General Boykin was not a happy man. Despite its overwhelming popularity, the Citizen Defender program was not living up to expectations in the field.
"I want some answers, men." The General held up a spiral-bound report. "According to this, we've got almost 100% participation among Preferred households with Internet Access cards, including those who requested, and received, cards just so they could be part of CD. That's over 50 million households, that's I don't know how many million targets - it says somewhere in here - fired on every day for 90 days. Now you tell me how come we don't have a depopulated and secured region."
Rick Sanchez took a deep breath. "Well, sir, there are several factors. One, the one we believe is responsible for the majority of failed hits, is insurgent sabotage of the remote sensors. And jamming of the GPS signals."
"How the hell are they able to do that?" Boykin demanded.
"Sir, our intelligence indicates that the enemy is employing a number of strategies," General Graner opened a folder. "One that we didn't anticipate is the use of decoys specifically designed to foil the heat-sensitive sensors."
"What kind of decoys?"
"Heated scrap metal sir, bricks, also heated. On some occasions it appears the enemy has used bread."
"Bread? BREAD?" Boykin's face was almost purple.
"Are you telling me that we have spent billions of dollars, and given the American people to believe that they are eliminating terrorists, so that the US armed forces can blow up loaves of bread?"
"Well, not exclusively bread, sir. Sometimes bricks..."
The problem lay, at least partly, with the technology itself. The sensors could not be completely hidden from view, or they would not be able to receive or transmit signals. Within a few days of the launch, over 80% of the sensors had been damaged or destroyed. Repair teams could not keep up. It took one person only a few seconds to render a sensor useless, and it took two men at least half a day to repair or replace and test one.
"And how the hell do they get the bread or the bricks or whatever the hell they put in there without triggering the sensor?"
Sanchez squirmed in his chair. "Um, catapults, sir."
"Catapults? What the hell, catapults? They think this is the Dark Ages?"
"Um, well, they're a primitive people, sir."
"And foreign fighters, sir." Graner was worried that Boykin would have a cardiovascular incident. Maybe if he could change the focus from bread and catapults...
"The information we're getting from the theatre is that in recent weeks, over 95% of Indonesian support personnel have deserted their posts within 24 hours of arrival, and there are credible reports that they have joined the insurgency."
"Or been kidnapped by insurgents and forced to fight, " he added, noticing that this information did not seem to be calming his commanding officer down.
"And just how many Indonesian support personnel are we talking about, General?"
"We think no more than 14 million, sir. Over a period of 12 or more weeks."
President for Life Jeb Bush did not enjoy cabinet meetings. Though not a brilliant man, he had no illusions about the nature of his position, and was acutely aware that his cabinet had none. Their false deference to him was embarrassing. Everybody knew that he was window dressing, with about as much real political influence as senile old Queen Liz. He just wanted to get the damn thing over with and get back to his yacht, where, his personal assistant had informed him, some very nice merchandise awaited him. General Detention had some good product. Fresh, clean, new in box, the way Jeb liked it.
"Secretary Miller, while I completely agree with you that the problem of Informals must be addressed, surely you must be aware that at this time we simply do not have the resources to apprehend over a hundred million individuals, even for a direct transfer to General Disposal."
"Mr. vice President, I do not feel it is a problem we can afford to ignore any longer."
"Then let me see a plan, Mr. Secretary. Show me how you intend to fund it, and staff it, and get back to me. Meanwhile, what I will do is instruct the news media to refer to them as Persons of Interest. That's a sound idea, doable, and will help us out a lot down the road when we do have the wherewithal to move."
Miller sat back, silent, the tips of his ears a bright pink.
Secretary of Values Reverend Jerry Falwell cleared his throat to break the awkward silence. "Mr. Vice President Emeritus, I see you have a copy of my proposal - "
Rove nodded. "Oh yes, the Department of Chastity and Doctrine. You were thinking of this as a new cabinet post?"
"Sub-cabinet, sir. Such a department would fall under the broader umbrella of Values, thereby maintaining the constitutional mandate of separation of church and state. Congress shall pass no law..."
"Yes, yes, I know," Rove waved his hand impatiently. "Do you have a candidate in mind?"
"Why yes, Mr. Vice President Emeritus, I do. An old colleague of mine, extremely well qualified. In fact, I have taken the liberty of sounding him out on the idea, very indirectly and discreetly of course, and I believe I can say that he will be proud to serve, his life has been one of service, to the Lord, to his country - "
"Name?" Rove sneaked a glance at his watch. It had been a long week, and he was looking forward to a little downtime with Jeb, on the yacht.
"I was thinking of my good friend Dr. Pat Robertson," Falwell smiled round the table. I believe he is already well known to all of you."
Ben Silverman looked at the wrinkled little snapshot. She was not what Ben would call a babe. Plain, really, but to his client, this was the most beautiful woman on earth. Ben put the photo back into his inside pocket and ordered his coffee.
"No dairy, right?" the teenaged boy smirked at him.
"No dairy!" declared Ben. Funny how a few weeks ago that had felt like an Act of Resistance somehow. Working on Roger's case was working on his head. For the first time in his privileged, Preferred life, he felt like he was doing something worthwhile. A couple of times he had been surprised to find himself wondering what it would be like, to love someone, someone with zero babe points, so much that you would spend your last dime for the chance to spend the rest of your life walking behind an ox and living in a grass hut, just so you could be with her.
Ben punched Roger's number into his cell phone. "We're getting closer. Got some papers for you to sign."
The Restoration of Democracy Act of 2005, said the official press release on the subject, "protects America two ways: One, by eliminating needless spending. Americans do not want to spend their money on politicians, they want to spend their money keeping America safe. And it gives our legislative branch a long-overdue update, bringing it in line with the nations post-911 needs."
There was no doubt that streamlining the 535-member bicameral body into the ten-member Congress Committee had saved billions of dollars annually, or if it had not technically saved them, it had definitely redirected them to the war effort.
The identities of the Committee's members, like most of the laws they passed, were secret, for reasons of national security, but it was widely believed, and correctly so, that the Committee consisted of the Cabinet.
Pat Robertson was both proud and humbled to be allowed the privilege to serve in both capacities, and on the day the Committee voted unanimously to ratify the Chastity Amendment to the Constitution, Robertson felt that if God called him home in that moment, he could go serene in the knowledge that he had served his nation and served it well, without regrets of anything left undone.
Falwell shared his joy. Smiling at the little group at the round table, his eyes twinkled. "You know I'm gonna say it," he began. "Congress has passed no law..."
He lowered his voice, his expression serious again."And I do not believe that there are any who will suggest that our Founding Fathers, the framers of our blessed constitution, carried in their hearts the intention that our sisters, our wives and daughters, should be UN-chaste."
Technically, the Chastity Amendment applied to both males and females, but only unmarried females would be subject to mandatory virginity tests, while males would merely be required to sign an affidavit. When questioned about this discrepancy by a free-lance journalist from Denmark, Falwell answered with a stony look that "it was thus that the Lord hath ordained." Later that day, the Danish ambassador was summoned to Washington to receive a formal demand that the journalist be voluntarily waived over the US jurisdiction for indefinite detention. Failure to do so, the ambassador was informed, would leave the United States no other choice but to assume that it was the official policy of the Danish government to challenge the sovereignty of the United States, and appropriate steps would be taken, with military action not ruled out. Before night fell in the nation's capital, the journalist was hooded, shackled, and bolted to the floor in Special Detention Camp Six, whose location was officially undisclosed but unofficially known to be about an hour from Pittsburgh.
The initial reconnaissance flights over Paris as Operation European Freedom grew nearer had made the campaign very real to Denmark. Nor could Denmark deny US intelligence reports that indicated the reporter had links to the International Red Cross, listed as a terrorist organization since 2006. She had sat on the board of directors of the Copenhagen chapter.
Education Secretary Bob Jones III re-read the letter, trying to decide whether and how to respond. It was from an old friend, even more significantly, a wealthy and generous alumnus of the institution his grandfather had founded, and to which he was still connected, both emotionally and officially, despite his having had to resign from the Presidency in order to serve in the Cabinet.
Edwin Ivey's daughter Melissa had failed the virginity test that since the passage of the Chastity Act, was now mandatory in all schools.
Ivey cited a history of medical findings from a variety of standard reference works that agreed that hymeneal tissue could be compromised as the result of using internal sanitary protection, as well as participation in certain sports, including gymnastics and equestrian activities, among others, even if the young woman had not been sexually active.
"Melissa," the letter went on, "turned eleven last month, and has scarcely been out of the sight of either her mother or me since the day she was born. The idea that she has been involved in sexual activity is preposterous, and to subject an innocent child of Preferred status to brutal Taser torture is not only barbaric, it is un- American."
There was, in fact, quite a flurry of activity going on in his office, in cooperation with the Departments of Values and Chastity and Doctrine, on this very subject. Not Melissa specifically, but the idea of subjecting Preferreds to Tasering was controversial. By unwritten agreement, even before the Chastity Amendment, Preferreds who stepped outside the law were fined, or occasionally given community service sentences, the old fashioned kind that involved picking up trash or mopping emergency room floors. This had the strength of tradition, those who contributed more to the economy had always been allowed a little leeway when they needed it, and it went a long way toward maintaining support for rigorous measures as needed against non-Preferreds, thus keeping Taser sales strong.
Calling the law barbaric and un-American, however, was a violation Patriot IV. That, decided Jones, bumped the whole thing above his pay grade. He pushed a button on his phone. "Get me Secretary Reverend Falwell."
Haley was relieved that the plan to round up Persons of Interest (previously known as Informals) had apparently been scrapped. "How would they do it?" asked Rick. "with what army that's not already off occupying one country or another?"
"Still," insisted Haley. "It's time for me to move." MaryBeth had been back again, this time trying to persuade Haley that if she was really so dead-set against a GoodJob, to consider applying for a Personal Sponsorship. MaryBeth knew some people who might be interested, even though Haley was older than most applicants.
Personal Sponsorship meant that any Preferred with a certain income level could pay a fixed fee to the Office of Homeland Security, and receive any General Detainee, GuestJobber, or Person of Interest as Special Category Taxable Property. The individual would them become the private property of the sponsor, with no use or disposal restrictions, however the sponsor would be held financially and legally liable for any act committed by the Special Category Taxable, or "scat" as they were commonly called.
General principle aside, Haley had no desire to become a scat. She was quite aware of what happened to them, more often than not, although CNN and its fellow networks frequently ran heartwarming feature stories about down on their luck people who had been lucky enough to get Sponsors and now worked only eight hours a day in luxurious homes, ate good food every day, had their own private rooms and baths, and had become born-again Christians into the bargain.
"How about those apartments over by the river?" Rick suggested. "They've been vacant for a few months, but construction won't start for almost a year." The crew chief of the company that got the contract was a customer of Rick's, but wouldn't be a paying customer for much longer, he had said, unless he got a good steady gig to bridge the gap between now and converting those apartments to offices.
"Worth a look." Haley sipped her tea. "Sounds better than the storage container. I'd be movin' on up to the big time."
"I'll go with you," Rick offered. "Hey, by the way, I think a customer of yours came in here a couple of weeks ago. Guy with glasses? Has a little boy?"
"Hmm, maybe," Haley was wondering if by any chance, the water might still be connected in the apartments. Sometimes they forgot.. "Oh, yeah! the one I almost gave the kid's book to for free!"
Rick nodded. "Yeah, he was reading it in here."
Haley frowned. "That's not cool. I mean - in here, sure, but his dad really shouldn't encourage him to carry books around in public."
"And I told him as much," Rick wiped down the counter and reached for his jacket. "But I think they are going to be leaving the country soon, anyway. He was kind of vague. Now let's go take a look at your new home - maybe."
"Brother Robert," Falwell took Jones' outstretched hand, but instead of shaking it, clasped it between his own. "The Lord is not a respecter of persons, and he is not a respect of the agents of unchasteness. Satan assumes many forms, and we are not here to debate the means of the girl's sin, whether it be by foreign object, man, or beast. It is our duty to love the sinner enough to punish the sin, and help the lost lamb back to the fold."
Falwell released Jones' hand and bowed his head. "Let us have a word of prayer."
"So what happens now?" Roger put the pen down. He was not used to writing so much, even his name, and he had signed so many documents his hand was cramping.
"Now I fax these in," Ben handed the stack of papers to his paralegal. Actually, Peggy faxes these in," he smiled at the young woman. "That gets the ball rolling. Then I FedEX the hard copies over, in a few days they'll send us, well, another stack of papers."
"But those you won't have to sign," he added, seeing the dismay on Roger's face. Ben paused. This was fun.
"Those you put in a folder with your passport and take with you to the airport. Those papers will include one-way tickets for you and Chuchito to Morelia. From there you'll get a bus or a buggy or whatever they have down there to the village I'm not even going to try to pronounce. Everything you need will be in the packet, and the authorities in Morelia will know who you are and give you any help you need with transportation."
Ben grinned. This was REALLY fun.
"She'll be at the gate, waiting for you. You'll fly to Morelia together, all 3 of you."
Roger closed his eyes, took deep breaths. He would not, would NOT let himself get carried away yet. He needed to see those tickets, hold them in his hand. And he needed to see MariLuz there in the airport, sitting on an ugly plastic chair, waiting to take him home.
"Thanks, Ben," Roger breathed.
"It's my pleasure," said Ben. To his surprise, he really meant it.
"It's a nice area," Rick gestured toward the little park. "Just one checkpoint in and out, and there's a shortcut around that."
The water was still connected, Haley was pleased to note. "And I think we can keep it that way," Rick winked. Being generous with one's biryani here and there had its rewards. The water bureau had to hire Persons of Interest sometimes. There were just not that many blue collar Preferreds, and one of the regulars was one of Rick's regulars, in times of water bureau contracts and in between as well.
Haley looked around. The place was pretty clean, a little dusty from disuse, but no real dirt or what she called "demolition chunks." And as Rick had promised, demolition had not begun. The apartments were indeed, just sitting there, waiting for occupants.
Best of all, it was free. No rent to pay till the crews came in, ten months from now, almost a year. If she was really careful, and cut down on food and batteries, she could save, maybe enough for a seat in a van to Mexico and a new nose.... posted at
Actions like Sep 11 do not happen in a vaccuum.
Long before those hijackers ever stepped foot on the planes the damage
had been done. They were brainwashed with the same type of garbage
propaganda that is spewed from Fatwa's weblog.
Middle Eastern countries are so much more barbaric today and preAmercia than America can ever hope to be...America has only been around 230 years...who did you blame for everything before that Ductape? I am calling a Fatwa on your bullshit!
IMO - terrorist plain and simple. He is an Al queda operative who
should be put in a cage on gitmo Skinner
My favorite..."In Defense of Holocaust Deniers"
I always thought that "The Enemy Within" was just a metaphore for liberalism, that is, until I encountered Ductape Fatwa. He should be in an orange jumpsuit for sure.
peopleforchange.netductape is either a commie, al queda, or a deep cover mole
Tells you something about this asshole doesn't it. He's really serious.
I believe that DF is nothing but a Republican plant...
Ductape is a commie, a terrorist, and he drinks blood too. He drinks
Capitalist blood. He eats unborn babies too
Give me your address and I'll send you $20 and a thank-you note for taking your hatred elsewhere.
A terrorist with a sense of humor!
He ain't nuthin' but shit
inadequate, halfway house bullshit
You are a dumbass. Fuck you and your condescension about us "benighted sheeple." hamletta
Untruthful, damaging bullshit
no better than the neocons and no different than Timothy McVeigh
dailykos.coma turd in the punchbowl...if DF were Joe Hill he probably would have killed himself rather than get put to death.
A compost pile of fecundity
dailykos.comdespicable and literally mentally ill