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EDITORIAL

Flush Forward

Illustrated by Tom Hachtman

2021 was a highly unpredictable year, just ask the soothsayers at the Bureau of Prevision, the forward-looking division of the State Department's Office of Budget and Planning. Director Sybil Merwin explains, "Well, I'm still here and who would've called that after the 2021 Inauguration? Of course we knew that the Biden Administration would have their hands full cleaning up all the mishigas of the previous four years and would likely overlook the crystal ballers in our office. Plus who was going to criticize our record on faulty Previz after two years of boners on the pandemic?

Even so, our ‘One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear’, that President Trump so loved, probably should've gotten us disbanded. But remember, I've been with the Bureau since the Harrison Adminstration (you do the math) and a few slip-ups are to be expected when you're depending on the sorting of goat guts, tea leaves, wriggling worms, and voodoo dolls to try and divine the future. We stand by our mission to provide the American people with the most accurate possible forecast of potential events. And no one can doubt our prophet motive."

Here are the top 10 predictions from Previz' 2022 Seer's Catalogue.

1. Budget: Suspenders of Disbelief
To assuage nervous moderate Democrats like Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema who have been hesistant to support the U.S. Mint printing trillions of new dollars to bankroll the most ambitious social spending program in a generation, progressive House members will propose a sweeping overhaul of the monetary system. Build Bucks Better (which wags will dub the billibuster or the Drunken Sailor Spending Act) will mandate the recalibration of each denomination of cash money (except the single, for which the portrait of slave owner George Washington will be replaced by an etching of Frederick Douglass) up one value.

The $5 bill will be eliminated entirely (good riddance to Abraham Lincoln, the abuser of Native Americans) as it is redesignated the $10 note, and the current $10 will become a $20, a $20 a $50, a $50 a $100 and so on and so forth until the current $10,000 replaces the ultra-rare $100,00. $500,00 and $1,000,000 notes (picturing Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Chief Crazy Horse, respectively) will be added for good measure, primarily as a convenient means to bribe recalcitrant Democrats and the odd Republican to embrace left-leaning reforms. The rationale is that with a $10 cup of Starbucks coffee in hand a $2,000,000,000 spending bill won't look so scary anymore.

All coins will be discontinued with those already in circulation collected and melted down to create affordable living quarters where the underprivileged won't be nickled and dimed by the penny-ante.

2. Congress: Our Lips Are Sealed
An album of 'songs of resistance' will be issued to raise money for the MAGA Legal Defense Fund designed to cover the fees incurred by Trump supporters like Sen. Kevin McCarthy, Rep. Jim Jordan, Rep. Scott Perry and POS Marjorie Taylor-Greene who refused to testify to the House Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol. The Steal Dumb Band, comprised of sympathetic artists like Kid Rock, Jason Aldean, Gene Simmons, Ted Nugent and Kanye West will record the disc live at Trumpsnotalooza, a concert in Florence, Arizona.

The collection will be entitled Our Lips Are Sealed after an 'original' protest song by Kanye, 'inspired' by and incorporating 'samples' of the Go-Go's hit, that embodies the very spirit of Steal Dumb. It will also include covers of the following tracks, often with subtly-altered lyrics: Herman's Hermits' There's a Kind of Hush, NWA's Fuck the (DC) Police, Rage Against the Machine's Killing in the Name (of Trump), Gill Scott-Heron's The Revolution Will Be Televised, Isaac Hayes' Shafted (Shut your Mouth), Bob Dylan's A Hard Reign's A-Gonna Fall and the Clash's Rock the Cap-tol. Brilliant wordsmith Aaron Carter will 'rework' John Lennon's Imagine to include the lines:
Imagine there's no Biden

It's easy if you try
No Dems beside us
Above us, Our Guy

Cartoons of a Democratic donkey dressed as a drunken sailor holding up a $35 billion restaurant check for Biden's and a big Republican's head with lips sealed by a zipper that spells out January 6.

3. Health: Omega Death
Hollywood's Bob Weinstein, desperate for a comeback after the implosion of his production company and career due to brother Harvey's rape conviction, will surreptitiously launch the successor to exploitation label Dimension Films with Dementia Films. As Bud Wildstein he will try to cash in on COVID hysteria with a series of microbody horror movies. Inspired by the Halloween and Friday the 13th franchises, these so-called jabber films will feature the virus embodied by a hockey mask-wearing maniac who relentlessly stalks a lookalike of CDC Director Rochelle Walensky (in the Jamie Lee Curtis role.)

In a series of shoestring-budgeted releases 'Walensky' will repeatedly fail to vaccinate and mask enough citizens in a series of U.S. towns and cites before coronavirus can slowly kill them. As the sequels multiply and become more transmissible the means of mayhem will grow increasingly outlandish as the 7-ft. humanoid SARS bug dispatches victims by strangling with face mask, stabbing with infected syringe, vaccinating with radioactive microchip, drowning in hazmat suit, poisoning with bleach, and suffocating with MyPillow.

The series will be identified by Greek letters rather than Roman Numerals with a run of variants from COVID the 19 Alpha through COVID the 19 Omega with Beta to the Bone, Bust a Kappa, Silence of the Lambda, A Nu Hope, and Slice of the Pi along the way.

4. Politics: Over the Hill
Spurred by a flood of nostalgic emails of praise from the Obama years that will miraculously reappear on her laptop, former Secretary of State and Trump-enabler Hillary Clinton will decide to mount a bid for the 2024 Democratic presidential nomination. Her chief advisor, a Little Birdie, will reportedly tell her that Joe Biden, at age 81, would not seek reelection when a chick like her, nearly five years younger, would be a shoo-in. Little Birdie will also relay that VP Kamala Harris has a better chance of getting elected in India or Jamaica than receiving her party's nod.

To appeal to the younger set, Clinton will eschew her power pantsuits for superheroine togs, repeatedly referring to herself as Wonder Woman on the campaign trail. She will try to enlist a shirtless Jason Momoa –– who she will tag 'DC's Aquaman' –– to be her running mate. She will garner a total of $1500.00 (in Build Bucks Better currency) in contributions and the only support she will receive on the trail will be from her Secret Service detail.

Cartoons of CDC Director Walensky running scared from armed Jason Vorhees character with coronavirus head and Hillary Clinton dressed like a superhero being dragged along by two Secret Service agents.

5. Scandal: Gaetz of Hell
Whoremonger, pedophile-wannabe, political punchline, FBI suspect, Trump toady, treason enthusiast, professional idiot, and Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz will end up behind iron ones.

6. Justice: The Ballot of Busted Thugs
With more and more GOP bigwigs ending up behind bars, Republican Congressional members will move to review the hated Voting Rights Act, specifically the Democrats' provision that felons be granted suffrage upon release. The conservatives will outflank the liberals by pushing for the White-Collared Amendment that would place voting booths directly in federal facilities which house the wealthiest convicts. These Club Fed prisons which already operate like slightly-higher-security versions of The Villages will allow the incarcerated to cast a ballot if they can afford the privilege. The cost per vote will be a box of Cohiba Behike 56 cigars. The average con can typically afford a couple of packs of Newport cigarettes which will only buy them inclusion in a prison-wide presidential poll conducted by the Hoover Institute.

Proceeds from the MLDF (see above) will allow imprisoned Steve Bannon to cast six votes for his former boss.

Cartoons of Congressman Gaetz trapped behind a barred Gaetz Gate as two pre-pubescent girls walk by and an exuberant Steve Bannon in an orange Jumpsuit behind bars wearing a Vote Trump 2024 button.

7. International Affairs: Impossible Burqa
At the time of the haphazard withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan much was written about the expected dire fate of women with the medieval patriarchs of the Taliban back in power. The coverage died down as more important issues like Britney Spears' onerous conservatorship or the lingering implications of Demi Lovato coming out as non-binary naturally grabbed headlines.

Although the mullahs have made some tentative overtures to their female citizens that suggest they realize it isn't 1522 anymore feminists in the West will pressure their governments to continue to keep an eye on Afghan women's plights. To promote opportunities in business for their wives and daughters the government will sponsor a version of Shark Tank that will feature live sharks who will judge if the harlot's idea is pure and worthy of investment or heretical and worthy of death. The U.S. government will monitor the competition from a safe distance.

8. Middle East: From Shi'a to Shining Shi'a
Due to the 2018 hit on journalist Jamal Khashoggi that was sanctioned by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia is still about as welcome as a Sahara Sand Viper in international diplomatic circles. To rehabilitate their image and remedy their exclusion, the shady Sheikhdom will launch a major charm offensive which will include reaching out to their bitter rivals, the Shi'a of Iran. They will seek to bury the bone saw with a One for Allah and Allah for One initiative designed to keep their friends close, and their blood enemies even closer.

Under a newly-designed national flag that says 'all work and no play makes Jafar a dull boy', the royals will embrace a Halal Meet to welcome Iranians to the House of Saud. They will cancel the popular sitcom It's Always Sunni in Riyadh and sponsor a series of ecumenical conferences on the bonds between their religious practices and that of their historic rivals. Newly-established Infidelity Investments will allow for co-sponsorships of projects that benefit the often warring nations' proxies in the region.

MBS will enthuse, "I truly believe there is much common ground that we and our less-fortunate cousins can share for fleeting moments. We can extend them the courtesy we would a two-humped camel and the respect reserved for some of our more valued servants. All will be perfectly bearable as long as they do not provoke us and wisely leave their journalists home in that not-quite-a-shithole across the Gulf. Alhamdulillah.'

Cartoons of Unlce Sam as a lifeguard just watching and videoing an Afghanistani woman in a burqa surroinded by Taliban sharks in the water and a Saudi sheikh holding a bloody bone saw stands in front of his country's new flag which features the word REDRUM and a bone saw on it.

9. Sports: Trans Action Figures
After the debacle of the Beijing Winter Olympics where COVID will necessitate actual dead bodies competing in the Skeleton competition, the International Olympic Committee will decide to revamp eligibility rules in case another global pandemic disrupts the 2024 Paris Summer or the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games. Fearing sick-outs from some far-off coronavirus variant plucked from the Cyrillic alphabet or some new designer pandemic bug whipped up in a competitive bio-tech lab, the IOC will decide they must expand the roster of potential substitutes.

Thus the governing body will allow transsexual athletes on both sides of the pitch to compete in all sports (excluding Sumo Wrestling –– no one is agitating for those wedgies.) NBC which has been televising the Games since 1988 to ever-diminishing ratings will hire Laverne Cox as their prime-time host moving forward. Cox will comment, "I mean, girlfriend, if Amy Schneider has gotten that kind of media coverage for just competing on Jeoaprdy imagine the hype our fierce LGBTcuties will engender!"

The blurring of norms will be an obvious fit for the aptly-name biathlon and for women's weight-lifting where the Soviet Bloc countries trailblazed the use of male hormones since the 1960s. In fact, officials will decide that there are already so many gonadal steroids in Track and Field that they will need to be scaled back to even the playing field for the average gender-neutral contestant. The game of Quidditch, invented by J.K. Rowling, will not be considered for inclusion as a new event and Dave Chapelle is unlikely to host the Opening Ceremonies in Paris.

10. Cybernetics: Squaresville
Lego will partner with Japanese AI startup Roboto-san to create an android companion you can assemble yourself. The joint creators of MokBloks will claim that 'building Mr. or Ms. Right was never easier with our unique interlocking cyberbricks which come alive when you snap them into place.' The company will provide a variety of prefab plans for your long-time companion (fully warrantied for 5 years), but insist that the fun will come from customizing your mate.

'Advanced machine learning will allow your creation to adapt to your personality and evolve into your BFF. And if you get tired of his or her looks, just swap out some bricks to make your BBE (best blockhead ever.)' The company will stress that the standard kit is for the assembly of a platonic pal. CokBlok and compatible SnatchHatch sold separately.

Cartoons of a transsexual shot putter with a coronavirus under his chin about to be tossed and a rounded woman walking with a blocky date as another blocky couple walk by.

01/17/22