Book 3 Chapter 16

Book 3 Chapter 16

            Friday morning started out early at 0500 with a bang. A terrorist tried to drive a dump truck through the White House security gates. The Secret Service assigned to the roof put a Stinger missile into the engine after it crashed through the gate and over the tire busters and was still moving. All the alarms were ringing; agents were running everywhere.

            0500 was when there was a shift change. The agents’ shift change was done in two parts an hour apart so there was always a full staff on duty watching all the monitors and guarding the President. The result was that there were more agents on the grounds.

            The driver must have had experience from the battlefield or maybe was just lucky or chickened out. Seconds before the missile hit, he jumped from the truck and tried to run – only to run into a dozen agents. Fearing the truck was loaded with explosives and with the driver in hand, everyone moved quickly away. That the truck’s load was covered with a canvas only added to the fear.

            My family and I were ushered into Section 12; the underground bunker that housed the terrorism task force among other agencies. It had separate fresh air inlets and a power supply that was filtered multiple times for all kinds of threats. The other White House staff were down here on other levels.

            After 9-11 the White House had gone through many secret upgrades and renovations – many disguised as normal maintenance. All the windows had been replaced with reinforced bulletproof glass. The original wooden window frames had been replaced with steel. The storm shutters were made operative and also bulletproof.

            There were boxes on the roof designed to look like duct work – they were actually storage for Stinger and Tomahawk missiles and machine guns. The roof had been replaced with armor plating and titanium covered in a rubber coating making it waterproof in the upgrades.

            When the bed cover was pulled back, it was found that the bed of the truck was filled with twenty and forty pound propane cylinders. The wiring leading into the truck body had been burned off and whatever they were using for the trigger was destroyed, improperly set or a delayed timer.

            Equipment was brought in to unload the cylinders one at a time, then they would be robot inspected before being hauled away. It was an all day job.

            ”Eric, who has custody of the driver?” I asked.

            ”The FBI and DHS are trying to interrogate him now but the lawyer is refusing to allow him to answer any questions,” Eric said.

            ”What nationality is he, what language does he speak?” I asked.

            ”He is from Somalia we believe, he has a heavy North African accent,” Eric said.

            ”Does he have a green card or is he a citizen from some of the previous programs?” I asked.

            ”Not that we can find,” Eric said.

            ”Finger prints?” I asked.

            ”Not in the system,” Eric answered.

            ”Before you ask, facial scan is negative,” Eric added.

            ”What is the information on the truck?” I asked.

            ”No tags; everything in the cab was burned, no names or phone numbers on the cab or the body,” Eric replied.

            ”The VIN number is deeply stamped at least four places on the frame; one on each side by the front axle and one on each side of the frame between the rear cab mount and rear axle. Depending on the year, there may be more – sometimes under the cab on the inside frame rail,” Marcy said.

            ”I run into that all the time when the body up-fitters paint over the VIN number stickers or mount equipment over them. I even had to threaten some up-builders because the information and scan bar are required for warranty work and DOT roadside inspections. The cab sticker has the Maximum front and rear axle weights limits as well as Gross vehicle weight,” Marcy added.

            ”Tell the lawyer that the suspect has been designated as a foreign terrorist and is being transferred to Gitmo for a tribunal investigation and trial. Bag the suspect and take him to Morton; I’ll call the Doc to do a medical. Call Frank and Ben to meet you there – or do you want me to do it? Every minute you lose before he talks allows any accomplices to get further away and destroy evidence,” I said.

            “The Secret Service will have a team pick you up at the Capitol steps, you can use the tunnel to get to the Capitol building. When we get over there, we will call for the pickup time,” Agent Gardner said.

            ”It’s too risky to land the chopper here until they get the truck empty, the Beast will pick you up over there at the Capitol steps when the Suburbans arrive,” said the Secret Service agent in charge. Like it or not, I was in for the convoy ride to Summers Road unless I wanted to go to Andrews by car then transfer to Marine 1.

            We went back to the White House and picked out things that we would need. I would be home a half a day early. I also gave most of the staff the rest of the day off.

            I didn’t get through the Congressional Hall without an impromptu news conference that I ended quickly – as soon as the Secret Service agent said the Beast was at the steps. It took almost two hours to get home, but we were home at lunch time.

            With the traffic in Washington a nightmare, by the time we got home Frank, Ben, Andy, and Eric were at Fort Smith with the Doc, watching a very upset prisoner getting wired up.

            The prisoner was not the only one upset, his lawyer was livid that he had lost his meal ticket on the government tab for years.

            It was near supper when Ben, Eric and Frank came to the house to fill me in on the information they had gained. The prisoner was on his way to Gitmo – unconscious – in one of our C130s.

            ”The truck had been stolen six weeks ago from a construction site in West Virginia. It had been carried – covered by canvas – on a lowboy trailer to a warehouse on the outskirts of DC where the propane cylinders had been placed in the dump body,” Frank Said.

            ”The propane cylinders had been acquired from a recycling center. They were originally sold as scrap because of rust pitting or out of date certification. Some of the cylinders had been filled with gasoline, others diesel fuel, some were refilled with propane and four were filled with gun powder,” Eric said.

            ”The ones with gun powder were the ones that had blasting caps in them to start the explosion,” Eric said.

            ”Why didn’t it blow up then? With all that gasoline and diesel, it would have a great fireball,” I said.

            ”They had it wired to the truck batteries. We think when it hit the first barricade the batteries weren’t fastened down and were ejected, shearing all the wiring. The force of the impact may have caused the driver to be too disoriented to find the trigger or else he chickened out at the last minute,” Eric said.

            ”This must have been a new group without connections since they did not have any C4, RDX or ANFO – or else we have tightened up the tracking and controls enough that it is not easy to get,” I said.

            ”They have got all the tanks removed and the truck will be removed tonight. The impact with the gate and the barriers shifted everything in the truck, pulling the wires and detonators from the tanks with the gunpowder. The detonators went off but ignited nothing but air,” Agent Gardner said. He had just received an update from the ATF agents working on the truck.

            ”With all the threats that have been placed against you in the past, the Secret Service doesn’t want you to go back to the White House until the security gate is repaired and the changes you wanted to the streets will be done at the same time. GSA and the contractors will work around the clock. They think enough will be done by Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest so you can return,” Agent Gardner said.

            ”By the way, the DC city council has dropped all opposition to the changes you wanted,” Agent Gardner said.

            ”OK, I will call the staff and have the ones I need report to the JBG office here on Summers Lane on Monday,” I said.

            ”The crash pad is clean and empty. Get a list of the people you want to stay close and they can stay there. It’s a lot more secure than staying at one of the hotels. They can get cars from the airport for travel,” Marcy said.

            ”Come up with the number of spaces you need and I will get Baltimore Office Supply to bring desks and cubicles and the rest of the equipment to finish out the bays in the basement as office space today,” Marcy said.

            ”I was in the process to do that before all the April takeovers happen. I already ordered everything. They have it all and are waiting to deliver it. The cleaning crew is finished the cleaning,” Marcy said.

            I called Troy and Connie on a conference call. Between the three of us we picked the staff we thought we needed for a few days. Troy was going to notify them.

            ”My wife is visiting her sister in Nashville for a few weeks. She is fighting cancer and needed my wife to help while she is getting treatments. I can get a motel room to be close,” Troy said.

            ”We have a couple extra rooms at the house; you can stay in one of them if you want,” Marcy said.

            ”I can do that,” Troy said.

            Marcy was going to make a few changes in the office for the people coming. The last office expansion also included a new larger Verizon phone bank expansion.

            Marcy had reserved a bank of an additional of one hundred phone numbers in case there was ever a decision to expand the office even further before the Jones towers were completed. There were still ninety five numbers that were not used.

            When Bob’s Construction finished out the electric in the basement, they also ran and installed phone jacks and internet cables into each bay at Marcy’s request. She was planning on a lot of the offices down in the basement if necessary.

            Marcy called Verizon and Baltimore Office Supply to come today and start putting the offices together and Bobs Construction to be on hand if there were any difficulties and to assist with installations.

            Robert’s group began programming desktop computers and laptops with standard office programs and connectivity to our internet. Marcy instructed them not to put any access to our secure office programs on them.

            I felt sure that anyone that came would have their government laptop with them anyhow.      

            Troy showed up at 1400 with several suitcases. We put him in the last upstairs room. Crash had one, the Smithfield’s had one, one had become our in-house beauty salon and Troy was in the fourth one for a few days.

            There were still the six rooms in the basement if they were needed. They were routinely cleaned and dusted.

            After he carried his bags to his room, I gave him the tour and gave him a JBG ID card so he could go from the house to the offices in the basement and second floor and work the elevator.

            I had Robert do a facial scan, finger print, DNA swipe and retina scan to give him the card.

            ”Do you want to run him through Genie?” Robert asked.

            ”Sure, just so we have a record,” I said.

            ”What’s Genie and why did you do all those things?” Troy asked.

            ”You are going to be with me in a setting other than the White House and I am still a target. If it happens and there is nothing but damaged pieces, this information will help identify all the pieces,” I said.

            ”Oh, I hadn’t thought of it that way,” Troy said.

            ”Verizon and Baltimore Office Supply say they will both be finished by tomorrow afternoon. I’m having Bob’s men do a few things while they are here. Bob is going to stop in a couple hours to give updates on the construction projects,” Marcy said.

            ”BJ, Barry Simms from the Korean embassy paged for a VCATS in ten minutes if you want to sit in on it,” Vicky said.

            ”Sure, I can do that,” I said.

            I was going to show Troy where the offices for those coming from Washington were going to be but a detour to the command center that was only a few feet away wouldn’t take long.

            Vicky, Cindy, Troy and I were sitting in the command center when Barry paged for the call.

            ”Morning Barry, how are things going with the new housing?” I said.

            ”The housing is great; the guys are really happy. What I paged for was there seems to be increased surveillance of the embassy in the last few weeks. Nothing that really screams at you, but I have noticed the same people killing time three or four times a week on the street across from the embassy,” Barry said.

            ”I have logged them six times on my shift and the evening and night shift have logged a different individual at least that many times,” Barry said.

            ”Barry, send the video and stills to Vicky, the alphabets are going to stop by in a while; we will discuss it with them. In the meantime, do you want Vicky to send you some extra men? There should be room in the dorm for them if you think you want them,” I said.

            ”Just look at the film, run the pictures and then decide,” Barry said.

            ”Be careful Barry, we will be in touch soon,” Vicky said.

            ”I’ll get Robert to look at them too,” Vicky said.

            ”Do we need an antenna on the housing unit and embassy so Robert’s team can monitor local radio traffic?” I said.

            ”I’ll ask him,” Vicky said.

            The next few hours was spent working in the basement with the contractors. It seemed the crew from Baltimore Office Supply was made up of new people who needed constant supervision to get things the way Marcy had it on paper. Three men from Bob’s Construction jumped in to help the Office Supply crew.

            Without the cubicles in place, Verizon couldn’t place the phones and Robert’s group couldn’t get the computers and associated equipment working. We had boosters installed long ago so cell phones would work in the basement.

            By 1700 three bays were set up as offices with seven office cubicles in each one. The crews were coming back tomorrow to finish out one more bay. I didn’t think it was necessary. I could use my old office upstairs or the command center with the meeting room across the aisle.

            Verizon was running tests on the phone lines and associated fax lines and machines before they left. With all that finished, we girls and Troy went back through the tunnel and home. It was time for supper, kids and then the hot tub and bed.

            Verizon was coming back Saturday morning to fix the bugs in the phone lines – and there were plenty. Several from Roberts EIT group were coming to watch over them. They wanted to make sure Verizon’s techs did not do anything to our intelligence systems.

            Edit by Alfmeister

            Proof read by Bob W.

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Book 3 Chapter 15

Book 3 Chapter 15

            By the weekend there would be two hundred and fifty resignations on my desk. Troy brought me the list of federal judges who were scheduled to be retiring this year – that alone that was another one hundred positions and there were more of those to come. The search began for judges who I would nominate. The first and major requirement was they had not tried to legislate from the bench.

            Next came investigations into things that I was not supposed to do. All the social media of prospective candidates were thoroughly searched, including any organizations they belong to. Also included – their politics, including who they supported, who they donated to and any campaigns they had endorsed or worked on. I also wanted all papers they had written and all speeches they had given.

            Every case they had ever decided on, commented on, or if their ruling was appealed was to be investigated. Those where an appeals court deemed the ruling to be unconstitutional would be doubly investigated. If they made it to the interview sessions, they would be questioned deeply about their decisions and rulings associated with the case. My researchers had plenty to do.

            General Ingram had decided he was going to stay on as chairman of the Joint Chiefs; he had two more years that he could serve in that capacity. However, I needed to replace the other Chiefs. Troy and I worked the rest of the afternoon on that part of the puzzle because they should be the first nominees that I sent to the Senate for approval.

            I settled on General Richard Irons for the Army Chief; he was the general over the army troops in the invasion of Iran. I chose Marine General John Downs for the Marine Chief position. For the Air Force Chief, I chose Air Force General Glenn Armstrong. For the National Guard Chief I chose General Randolph McVee and for the Secretary of Defense I chose Fleet Admiral Montgomery Scott.

            Because of political rules, Congress would have to issue a waiver for Admiral Scott to serve as Secretary of Defense. My staff who polled the Senators before a final decision assured me that Scott would pass muster in the Senate.

            I reappointed Frank Love as director of the CIA. He and I had worked together just so well, I couldn’t see anyone else in that position. I did the same with Marty Coeburn at the FBI and Eric Roberson at the DHS.

            After lunch I spent the rest of the afternoon on calls to various leaders, starting with Mexico’s President Martinez and then many more of the Central and South American countries.

            The speech I had given in response to a reporter’s question in Mexico City about the war on drugs had started small but was growing. Now there were only a handful of countries in the America’s that were not on board. Even Australia was on board as an associate member of the ”International Antidrug Enforcement Coalition”.

            The meeting for all the countries to sign on was finalized today. That meeting was to take place in Washington on the first of February. The coalition members would vote on the charter and bylaws. We would then work on the final rules and laws that in some cases had already been passed or were in the process of being passed by member countries.

            All were designed to put the screws on illegal manufacture, transporting, sale and possession of illegal drugs. The members had a hodgepodge of laws but in the new coalition, those laws would be uniform and harsh for those in the illegal drug business.

            It would require lengthy sentences, confiscation of property and wealth with a real search for hidden wealth of those profiting from the misery of the drug trade. The death penalty would be the only penalty and it would be aggressively used for those convicted of manufacturing, distribution and trafficking in illegal drugs.

            It would require isolation of countries that were involved in the drug trade by the member nations including ending air travel, cruises and trade embargoes. This one was a tough one to negotiate because the United Nations did everything it could to interfere.

            In fact, the UN tried to derail the process at every step. They wanted control and funding to carry out the antidrug coalition goals. Everyone knew how worthless the UN would be. China, Pakistan, India, North Korea, Thailand and several more were the biggest non-America producers of Illegal drugs. China would block any actions at the UN that interfered with its grand plan.

            The lab that JBG had built in the old shopping center had been operating for four months and already had tested eight thousand samples of illicit drugs. The DNA test was narrowing down the where the drugs were coming from.

            Cocaine samples were showing that it was coming from lower Central America and South America now. With the JBG security zone working, most were from shipping and air travelers. People were being paid to bring drugs to the US in their body cavities.

            There were a few submersibles that had tried to make the trip from El Salvador and Nicaragua, but the majority broke apart or were sunk by the Coast Guard or the JBG fast ships that were patrolling at the ocean ends of the security zones. Both of those countries were not in the anti-drug coalition.

            The tests were showing that the pills were coming from China, India, Pakistan and Thailand. Codeine, fentanyl, OxyContin and other prescription medicines were coming in shipping containers mixed with legitimate freight.

            The DHS and DEA had made a bust the first week of January at the San Diego port of over ten million pills packaged with flour in General Mills bags. Shipments like that had to be sponsored by the governments.

            Whoever packaged the shipment didn’t know that General Mills didn’t import flour. It was produced in the states and was not imported.

            The factories making medicines were tightly regulated and the only way that amount could have been produced is with the knowledge and blessings of people in high places.

            Another tipoff was the ingredients in the pills were of the same DNA and formula and the press equipment markings were the same as pills being shipped to the major US pharmacies through official channels. It was only one bust of many taking place at the ports on both coasts.

            The security zone and the JBG fast boats were having an effect on the supply. That and the extra resources I had ordered the DEA and homeland to commit to the ports. The street price of drugs had doubled in the last four months. That drove up street and property crimes from addicts trying to support their habits. For every intended action, there is an opposite and unintended reaction.

            I was ready to go to the living quarters, I was talked out and suffering from gray matter overload. Relief from the overload was coming over in a few minutes.

            The rest of my family was coming over in one of the bigger helicopters and would spend the rest of the week with Vicky, Ching Lee and me. I was ready to spend some time with the kids.

            Some of the Christmas presents for the kids had been left here for them to play with. Every time they came, it was like they were getting new toys.

            After the playtime, JJ, RJ, Sara and Takeo were in bed and asleep, piled up on the new bed in my master bedroom. It was a super king size, bigger than the one we had at home.

            Being pregnant, Marcy and Vicky were horny all the time now. They had even brought more of our toys from home and added a few. I asked how they had gotten them because I knew they could no longer go to the adult store without being recognized.

            ”We ordered them from Amazon with the house address for delivery to the house and not the office. UPS delivered to the gym anyhow. The boxes were carried to my office where one of my clerks opened them,” Marcy said.

            ”I never saw Tabitha blush so red before,” Marcy said. ”The other girls kidded her all afternoon about it, wanting to know what caused it,” Marcy said.

            Marcy had bought a complete set of new play toys to be left here, including several strap-on harnesses and toys to go on them.

            It was a fun play evening, even though we had to be quiet. Luckily one of the drawers in my dresser had a lock on it. At least that would keep the maid from finding them.

            Thursday morning the director of the Secret Service and I met with the representatives from the DC roads and streets committee. My request/orders to block off more streets to the Secret Service around the White House had finally hit the DC government and didn’t sit too well with them.

            They had a variety of arguments against closings the streets but basically all came back to their opinion that the public had a right to protest and do anything else they wanted near the White House.

            After two hours of putting up with their ranting, ”Those identified streets were going to be closed, even if I had to have Army tanks and troops brought in to do it. Go back to your map and figure out how you are going to redirect non- White House traffic around the new fencing and restrictions that the Secret Service has contracted to be installed,” I said.

            Thursday night all my mates worked out with me in the newly updated White House fitness center. New exercise machines had been installed, including the marathoner tread mill like we had in the gym. It was beginning to feel like home.

            Edit by Alfmeister

            Proof read by Bob W.

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Book 3 Chapter 14

Book 3 Chapter 14

            Wednesday morning the attorneys from the Justice Department were in the federal courthouse arguing the case for the unemployment reductions. The court on Monday dismissed the injunction letting the cuts proceed. The unemployed workers union immediately filed an appeal to the next higher court. That hearing was today.

            It was late in the afternoon before the hearing and arguments finished. At 1600 the three-judge court ruled that the actions by Congress to cut the program were within bounds of its constitutional authority and denied the appeal.

            The only place left to go was an emergency appeal to the supreme court. The court refused to hear the case effectively ending it. It was a little victory of the many battles to come.

            My routine had taken a more normal look after the inauguration. That was a breakfast with whatever family had stayed over. If there was anything that the intelligence group thought was important it was in a sealed folder placed on the desk by the entrance to the living quarters for me to carry to the cafeteria to read while waiting on breakfast.

            My clean coffee mug was always by my place on the table with a pot of coffee. If there was no sealed folder, the reports would be on my desk placed in the order of importance by Connie. The first four were ordered by CIA, DHS, FBI, and the Joint Chiefs. They were followed by other agency reports.

            Connie also kept a full week’s schedule of my meetings and appointments – leaving an hour a day open for the unexpected – in an open notebook on my desk. Every morning the previous day was removed, and one added for a full seven day look at my calendar.

            The table that I had placed in the Oval Office on that first day was still there and still being used as it had then. There was a folder for every meeting scheduled for the day with previous meeting information, reports and proposed agenda and possible talking points.

            If the meeting was with people I did not know closely, there was a picture of them with background information.

            I kept a phone log of all my calls in and out and the time they were placed. All the calls that came in on the landline phone were recorded and transcribed with the recordings destroyed when they were twenty – five days old. If they were kept thirty days, they had to be sent to the permanent archives.

            Everyday on my JBG email Robert and Andy sent me the daily updates and intelligence and happening in the world of JBG. I used VCATS to communicate with the rest of my mates and the boys.

            I was pleased to read in them that two more central American cartel drug lords had been captured and their manufacturing destroyed. Doc Burns had had the drug lab up and running for six months and was now fully staffed. In an average month two thousand drug samples were logged in for testing.

            It was results of those tests that led to the arrest of the latest two cartel drug lords. The testing narrowed down the locations of the labs and origin of the ingredients.

            The Doc was making a special trip to Matador for interrogation before any information became worthless. Vicky had locked down the numbered accounts in Pirates Bank.

            With the cartel drug operations retreating and getting closed down and Iran out of the drug business, drugs were getting harder to find for the peddlers. China, India and Pakistan were trying to replace the cartel. But the seizure of two container ships for carrying illegal drugs to the port of Los Angles and one in New York put a big damper on that.

            In the past the DEA and the DHS usually just seized the junk but with prodding, they seized the ships. The ships were unloaded and more containers were found containing drugs destined for different ports the ships stopped at. The seizures were working its way through the court system.

            Now the junkies were turning to homemade designer drugs. They were presenting a different problem for law enforcement. Restrictions were placed on some of the ingredients for the homemade brew including removing them from the shelves or requiring signatures and valid ID’s like those needed for purchasing cigarettes.

            Other things were back to normal again – Somalia was heating up again. The war lords had cooled off in the area when I was pounding Iran and while all the forces were there. The civil war and all its atrocities were on again. Without the Iranians funding them, they had resorted to piracy again.

            The JBG fast ships had so far intercepted several attempts to pirate tankers. As with all terrorists, they changed to a more profitable line. Attacking small fisherman – stealing their catch, their fishing scows and throwing them overboard leaving them to drown.

            The poor fishermen were defenseless; very few had radios to call for help and even fewer had weapons. Their only recourse was to fish closer to shore where there was a chance of escaping into the coves and of course, fewer fish for the dinner plate.

            The same was true with the civil war in the Sudan. The refugee camp was getting a few victims of the fighting and then there was the women and children making their way to the camp to escape the fighting and trying to survive.

            JBG had finished off another group of rebels crossing into northern Nigeria near the border with Chad. That was the third group of raiding parties in the last month.

            With things looking up with infrastructure and oil production, the Emir Bello wanted another meeting in Washington and meetings with JBG about building several outposts near the Chad border where all the problems seemed to be. Andy had been discussing the possibility about doing just that. The meeting was in four weeks.

            I went home for the weekend; I just needed a break and to spend some real time in the better gym. The fitness room in the White House basement was never going to hold all of the equipment I wanted to use. The Secret Service were just concerned that I would get hurt. I suspected they were using that as excuse not to get the equipment I wanted for the fitness center.

            I had made up my mind that no matter what the Secret Service said, I was going home on the weekends to get a good workout in the gym with my mates and the Mossad ladies. They were rotating on a two day schedule so at least two of them were with me all the time. I was also going to the gun club to stay proficient with my Glock and the M16.

            With it being January, all the hunting seasons were over. I had missed a lot of it, although I did get to go on two goose hunts after the election. Next year I would be able to do more.

            I came back Monday morning sore but refreshed for a change. Ching Lee and Vicky were with me as both could use VCATS to do their work from the private residence. I needed that because this week was going to be mentally stressful. I was going to be building and, in some cases, rebuilding more of my administration.

            My research group had started going through each agency, looking at people. The cuts that were in the last budget bill needed to happen soon to have the desired effect on the budget numbers. Congress had dragged out approving last year’s budget so that there were only nine months of the approved cuts.

            I started with the energy department because they were the one stonewalling nuclear power and rebuilding coal and gas power plants. Previous liberal presidents had filled the department with anti everything except wind and solar production. Those were the very two that were leading us to rolling blackouts. They simply could not be counted on when the electric demand was the highest. The perfect scenario that the department used to project the rosy generation never seemed to coincide with high demand.

            The wind didn’t blow or it was overcast enough that output came up short. The answer from the controllers was rolling black outs. Of course, those blackouts never affected the cities of the seats of government. It was always the small towns and rural areas that went dark first and often.

            The officials in the agency – instead of accepting that there still needed to be a better mix of generation – only demanded more of the same; more solar panels and wind generators. If the wind didn’t blow on that day, it didn’t matter how many you had – the output was still zero.

            Two hundred thousand acres of what once was productive farm land was now covered with solar farms. With the new budget, those subsidies for wind and solar had come to an end. We had spent two trillion on those subsidies in the last forty years.

            The officials of the agency were in Congress testifying that the loss of the subsidies was the reason their rosy outlook didn’t happen and were trying to get the subsidies funded again. They didn’t say anything about the fact that there were billions in money in their accounts that was earmarked for those same projects – that had not been spent over the past decades.

            In all the agencies combined, there was hundreds of billions of dollars in agency accounts that was just sitting there like it was forgotten. They knew it was there but that didn’t stop them from screaming for more.

            I had ordered the GSA to complete a secret audit of all agencies so unspent funds from previous budgets could be recovered. That audit was to be finished in ten days. The recovery – when authorized – would take one day. There were times I liked computers.

            Also, in ten days was when the first round of reductions in force was to be completed. The energy department was losing five thousand employees over the next month. Fifty percent of the managers appointed by directors of or for previous Presidents and were experts at burying anything that didn’t fall in line with their liberal ideas – were gone.

            The utilities would get a fair appraisal when they were planning additional generation, plant renovations or transmission line upgrades based on merit and facts and not on whims or the directions of special interest groups.

            The groups that were against having adequate power were now fighting the nationwide power grid of transmission lines. Their plan was to eliminate the transmission lines and force closure of power plants. The only choice then would be solar panels and wind generation in every community – their ultimate goal.

            Like-thinking scientists were producing a bevy of technical papers blaming every disease known to mankind on transmission power line radiation. To help confuse the issue, Hollywood starlets and movie producers were producing horror movies using the danger of the power lines.

            The Chinese, North Koreans and a couple South American dictators were financing the groups and movies. The Chinese and North Koreans were two groups to watch.

            The week turned interesting – agency people were sending in their resignations as was the tradition. I had lots of research and decisions to work on.

            Edit by Alfmeister

            Proof read by Bob W.

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Book 3 Chapter 13

Book 3 Chapter 13

            The water cooler whispers had turned into a roar Tuesday and Wednesday. The media was trying anything it could from everywhere to get at least an anonymous source for an inside scoop about the firing of Mr. Woods. It wasn’t happening – everyone had suddenly become unavailable.

            Thursday became Friday; Melinda and Hanna’s news groups were on their way back. I asked them to critique this first group before they left Iran to see how we could streamline the process.

            Harry had chosen six groups on Monday to leave Saturday morning on another freight flight from Dover. With six groups at a time, it would take ten weeks for all the news groups to get the chance to visit Iran.

            All my mates along with all the kids came over Friday night. There were big things happening on Saturday, Sunday and Monday leading up to the inauguration on Tuesday. There were pre-inauguration parties and dances starting Saturday night. Gordon and his wife were staying in the guest house as well as dance partners for the rest of my mates.

            This would probably be the last public event before we announced that Marcy and Vicky were expecting. They weren’t showing a lot yet at four months but with their slender figure at five months, it would be noticeable. I could tell there was a little bulge there.

            I had been to the doctor with them the last two months and had escaped detection because of the holidays, Iran and the election had occupied so much of the medias’ time. I was hoping an arrangement could be reached with the doc for their appointments to be the last of the day so I could still get in unnoticed or unrecognized. At least for a while longer.

            Jason, Lisa, Mom and Dad did not want to attend any of the pre-inauguration parties, but were coming to see me get sworn in and would attend a couple of the parties Tuesday night.

            We had a blast Saturday and Sunday. We attended four parties and four dances. My little men – JJ and RJ – had new tuxes and looked sharp. I only danced one dance at each event with Gordon to allow him some time to spend with his wife.

            I did get a surprise Saturday afternoon, Andy called to ask if it was too late for him to change his mind and come to my inauguration and the after dance festivities. He wanted to bring Shelia, Sandy and William. It would be a once in a lifetime event for them that they would never forget. He didn’t think it would be right to deny them that experience.

            I told him I was glad he decided to come, and I would call the dress shop for the girls to get fitted as they were in a rush for dresses. They were on call for White House events and had done the dresses for my group. I asked about tuxes for him and William if they needed them as I could arrange that at the same time.

            I made the call and set things up for them to come over early Monday morning in one of the helicopters. I had plenty of people that could scoffer chauffeur them around and a place for them to stay.

            There were five designer dresses delivered for me. One each for Saturday, Sunday and Monday and two for Tuesday, one to take the oath in and another for the evening’s parties. My mates each had five. The designers were going to be on hand to make last minute fitting adjustments.

            I hated all the fuss, but my mates were on cloud nine. I would have just as soon taken the oath on Tuesday in camo, but I knew better than even whisper about that.

             When in Rome do as the Romans do – only problem was I was the emperor. Everyone would be following my lead – the fashion experts had been speculating for days how I would be dressed. The betting parlors were taking odds – dress or pantsuit. I learned Troy had money on both so he couldn’t lose.

            Life was easy for our male dance partners – one tux for all five events. All of them had their wives with them for all functions. Marcy knew the wives were facing the same challenge with dresses and theirs would not be paid for like ours were. She had given the ladies a ten thousand dollar clothing allowance for the festivities.

             Marcy was going to pay for all of ours; we didn’t need the hassle from the media spouting off about a special interest paying for the dresses or the events. But the designers and famous makers insisted they were free and had done the same for all first ladies.

            Marcy was paying the hotel, the meals and ball rooms for dancing for one of the events. The girls had a list of important clients that they thought such an invite may be productive.

            By paying instead of seeking donations, it would give the appearance that corporations weren’t buying access to the President by huge donations to the inauguration committee.

            Even so there were dozens of events sponsored by industry and special interest groups for party goers to attend. This was an attempt to backdoor influence any way they could.

            Saturday night’s affair was put on by the State Department. Most foreign ambassadors returned to the states over the holidays and many stayed in the states on inaugural years. They were all looking to impress the incoming President, hoping to be reappointed as an ambassador to join the group known as lifetime diplomats.

            I knew most of them personally, either through JBG security arrangement or as Vice President and President. Plus, my time as Ambassador and its circumstances gave the diplomatic world a feeling of kinship to me. All of the Ambassadors were extremely friendly towards me after Kampala. There would be no media at this event.

            I had a good reunion with Ambassador Bernardi and his wife Kate from Kampala and Ambassador Furnell and his wife Missy from the Khartoum embassy. We had a good talk about Africa. It was still a very dangerous place, something that would never change. Ambassador Bernardi had just returned from the refugee camp. He had accompanied the JBG security team making another delivery of food, clothing and medicines.

            ”Doctor Palermo said to tell you Hi and hopes you are soon able to come back for a visit,” Ambassador Bernardi said.

            ”It will be tough, but I might be able to make it happen for a visit,” I said.

            I felt like I posed for a thousand pictures, the only break was when the food was on the table and the during the dancing. Sunday and the Monday night’s parties were more of the same; fancy dresses, fancy foods and deserts and dancing. My hand was getting sore from all the handshakes.

            Monday nights party was the one Marcy paid for. All the college Deans, Directors, chancellors and the JBG security directors from those sites that JBG supplied security to had been invited. Also invited were the important clients of JBG and suppliers. The National Guard General McVee and the governor came.

            Marcy thought few of the invites would accept and show up. She was wrong; all of them came.

            I knew most of them resulted in having a good time and renewing old friendships.

            Tuesday was nervous tension – Washington was abuzz in energy. Every motel and hotel room was filled. The stage for the inauguration was built in place days ago. Security was heavy with thousands of extra security.

            The liberal communists still had not come to terms with the election. They were promising protest and disruptions. The outcome of every election for the last twenty years had been met with protests. The weather was nice for January and that only increased the chance of protest.

            The electoral voting had gone off without a hitch, this time with almost no debate. I was hoping that would sooth soothe feelings but apparently not. There were was plenty of law enforcement. They were told that no property damage was to be tolerated, that the culprits were to be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

            The election had made changes in the DC government. The citizens of DC had enough of liberal law enforcement and catch and release programs. The new city council – after being sworn in – had passed a slew of laws in December.

             Many of them were cracking down on the riots that had created havoc in the city and immense property damage that some groups thought they had a right to do. Other laws they passed were cracking down on carjacking and all kinds of robberies. Time would tell how well things would turn out.

            At 1100 all my family and many friends along with the Vice President and his family and friends were standing on the platform. Chief Justice Burger administered the oath of office that I answered with a final line with ‘so help me God I do’ to cheers.

            A few minutes later Vice President Harrison completed his Oath.

            The band played ‘Hail to the Chief’ and at the last note the Army did the twenty one gun salute with the ceremonial cannon fire. It was official – I was President for the next four years, good or bad.

            It was the last night of the parties, my family and I both were partied out. My mates had brought four Suburban loads of clothes and personal items making everything complete for visits any time they wanted.

            There had been tough negations on setting up the schedule but two of them were going to be with me most of the time and at least two or more were going on all trips with me. The kids were going to spend more time with me as well.

            The marches and protests never materialized. There were a few dozen protesters here and there, but DC had ten times the officers around them and in some cases, herded them away from other crowds.

            Tomorrow started a whole new set of expanded problems and the first was the court suit against my administration’s stance on the extended boosting of unemployment benefits.

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Book 3 Chapter 12

Friday morning continued with updates and satellite pictures from the DOD and CIA. Pakistan’s Premier still had not called. His military was speaking for him.

            Thousands of troops were descending on every province where there were any roads, paths or dog crossings into Iran. The compounds, training areas, camps and a couple villages that the militants between Rasman Kargud and the Iranian border had been using were leveled.

             High magnification photographs showed bodies everywhere and they weren’t just the militants. The Premier’s troops had paid a price as well. There were over one hundred army trucks that had been destroyed by rocket or RPG fire.

            The militants had staged the attack on ‘Forward Base Hammer’ from this area. Pakistan was making sure there would be no more.

            ”Cancel the departure orders for the last two carriers. Let the first four continue to the Indian ocean. Issue a stand down for the bombers from Lackland Air Force Base. Order a stand down order for one of the bomber groups from Russia, have the other land at Teheran and stay a few days,” I said.

            ”Better yet, have the bombers fly the Iranian Pakistan border, say at twenty thousand feet, low enough for the Pakistani troops to see and hear them,” I said.       

            The bombers there would make good press when the White House media was there.

            The Thomas and the Fordson were two of the carriers that were going to the gulf. They were the visiting carriers to Subic Bay Naval. When they left the Indian ocean this time, it would be to return to NewPort News Ship Building and the Navy yard.

            The Fordson and the Thomas would have a checklist of ship defects repaired. They had had the longest shakedown cruise in history.

            The White House media group was in a tizzy over my orders to the Labor Department ignoring the court’s orders. The Justice Department had a court date Monday with the appeals court. I was undecided if I was going to make an appearance with Harry today or not.

            The protesters were already outside throwing trash over the fence and climbing on it. I went to the Secret Service office and looked at all the cameras outside, there were no poor protesters out there. All of them were carrying commercially made signs and posters and they weren’t starved or wearing rags. Many were carrying union messages.

            Congress had changed to a format of aggressively restricting access after the 1-6 incident, including fencing and razor wire. I wondered if I could do the same thing for the White House. After the acid smoke during the run-up to the Iran assault, I would bet on it. I called the agent in charge of White House security, telling him I wanted a meeting ASAP.

            It just pissed me off royally that the DC police did little and the Secret Service seemed to be hamstringed to do anything about it. It was one thing to orderly protest but to throw open bags of trash over the fence onto the White House lawn was not going to continue. Neither was spray paint on the fence and sidewalk.

            Today was a meet and greet for the final group of newly elected members of Congress. I went through the niceties and the pep talk about standing together on my policy. I laid them out and asked where they stood to open the dialog. It was a good meeting. I emphasized that we had an open door policy when there were needs to be discussed.

            I also stressed that the media was not a sounding board for ideas and could never be relied on to be truthful nor friendly towards them. All media thrived on controversy and created as much as possible for ratings. All those things finished out my morning.

            The after lunch meeting was with Health and Human Services, National Institute of Health and the Department of Education and other alphabet names from the field of medicine. The meeting almost turned into a brawl between the alphabets.

            The flu season was on us in full swing. All the agencies were afraid they were doing too little and wanting their time in the lead while dispensing fear on the media. Since the great pandemic of the 20’s, fear and control was the weapon of choice for the health agencies.

            As usual this year’s flu started in China. They always started in China. I had to wonder why. And as usual, this year’s flu shot was the wrong strain for the flu that was making the rounds. The flu shot was for J1A – the flu was H2JN

            When I got order restored – that only took a few seconds – I started asking questions.

            ”Is this year’s flu shot helping at all, since it was for the wrong strain?” I asked.

            ”Oh yes, absolutely,” Dr. Armistead said.

            ”Can you explain that to me as it is the wrong vaccine this year?” I said.

            ”It will give people peace of mind that they are vaccinated and J1A may make an appearance,” Dr. Armistead said.

            ”Vaccinated with the wrong vaccine – that is some piece of mind – not! The vaccine for this flu season is worthless. When was the last time the right vaccine was given for the flu?” I asked.

            ”So, the National Institute of Health spent twenty billion for vaccine development and production for nothing, same as last year and the year before that,” I added.

            I got no answer, only stares at the table.

            The next part of the conversation was on school closures and masking. The Department of Education wanted to close schools and go with virtual learning for the rest of the school year. They were having many internal discussions, both in house and with the National Association of Teachers and other education related unions.

            The National Institute of Health along with Health and Human Services were the ones pushing masking and wanting a federal mandate.

            I settled the arguments. ”it’s a flu that happens every year, same as last year and the year before. Seven to ten days feeling bad, chills, vomiting, loose bowels. Some are having to go to the hospitals, a few are dying – they are few – mostly senior citizens and the very young. The rule of nature – the strong survive – the rest perish. It’s had been happening since the beginning of time, it’s sad but that is life,” I said.

            ”There will be no mandatory masking; a voluntary masking recommendation will do for those that may have weakened immune systems. There will be no virtual schooling or closings,” I said.

            ”The public service messaging is to carry all the normal cold and flu information – fluids, rest and treat the symptoms. That will be the administration policy unless something drastically changes. This applies to all agencies. That will be the public stance we take,” I said.

            It was the same policy that former President Thomas had in place the last seven years.

            The afternoon slowed down, except for the media hounding Harry. I had one more meeting with the intelligence group and one more with Bob for terrorist updates.

            The terrorist trials were winding down and would be finished in a couple of months. Then there would have to be decisions made about then for the terrorist task force. It was just more food for thought I needed to address.

            At 1700 the chopper landed on the lawn with my family, all of them carrying briefcases again and a few suitcases. The dress maker with the seamstress and the fashion experts were already in the building. There were multiples of them, so they would get finished faster. The dresses had already been chosen, this was to be the final adjustments before inauguration.

            We were finished by 1900; the kitchen staff had a late supper for us. Then we went to the family rooms. My mates talked for another hour while I listened and played with the boys.

            At 2200 my mates and I were in the master bed making up for the time apart. That was the way the weekend went – spending time together.

            Saturday morning the C17 flight from Dover left on time with Hanna, Melinda and the other four reporters and camera people. General Ingram had made the necessary arrangements for housing, escorts, and an interpreter. It wasn’t going to be a joy ride for the group. He had also made arrangements for Melinda to be sent to Forward Base Hammer for the report she did for me.

            Sunday morning Washington had Melinda’s first report from Forward Base Hammer, complete with interviews of soldiers and video of the base damage. The report was thirty minutes and covered all aspects of the trip from Dover to Teheran and the accommodations for the news groups.

            The other news teams had chosen areas around the major cities. Interviewing mayors and anyone else they could find that would talk to them. They were asking questions about the reconstruction and the war. They were interviewing our soldiers as well.

            Monday my mates left early to get things at JBG headed in the right direction. Monday was always the busiest for the office. Marcy had lots of things to check out in accounting and on the stocks she was buying.

            Lorrie needed to verify status of all the airplanes needed for the week. Jenny needed to check in with HR and legal. Ching Lee looked in on the college security. And Vicky needed to check in with Andy and on the embassy security. I always called Robert for updates on intelligence.

            The time sheets had to be recorded from all the employees worldwide and the process went on from there to ensure that everyone got a paycheck on time and the payroll taxes paid. Vice presidents handled everything. My mates just needed to confirm everything and sign off.

            Monday morning went to crap not long after we finished with the NSA meeting at 1100. Duncan Woods – the Secretary of Education who was sitting at the table Friday as part of the decision making on this year’s flu policy – had called a news conference at 1000.

            At that news conference he said that as Secretary of the Department of Education, ”I am ordering full masking and virtual classes as soon as the arrangements could be put in place until the end of March to prevent the spread of the flu.”

            ”Hell will have no fury compared to me when my presidential orders are overridden or ignored,” I thought. I wondered what the hell had transpired between Friday afternoon and this morning for him to make that kind of decision and not think it important enough to call for a special meeting.

            Troy called all the agencies that were here on Friday to be here at 1200 for an emergency meeting. Mr. Woods office informed my caller that he was too busy to attend the emergency meeting.

            That was a big mistake.

            I made two calls, one to Art Cummins to get a list of phone numbers to and from Woods and Parsons cell, home and office phones starting Friday after my meeting and a copy of all emails and texts until now.

            The second call was to get a printout of who the phone numbers were assigned to. I would have had Marty Coeburn do it but he would have wanted court orders to do it, so I called Frank. The CIA would run them without court orders.

            I made one more call to the Secret Service, ”Bring Duncan Woods and his second in command Emit Parsons to my meeting, in hand cuffs if necessary.” I sent Ziva and Abra with them.

            I didn’t know for sure what the Secret Service agents would do, but I knew what Ziva and Abra would do.

            It was 1215 when the agents with Ziva and Abra came in with Parsons and Woods in handcuffs. Ziva placed both of them in a chair, leaving the cuffs still attached to their wrists.

            ”This is an outrage. Never before have I been treated in such a manner. I demand to have an attorney present,” Woods screamed.

            ”I don’t think you need an attorney to sit in on this meeting and explain your actions in violation of administration policy that you help develop on Friday.”

            Frank followed them in with the reports from their phones. Frank and I walked off to the end of the meeting room where he explained the papers he held. They were what I expected – therefore no surprise.

            ”Secretary Woods, you participated in the policy meeting in this very room Friday afternoon where we discussed and implemented my administration’s current policy towards this year’s flu,” I said.

            ”Less than seventy two hours later you discarded that policy and formed one of your own without notifying your superiors. Explain that to me and what information that you received that caused you to formulate the policy change,” I said.

            ”I took calls all weekend long from school systems and teachers’ organizations that were very critical of your policy and demanded a change to it. After consultation with the school boards and the American Federation of teachers and others, I decided that virtual schooling was the only way to go,” he said.

            ”Any demand to change my policies should have come to me. Only me and no one else – including you – can change my official policy,” I said.

            ”Who called wanting you to overrule my policy?” I asked.

            ”I can’t remember all of them but there were a lot of representative calls from state school boards advising of their concerns wanting a change. After listening to their arguments, I agreed with them,” Duncan Wood said.

            ”Well, let’s see,” I said as I opened the folder Frank gave me.

            ”There was a total of fifty calls between your office phone, your official cell phone, your personal cell phone, and your home phone between 1600 Friday and 1100 today from Mary Sue Folcomer, President of the National Teachers Association,” I said.

            ”There were thirty calls from Luanne Fiske of the State Employees National Federation of Teachers Union with calls to your office, personal cell and home phone. There were also several calls from other organizations connected with virtual learning management,” I said.

             ”According to the phone logs, there were no calls from any state school boards,” I said.

            ”Even I don’t have your personal cell number, but the Presidents of these unions have. There is something wrong with that picture.”

            “Teacher’s unions do not set national education policy, nor do they set policy for the National Institute of Health or Health and Human Services for my administration,” I said.

            ”Mr. Parsons, were you in on any of these calls and when did you become involved with the change?” I said.

            ”I took one call Friday afternoon from Mary Sue Folcomer, wanting my support for changing the policy. I told her that it was an executive branch decision and any change was above my pay grade and that she needed to call the White House or someone else,” Parsons said.

            ”Does anyone else have any information that would suggest that we needed to change the policy made on Friday?” I said. No one said anything

            ”OK. Friday’s decision still stands as policy. Mr. Woods, please stay – I have a form you need to fill out and sign. Mr. Parsons, wait in the lobby and anyone else that has something that I need to address also wait in the lobby. I should only be a minute,” I said.

            I had the papers for termination or resignation in the folder.

            ”For insubordination, check one of the boxes, date and sign it or this one will go in your file.” Connie had already filled out the ‘you’re fired’ one; I signed it and slid both over to him.

            Troy left the room to make three calls, one was to Art Cummins to cancel Woods’ ID and authorizations, the second to the US Marshal service to assistant Woods in cleaning out his personal belonging. The third was to Congress, notifying them of the change for the department of education.

            Mr. Parsons was called to the Oval Office.

            ”In case you haven’t guessed it, Woods has been fired. You are acting Secretary of the Department of Education until an Executive review of the department is completed. I would strongly suggest that you do not give your personal or government cell numbers to any unions or organizations. I would also suggest that you take no calls from Mary Lou Folcomer, just send them to an underling. Better yet, inform your staff not to forward any union calls to you and not to give out your phone numbers to anyone,” I said.

            ”Wait until Troy gets back and he will write up a joint press release reaffirming Friday’s policy and announcing that you are acting Secretary of the department. Then you can give a press conference at your office and notify all the states and local boards that there was a miscommunication in Woods’ press release and Friday’s policy stands,” I said.

            I wondered how many more agency heads were going to try me to see how far they could push me. Six more days to inauguration.

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Book 3 Chapter 11

Thursday morning my JBG email was full of pictures. Heavy equipment and materials were on the tower’s site. Erosion fencing had been installed yesterday. The project was divided up among several major contractors.

            The time limit had run out on the county and opposition was low to begin with. The few that were complaining were using the excuse that the buildings would spoil their view of the bay. Hell, they couldn’t see the bay unless they were in a five story house because of the trees. There were no five story houses in the area.

            The Chinese group bid on the towers but were rejected by JBG; it would be a US contractor. One contractor was going to do both foundation tubs as they were called. That included driving steel into the bedrock and a waterproof concrete basement within the tub.

            A thousand tons of steel piling would be driven for each building into the bedrock and five thousand yards of high strength steel reinforced concrete for each tub. Steel from the bedrock would eventually rise fourteen hundred feet into the air to the top floor. The access for water, sewer and electric were made at several locations in the tub.

            Engineers for the tower building company were on site to ensure the pillars were properly placed. As soon as the tub cured, the construction on the tower would begin. Then the tub contractor would move to the second one. If weather and materials cooperated I would still be President when they were completed.

            The contractor promised that with the number of crews and subcontractors they were planning to have working both towers would be done in four years. Both towers being structurally identical was going to speed things along.

            Atlanta Construction Management was the general contractor for both towers was from Atlanta Georgia. They had built many high-rise buildings in Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas. They were responsible for the overall project.

            There were dozens of subcontractors, many from the south; Richmond, Atlanta, North Carolina and a few from Baltimore, Washington and Philadelphia.

            Bob’s Construction was building the RV and water park on the 200 acre site. He had subcontracted the site work to a local dirt contractor and was going to handle the rest of it with his crews.

             There were four bath and laundry houses to build along with the camp office and store. They were also building an adjoining bath house and laundry plus a club house and the ranger shack. Over two thousand trees were to be planted

            The water park would have two pools, an Olympic size for adults and a smaller shallower one for youngsters. The water park would have all the high and low slides along with the dump buckets and drip sprayers. There was a river course that inflated donut rafts could be ridden, carried by the flow of the pumps within the park.

            There would be a club house that made a small list of fast foods and drinks with picnic tables and vending machines plus showers and rooms to change in.

            It was a well planned out and laid out. I liked it a lot – I hoped it would be very successful attraction for the area kids to enjoy all summer.

            Another task that happened today was working with the inaugural committee. They were finishing up thousands of details and making the last minute invitations for all the scheduled parties. The inauguration was ten days away. Tomorrow night there was a dress fitting from a world’s clothier – my mates were coming over to get fitted for theirs.

            I asked Andy if he and Shelia wanted to come to the festivities. ”Not only no, but hell no,” was his response.

            Ziva, Abra and Farah – the former Mossad officers and now my personal body guards – were going with us.

            New additions to my staff were researching every federal agency, fretting out advisors, appointees and people they had hired by liberal presidents to place liberal policies in those agencies. They were to be removed in the downsizing of the budgets.

            I would appoint and hire new people to those agencies with my line of thinking. The swamp that operated against every president from within was leaving government, like it or not. My investigative group was looking at all social media of the supervisors and managers in those agencies. If they weren’t on board with conservative policies and principals, they were gone too.

            General Ingram came in to inform me that two of the carriers were at sea and two more would be before the end of the day. I wondered why the Navy didn’t come to tell me that.

            ”What are the satellites showing for activity in Pakistan near the border?” I asked.

            ”Frank will be in with the updates in a few minutes,” General Ingram said.

            Melinda and Hanna were in the lobby waiting to see me with questions from the group of reporters that were going to Iran. It took an hour to answer them, the related information and what arrangements were made.

            ”Every news reporter from the inside and outside group has signed up to get updated vaccinations, saying they wanted to go,” Hanna said.

            ”Wow, that many! I’m surprised that many want to go. If you don’t have any problems with this first test group, you can increase the numbers for the next week if you want. I’m sure there are plenty of logistics available if they are needed,” I said.

            Troy came into the office – at 1100 – just before I was going to lunch, ”The district court of New York has issued an injunction blocking the Labor Department from ending the extended unemployment payments. The suit was filed by the unemployed workers union and several other labor unions.”

            ”The ruling says that ending the extended benefits could cause unnecessary harm to the affected groups,” Troy said.

            ”I will order the Justice Department to appeal immediately, based on the process we talked about the other day. Then I will send an order for the Labor Department to ignore the district’s unconstitutional ruling in the meantime. I will write a statement for Harry,” I said.

            The rest of the day went like that – one minor crisis after another. I was ready to go to the residential section as the office closed down.

            I was on a VCATS with my mates and the kids for over an hour. Things were hopping all over. Four more wells were pumping oil today in Nebraska. Marcy was running into a problem getting pipeline space to send it to the refinery.

            That wasn’t the problem in Nigeria; both refineries were operating at fifty percent capacity. As new wells came online, that would only increase. Our Pig Iron Point terminal had been expanded several times and was in the middle of another major expansion.

            Marcy and Lorrie were trying to get enough reserve to be able to handle a finished product tanker- they were considerably smaller than crude oil tankers – solely by ourselves. The freight was much cheaper when they could unload at one terminal.

            When the tanks were done, a dock was going to be built in the bay near our Pig Iron dock. Ten inch pipes would go from the dock to the tanks. Tugs would push the tanker next to the dock and the entire load could be off loaded.

            Now the tanker was anchored in the ship transition area. The fuel was transferred to barges that were then pushed to Pig Iron Point and offloaded; a process that took nearly a week. There was a two day grace, then fifty thousand a day for each day the process took.

            The other thing in the equation was the Air Force contract. When we initially started, there were five C5 planes and we needed to have enough fuel reserve to fly one flight a week of each for thirty days.

            Now we had fifteen and were slated to get ten more. The reduction in forces was going to reduce the number of C5s and those ten were going to be shifted to JBG to make cuts in the Air Force budget this year.

            Next year all the remaining C5s in the Air Force inventory were going to the desert boneyard eventually to be scrapped. The C17s would be the last and only heavy lift planes in the Air Forces inventory.

            JBG’s C5s would be scrapped as the air frames were beginning to show the ravages of time. No one knew how long that would be – ten, fifteen possibly twenty years. Lorrie had a contract for as long as we had a flyable C5.

            As if that wasn’t enough, Lorrie had thirty 747s – twenty that had been converted or were in the process of being converted into fire fighting water tankers. Australia had contracted for ten of them to be sent there during the fire season. Five were passenger configuration and the last five were freighters or being converted into freighters.

            There were no more air worthy 747s to be bought. Many had been scrapped as soon as the airlines removed them for service or in various bone yards for salvage parts.

            All of that required a lot of reserve jet A fuel. Each C5 held fifty one thousand gallons. Each 747 held sixty three thousand gallons. Each C130 held seven thousand gallons and we had the largest number of C130s of any nonmilitary organization.

            That was driving the latest expansion of the Pig Iron fuel depot. As soon at the tanks were done, pilings and an unloading dock was going to be built. There would be enough tanks to hold a tanker of jet A and enough tanks to hold a split load of gasoline and diesel.

            The first infrastructure project that Prime Minister Bello wanted was completed. There was a big press conference and celebration. Everyone was happy, or so it seemed.

             On the other side of the coin – in Nigeria JBG had thwarted another Boko-Harm attempt to take hostages in the village Murom. There were plenty of them dead but there were also several prisoners taken, including several leaders. Their fighters had fled without hostages, only to run into JBG aviation.

            I talked for over an hour with my mates, RJ and JJ plus Sara and Takeo. Sara and Takeo were talking up a storm now and didn’t want to be left out of any conversation.

            I went to the fitness center for an hour and a half then called it a night.

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Book 3 Chapter 10

I shut down the office early; there was little going on other than the media orgy about the ones going to Iran. None of them were happy, for all kinds of reasons.

            The Secret Service agents that had been wounded in the Pakistan attack and the attack on the Capitol steps were all back to work now. Several had brought me Soldier of Fortune and various other gun magazines when they came back to work. It was the kind of reading they were doing while they were convalescing.

            It was mostly because every issue had some kind of an article on the various terrorist attacks on me and operations that JBG carried out. Filled with information from anonymous sources, it was interesting reading.

            There were even articles and breakdown descriptions of the parts of the Glock – my personal weapon of choice – along with performance charts.

            It was in these magazines that I became aware on the increased attacks on the Second Amendment by the anti gun crowd, liberal politicians and by liberal states. There had always been those against the second, thinking it would make crime go away.

            They were putting pressure on the banks supplying operating capital through boycotts, letter writing campaigns and protests at stockholders’ meetings. It was becoming a serious problem.

            Several major banks and credit card companies had shut off all funding and were refusing to process checks and credit cards to the companies and retailers selling ammunition and weapons.

            Winchester was long gone, bankrupt, bought and sold and bankrupt again and in receivership. Remington was in the same boat; bankrupt, sold, bought and sold multiple times. A holding company had the patents and buildings and manufacturing equipment.

            Ammunition manufactures were no better off. Pressure was being applied from the anti-gun lobby – as usual, blaming the gun and not the person pulling the trigger. As well as environmentalists complaining about lead pollution, trying to use it as a hammer against the industry. They were citing all kinds of things including noise created by firing weapons and shell casings creating trash. All the anti-gun groups were on a mission to close down all shooting ranges, training facilities, gun shops and even now were wanting to close down all hunting in all states.

            They were trying to close down all hunting on federal lands but that was going nowhere. I had already vetoed a couple bills trying to get the law forced in by attaching amendments. I let it be known that any and all bills that tried to restrict hunting on federal lands or hunting on private property was DOA at the White House.

            I made a note to question Jeanna about the credit card issues. If anyone would know about alternatives, she would. I was sure problems were coming our way at some point. I needed to check with Marcy to see if there were any funds left after she made all the business changes she wanted.

            Tuesday morning it was more of the same for Washington; politics was heavy in the air. All the newly elected representatives and senators were making the rounds trying to find out the things they were supposed to be doing and how they were to do it.

            Many made the mistake of hiring the staffs of representatives that were defeated in the election. In my opinion they were simply hiring the swamp and it was one more reason nothing ever changed in DC. They all had a song and a dance on how great they were, how many contacts they had and how much they could do for the new rep.

            This afternoon I met with the new House and Senate leaders. I presented my agenda for the new Congress. There was to be a new emphasis on nuclear and fossil fuels as backup for solar and wind. I planned to eliminate completely the subsidies for wind and solar.

            The government had spent two trillion dollars of tax payer money over the last two decades developing the liberal utopia green dream, only to be caught short on power when needed. It wasn’t working, and the solar panels were failing with age at a much faster rate than predicted. Some were needing to replaced at ten years old when they were supposed to last thirty years.

             They weren’t recyclable as promised; landfills were taking thousands of tons of them daily. Yet there were those appointed in the energy department that wanted hundreds of billions more money so for the government to pay for new ones. I had succeeded in the budget just signed to cut the funding by fifty percent and now in next year’s budget I wanted it gone completely.

            The wind generators were just as bad. They were unusable in heavy snow, icing and freezing weather even though they were supposed to have heated components. The gear boxes were self destructing, the generators starting fires that were impossible to put out so high in the air.

            I gave the leaders a list of my priorities. Reliable electric energy was at the top followed by creating new jobs. Improving our highways was third. Fourth was reducing and in some instances eliminating overbearing government regulations on business.

            Another was ending the homeless problem with housing projects copied from the new California, Oregon and Washington State models. The plans were working and I wanted it expanded elsewhere. The streets in California were safe and clean today. The numbers of homeless in the camps were being reduced everyday as they found jobs and affordable housing was being completed.

            I wanted an overhaul of the judicial system – not only the Supreme Court but the entire Federal system and all the lower courts as well. I wanted harsh penalties to reduce crime in the streets. The catch and release programs and policies had been miserable failures. All crime was increasing by double digits each year in the cities.

            I wanted murder to be a federal crime with only one penalty – death to be carried out in one hundred and eighty days after the trial – with the trial going directly to the Supreme Court for review, side-stepping twenty years of appeals. I wanted it done in a way that no President could stop the process, other than a presidential pardon or a repeal by two different sessions of Congress.

            I wanted to maintain our strong defense, but I wanted it smarter. I wanted the funding spent on things that worked. I wanted real accountability from defense contractors and they knew it.        

            And above all I wanted taxes reduced as business improved and the waste was gone out of government. The savings from December’s final budget cuts were going to save ten trillion dollars over the next ten years. This year’s planned budget changes would make it balanced, I hope.

             I failed to understand why the Congress-critters always talked about budget cost or savings over the span of a decade, like there was some magic in it to happen. If there was red ink this year, there would be even more next year, so the decade thing was a joke.

            The next four years of my budget were only going to get better as the nuclear weapons were reduced and the troops numbers were reduced along with the base changes. And then there was the wealth tax plus the growth in the economy creating more tax revenue.

            Wednesday I started meeting the new members of Congress. There were congratulations and handshakes for the cameras and then serious business. I met them in groups of twenty.

            I reminded them of all the hard work and money my election team spent working to get them elected. We were elected by enough margin that we had a mandate to get the things done we had campaigned on. I expected full support from them and an expedited process to get it done.

            Wednesday at 0100 there was a knock on my door. Militants from Pakistan had attacked with rocket and mortar fire on one of the Army posts on the Pakistan – Iranian border, injuring twenty soldiers. It was the same group taking credit for the attack that had attacked me in Pakistan when I was filling in for the Vice President.

            If they thought running back to Pakistan was going to give them cover, they were wrong. After checking in with the night DOD crew I went back to bed. Wednesday the Pakistan Ambassador was going to be summoned to the White House. I would bet he would not like the conversation.

            At 0800 I called Melinda.

            ”Hey girl friend, where are you at this morning?” I said.

            ”Outside on the grass getting ready to report on last night’s attack, as soon as someone gives me something to work with,” Melinda said.

            ”I’ll give you this – twenty injured, a couple serious – but there were no fatalities. The President is very pissed. That’s for the record,” I said.

            ”Now off the record. If I sent you a script, would you do a fake news report for me? There is someone I want to torque up very badly later this morning. Just send it to me, don’t broadcast it. Make sure you are away from the other reporters when you do it,” I said.

            ”Sure, OK!” Melinda said.

            I wrote it up and had an aide carry it out and hand deliver the script to Melinda.

            Twenty minutes later I was reviewing the report from the script. It was just as I wanted. I called Melinda.

            ”Thanks, you will get an exclusive. I will see to it that you and only you and the camera get carried to ‘Forward Base Hammer’ in the province where the attack took place to interview the troops and view the damage – if you like – when you arrive in Iran on Sunday,” I said.

            ”Hey, that would be great,” Melinda said.

            I summoned Pakistan Ambassador Fazel Al Farsi to be at the White House in an hour.

            Ambassador Farsi was humble when he was brought in by the assistant Secretary of State Troy, Connie and General Ingram. Before he said anything, I played Melinda’s report.

            ”This is Melinda Schaffer reporting from the White House lawn. Last night at 0100 in eastern Iran, aligned militants from Pakistan crossed the border into Iran and fired over fifty mortar and RPG rounds into Army forward base ‘Hammer’. Twenty soldiers were seriously injured. There were no fatalities. Intelligence gathered indicate this was the same group of militants that attacked President Jones when she was filling in for the former Vice President.”

            ”Additional evidence suggests that the arrest, trials and executions of the militants was staged under pressure by the Iranians with the militants quietly released. The word is the President is very pissed.”

            ”Information from a reliable source a few minutes ago said that the two carrier task forces assigned to the joint US/Russian base were ordered to sea immediately. The task force assigned to Guam and the task force assigned to the Yokohama navy base were ordered to sea. The two task forces that are doing a port call to the newly approved US Navy base at Subic Bay were also ordered to sea. Destination for the all these task forces is the Persian Gulf area.”

            ”One more bit of information from that source is the two B52 squadrons that are stationed in Russia and two B21 Bomber groups from Lackland Air Force Base have been put on alert status BLUE. Alert status BLUE is armed with the crew on standby and ready to depart on thirty minutes notice. This is Melinda Schaffer outside the White House.”

            I slammed my hands hard down on the desk, startling everyone sitting at the table.

            ”You Ambassador sat in this office and all but promised in blood that the militants that attacked me would be executed. Now I find out the trials and executions were staged!” I said.

            ”Several months later you were in this very office and promised that Pakistan would control the Iran-Pakistan border and that there would not be any fighters crossing into Iran, and now this happens,” I said.

            ”If I don’t see concrete results in that border province in forty-eight hours, all hell is going to happen there. I will see to it there are no more attacks on our troops from your side of the border,” I said.

            ”I will remind you, Pakistan is a nuclear power,” Ambassador Farsi said.

            ”Yes, with half of your nuclear warheads in deep mines leaking radiation, unsafe for even your own nation. I will remind you that Iran launched eight hundred missiles in just twenty minutes within a distance of fifty miles or less at our ships; we shot them all down. Not one hit,” I said.

            ”We have added a lot more missile and aircraft defense to the arsenal in the area. Do want to find out if you can do any better?” I said.

            ”No! I think not. I will relay your demands to my premier with instructions to contact you immediately to defuse this problem,” he said and then left.

             ”I’ll send the orders to the carrier task forces to go through the process of getting ready to sail. I’m sure Pakistan is buying satellite time from the Chinese,” General Ingram said.

            ”And then have them sail. It will be easy to recall them and write it off as a rapid departure drill,” I said.

            ”Agreed,” Ingram said.

            I called President Orbatch to inform him the carriers would be gone on a drill for a few days and possibly the bombers as well.

            The call lasted an hour; in the process another visit to Moscow was inked onto the calendar for next month. We would celebrate the destruction of the last of the group of missiles for the treaty. The first two former weapons factories would go into production producing agriculture parts for export to America. I would visit both while I was there.

            The following month Orbatch was coming to DC to do the same with a class of our missiles. Their inspectors had been certifying the numbers destroyed in Texas as we were making progress on our part of the agreement.

            Much to the distress of the UN, the treaty was working. They were still trying to force themselves into the mix without success.

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            Proof read by Bob W.

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Book 3 Chapter 9

I ordered a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with tomato soup and unsweetened tea with Splenda. The General ordered a steak sandwich, American fries and coke. While we waited for them to be prepared, we discussed the media demands to allow reporters to now go to Iran and view the reconstruction.

            With the levels of troops now where we wanted them and things reasonably calm, we decided to give in to the pressure.

            ”Give me a few minutes and I will write out the rules, conditions and limitations for the media to make the visit and you can review them,” I said.

            What the General didn’t know was that I had several conversations with Hanna and Melinda about the media visitations to Iran. I was several steps ahead of him.

            I had the perfect candidates for coordinators and liaison. I sent them a text to be here at 1300 when Harry was to give the afternoon briefing.

            Back at my desk I finished out the list of ideas and waited. The General reviewed them before nodding and leaving. Then Connie and I fine-tuned them and she typed them up and made three copies.

            I spent the next forty-five minutes on a call to Prime Minister Attenborough about the base realignment and consolidation that was being discussed. I had told him that I would call when I had more information, so I did.

            I ordered donuts and coffee for the news group but told the Secret Service to hold them behind the divider until I was ready to attend.

            Melinda and Hanna came in the front entrance and were led to the Oval Office.

            ”Well girls, have you recovered from the Christmas and the New Year’s celebrations yet?” I asked.

            ”OH yes, but I don’t think you invited us to come here to find that out,” Hanna said.

            ”You are right, I didn’t,” I said.

            ”I’m wondering if you had thought any more about the proposal we had talked about. Were you able to come up with any accumulated days off or could you get time off?” I asked.

            ”I want you to be the coordinators for me, if you are up for a challenge. This time you will be paid. You could even rotate one of you there a week and then the other, even reporting for your station while you are there,” I said.

            ”I have agreed to allow the White House press group to go to Iran to report on the reconstruction. I need someone to coordinate and ride herd over them. You have been in the field with my men. You know the risks that are there and the challenges,” I said.

            ”You know the things you can and cannot do. It is still a very dangerous place. Saying the wrong things and asking the wrong questions of the wrong people may still get you killed,” I said.

            ”I gave you the language programs weeks ago. I hope you took the hint and have been learning. There will still be an interpreter and a couple of guards and transportation supplied,” I said.

            ”We will use the draft that they like so much. Two reporters and two camera men along with you and your camera man will make up one group,” I said.

            I handed them the folder with the rules and guidelines. The two groups of six would leave Sunday morning from Dover on a government jet and arrive in Iran early Monday morning. They would spend six days on the ground in Iran.

            ”You would land at one of the military airports and be carried to one of the daily briefings. They would be allowed to question officials at those briefings. From there they would be assigned bunks in a military non-segregated barracks. At that time, they would be given a set of geographic areas that they could chose to report on, based on security,” I said.

            ”A driver/guard and an interpreter would be assigned to each reporter team. They are to return to the barracks before dark. Your group would get no special treatment, food or housing accommodations,” I said.

            ”All individuals will have to have all the required vaccinations, passports and be limited on the amount of baggage,” I added.

            ”My sister Sherry will take over for me while I am doing this project. Grand Pop has been working her at the station on special interest projects. This will be her chance to expand. So, I am in,” Hanna said.

            ”As long as I can give news reports from there, my bosses will work with me. So, count me in too,” Melinda said.

            ”I am glad to hear that because it’s going to be implemented quickly. Look the over the rules – we can make changes now. Then we will go out and make the announcement at the 1400 press conference,” I said.

            ”Connie had printed out the vaccination requirements for you to pass out to get the conversation started. The outside media people as well as the White House press group will be eligible,” I said.

            I waited as they read over the rules and limitations and read them myself. I was satisfied with them.

            There was a scheduling office for the Air Force for transportation between military bases on a first come first served based on space available. It was used to shuttle DOD personnel from one base to another under non-emergency conditions with available aircraft seating.

            Connie had contacted them and there was a C17 freight flight out of Dover to Tehran leaving Saturday at noon with seats for the first media teams.

            At 1345 the media groups were notified of the joint news briefing to allow the inside and outside media to get into the media center. The Secret Service was setting up the donut/coffee table as they were coming in.

            ”I have a quick announcement to make then I need to go. I have decided to allow media access to Iran. Hanna Page and Melinda Schaffer are going to be the coordinators and White House liaisons and they will accompany the media on the visits. That said, I will turn this over to them to explain how they are going to work it,” I said.

            ”Thanks Madam President,” Hanna said.

            ”Melinda is passing out several handouts that you need to look over. One is the vaccinations that are recommended for travel to Iran. The second the geographic areas that are open to visiting reporters, as you can see they are divided into areas that you can choose to visit,” Hanna said.

            ”As you can see by the handout, all of Iran will be open, barring any possible security issues at the time of your visit. You can only choose one location to report out of for the seven day period because of logistics,” Hanna said.

            ”The visits will be for seven days. When available, transportation will be by military transport planes that are making routine deliveries. The plane departing this Saturday will be at Dover Air Force Base. Departure time has not been scheduled yet,” Melinda said.

            ”Each team in the field, consisting of one reporter and one cameraman, will be assigned one security guard and one driver. You will report back to the same base for overnight lodging, meals and laundry. What you can carry will be determined by your ability to be responsible for it. No laborers are going to be assigned to you,” Melinda said.

            ”Currently there are no restrictions of where you can go, see or who you can interview. Currently you will be able to carry a personal weapon for added protection, provided you have had an approved safety course and can  demonstrate proficiency with it,” Melinda said.

            ”As you know, I have been shot in the field, so I intend to carry. Hanna and I both have been through the JBG weapons training course and suggest that you take a course,” Melinda said.

            ”Those of you wanting to go will be chosen by lottery. There is space for four news teams plus Melinda her camera man and me and my camera man on Saturday and each Saturday thereafter until all of you that wish to have made the journey. Melinda and I will be responsible for two media teams,” Hanna said.

            “We will take a ten-minute break at this point, so you can get approval from your news desk,” Melinda said.

            After the break, ”If you are interested in going Saturday, put your White House ID in the bucket Melinda is holding and Harry will pull four names,” Hanna said as everyone returned.

            An agent came out from behind the divider with one of those bingo cages that volunteer organizations used at fund raisers. Melinda dumped the bucket of ID’s into it and turned the crank several revolutions, giving them a good mix up.

            ”Harry, please pull four ID’s,” Hanna said.

            ”John Day, ABC news,” Hanna said.

            ”Howard Croswell, AP news,” Hanna said.

            ”Amanda Purcell, UPI,” Hanna said.

            ”Laurence Palmer, NBC news,” Hanna said.

            ”While you were on break the departure time was established, you need to meet Hanna and me at the main gate at Dover Air Force Base 0800 Saturday morning,” Melinda said.

            ”If you need guidance, see Hanna or me and we will try to get everything together,” Melinda said.

            ”There will be a drawing every Monday to give the next group a few days to pack and get things in order,” Melinda said.

            I walked back into the media center just as Melinda and Hanna were finishing up.

            ”If there are any questions about visits to Iran I will see that Hanna and Melinda get them,” I said.

            ”Madam President, do you have a response to the challenge of the extra unemployment benefits cuts in the courts? The one the unemployed workers union and the ACLU have filed suit against to reinstate?” one said.

            ”The elimination of the pandemic enhanced unemployment payments that should have been done years ago was part of a constitutional process called ‘The Budget’. The Constitution clearly describes the process that all spending originates in the House and then to the Senate. That process is followed up by the budget being signed into law by the President,” I said.

            ”I believe that it would be unconstitutional for a lower court federal judge to overrule that process when Congress had spent tens of thousands of hours debating and formulating that budget based on constitutional guidelines,” I said.

            ”There seems to be no end to federal judges that think judgeship gives them the power to legislate from the bench. Of course, attorneys hunt for judges they think would be sympathetic to their cause,” I said.

            ”Vice President Harrison and I have discussed at length such a possibility and I have consulted with the group of constitutional experts that I go to for advice when I have questions. Should that situation arise, I have an outline of actions to oppose such a ruling,” I said.

            ”The base cuts and cuts to other programs and the wealth tax looks to be sizable, will they balance the budget?” another asked.

            ”They may not balance the budget completely but combined with other funding changes it will be close. The markets must think so – stocks are up more than average today,” I said.

            ”What’s going to happen to the closed military bases?” another said.

            ”I believe the plan – at this time – is to move them to a standby status. That is to keep the grass cut, electric on and in a condition ready to be activated in thirty days or less. Some of them may be sold but at the current time, that just speculation on my part,” I said.

            ”The manned mission to Mars so far looks good and there have been few problems. How long does this administration plan to continue the project? Former President Thomas was against the mission.”

            ”I think it is a wait and see thing. The original funding was for five years and we are only in the third year of that. Successful outcomes of each phase of the mission will give it strength as we move forward. A string of failures would not encourage longevity of the program,” I answered.

            ”I have faith in American engineering, the pioneering spirit and the courage and bravery of the crew up there. It’s been a long ride for them and the successes are very encouraging,” I said.

            ”There are a couple major pieces of the Mars station assembly happening in the next few weeks; that will be the deciding factor,” I said.

            ”Word is you may be going back to Russia soon, any thoughts on that?” the API reporter asked.

            ”We are at another milestone in the reduction treaty. I may make the trip to celebrate reaching that milestone with President Orbatch. The continued progress is very encouraging. Both our nations are ahead of schedule and should be in full compliance earlier than the deadline,” I said.

            ”There have been several minor agreements that will strengthen trade between our nations. There are several major agreements that will be signed when President Orbatch and I meet. Several manufactures are completing military factory conversions to auto parts and equipment for export to the US. Those factories were slated to be built in China,” I said.

            ”The move strengthens our supply chain with diversity in the source of supply. It will also mean more trade for the east coast ports, giving relief to those on the west coast that are overwhelmed.”

            ”That’s all the time I have for now. Let’s do this again,” I said.

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Proof read by Bob W.

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Book 3 Chapter 8

Book 3 Chapter 8

             The kids were late getting up and it gave us time to get filled in on all the things they were doing. The list had been expanded several times and was still growing. I listened and cringed at some of them. I could just see the subpoenas from the alphabet federal agencies.

            ”You have run all this by the corporate lawyers and other specialists, haven’t you?” I asked.

            ”We are doing everything by the book and they have approved each step,” Marcy replied.

            ”OK,” I said.

            By the time they were finished, the kids were up, ready for breakfast and another day of playing. Breakfast took nearly an hour between the lack of staff and kids unable to make up their mind on what they wanted. I told my mates and the kids that I had a few things to do but would be back in a bit.

            Washington was dead this time of a morning on a holiday. With a few Secret Service agents and Ziva, Abra and Farah and one White House photographer, we rode to the Tomb of the Unknown in four of the GSA Suburbans. We were a few minutes early so I got to watch a lot more. We were the only ones there.

            I stood at attention and counted every step and mentally timed every turn. It was a solemn few minutes; no one said anything. I watched the changing of the guard as I had done so many times. Other than a few Secret Service, no one knew that I came here late at night to clear my head and keep my thinking going in the right direction.

            After a few minutes watching the new guard I asked to be taken to the cemetery where so many American soldiers were buried. I walked the rows to Betty’s grave. I had the row and numbers memorized and placed several small flowers by the marker. They would be gone on Monday when the caretakers made the rounds. I said a prayer while on my knees by the cross. I could hear the photographer’s camera clicking, even though he was well away. I wish he wouldn’t but there needed to be a record, or so they said.

            Thirty minutes later I was back in the Oval Office. I glanced at the intelligence updates and then went back to my family. On the floor I played with the kids and talked with my mates.

            There were no fires that needed to be put out anywhere in the world that I could do anything about. The Christian population in Iran celebrated its first Christmas without the heavy hand of an oppressive Muslim government restricting them.

             In Egypt several Christian churches were attacked. It was the same every year and Christian holiday. The government promised swift action, but no one was ever arrested or prosecuted.

            The same happened in several other countries in Africa. Some things in the world never changed. Just the places, dates and times.

            Marcy and Jenny had brought the checks that gave away the forty million that I received as my share from the sale of JBG to TSCIC. They were certified checks drawn on my Midwest Bank account. Even so, I needed to sign them.

            Ten million went to the Shriners Children’s Hospital, another ten million went to St Jude Children’s Hospital and eight million went into an account to buy food for the Nimule refugee camp. I would match all the donations from the public or finish out a C5 load.

             The rest was divided among the three volunteer fire companies that always helped at Morton Field and the one on Chincoteague Island where Uncle John’s beach house is that we used from time to time.

            The animal lovers had finally stopped the annual pony penning and sale that was their major fund raiser. They had petitioned the National Park Service and protested while including false adds that the adopted ponies were being mistreated. The liberals had caved in and forced the Department of Interior to shut it down.

            The penning and sale were to control the size of the herd. The Island could only sustain a certain number of wild horses. Everyone who bought one had to prove they could financially care for the pony and had an approved place for them to stay. But it didn’t matter.

            What the animal lovers didn’t know was that all the stallions had now been neutered. In a few years – as they died of old age – there would be no wild horses on the island.

            There was always someone from the city that just had to ignore the signs and tried to pet the wild horses or crawl into the corals to get a better picture or to feed them. They always ended up kicked, bit and hurt and it was always the horse’s fault. No horses – no problem.

            All of recipients had to sign a nondisclosure form that they could not discuss or make any statements about who the donor was. I wanted it to be totally anonymous. Two lawyers were going to deliver the checks before the end of the year and explain the form.

            We had discussed in depth about me giving the money away. There were no objections from the girls; we had beautiful children and each year it was heartbreaking during the holidays to see the children needing so much help in the fund drives. With all that Marcy was doing and had planned, we would be anything but poor.

            With all that out of the way we had more family time. In two days we would be back on Summers Lane for the family Christmas gift opening over the weekend.

            We left Washington late Friday afternoon, the girls and kids in two JBG Helicopters and the White House team in three Marine helicopters. I had to land at Morton while the girls landed behind the office.

            The supper that was waiting for us had been made by the chefs. Tomorrow I was going to spend time in the gym, much to the dismay of the agents that had been assigned to work out with me.

            Some of the boys and girl’s toys were left at the White House for them to play with when they were there. Most were brought home to join the collection they already had. This year’s gifts were loaded up with educational toys for JJ and RJ. Takeo and Sara got toys to play with.

            We had plenty of time to play with the kids together now that we were forced to have a Secret Service cook. I had no idea that cooking and dishes took that much time out of the day.

            We planned another vacation to Deep Water Cay at the end of February. That would give me two months to work with the new Congress and my agenda for the first year.

            Sunday came and went, the family time was well enjoyed by all. The kids had too many toys to play with and more clothes they would out grow long before they were worn out.

            Monday, I alone went back to Washington after spending time with Andy and Robert and long goodbyes with the family and the kids. There were a million things still to do in the JBG organization. Marcy was working on the business change and that was keeping everyone busy.

            Vicky was still working short the one thousand security people that had been that had been contracted to the State Department and DOD as interpreters. There were still thirty days on the original contract and both agencies had requested a sixty day extension. Ching Lee was short several hundred from the college security division.

            Time was running out on the planning and zoning to deny the permits for the two projects. I hadn’t thought about the timing, but with the holidays thrown in there were only sixteen working days in the thirty day window they had to approve or reject. Two public hearings were scheduled in the next ten day period.

            There had been no raging ‘fire and brimstone’ letters in the letters to the editor in Elmo’s paper and that was surprising. It was a different story in the papers from Baltimore and Annapolis.

            Baltimore and Anne Arundel county were a different story. Both county commissions were threatening lawsuits to stop construction if the county approved the projects. They were being pushed by the ‘Save the Bay Foundation’ and the Baltimore construction unions – plumbing, electrical, stone and iron workers.

            Those unions had no special influence in the county like they did on the western shore. ‘No union approval’ over there was the kiss of death for a project. The commissioners were scared of the unions on the western shore; not over here.

            All the commissioners were re-elected in our county and I knew what they thought of the unions.

            Janet Ashworthy – the EPA design engineer certified by the EPA – had done all the sewage studies of the county sewage plant. She designed the expansion that would be needed and we had agreed to pay for. She had also done the studies on the ground water necessary for the water tower that we were going to pay for.

            Those studies were delivered to the county environmental department and the planning and zoning department the day after we made the presentation.

            On Monday my office was full from the opening bell. The agency was watching another new terrorist group making noise in Somalia and Ethiopia. NSA and the CIA wanted me to authorize getting a more detailed intelligence gathering put in place. Of course, they wanted help from the JBG embassy people, Robert and Andy.

            I wondered if they were self-funded, or who was funding them. For me that was the most important thing, without money they would have to resort to kidnapping and ransom attacks. That would supply intelligence so we could find them over time.

            Vice President Harrison and I worked on my administration’s agenda for the first year. On January fifth the new House and Senate members would be sworn in. Most had been contacted by my staff expressing the need to meet soon.

            Thursday I went back home, I was going to spend the New Year at home with my family. This year we had planned a New Year’s party. We wanted to close out the last year and all its problems and to welcome in the New Year with the promise of a better one.

            On January second, I was back in the Oval Office and there was a fire storm brewing in the liberal media. The budget had been signed just days before Christmas and it contained the negotiated cuts in spending and tax increase. The IRS had sent e-mails to all professional tax preparers with the forms and instructions to use for all the tax forms they prepared.

            The IRS also did a blanket mailing of the forms and instructions to all tax payers that were delivered before January 1 so all those early birds that planned to file their taxes to get fast refunds in January had the necessary forms.

            The tax wasn’t going to apply to anyone with a net worth less than five billion anyhow, but to make the tax legal, everyone had to fill out the new form and attach it to the 1040 form. That was the first thing to hit the media.

            The next thing to hit was the finalized budget with all the cuts that that Congress and I had agreed on. Right off the top was the cuts to entitlements, the first being unemployment benefits.

            The budget cuts finally ended the boosted unemployment rates from the decade past pandemic. Congress could never bring themselves to do it and I twisted their arms and made them do it by adding sweeteners.

            The unemployment benefit hadn’t been updated for years and was based on a seven dollar and ninety five cent minimum wage. Minimum wage was now sixteen dollars an hour and the new formula was to be fifty percent of six hundred and forty dollars a week. That was a weekly benefit of three hundred and twenty a week if you were unemployed. It eliminated the federal higher rate and continuous extensions.

            The added kicker in the new rules was one could only draw unemployment benefits for two years and then they were ended. It was a return to the pre-pandemic rules for that section.

            There were many millions of people still drawing the pandemic boosted benefit years later. Yet, there were millions of help wanted ads for the job market. Free money was addicting as any drug.

            Other cuts were coming in handouts for immigrants in the form of the length of time they were able to draw from the programs. There were individuals that had been getting money for ten and a some as many as twenty years.

            The new rule was two years and then the money was cut fifty percent for the final and third year of eligibility. They came here for a better life, it was time to go to work and earn it. After three years – if they could not make it – it was time to go back to their home country.

            I had pushed for the time limits to motivate them become a true part of America or leave, the free ride was over. Practically all of them were going to experience the fifty percent cut starting January one.

            The JBG Mexican security zone had all but eliminated illegal crossings at the southern border. The new game was to fly from Mexico City to Canada and come across the northern border. Canada was being tough on the process by forcing the airlines to only allow passengers to book flights into Canada with round trip tickets and no refunds.

            The next big announcement was the DOD had agreed to reduce the size of the military by cutting active troop numbers and close twenty percent of the military bases in two years. The target plan was fifty billion the first year with one hundred billion in cuts at the end of the second year and thereafter.

            The Navy had already provided twenty billion with the cancellation of the last Fordson carrier, the necessary crew and complete air wing.

            The first complete list of candidates for base closings was to be out in sixty days. West coast training facilities and bases were on the cutting block because of the high cost and political opposition. The Washington state Bremerton Navy yard was going to take a major hit in a couple of ways. They were going to lose one of the two task forces stationed there – and possibly both – with those being shifted west. One went to Russia and the other to the Philippines. California was losing both task forces as it was reassigned to the Philippines or Guam.

            The bases themselves were terribly expensive to operate because of all the lunatic laws and rules the fruitcakes had passed. That insanity was multiplied by the high cost of support services from the local area to the bases.

            Germany was going to lose four military bases and the UK was going to lose an equal number. These eight were to be eliminated by consolidation. The plan was to keep the bases under a new standby plan yet to be fully developed.

            There were to be cuts in other agencies as well. The EPA was losing billions in funding and were going to be forced to streamline policies and procedures as well as elimination of thousands of rules and regulations that were decades past outdated.

            The Agriculture Department was going to take hits as well. The liberals had turned the department into an entitlement agency instead of an organization that was to help farmers continue to grow food for the nation.

            Twenty years ago, each American farmer was producing enough food to feed two hundred people. All the recent regulations from different agencies had reduced that to less than one hundred. Our nation was growing and we needed to produce more food ourselves without depending heavily on imports.

            The Department of Energy was another one to get cuts. The heavy subsidies for solar and wind was ended. Thirty years was enough at the money trough. I had cut the funding by fifty percent last year and the new budget ended all the subsides.

            The division that oversaw electric generation was filled with anti-anything generation of green environmentalists. A shakeup in the rules and procedures was coming like a freight train.

            The reserve generation capacity we once had was gone. Many areas were heading towards rolling blackouts in severe cold and high heat summer seasons. We needed the reserve back desperately – we needed dependable electricity for manufacturing and our homes as a necessity.

            I was determined there would not be the rolling blackouts that had become the normal in third world countries and California during the brush fire season.

             The Nuclear Regulatory Commission was getting a shakeup as well in the form of a major house cleaning. The anti-nuke administrators appointed and hired by previous administrations were going to be terminated.

            They had signed their pink slips after the utilities that I had met with delivered the evidence of complaints and the NRC’s tactics. My new investigative branch was already putting the cases together.

            Another change was coming in grants to the states. Instead of getting lump sum grants from the federal government for education, road building and other federal aid, it was going to be in twelve monthly increments.

            Teachers didn’t get paid a lump sum – a year’s salary – they got paid weekly or bi-weekly, so why give the states the year’s worth of money at one time. The same was true for road and bridges. Contractors got paid based on percentages of completed work so why give the state a complete check for the project up front. If the project was a four year project, the contractor was paid over the four year period.

            With Marcy’s guidance the White House budget people were able to find out how the states were playing that game. The states were taking the lump sum payments and putting them in their investment accounts withdrawing the funding as needed.

            The federal government was borrowing hundreds of billions of dollars at a time to be able to do the lump sum grants. Under the new budget the Treasury Department was permitted to split the grants up by each month. It would give the financial markets more stability and save millions of interest on the national debt.

            It would also allow the Treasury to monitor more closely the actual needs instead of just a wild ass guess and then borrowing the money. If Congress thought there was money, they wanted to spend it. With the changes in the revenue and the reductions in agencies, there may be times that the Treasury wouldn’t need to borrow at all or nearly nothing.

            The states were not happy and were letting everyone know it. It was an Oh-well, tough luck thing in my opinion.

            General Ingram came back in just as I was ready to go to lunch. We went to lunch together in the White House cafeteria, it was a working lunch.

Edit by Alfmeister

Proof read by Bob W.

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Book 3 Chapter 7

Chapter 7

            The morning was filled with news leaks indicating an agreement movement on the budget, breaking the stalemate that had stalled progress for weeks. Congress had stayed in session all night.

            There were pictures of sleeping Senators and congressional people at their desk. The word I received from the Vice President was the two separate bills were in conference committees, working out the differences. The Senate version contained the cuts and tax bill as I wanted. The House version, liberals had tried to eliminate the spending cuts but kept the tax.

            I had told the group that had come to the White House to discuss the new revenue portion – the wealth tax had to be included as written, the cuts had to stay in place and there was to be no additional spending or else – no signature.

            Even if they passed it I would use the pocket veto and the government would close three days before Christmas and remain closed until the Senate and House returned for special session or in January, unless Congress stayed in session for the ten days that I had to sign or veto the bill. They didn’t like the threat but they took it seriously.

            If it was put off to the new Congress, I would have even more leverage with the numbers of conservative legislators coming in. But I knew they would never allow the government to be closed down over the holidays.

            I finished my Christmas list and called senior agents Brewer, Carter and Tull and asked if there was any way for me to leave the White House incognito to finish my Christmas shopping at the mall.

            ”With your luck finding terrorists at mall’s, not likely. Get your list together and we will send someone to get the things for you,” Brewer said.

            ”The media and Congress would find out about it and I would have to hear a raft of horse crap about it, plus the hearings and all the other crap to go with it. I will just have to do differently. How were Clinton, the Bush’s and Obama able to get out discretely for the things they did?” I asked.

            ”They didn’t carry the risk that you do. There are still very serious unresolved death threats against you,” Brewer replied.

            ”Every President had death threats against them,” I said.

            ”You have had many more and too many close calls,” Agent Brewer said.

            ”OK,” I said.

            I called Ziva and Abra to come to my office. I would have to get them to do the shopping for me as much as I hated it. They were on the JBG payroll so neither Congress nor the media could say anything.

            I explained the list item by item of the things that I wanted them to get for me and why I needed them to do it for me. I had used catalogs to put the list together.

            ”What do Abra and Ziva want for Christmas? What can I get you?” I asked.

            ”JBG has already given a nice Christmas bonus. I don’t think I need anything else,” Ziva replied.

            ”I agree,” Abra added.

            ”Well, that is not what I wanted to hear but if that is the way you want it, so be it,” I said.

            I knew that gold coins were to be given to Andy, Burt, Robert and Cindy. I would give each one of my personal JBG security group a coin. They had been shot at protecting me; it was the least I could do.

            I had ordered as much as I could from the internet, the problem was every single package had to go to the decontamination center and be opened, inspected and tested for contact poisons before it got to me. It was a process that left everything messy.

            I sent a text to Vicky, she and Ching Lee were coming over to stay with me for a couple days. ”Please bring five rolls of the Thimble Shoals gold coins and the plastic gift cases for them when you come over” I said.

            I called the ethics group to send someone over – I had a couple questions I wanted answered. It was my first Christmas as President; I needed answers to issues related to me giving gifts to my staff. Did those gifts have to be reported, did the person have report them on IRS forms? Did they have to be entered on campaign or other disclosures? There was still so much to being President I had to learn.

            I went back to work on the list of things to do after January fifth when the new Congress was sworn in. I started another notepad with rules and laws I wanted to have Congress change, agency by agency.

            Every President loaded up the agencies with new rules and requirements that aligned with their political persuasion. Those rules were going to be reviewed and removed, either by Congress or me by executive directive.

            It was 1800 when the helicopter touched down on the lawn. Not only were Ching Lee and Vicky on it, but all my mates and all the kids who were bundled up like the Pillsbury dough boy. All the mates were carrying briefcases again.

            I was glad to see them and displayed my affection as soon as the door closed off the cold air. I gave each of them a gigantic hug and kisses, including the boys.

            The chefs had to change the supper plans – the boys wanted Mac and Cheese and hot dogs and we all were getting a much better meal than I had planned for myself.

            With Christmas just two days away, the boys were out of school. Takeo and Sara were walking and talking. Damn, when did that happen? I was missing so much of their youth, they were growing so fast.

            I sent a text to Ziva that when they returned to have the things they were getting locked in one of the security closets, that all my family was here. Marcy gave me the five rolls of the coins I wanted and the cases with a presentation sheet for each one and a gift box. I placed them in my desk in the Oval Office.

            Christmas cards had been made with a family portrait of all of us and sent out to all of our friends. I had missed the JBG employee Christmas party this year. I was at the G8 meeting. I was told there was plenty of food, booze and good partying. Politics in high places changes your priorities sometimes, though it didn’t make me feel any better about missing the people and friends I had worked with.

            At 2000 there was an announcement that Congress had passed the budget and it was on the way over. My staff that had been following and assisting in the final numbers and negotiations assured me that everything was as I wanted. The tax increases and spending cuts were as I wanted in the final writing.

            The details in the bill text would not be made public until after the first of the year when Congress came back into session to swear in the new members. That would be when the crap hit the fan with all the cuts to programs that had started out as short term help and turned into long term entitlements that were going to end. Some of them were done cold turkey – all at once – and others over two years to ease the shock.

            The White House reporters on hand and the House and Senate leaders witnessed me signing the document with a dozen pens. With the signatures done, Capitol Hill was deserted in a matter of minutes. Reagan National had stayed open an extra hour so all the private jets could carry the legislators back to their home states.

            Lorrie had twenty of JBG’s small jets chartered by various senators and representatives. The California and Texas group had each chartered one of the Boeing 200s and the galley was instructed to have ten cases of champagne and other alcohol on hand for the party atmosphere – all on the congressional government credit card.

            Lorrie was wise and sent two flight attendants and two of JBG’s big armed security on each to keep order if necessary. The capitol police would be as drunk as the legislators by the time the flight was half way.

            The pilots knew how to handle drunks, just slowly crank down on the cabin pressure and they would all be asleep within minutes. I could see a one hundred thousand dollar new carpet coming on the GAO credit card to get rid of the stains and there would be complaints about it from Congress.

            The White House Christmas Party was the following afternoon. Presents were passed out to all my staff and the Secret Service group that worked my personal protection detail.

            I called Kitty Winn, Connie Hines, Bobbie Canterberry, Bob Smith, Eric Roberson, Frank Love, Marty Coeburn , General Ingram, and the four joint chiefs, Vice President Harrison, Troy, Ziva, Abra, agents Tull, Carter and Brewer into the Oval Office and closed the door. I gave each of them one of the Thimble Shoals gold coins in the plastic protector and in the gift box information sheet.

            Before I passed them out I said, ” I am going to give each of you a special gift for the support and friendship you have given me in this year of unprecedented events and hardship that we have had to deal with. It has been a unique year – in fact the last eighteen months has for all of us,” I said.

            ”From the chairperson of the task force, to Vice President, death of the President, to President, a history making treaty, a war and an election has been a terrible strain on all of us. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the support , loyalty, dedication and above all the special friendship that we share and I depend on so much,” I said.

            ”These are valuable gifts so please don’t lose them. For obvious reasons I would like you to open these in the privacy of your home,” I said.

            My family and I went to the Christmas service at the Washington Cathedral on Christmas Eve. Christmas morning we were going to open the presents that were under the tree in the private living quarters. We were going to wait until Sunday to open gifts at the house with the other family members.

            To put all the agents involved with me traveling home on Christmas day we thought was totally unnecessary. The chefs were going to cook a Christmas dinner for all my family that was here with me.

            After dinner Ziva, Abra and I went to the storage room and wrapped the rest of the presents they had picked up for me and placed my name tags on them. They were going home to be opened Sunday.

             The rest of the family had gone to the heated presidential pool for some swimming. I used the excuse that I had a few more official things to do then I would join them in the pool.

            I was able to swim and play with the boys and my mates for an hour before everyone had had enough of the water.

            Christmas morning was special as all of them were. The boys were excited and ready. There had been long Christmas list from them with all the usual things growing boys wanted. The living area was a mass of excitement with bows and wrapping paper flying and the kids trying out the new toys.

            By the end of the day all were played out, falling asleep shortly after supper. The rest of us were thankful for the quiet time together, it allowed intimate conversation and cuddling – something we all cherished and needed. There was no business talk; that would come tomorrow.

            Edit by Alfmeister

            Proof read by Bob W.

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