Plot Line For A Spy Novel

If we were to write a spy novel, one of those exciting mysteries with skulduggery in the back rooms of nation states, secret messages, insider agents, moles, and punctuated with personal faults, this would be a great plot line:

One nation, the major protagonist we might call Rushtanastan, is still recovering from years of economic turmoil following the collapse of a dictatorship regime based on centralized commune control, as it transforms to an open market capitalist form of economy. Beset by unfettered criminal activity and greed among a few of the surviving leaders, they set out to compete with their main adversary, a world power leader we might call Americstan, which was mostly the agent of their collapse.

Rushtanastan’s goal is to undermine the power of Americstan so that their influence on the global scene is diminished to a third world level. They realize that direct confrontation would not be feasible. Military actions would cause very negative results, to the point of their total destruction.  How to proceed?  First, they train agents and slowly infiltrate the enemy’s society, in business, education, press, military, and government. It starts at the local level, electing city, county, and state politicians, making business deals that encourage investments in Rushtanastan, and developing media outlets that look and sound patriotic.

Rustanastan spends years carefully cultivating business relations with selected Amricstan entrepreneurs, and infiltrating the upper levels of the major political organizations, and into the halls of the most secret intelligence agencies, with sleeper cells and deeply embedded agents. Biding their time until they have all the actors in place, Rustanastan uses their plants to sow doubts and fears about social ills, assaults on civil rights, orchestrates economic failures, undermines confidence in the social safety nets, shifts in demographics, and hammers on the patriotic feelings that those fears arouse. Propaganda flows from their sources to influence the unaware populace.

Fast forward two decades:     Engineering an economic collapse takes a lot of hard work and heaps of luck, but they manage to create a crisis that almost causes a world wide major depression and the collapse of smaller nations, using the greed of high-rolling investors to lure them into bogus deals backed by D- rated securities. The collapse is almost total, but Americstan manages to survive, although with severe damages. Social upheaval rolls across the land, with millions of the population suffering loss of employment and homes. The people are very unhappy, and many stay that way even after a very strong recovery over the next 8 years. Many feel left out, left behind as the economy booms. And they are correct, because it is the outcome designed into the plan.

Next, they foment civil wars in unstable countries in the Middle East, backing one against the other, funding the tribal leaders in their quest for dominance. It is a great distraction, and a dark hole into which other’s resources are dumped trying to alleviate the turmoil. It also creates millions of refugees seeking a safe haven.

Engineering an election becomes the next step, grooming a candidate, indoctrinating the support team, publishing the propaganda through their established “news” media. Rustanastan helps get their candidate elected by issuing fake news reports, paid trolls on social media, leaked emails, and constant alarming press issues. During that time they are also in quiet communications with their candidate’s staff.  They use those calls to undermine the country’s security by allowing those calls to be recorded, and eventually released, all part of the plan.

Knowing that a direct assault would be fruitless, they use their planted agents to erode Amricstan from the inside, creating doubts, fears, dividing the people into left and right, neighbor against neighbor, race against race., religion against religion, citizen against citizen.

As Americtan focuses on their internal battles, battles that  are carefully orchestrated, Rustanastan mounts military actions against weaker countries that test the will of Amricstan to resist. Each military push is designed to gain territory for expanding their economic power, and access to free export of their major resources: unrefined petroleum, methane, and seed crops.

As their plan evolves, the social erosion in Americstan continues unabated. Until masses of people in the public domain, some contrite politicians, and several uncompromised intelligent wonks investigate, tear open the curtain, reveal the culprits hiding inside Americstan and bring them to justice.

Rustanastan  responds with military threats that are supported by their closest ally, a closed country we’ll call Nordekorestan, which launch ICBMs toward Americstan, but are successfully destroyed in flight.

International agencies attack Rushtanastan with sanctions that cause their economic collapse.  The world is saved.

 

The End.

 

 

 

 

Educators Bowing to Political Will

The GOP assault on public education is showing up in local districts as administrators and their staffs are reacting to the pressure and political will by reducing support for school extracurricular activities, and cutting funding for arts.

On the local scene, a highly rated play was to be produced and performed by the high school drama club, with thoroughly researched and with prior approval of the administration, back in the Fall of 2016. When the costs were later projected to exceed the limited budget, the project was cancelled. On inspection, the cancellation was not based on the cost overage.  Several generous offers to fund the cost overrun were rejected out of hand.

On deeper inspection, a possible reason for the rejection looms. One or more of the students  were angry that they were not to be selected for the leading role, as the Director/Producer had pre-selected that role. Those students left the audition in anger, along with their mothers.  Shortly after, the Asst. Principal shut the project down.

The reason given was the over budget issue. The over budget amount was offered as a gift. It was rejected out of hand.  No other reason was forthcoming, and no discussion of the issue was permitted. Abrupt, haughty, cold rejection.

Why was the project shut down?  We can only guess at the real reason(s) behind that decision, because it wasn’t because of the funding.  Unless we accept “alternate facts”.

What seems evident is that the administration is bowing to the political pressure to eliminate arts from their programs as a curriculum, and threats from angry stage moms. The political pressure probably comes from the new folks in DC and their fellow like-minded politicians in Richmond., from whence most of the funds flow. The local pressure probably comes from the stage mom whose child didn’t get picked for the lead role. IMHO,

On the political side, it is a short sighted view that will decrease the learning, and dumb down our rising generations.  It is a long term mistake. On the personal side, it is a personal vendetta heaped on the director. There is little we can do about it until the next election.

If we get another chance to vote for change.

Jim

 

Amazing Chases, Amazing Times

In spite of all my best efforts, I have not been able to tear myself away from the streaming posts on FB, on news sites, the screaming headlines on the TV, and the CNN reports on the WH press conferences.  The constant flow of reports, news items, and inflaming headlines, along with the “alternate facts”  offered by DJT’s representatives, is compelling viewing.

Each moment there are more and more issues popping up, some from real sources with cogent and verifiable news, and most from places that must be hidden in someone’s basement hideaway.

It is more fascinating than watching soap operas, un-reality TV shows, Faux News, Mayberry RFD, and a three ring clown car circus all at the same time.  The mind whirls in the maelstrom.

Caught up in that swirling mess, I see myself getting drawn in deeper and deeper each hour. It is hard to resist responding to the awful things that are obviously false, misconstrued, and even vicious attacks on any one who expresses a thought that does not conform to the current GOP/Trump agenda. It is harder still to not post my outrage and fears.

Each day we see more and more measures to reduce the opportunity for people to express their valid concerns with the WH, or to have access to unbiased news reports. The attack is on the First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and the free press, limiting who will be given information at the press conferences, and who will be able to air those conferences.

To  top it all off, the issue of numerous executive orders cancelling those of the prior administration.  I guess that is to be expected, but those repealed orders will have serious long term consequences.

I’ve tightened my seat belt for the coming ride.  In the meantime, I’ll try to cut back on the gawking at the train wreck.

 

Jim

 

 

 

 

 

 

Separating Motive From Reason

What doesn’t seem to be getting through to the Trump supporters is that our protesting is not about Hillary losing. We got that. Dome, over.   It is not about who won or lost. It is not about playing a game.  This is not a game, this is real life, with real consequences.

It is about protecting our basic rights, our freedoms that are  now under dire attack by fanatical zealots who are determined to tear down all we have built over the past 50 years, over voting rights, the right to personal choice, of equal rights, and the basic safety nets of Social Security, Health care, Medicare, Medicaid.  It is about protecting simple human kindness, and a helping hand for those who need it.

If we give in to the pressure to “accept” the outcome of the election (the Electoral College, when the real vote of the people was almost three million against their choice) and quietly knuckle under, then we are failing in our citizenship.  It is our sacred duty to stand up to wrong, to resist the erosion of our god given rights, to protest the law, to protect the freedoms built into our sacred document, to stop the ravaging of our country.

I do not accept that the current office tenant is valid, but since he is there, and duly sworn in, I demand that he and his team respect and carry out the functions of government with due regard for the rights of all, and to sustain those achievements we have fought so hard for over the years. Truth will not allow them to do anything else.

We will not go back. We will resist any erosion of our rights. We will hold them responsible. We will hold them to the truth.

 

Jim

 

 

Searching For Hope in 2017

Reading posts about the inauguration and how so many people, even those who support Trump, express their HOPE for a better future, I find it unnerving that their view of the future is so caught up in the campaign rhetoric. Mine, too.

Hope is what keeps us plodding onward, in the face of obstacles that loom in our way. That the new political scene has promised to “make America great” again (when America is already great) and many other empty promises, while actively tearing down the basic values we hold dear, like free speech, free press, public education, global warming,  social assistance safety nets, and equality is frightening.

I am amazed that thinking people can actively ignore the multiple blatant negatives of character to gain one single-issue success. Is it rational to do that? I wonder. What they don’t get is that the single-issue they crave, for whatever reason, is an illusion, promises to gain their vote, but very unlikely to be reached.

This is not limited to either party, and I am not saying that the Democrats would carry out all they promised, either; it is a fact of our politics. But we can, and do, hold politicians to task when we have an active and free press that investigates and reports to the public. It is disturbing that among the first action of the new administration was to exclude the press corps from the White House briefing room.  That may not stick, but it is indicative of the direction they want to take. Suppressing the press is one of the first steps to anarchy, and what was done in Germany in the 1930’s.  We allow this at our extreme peril. .

Other orders are coming, and they do not offer hope. Instructions to start the repeal of the ACA, by bits and pieces, are not helpful nor is cutting welfare programs, privatizing social security and medicare and Veteran Affairs, gutting education, and defunding Planned Parenthood. It is not hopeless, but the hope of a better future for America is fading far beyond my limited view, far into the future. It may be decades before it is reversed.

Those are the real promises given, and expected to be delivered by those big donors who bought and paid for the government this time.

It is my hope, what is left of it anyway, that the coming generations of smarter and wiser young people will quickly take the steps to correct the direction in which we are now headed. (The Women’s March yesterday does give me some hope.)  We could spend weeks just listing the distruction planned, but until the fallout is evident, making a change will be impossible.

So I have faint hope that the next few months and years will not take us to the dark chasm of nuclear destruction of civilization.  With hope we may be able to divert that stumbling movement toward a world of peace and cooperation.

It is our only hope.

Jim

 

 

 

World Wide March for Equality

Today will be recorded as the most widespread peaceful political protest rally in human history.   People from around the world, mostly women, with support from men and children joining in, marched in support of the Women’s March On Washington. It is an amazing world event that has never happened before. It could not have happened without social media and freedom of speech.

The political movers and shakers around the world can no longer ignore the people, they can no longer do as they, or their puppet master, wish. They are now held accountable. Their actions will be broadcast around the globe in a flash of FB postings, Tweets, and emails. The world will know, and it will respond.

We are getting closer to a unified community with each day, as we connect in the ether, which makes us stronger, with more powerful voices. The power centers will have to listen. They can only ignore it at their peril.

Thanks to all who worked so hard to bring this earthshaking event to fruition. It will grow to a global movement, and with luck, save us from the total destruction of humanity..

 

March On.

 

Jim

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The Many Faces of Joe

The given name of “Joe” in our family has a long history, going back several generations to my great-great-uncle Joe Mayo, son of Stephen Lacy Mayo, Sr. My great-grandmother  Anna Davis Mayo was his step-mother, and aunt.   She was only a few years older than he, which is the subject for another day.

Anna’s grandson was named “Joe Mayo” and his son was named Joe Mayo, Jr. both with the surname “Francis”.  Joe, Jr. was my oldest brother.

We could spend decades talking about all those Joe’s, relating their personalities and exploits, and some are very worth relating. For instance, Joe, Sr. was one of the most educated and wise man I ever knew, mostly self-educated. He had a simple philosophy:

SEEK THE TRUTH       APPRECIATE BEAUTY       STRIVE FOR EXCELLENCE

(  For my mantra, I have added:  SPEAK THE TRUTH    EXPOSE THE LIES  )

Known as “Papa Joe” he left a legacy that has benefited his progeny, and many of his friends by encouraging their awareness, their thirst for knowledge, and their quest for fairness.

So it with a happy heart and great feeling that I wish my now 12 year old grandson a very

HAPPY BIRTHDAY     Joe-Joe 

May you grow into your destiny with the wisdom and kindness you have inherited from your namesake.

Papa