Book 3 Chapter 2
It was Friday – the last day – and then I was going home to be with my mates and the kids. I went to the fitness center at 0500. I woke up early and decided to work out this morning instead of in the evening. The government had bought several of the gym machines that I liked to use at the gym for the fitness center.
It was 0730 before I knew it. I needed to make a call at 0730 from my office to Prime Minister Attenborough. I didn’t have time to go shower and change so I went to the office in my gym shorts and tee shirt. I would go shower and change later.
I completed my call – it took forty five minutes instead of the fifteen that I thought it would. General Ingram and others were waiting to come in so I ended up wearing the slightly tight sweaty tee, gym shorts and tennis shoes most of the morning. I finally sent one of the house attendants to my room to get me a pair of camo pants, a shirt and belt.
”We have reduced the troop level in Iran as low as we can for a while. All the B52 and B21 bombers and their support groups are back at their assigned bases. Ten of the assault landing ships have picked up their equipment and troops and are headed to their home ports.”
”All the National Guard are back to their states. Other than the rest of the assault landing ships, the drawdown to the levels we think we need are complete,” General Ingram said.
”I’m glad to hear that. The troop levels that are there now are going to be there several years, at least,” I said.
”Has there been any more information on the number of Iranian troop numbers thought to be deceased?” I asked.
”No, we really haven’t been looking for any more. Some of the construction teams have started filling up bomb craters left from the seismic bombs. They will be packed level ground in a year or two, ready for more buildings.”
”The areas where they were enriching uranium are showing some radiation leaks. They are going to be filled and covered with concrete as soon as possible,” he added.
”Do you want any investigation at the IRG weapons research sites or their command centers?” he asked.
”No, just push the debris into the depressions, cover it with dirt and concrete. There is just too much danger from unexploded ordnance,” I said.
”That’s the position that General Irons and Downs argued. We are all in agreement so I will send the orders,” he said.
”Are the Iranian civilians getting everything they need to stay peaceful?” I asked.
”You should ask the State Department about that,” General Ingram said.
”I’m going to, but I want your assessment and of your people on the ground as well. I don’t like surprises. Sometimes what one group thinks is unimportant is very important to others and can lead to very serious issues,” I said.
”I will make the calls and get back to you before the end of the day,” he said.
”On another matter, your appointment as chairman of the Joint Chiefs expires in January. Are you open to being appointed to the position again, or do you want to retire out of the service – as most do?” I asked.
”Honestly, I have not given it a thought,” he replied.
”Think about it – I would like you to stay. But if you and the wife have made plans for a life after the military and White House service, I wouldn’t want to interfere with your plans,” I said.
It was one item off the list that Connie and vice President Harrison had been working on. It was already several hundred items long. Connie had gone back through President Thomas’s first administration papers to generate all the positions that I had to fill if I didn’t want the current people in them.
Another few off the list was that I asked all the house staff to stay on. I had also asked Connie and Kitty Winn to continue as my personal secretaries. I had asked Troy to stay on as my chief of staff.
I had a ghost of a thought to find a couple of young males for the spot. For nothing more than to give the Washington gossip columns something to complain about as a distraction, but better instincts prevailed.
After lunch I was to meet a delegation from the District of Columbia and a delegation from the House and Senate. I had a good idea what they were wanting before the January fifth change of power in the House and Senate.
I ate lunch with my staff in the White House cafeteria. I ate light – just a salad. I was determined to work against the formation of ‘secretarial ass’ as often as I could. I intended this morning’s early romp in the gym to be a nearly every day event.
We talked weather and the weekend’s football games. A couple of the men were into football big time. The Christmas Day game was the Cowgirls – as they were now nicknamed because they had not won a game in three years – against the Lions. The death of Jerry Jones had destroyed the once powerhouse franchise and it kept getting worse.
We discussed how the NFL had not recovered from the kneelers, BLM debacle, Covid disaster and the push to be politically correct. The result was an infuriation that the fans had not forgiven.
To make matters worse, the NFL leadership was in the midst of major rules, changes that were going to make the sport into playground touch football. They had finally thrown all visions of it being a real man’s game by caving into the players’ union demand.
Just about every kind of tackle was a penalty. The quarterback could not be thrown to the ground in any manner nor could he be tackled below the waist, and any hand contact to his helmet was a penalty. The safety and defensive players had to stay at least an arm’s length away from the receiver until after the ball was caught.
The goal was to create high scoring games and end injuries to one hundred million dollar star players, hoping to draw interest back to the game. Instead they were driving fans away. Stadiums were no longer filled – tickets were just too damn high and TV ratings were down every year. The viewers were getting sick of five minutes of game and ten minutes of ads, and even more ads by split screen.
At 1300 the Secret Service led the liberal group back to the meeting room; there were too many for the seating in the Oval Office.
”Good afternoon Senators Able and Myers, Representatives Jillson, Humphries and Stewart. Mayor Deblossom and I believe it is council ladies Hebron and Inez, it’s good to see all of you here today,” I said.
”My notes say that you are here to discuss the prospect of statehood for the District,” I said.
”Former President Thomas indicated that he would have been supportive of such a proposal before he passed,” Senator Able said.
”The residents of DC deserve to be able to vote for senators and voting representatives in congress. To deny them that right is an injustice, immoral and unconstitutional,” Mayor Deblossom said.
”I am lucky enough to have President Thomas’ notes and I read in them that he was as opposed to Statehood for the District as I am. Where you got the idea he was supportive is beyond me and calls for an investigation,” I said.
”To expand on that a little, Connie pulled up the historical information on the district. I read it to say the intent of making it a district and the permanent capital of our nation was to avoid the possible conflicts a state designation could cause and that would hamper the federal government,” I said.
”The district had a thousand murders last year and I believe there have been no arrests in ninety five percent of them. Robbery, theft and assault has been rising twenty percent a year for the last five years, again with few arrests.”
”Carjacking is doubling every year. I believe it is almost fifteen hundred jackings for a city of eight hundred thousand, ten times as high as any other city this size,” I said.
”What was once a booming international tourist area is now unsafe to visit after dark – and some places in the daytime,” I said.
”You don’t even respond to shoplifting and many other crimes anymore and if you do, it is catch and release. Drug and drug associated crimes are out of control. I see no advantage to giving the District statehood,” I said.
”You let protesters and anyone with a grievance run wild, defacing and destroying private, city and federal property. You make no attempt to control them,” I said.
”Just how are we suppose to control them?” the mayor asked.
”You can start by placing limits on where they can protest. The constitution says we have a right to peaceably protest but it allows you to designate areas for demonstrations – like the parks. You can also limit things so that only one major group can protest a day, thereby eliminating so much trouble in the streets. You can control that under the public safety laws,” I said.
”Citizens using the roads and streets – businesses have a right to be able to conduct business just as much as protesters,” I said.
”You also need to require a deposit for extra police duty and trash cleanup. Use historical costs to come up with the fees. That would put a damper on big demonstrations.”
”If the voting issue bothers your residents so much, they can easily move to Virginia or Maryland,” I said.
”The truth of the matter is the District was never intended to be a residential area to begin with. It was to be Capital of our country and the center of our federal government and future expansion thereof. Not one of the world’s top ten crime cities!” I said.
”After January fifth when I have more power, I’m going to put in a motion some rules about having the feds condemn and then buy all the private land and rid it of the trash, including the living and the buildings. Half of the city buildings can already be condemned as unfit and a health hazard,” I said.
”You have volumes of rules and regulations for new buildings but you allow public housing and rental housing to become trash dumps and junk cars line the streets,” I said.
”Senators, if you are wanting to add states I have several suggestions; Maryland and Virginia’s eastern shore into one state, Virginia itself needs to be two states and the same with Pennsylvania and California,” I said.
After an explosion of four letter words they left. That didn’t bother me but I did have the Secret Service flag the Senators and Representatives as no longer approved visitors.
I knew what they were trying to do and that was to get more liberal senators any way they could, before they lost what little power they had caused by the election. With liberal losses so drastic, it was either now or wait a long time.
At 1600 Marine One carried me to Morton Field. One of our Suburbans carried me to the house.
Marcy wanted me to attend tonight’s office meeting. I made the trip through the tunnel; no one needed to know I was meeting with the girls about JBG business.
The regular business meeting was over and they met me in the basement meeting room.
”Bob’s Construction has the replies to the construction proposal for the two projects on the island. He sent copies of them to me. They are suggesting that a ground survey with bore hole testing be done before moving forward with the big one on the fifty acres.”
”There is no need to start engineering or design until the condition of bedrock and other underground features are known for certain. If the bedrock is unstable or won’t support the projected weight of the project, then there is no going forward at the proposed site,” Marcy read from the emails.
”All the designs are in computer aided drawing programs. All that the engineers would have to do is load in the specs and then make any changes on a floor by floor basis. The international building codes already exist and there are few structural changes that can be made without months or years of re-engineering, testing and approvals,”
”There were several companies attached to the letter that would do the required testing confidentially,” Marcy said.
”I think we need to do the testing as they recommended. Are we still in a position to finance the project in house or is the tax department suggesting something else?” I asked.
”They are working on the numbers based on projections, which is difficult. Midwest Bank would be most interested in providing all or part of the financing, if we choose that direction,” Mercy said.
”Do we need to make advances to the commissioners before getting too far in?” Marcy asked.
”I’ll call Duke Justice and Clarence Hallworthy and invite them to a private lunch tomorrow. I think we should all be there,” I said.
A few minutes later it was all set up for 1300 here at the house.
One thing I wanted to do was work out in the gym with my mates for a couple of hours before a light supper. The girls agreed – as long as we ended up in the hot tub.
Another issue that we discussed was small drones. They were starting to be seen around the office and buzzing the house.
The Secret Service had been trying to locate the source but without any luck. Even when electronic jammers caused them to land, they would be gone before the agents could get to them. All drones had a homing feature that directed them back to the start of their flight if they lost signal.
I ordered the JBG security to start shooting them down with shotguns. Serial numbers on them would lead the investigators to owners. The agents could not take action against the drones – only the operators, once they knew who they were.
When I was at Summers Road a square mile was a no fly zone without authorization and had been for over a year. Andrews, Morton and Dover’s Doppler radars were watching closely for larger aircraft but low level small drones were tough to find.
Dover now had a dozen F15 Strike Eagles, F16 Fighting Falcons and several A10s that routinely patrolled the area when I was home. There were others at Andrews.
There were A10s at the Middle River National Guard base, but they could not be loaded with weapons. All the presidential protection planes at Dover were fully armed, loaded for bear.
If the Secret Service knew it, they had not acknowledged it, but there were two Air Tractors at Morton loaded with weapons. One had rockets and missiles and the other had mini guns. Andy had assigned them to my JBG security team.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.