Tuesday, October 26, 2021

The "Simple" Answer


"So if the President is removed from office, I assume using the 25th Amendment, obviously the Vice President takes over." SFC Joe Levine was trying to understand what his officers had in mind. The idea that there were eighteen people in the line of succession to the Presidency boggled his mind. Seemed like overkill to him.

MACS Janet Sorge said, 'Right now the Vice President has taken refuge in the Russian Embassy, of all places. So I'm kinda guessing that removes him from consideration. So next up is the Speaker."

"That geriatric witch?" Levine blurted out, "Sorry but I think she's a traitor. I've seen documents with her signature requesting UN intervention during the last election."

"But unless she's removed from office ... " Sorge began.

"Then we're stuck with her I guess."

Colonel Jeff Tanaka walked into the office after being down in the Operations Center talking with the Air Force Brigadier General who was running the show down there. Another officer who had "resigned" her commission then accepted commissioning as a lieutenant colonel in order to participate in the rebellion.

"There's a simpler solution troops ..."

Senior Chief Sorge looked up and asked, "Which is ... ?"

"We have the President order the Vice President to report for duty; when he doesn't, we take that as his resignation, dicey I know."

"So the President nominates a new Vice President which both Houses of Congress have to vote on. As if the President is going to go along with that." Levine objected.

"Look, the doctor who looked at him last said the old guy is on his last legs. He's barely coherent half the time. I think it's doable, so we get the former President nominated as the new Vice President, I mean the President actually likes the guy." Tanaka explained.

"Then the President resigns and bingo, we have a new President. But good luck getting Congress to go along with that!" Sorge pointed out.

Gunnery Sergeant MacAllister, who'd been listening in from the inner office chimed in, "Right now those Congress critters are terrified, they think they're going to be executed at any minute, well the crooked among them do. This is very doable. Of course, I'm just an old Gunny, what do I know?"

Former President Wilson James Rutherford  just shook his head when Admiral Fairchild and Colonel Tanaka explained Tanaka's plan to him. "It won't work gentlemen, as soon as you turn things back over to the elected officials who created this mess, they'll claim coercion and the Supremes will overturn all of your machinations."

Tanaka sat for a moment, eyes closed, he took a deep breath then opened his eyes. "There is an even simpler solution."

"Which is ... ?" the former President asked.

"We start executing people, those in the line of succession anyway. It may be tough to get to the Vice President, but I think we can convince the Russians to throw him out of their embassy."

"Jesus Jeff, that makes us no better than some banana republic!" Harry Fairchild came out of his seat and began pacing the floor.

"Well Harry, with the goddamn UN, then the Chinese running around in our territory, I think we have stooped to that level." Tanaka paused, then said, "When it's over, I'll take the fall, no matter what that might entail."

Fairchild and Rutherford looked at each other, there had to be some other way.

Jack Bishop was driving, he knew the roads better than anyone else. In the back were four heavily armed Guardsmen, two of Frank Teller's deputies, both men had served in Afghanistan in the Marines, and Billy Kasparian. Billy's wife Ida was sitting up front with him, she had a set of paper maps in front of her and a GPS receiver, the GPS was her backup.

The vehicle was a Caiman MRAP, which Ida had "liberated" from the police department in the county seat, saying, "What the Hell do those assholes need with a military vehicle? There's not enough crime in the county to even justify giving Barney Fife that single bullet."

Billy had laughed at that one, he stopped laughing when his wife had revealed that she'd taken the vehicle at gunpoint. "Are you serious?"

"Bastard wouldn't give me the keys ... "

As they approached Albany they began seeing lots of signs of disorder near the capital, abandoned cars, looted buildings, even the occasional dead body. Things in the city were far worse than they had heard.

Ye Meihui looked at the cheap pistol she had taken from a gang member, she wondered if the thug had ever bothered to clean the weapon. Fortunately it was a revolver, a simple mechanism which was less prone to jamming than an automatic. But before she had cleaned it, the odds of it firing cleanly would have been small.

She had been surprised at the gang activity in Albany, quite a few of them were foreign, from Quebec and also a surprising number from Central America. Of course, there were a lot of native born "gang bangers" as well. Due to the unrest in the northern part of the state the police in and around Albany had quickly been overwhelmed.

She had managed to bandage her wound and it only pained her a little. Though most of the drug stores had been looted, no surprise there, first aid materials were still available. She had been collecting just that when she had been confronted by the gang member, she assumed that he had come down from Canada based on his accent.

She had easily dispatched the man, she had had no choice but to kill him as he clearly meant to kill her once he'd had his "fun." She had been gratified by the stunned look on his face when she had crushed his larynx.

Looking back over the past few weeks, she realized that handing out debit cards to revolutionary groups, for she thought of them that way, was something which was completely ineffective now. In fact, had been so since the first "peacekeepers" had moved into the state. In her dealings with the Americans, she also realized that most of them were probably far too smart to actually use the cards. She also wondered if her superiors had intended to track the various groups through their purchases. And if so, why?

The MRAP rolled to a stop by the wrecked police car. Jack could see at least five bodies in the immediate vicinity of the wreck. One in the driver's seat of the wreck, in uniform, the other on the ground near the passenger's side, also in uniform. There were three dead civilians nearby, from the looks of their clothing, Jack figured that a bunch of gangbangers had ambushed the cops. Things in Albany didn't look good.

Jack looked at Ida, who said, "I've got a bad feeling about this." Turning to the crew compartment she said, "Hon, are you seeing this?"

Billy moved forward and said, "Damn, this is bad, really bad."

Sergeant Heather Jefferson looked at the big civilian and thought, "No shit Sherlock." Out loud she suggested that her fire team should dismount and have a look. Jack Bishop agreed.

Jefferson had Bill Winston, Kurt Jacobs, and Jennifer Taliaferro with her, all had performed well in the attack on the Chinese compound back in the winter months, she trusted them all with her life.

The team spread out to cover the MRAP. The nearby streets were lifeless, lots of broken glass and looted shops, she had a grim memory of her hometown of Baltimore. Joining the Army out of high school was the smartest thing she had ever done, joining the New York National Guard the second smartest. After Afghanistan she felt that she couldn't stay on active duty any longer, odds were good that she'd be deploying to that shithole again and again. "Dumb bastards withdrew back in '21, why the Hell did we go back in?" she muttered.

"Sarge, I got movement three buildings down, left side, top floor." Private First Class Taliaferro had her rifle scope on the location in question, Jefferson checked with her binoculars, yup, at least two people. Probably looters, she hadn't spotted anything that looked like a rifle.

"Keep an eye on 'em, Tolly. Jake, do you see that overturned dumpster just past the burned out cop car?"

"Got it Sarge."

"Slide on down there, see if you can get eyes down that side street."

Private Jacobs moved out while Winston covered him. To think he'd left the Corps for a "quiet" life in the Army National Guard. "Funny the shit life throws at ya," he thought.

"He's where?!?!" the President was furious, his own Vice President had apparently defected to the damned Russians.

"Can I fire the sumbitch?" he asked.

"Uh no Sir, you cannot. However, with the evidence we have available, I'm sure you can make a pretty good case for impeachment. Fleeing to a foreign embassy during a time of crisis looks really bad. I'd be willing to bet that the VP will resign voluntarily. Provided of course that the Russians will let us talk to him." The President's Chief of Staff was getting tired of explaining the President's job to him. He was a decent guy but mentally? He'd been going downhill since his second year in office.

For the moment the President looked like a petulant child, in his own heart he knew that he was starting to lose it mentally. "Damn it!"

White House Chief of Staff Rudy Petrocelli left the Oval Office and returned to his office nearby, the Chinese were making warlike noises, the UN was demanding explanations for the attacks on their peacekeepers, most of whom were now Chinese, and the President was losing his mind. He picked up his phone, dead, so he walked down to the White House Communications Office, Jed Kelly was minding the store.

"Jed, do we have any way of communicating outside of the White House?"

"Only if we go through the Pentagon Sir, the rebels cut off all communication here and over at the Capitol. We were running couriers around, but that's finished too, seems the military is now patrolling the city."

"The Pentagon, huh?"


"Get me a line to them, I wanna talk to the head rebel I guess."

"Give me a couple of minutes Sir. The system is down more than it's up, but I think I can get through now."

Petrocelli looked around and said, "Just do it Jed, things have gone far enough, we need to make peace with whoever is running the show over there."


"Well, sure, why the f**k not? They hold all the cards now."


  1. If I get any closer to the edge of my seat, I'm liable to fall off!!

  2. Rolling around, even with a good fire team is inadvisable. That MRAP is one bullet away from becoming a large road obstruction. Any truck mechanic can show you where to stall it. That is a hairy situation.

    Lots of threads in this now... And Tanaka is the real deal.

    "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."

    1. Who do you think they're fighting? Other Americans? Sometimes you have to take the risk and venture out, to make contact with like-minded souls and to scout out the enemy. Right now the Chinese threat is all but eliminated, those forces loyal to the corrupt politicians are in disarray. The only threat that MRAP is under is just a simple mechanical breakdown, which given the situation is a possibility. But to just hole up and wait? That's how you lose a war, you have to take the fight to the enemy.

      And yes, Colonel Tanaka is the real deal.

    2. Your Sergeant made the right call; armored vehicles (All vehicles, really) need " Dismounts".
      Boat Guy

    3. BG - Roger that. One always needs infantry.

    4. May I instead suggest "Infantry always needs support?" Great story, hope your Muse allows you to play it for all it's worth. regards, Alemaster

    5. I'd quibble about the word "needs." But no infantryman worth his/her salt would turn down support. (Air/artillery/tanks/etc.)

    6. OAFS, yes I figured if they were in Albany, and seeing gangsters laying everywhere, they were going into a "blue on blue". I can understand the recce for friendlies, but I wasn't aware the CCPA was a paper dragon at this point. Just spit balling, but as forces fold and retreat, cities make horrible battle fields, and are force multipliers for defense. I didn't see any air superiority, so I was a bit worried for them. Every trip to the big city is fraught with danger.

      Gripping stuff, Sarge. I'm fully invested.

    7. Yes, the Chinese are gone, most of the internecine warfare between gangs is dying down, but it's still dangerous. Trust me, they'll be careful.

      Thanks STxAR.

  3. Enough heads need to roll otherwise........

    1. There's plenty that probably deserve it, but past a certain point it becomes barbarism. Most of the ones on the side of evil are just the "go along to get along" types and will follow whoever the next person in charge is. Human nature I suppose.

  4. Messy business, running a revolution. Too bad they can't just write a new constitution, but that'd be counter productive. Finding ways to work within the bounds of the one we already have is the only workable option but damn, that's not gonna be easy. I'm gonna have to cast my vote for military tribunals, and associated executions, where warranted, for treason.
    As to being no better than a Banana Republic, they've already taken us there. Seems like the only way back is to eliminate all the guilty parties.
    Couple of minor edits;
    “…we an convince the Russians…” can
    “…Chinese running around n our territory…” in
    Nitpicking, it's what I do.

    1. There are no simple answers.

      (Fixed the nits, I wish I could claim it's because I type so fast. 🙄)

  5. This keep getting better. Part of me wants a whole bunch of backfill, before we progress. Another wants more of other states wondering how to cope.
    Another ... I'm thoroughly hooked.
    Potential edits:

    Which is ...?


    report for duty; when he doesn't, we take that as his resignation. Dicey, I know."

    1. If I feel it advances the storyline, I will do some backfill, you've seen a little here and there.

      I was "today years old" when I learned about putting spaces around an ellipsis.

      I did blow the semi-colon, I never know when to use those. (Fixed all that stuff.)

    2. I didn't understand the ellipsis until I learned it was a word. No letters, but it was typeset as if it was a word. And thus, the following space or punctuation attaches to it (sometimes meaning a messy construction where the first "word" on a line is an ellipsis. Rewrite!

      Semi-colon joins two independent sentences that are linked, where "and" is not appropriate, more of a "then". Not "this and that", but "this, then that" or "this; that".

      Things I learned teaching TeX.

    3. Space before the ellipsis? And after? All these years I've been doing it wrong? What's a guy to do ...

    4. I love learning things. Ellipsis as a word, makes sense if you think about it.

    5. Beans - I see what you did there.

    6. Blogger word-checker says "word..." is correct and "word ... " isn't. Then again, we live in fallen times.

    7. "word..." at the end of a sentence is just incorrect (at least as I was taught.)

      Three ... between (frequently, or sometimes ..., with commas. Four to end.... Which is weird, the nominally terminal period sneaking in early.

      Anyone who told you that English, or American, or typesetting either, is logical was oversimplifying. Sometimes wrong" looks right, and vice-versa.

    8. Beans - "Blogger word-checker" is deficient in so many ways.

    9. htom - Four to end looks weird. But then again, most of English looks weird. (At least compared to deutsch.)

  6. Revolutions are a messy business. Apparently there is one rolling in the Sudan right now. It looks - apparently - as messy as the one you write about.

    The line of succession is indeed a d*mnable thing and always a tricky one, especially when the "line" is unreliable at best.

    I do like the macro and micro intersperses. Revolutions are indeed national in nature, but made up of a great many local events as well.

    1. I'm trying to keep the scope limited, it would be too easy to include too much and lose the thread of a particular story line. (Like the Brits in my WWII novel, I need to finish that thread rather than just stopping it, which I did here on the blog.)

      As to Sudan, I hadn't heard about that, that country has long been a mess.

  7. Hey Old AFSarge;

    The MRAP is the best way to travel for the moment, unless you happen to snag a track, but those have their own set of issues. It is the best balance of mobility and protection. the biggest threat they will most likely encounter are gangs and unless the gangs ripped off an armory, all they have are small arms and an MRAP is proof against those. The Lines of succession were set up intentionally to be difficult to prevent a president's removal from office for spurious reasons by the opposing party and to prevent the country being leaderless during a crisis. The old white guys planned well. Excellent story :)

    1. Actually the Founders left Presidential succession pretty unclear. The Constitution had this to say regarding succession to the Presidency (Article II, Section 1, Clause 6): In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.

      Since then three Amendments (12th, 20, and 25th) and three Acts of Congress (1792, 1886, and 1947 - tweaked multiple times since 1947) have clarified and expanded the line of succession to the Presidency.

  8. Well...The MRAP protects the operators against small arms, but the vehicle itself has a couple of vulnerable spots.
    Boat Guy

    1. All vehicles have a weak spot, there are always trade-offs I suppose. But it beats riding in an old pickup truck or van.

  9. MRAP fire suppression system is a game changer for anyone inside . There is a handle on outside of vehicle. I've heard that kids in Iraq and Afghanistan used to do the job for the muzzies.

    1. Fire suppression systems save lives.

      When they're used properly!

  10. Either an MRAP, courtesy of government surplus, or a Lenco Bearcat (big assed SWAT vehicle, nigh unto a MRAP, even with a roof-mounted turret) are the preferred vehicles of law enforcement organizations for urban pacification usage. Next step down is an old Bank Armored Truck, with out-of-date vests stuffed into the front quarter panels and lining the walls and doors. All three vehicles (with the armored truck uparmored) if equipped with run-flat tires will be resistant to anything short of light anti-tank weapons (laws including molotovs.)

    So, good choice. Anything 'armored' looking will scare the street creatures away in a free-fire zone. The only reason that BLM and Antifa aren't scared of them yet is the various departments facing BLM and Antifa have yet to use the awesome capabilities of any of these vehicles.

    Though the bank truck would most likely bog down on the first 8-10 protestors, the MRAP and the Bearcat would most likely make it through.

    As to surviving having to shove things or contact things with force, again, the bank truck is not the best, but it can handle smashing small cars and limited barricades apart. The other two, especially if fitted with a hedgerow-cutter style bully bar set, well, short of anything like a bank truck or other armored vehicle, as long as the obstruction is one-vehicle in depth only, the MRAP and Bearcat will make it through.

    Assuming that the roads aren't iced over, or covered in burning oil or something, all three are good choices. The Bearcat is probably the most comfortable to ride in, followed by the bank truck then the MRAP.

    A distant fourth would be an up-armored (using UHMW plastic panels and old ballistic vests) basic delivery truck (like a U-Haul) but those aren't really designed for that purpose. Some departments have them because they couldn't get a gov-surplus MRAP or Bearcat (the military and three-letter-agencies used a lot of Bearcats overseas before MRAPs were available) and some use them as 'covert insertion vehicles' because there's no hiding the looks of an MRAP or Bearcat or even a bank truck.

    Had experience dealing with Bearcats, converted bank trucks and converted delivery trucks. Never got to look into an MRAP but from the guys who used them, they were basically Bearcats on steroids and more expensive and more subject to breaking down, but also with more firing ports and windows to look out with.

    A STRYKER would have been a tad bit too obvious, and I don't know any police department that has one. Though there are some PDs and SDs that have Cadillac Gage V-100/150 armored cars, usually with a battering ram mounted on the front, but that's old school, as the Bearcat is really better for the urban environment, though the CG cars are overall better for third world usage, and were MRAPpy before MRAPs became uber popular (outside of South Africa and Rhodesia, that is.)

    Having to clarify and transcribe and reformat the local SWAT manual and one of the SWAT commander's private security business gave me the opportunity to see a side of law enforcement that not a lot of people got to see. The diplomatic protection formations still stick in my mind (that's where X number of agents stay in Y formation around Z important person (always 1 person, more needs W number of teams.)

    Weirdly fascinating and the fun I could have using my knowledge for all the wrong reasons... Nah, too much like work...

    1. Also, off-road capability goes: MRAP first, Bearcat, Delivery Truck and then a distant third - Bank Armored Truck (those things suck for anything worse than very good roads.)

  11. As to the line of succession in our host's story, wonder how the line of succession matches the list of traitors? And what are the military rules for dealing with traitors in a war-zone? (talking about WWII rules, not special findings and executive orders that make traitors into rock-star prisoners that have to be coddled and get treated like, well, rock stars.)

    Not being familiar with how our military rules are set up to handle traitors, spies and such in a field situation. Are they allowed to have a summary court-martial followed by an execution?

    Reason being, well, this is a military coup. No ifs, ands or buts about it. So far 2 of the three legs of government have been affected, as our noble host hasn't said anything about the Supreme Court or Federal Courts yet. Though judging how the Supremes and lower courts handled the stealection, I'd say they are also affected by outright traitors and seditionists.

    Regarding shooting congresscritters... Death to any congresscritter who signed their names to any treasonous document. Death to any congresscritter who verbally agreed with any treasonous act. Not just the leaders, like the gin/wine/icecream soaked hag of a House leader, but all the way down. Even the flippy-floppy ones that vote one way and then another. Put your name or your face to an illegal, treasonous, immoral or seditious action and you should get the Drop. Long for those who are only partly evil. Short drop or pull for those more and fully involved.

    (Okay, here's the skinny on hanging.

    Long-drop means, well, long drop. Snaps neck, maybe even popping the head off. Quick death.

    Short drop means just that, a short drop. Rope is taut, person is standing on an object, object gets kicked out from below them, they dangle and strangle. If allowed, any friends of the hangee can come and yank on them, thus breaking the neck, otherwise a slow and nasty death.

    Pull is just that. Rope goes over something, hangee is standing or sitting, and people pull the rope until the hangee is dangling. Slow death, and one can make the lesser conspirators do the pulling (with the threat of quick death by stabbing or shooting to those who slack on the rope.)

    All are horrible ways to die. Which is why civilizations use them, or other means like defenestration (throwing out of windows) or drowning or being pulled apart by animals or whatever. As an example for the next treasonous/seditious/immoral/illegal person.

    And all of this should be done as much in public as possible. No back alley executions or quiet disappearances. Read the damning charges and evidence out loud to a crowd or a camera, then do the act. Go to the next, do the act. Or read the charges on a group, then do the group act.

    When getting rid of cancer, a doctor doesn't (or shouldn't) cut just a little. Cut aggressively. Burn out or cut the cancer out. Get rid of the infection's or the cancer's sources. And then follow down the line zapping all the little tumors and rotten places.

    The Tree of Liberty thirsts for traitors' blood.

    1. 👍

      My you're loquacious today. 😉

    2. "My, you're loquacious today." Fixed it for you.

      And, yes, the current situation we are living in has gotten my fur ruffled.

  12. The last professional hangman in the UK; one "Pierpont" by name wrote his memiors. The Brit technique is said to be both effective and relatively humane.
    Boat Guy

    1. Yes, Albert Pierrepoint, I watched a film about him, very interesting. Film was (fittingly) titled Pierrepoint.

  13. It's good to read about Patriots in the military and law enforcement stepping up, but they are far outnumbered by patriotic 2A supporting Americans in the general population. They could probably easily squelch the Chinese or others, especially if they could get organized.

    1. Your random 2A supporting American would get chewed to pieces by any regular military force in a stand up fight. Hopefully we'd know to snipe, delay, confuse, and annoy the enemy. My biggest worry is the many folks who have taken some sort of "tactical" weapons training, they might think they have a chance, in reality, none at all.

      "Easily squelch ..." - only if the enemy were dumb enough to travel around by twos and threes. If they're organized they're part of a militia organization, forming those after the fact would be very, very hard. We should do what the French Maquis did, sabotage, pick off individuals, then hunker down and hope the reprisals don't touch anyone we know or love. You know there will be reprisals, its what Commies do.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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