I was up early at 0600 – as had become custom. I dressed quietly and snuck to the kitchen for the first mug of coffee of the day. I headed to the Oval Office with a couple strips of bacon and the coffee to read the day’s updates.
Iran was still saber rattling with their exercises – no change there.
Admiral West had sent a thank you note to the Chief of Naval Operations that was forwarded to me thanking JBG for the excellent videos from the coastal patrol ships’ crews and the aircraft involved in the Tariq Sultan incident.
Also included was an acceptance of the offer to put six JBG coastal patrol ships at under his command for an estimated sixty days, until the Greek ship joined the assignment.
With the family now up and fed I decided to see if we could manipulate our way to into appearing on Sunday Morning America without a previous invitation. I was sure they would be glad to have me without the invitation given the entire news cycle since mid-week had been on the actions of my administration.
With Jason, Lisa, Jake, Mindy and my two little men, we would need eleven seats in the front row. The Secret Service and my JBG body guards agreed as long as it was kept relatively secret.
Having been there several times I knew how to get in and my way around. I sent a text to Arthur, ‘Save eleven seats in the front row. This visit has to remain top secret and a surprise or it will not happen.’ I would see if I could trust him.
Their advertised guests were Senator Jacobson a liberal and Senator Hart a staunch conservative and supporter of President Thomas. The other two guests were Representatives Mackey the liberal house minority leader and the House majority leader Richard Dawson. I was the last man out.
We waited until just ten minutes before air time. The agents went in first to clear the way and block the halls. Other agents followed in to view the live audience. I had the tech wire me up; makeup had been taken care of before I left the White House. I waited until after the announcer went through introducing the guests and gave them a few minutes of opening comments, then my family made their way to the front row seats and I walked from behind the curtain while pushing an office chair for me to sit in.
”Good morning, everyone,” I said.
”You did make it after all, I’m glad you did. I am sure we can come up with lots of questions,” Arthur said.
”The debate today is certainly going to be about California,” Arthur said.
”First off, the big question; how are the California martial law orders working out?” Candy asked.
”You are referring to operation ‘Sunshine’. Eighty thousand homeless have been moved to Camp Parks, they have had the opportunity to bathe, been issued new clean clothes, fed and are sleeping in hurricane recovery tents on cots, not on sidewalks. Those deemed to have mental issues or medical issues are being housed separately and medical teams are taking care of their needs.”
”Fifteen thousand rioters have been arrested and will be charged with a variety of federal crimes in force under martial law.”
”I question if you have the authority to order all these actions?” Senator Jacobson said.
”Of course you are referring to the Posse Comitatus Act that was passed after the Civil War to keep federal troops from policing the South. That limits federal troop deployment on U.S. soil and forbids using them to enforce domestic laws.”
”The act restricts troops from enforcing local or state laws. I ordered first a Natural Emergency because of the massive riots and then initiated Federal martial law. The troops are enforcing the laws that Congress wrote into the Martial Law act,” I said.
”Even though the Posse Comitatus Act has not been repealed, there are a variety of other laws that have had a major decreasing influence on its power.”
”During the great depression, laws were passed under Roosevelt that pulled the country out of the depression. Then there were the laws used to protect us from ourselves during WW2. Later on there was the race riots of the sixties and laws passed to maintain order. Then the cold war and more laws expanding powers of the President and the courts under a National Emergency. The same scenario repeated itself with the anti-war demonstrations of the seventies with more laws tweaked.”
”Then came 9-11 and more emergency statues were passed. Through all this came the ability to declare a National Emergency, giving the President a host of powers.”
“The War Powers Act and the Patriot Act gave the President even more emergency powers. Then came the pandemic of 2020 and unlimited power to the federal and local governments. All of these things together have made the restrictions of the Posse Comitatus Act nearly mute.”
”Back to the original question. I have not violated the Posse Comitatus Act because under my Martial Law order all the local police, sheriff’s departments and the state police are all working as they were before the order. They are reporting to their commanders following their orders. If there are questions, they have been instructed to ask for guidance,” I said.
”But why the roundup of the homeless? I can see the need to stop the rioting. And why put them in camps?” Candy asked.
”The streets are covered in feces, urine, used needles, blocked by homeless tents, card huts and other debris making the streets unsanitary and unsafe and in many cases, impassable. Serious infections and other diseases have been growing.”
”Short of putting them in your spare bedroom and living room, the camps are the best option for now,” I added.
”In a booming economy you have to ask why there are so many homeless. That is one question we are going to be asking a lot of them as we search for answers and then solutions to put into long term effect. Next week I am ordering a team from Housing and Urban Development and the DHS to go to California to find the answers so they can be implemented immediately.”
”One thing we do know, there is a terrible housing shortage and horrible property taxes for the poor and middle class, leading to the homelessness.”
”The planning and zoning laws have been written for the wealthy and powerful. Every low income housing development has been opposed for the last two decades by the politics of Hollywood and the politically connected.”
”Not one has been approved to completion for low income residents. The ones that were approved were regulated or opposed in the courts to the point they gave up. Or that the rents for a small one bedroom apartment is three thousand a month. That kills it for the low income and lower middle class.”
”An average two bedroom home – six hundred thousand, a three bedroom – eight hundred thousand is just totally insane, that is going to be changed. We are going to find ways to reduce the cost, and reduce the taxes.”
”Preliminary reports I am reading are telling me there needs to be two hundred thousand units of low income housing NOW to eliminate the crisis. There will be orders for HUD to get aggressive. I will ask Congress for the emergency funding necessary.”
”It’s intolerable to have thousands of Americans living in the streets. This is not the America I want us to be proud of. This is not the America I fought and lost blood for,” I said.
”I have to agree with most of what you have said here. I wish you luck,” Candy said.
”So there is no long term plan to keep them in camps?” David Young, the other panelist asked.
”Absolutely not, the politicians that took the bribes and peddled influence are going to spend a much longer time in jail,” I said.
”What state is going to be next?” Candy asked.
”Oregon. But there doesn’t have to be a next, they have the power to correct the issues themselves, they just have to act. The hourglass has only a few grains of sand left. We are preparing the move tomorrow while reducing troops in California,” I said.
”You spent yesterday in Vegas, from all appearances a very successful fundraiser for the party. The chants of eight more years was intended for the party benefit but are you sure there wasn’t more there?” Candy asked.
”To be President was never one of my ambitions and never in any of my dreams, yet here I am doing the job. I don’t know how history will judge my performance.”
”As for running for President – I can’t say the thought hasn’t crossed my mind in the last few days. There are plenty of people that want me to throw my hat into the ring.”
”The current candidates just don’t have the spark the public wants. My mates would make the final decision. Either way I have plenty to do and there is still plenty of time,” I said.
The hour was full of questions, answers and challenges. During the session I decided to make an inspection trip to California tomorrow. I would take the Senate and House leaders and select committee heads, health and human services, and those that ruled over the DHS.
I would put the Senators and Representatives minds and my own at ease as to how things were being run.
My mates were leaving after supper and I would be alone until Thursday. Jenny and Marcy had another meeting at Pirates Bank on Tuesday. Vicky and Ching Lee were going with Andy to the Middle East to meet with Admiral West to finalize the agreement that would put six of our fast ships under Navy control for ninety days.
The captains of our six ships were all Navy officers, so it should be a smooth transition. However, captains on the Boxer might feel slighted if they found out what we were paying ours.
The Navy was also sending an advance team to the dry dock at Mirbat. The advance team was carrying the special keel blocks and other equipment needed to block the USS Wilmington high and dry for repairs.
Most of the crew was going to bunk in the recently renovated housing. The base was originally able to house five hundred in fixed housing and one thousand more in Quonset huts, but the huts were long gone.
Andy had decided to renovate the complete facility and use it as a central location. With the OPEC group happy, they were discussing an expansion of the contract with Marcy and Vicky.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.