of your own salary in exchange for two hours of their time. If you want affordable health care, get rid of the insurance companies and cut the doctor’s pay to a reasonable fortune.

One problem with Lima is that Bob Dylan has never come here.  He performs everywhere else in South America, but avoids Lima.  Maybe he has heard horror stories about the traffic and homicidal drivers, so is fearful of the drive from the airport to the venue. Or maybe the red tape here is so convoluted that he couldn’t put up with it. It took us six months just to get all of our documents authorized and accepted before our application for a marriage license was accepted. When Brett Anderson played Lima recently, he was held up at the airport for so long that he missed his date in Santiago. Stuff like that doesn’t sit well with superstars.

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