Tuesday morning I did a VCATS with Jenny and Marcy. They were over the open Atlantic on their way to Thimble Shoals. They were carrying more gold and diamonds to the meeting to keep the accounts up to Marcy’s liking.
Andy, Vicky and Ching Lee were headed to Dubai then taking one of the Blackhawks to the Boxer. Andy had the military records for our ships’ captains for the Admiral to review if he wanted. I did a VCATS with Marcy and Lorrie, then settled into my day.
The Congressional leaders did as they said they would. The proposed bill was read into the record to be fast tracked. Yesterday the leaders promised they would have the bill on my desk for me to sign by the close of business on Friday.
I scheduled a 1600 meeting with the director of HUD – property, building specs and contractors were the discussion topic. I wasn’t going to get deeply involved in it; I had no time for that. I just wanted a brief overview of what to expect as things progressed.
I met with the joint chiefs. They were following up on Boko-haram. With thermal imagining satellites and a dozen more secret things they thought they were on the trail of the terrorist group. They knew they were on the trail after a dozen bodies of children from the last burned village was found fifty miles from the village in no-man’s land. Then a day later more were found twenty miles to the south east.
”Put a team on it, see what we come up with,” I said.
By putting a dedicated team on the assignment with the latest tools, more detailed information could be gathered quicker. With enough confirmed evidence a field team would be assigned or hired.
It could be Army Rangers, Navy Seals, or hired mercenaries in this case – in that area they would be JBG’s former Black Bear teams. Oh the conflicts of interest.
It was 1100 and about the time the shit hit the fan in Oregon at 0700.
The two hundred or so Humvees and six hundred troops crossed into Oregon at 0400 driving up Route Five north. At 0700 they drove the circle around the city hall of Eugene. Then they drove through several of the business streets including the main street that had the local TV station and newspaper building.
The streets were packed with onlookers and news people as they left, again headed north on Route Five to Salem.
In Salem – the state capital – they did the same thing again only staying longer while being more visible. One hundred Humvees stayed in Salem; some riding around, some parking in the parking lots by the capital.
When questioned by the media on what they were doing, the Commander of the group responded, ‘‘Waiting on final orders from Washington.”
The last one hundred went on to Portland and did the same thing, parking around city hall.
At 1200 the two Senators and the Representatives from Oregon were in the White House lobby demanding to see the President. I was in the cafeteria eating with my staff. We were rehashing Saturday at Vegas and Sunday’s appearance on the news show. The media reactions were still coming in.
I waited until I finished lunch before returning to the Oval Office. I was learning the perks of having power – making people wait who thought they were important.
Troy gave me a folder with a picture of the people waiting and their names and positions. It was an idea to keep informed so I would not look like an idiot when I met people and the pictures were a godsend, I was meeting a lot of people now.
”Good afternoon Senator Bears and Senator Higgs, Reps Dell, Dillingham and Goodman. What can do for you today?” I said.
”Could we make this a conference call meeting with the governor and his staff?” Senator Bears asked.
Troy made all the connections happen; apparently the group was waiting for the call. There was a round of introductions and hellos.
”There are troops in Eugene, Salem and Portland. The residents are worried and they want them to leave,” Governor Roseberry said.
”They are the advance teams – the rest of the troops are behind them. I have made no secret they were on the way. I have given you and the legislature plenty of time to correct the horrible homeless issue you have created. Your legislature didn’t even bother to open a debate,” I said.
”They and you have discussed many options for the last four years, always to run out of time at the end of the session. But they had plenty of time to create more parks and to change the name of Columbus Day and Thanksgiving with a full week of televised debate. Then they spent fourteen days to protest the proposed international port expansion on the border with Washington State,” I said.
That research group of mine was as nearly as good at political research as Robert was at intelligence.
”The courts ruled years ago that it was illegal for the police to hassle homeless on the streets when there were no homeless shelters to take them in. Yet your city, state and county police have done just that repeatedly, even going as far as carrying them across city and county lines. On top of that you have harassed the aid groups trying to give shelter,” I said.
”Then there is the conditions in the streets, the same as California; full of crap, needles, tents, cardboard boxes and more. The law abiding people of your state deserve better- the homeless deserve better,” I said.
“I promise you the next session we will seriously tackle the problem,” the governor said.
”Your promises aren’t worth the air it took the say them. You have broken your promises for years,” I said.
”You have two more days left in this session. I will give you one day to pass legislation committing one hundred million a year for the next five years to end the homeless mess you have made. Twenty five million is to be delivered to the HHS and FEMA within twenty four hours to erect emergency shelters, provide food and medical aid and to clean the streets.”
”The other seventy five million goes into a housing construction fund. This fund is to be administrated by HUD to immediately begin construction of permanent shelters and low income housing. The state and counties will waive all impact fees, permitting cost, planning and zoning restrictions for these projects,” I said.
”You are breaking my arm. I’m not sure you can do this,” Governor Hilltop said.
”You can ask Governor Bright. The cell next to his is for you.”
”The paperwork declaring martial law and a national emergency in Oregon and Washington was just delivered to my desk for my signature,” I said. An aide had just placed several folders on my desk.
”You have twenty four hours. You better make them the most productive hours of your lifetime,” I added.
We had more discussion before they left – very unhappy. I had the General sent a message to have the Oregon troops find hotels for the night, preferably all in one hotel so a watch could be assigned to keep an eye on the equipment.
With that past I had a staff meeting where we decided on the Supreme Court nominee Caroline Brady. Carol was a respected jurist from the federal Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Her record was spotless as was the background checks. She was married to her college sweetheart with two children.
Politically she was brought up by a conservative family. One brother was a state representative and the other brother was the Lt Governor. She had given speeches at the state party level several times.
I had a call put through to Caroline at the court house. She was in the court room unable to take a call until the end of the session at 1700. I left my number with her legal clerk with a simple note ”Call me ASAP BJ”.
I moved on to other things, I received a text from Vicky that the signings on the Boxer were nearly complete. They were waiting on the six boat captains to appear for interviews. Three of them were flying to the Boxer in a Blackhawk. The other three were coming in one of our fast ships.
”Thanks, keep me informed. BJ.”
Adam came in to work on the speech for Wednesday night. This time it was in Vermont, weather permitting. It only took an hour from the start to finish; we were starting to work well together.
It was nearly five thirty when Judge Brady called my White House phone. All calls are screened, even though they are going to private numbers. After a couple of questions and a quick phone trace, the call was put through.
”Judge Brady, it’s good to hear from you. I will keep it short and to the point. Your name is at the top of the short list of candidates for the vacant position on the Supreme Court. I would like to know if you are interested?” I said.
We talked for the most part of an hour and finished as I was sent notice that my supper was ready. I would have a government G5 plane at the Abe Lincoln Springfield Airport to pick the family up at 0800. Caroline was definitely interested in the position.
We would interview and talk during the day and make the announcement at 1600. Vice President Harrison would host a dinner and reception that evening for selected senators. Usually that meant heads of committees that had to have hearings on the appointment. It would be the usual meet, greet and get to know one another.
Caroline and family would stay at the presidential guest house that visiting dignitaries stayed at. It was fully staffed with services that rivaled even the best five star hotel but far better security and access to the limo fleet, if they wanted to see the evening sights around Washington.
I finished supper, chatted with my mates and the boys. Contracts had been signed with the Navy. Everyone was happy, well nearly happy but that was normal. I was going to spend the part of the weekend at home in my own bed – a change I was going to enjoy.
I finished out the evening in the fitness center with several agents working out and spotting the weights for me.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.