She was meeting him at Pyongyang II, North Korea’s version of food propaganda, their latest tool to subvert western thought though your taste buds. It may sound bizarre, but for North Koreans, bizarre is a way of life. They’d try the wi-fi network, she’d be the diversion, do all the talking, make a fuss and he’d see if the network was connected to the mainframe at the embassy. They were sure it would be, that’s how North Korean’s thought.
She’d known Tan for a few years but had never worked with him. He was pretty dull unless you got him talking about food or the inner workings of secure networks. Food could be interesting, networks were not her forte. She knew he’d been barred from the casinos in Macau. Hotel security had facial recognition software with his picture on their mainframe. The casinos didn’t know how many decks of cards he could count, no one did, not even Tan himself. It didn’t matter, by the time they’d counted the house was in a financial black hole. There were no tricks or gimmicks, just overwhelming brainpower. Tan thought it came from eating noodles, he loved spicy noodles. Five feet tall and two hundred pounds of fat and brainpower. Noodles for breakfast and dinner with several servings in between. He preferred them spicy but would eat them bland, it didn’t matter. There was always chili sauce close at hand. He ate more when they were hot and spicy. Spices caught his appetite and didn’t let go. His mother had made the best spicy hotpot.
University had been a bore, the professors didn’t understand his questions and begrudgingly recognized his brilliance. One professor recognized this and knew where it would be put to good use. Professor Kan gave him a decryption exercise so difficult that it had taken weeks for an SIS team to decipher. Tan had it done in a few hours and termed the exercise – entertaining.
Suddenly there were interviews on his political thoughts. He’s never thought about politics and told them so. He just loved Singapore. They searched his email, twitter and facebook accounts. There was nothing political, in fact there was very little of anything. One photo of him eating noodles on Facebook and he described himself as ‘male’, end of biography.
Ocassionally he got sent into the field, but never alone, he was too valuable to loose.
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Monday, March 26, 2012
He was on the balcony waiting. She’d arrive on a motorbike, it saved money. She was part Chinese, a creature of repetition. She was left handed but held her gun in her right hand and drew it from behind her back. He knew her every movement. It started to rain, a sudden deluge that became a torrent. He stepped back from the railing, there she was pulling up on the back of a motorbike. He put down his soda and walked to the exit. There were sixty three stairs down to the street, he’d get her halfway up the stairs. He got to the top of stairs and looked down, she was halfway up shaking her umbrella. He raised his gun to fire, she was twenty steps away when he heard the first shot. He thought he’d fired, but hadn’t pulled the trigger, he felt his knees buckle and his hand could no longer hold his gun. His arm felt limp. He fell forward and was dead as he tumbled past her on the stairs a trail of blood behind him down to the street. The moto drivers didn’t know whether to run for cover. Ming came down the stairs, gun in hand. The moto drivers were frozen, unsure if they’d be next. She knew he was dead, but it was always safer to check. She knelt beside him feeling his coat pockets and found it. She wanted his phone.
‘Call the police’. She called out to know one in particular, but three moto drivers had the number on their speed dial. They were relieved, whatever had happened, she’d stopped shooting.
She ruined a good umbrella, there was a burn hole where the nylon was torn by the bullets thrust. She’d wanted to play pool and relax for an hour, now she’d have to answer police questions, ‘what a way to start a Friday night’ she thought.
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Tuesday, January 24, 2012
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THE JADE FALCON
A Story set in
BANGKOK & PHNOM PENH
We loaded our bags into the taxi and got into the back seat. I’d wrapped the falcon in plastic bubble wrap and covered it with my clothes. It fitted snugly into my carry-on suitcase. The narrow Soi lead to Sukhumvit, there was little traffic on a Sunday morning, and we were quickly at the toll booth entrance to the expressway. I wasn’t sure that our driver had been to bed yet, he looked disheveled and slightly strung out. He paid the toll and were quickly moving along at 140 k’s. I told him to slow down using my hands for emphasis. A Mercedes sped past and he was immediately trying to keep up with it. I tapped him on the shoulder and motioned to calm down. The repetitious sound of the tires hitting the concrete joints slowed. Ten minutes on the expressway and the light traffic had thinned to a few cars. I finally relaxed and looked at Ming. She smiled, although the speed of the taxi hadn’t bothered her. She touched my shoulder smiling, then suddenly pulled me down and forward toward her. In the same instant the rear window imploded sending glass into the taxi. In another second a motorcycle sped past us. I saw the pistol in the same instant the shot rang out shattering the rear window. A second shot rang out, and pinged off the taxi. The driver screamed and stopped the taxi in the shoulder lane. We could see the motorbike a hundred yards ahead. It stopped, saw that we had stopped, then turned speeding toward us.
‘Get out, get out.’ Ming yelled, pushing the door open and pulling me behind the taxi. The driver was out in an instant beside us, the fear of death in his face. I saw the motorcyclist fifty yards away his outstretched hand holding a pistol pointed and ready. In the split second I had looked up the expressway, Ming now had a small black baretta in her hand. Our heads were down and we heard the motorcycle getting closer, he must have been beside us. Ming pushed us around the side of the car, while the rider fired shots toward the rear. Ming moved us to the front of the taxi as the rider got off the motorbike to finish the kill.
Ming stood up, took a step out from the car and shouted. ‘Police, drop the gun.’
The rider ignored her warning and turned to fire. She let off two quick shots. The first shattered his helmet, the second his spinal chord. The gun fell from his hand as his knees buckled. He was dead before his head hit the concrete. Our driver let out another scream when he saw the motorcyclists blood, then got up and repeatedly thanked Ming for saving his life. The light traffic had slowed to see the commotion, most of the drivers thinking there had been an accident between the motorbike and the taxi.
Ming said, ‘Let’s get out of here.’ We got our bags from the trunk. A few cars passed and slowed for what they though had been an accident. Another taxi slowed and we waved him to stop.
‘Airport’, Ming said as she smiled.
The driver said, ‘Yes, yes, ok, ok.’
Inside the taxi he asked, ‘Bad accident? Driver ok?’
‘Yes, bad accident, driver ok.’ I replied.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
We ask members of the United States Armed Forces to perform extraordinary services on behalf of the American people. They defend America with courage and dedication. These qualities must be backed with sufficient resources to enable our military to be an effective and lethal fighting force. Mere words do not deter tyrants and dictators.
The Obama administration says planned cuts in U.S. defense spending will not degrade American military capabilities or the nation’s ability to confront threats on the world stage. Tell that to Joints Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey, he's all smiles:
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Saying goodbye is never easy. Having a house guest that’s great company, has great moral and American values, is articulate, warm and inspiring is a wonderful experience. The thing about house guests is, you can always invite them back.
So, it’s goodbye Michelle, it was great having you in our house and we hope you find a way to visit us again.
President Obama inherited a bad economy and his policies have not improved the situation. All those new jobs created are in the low paying sectors of food service and health care, not in high tech or manufacturing.
Lack of jobs has forced 44 million Americans to accept government assistance. Forty four million people is greater than the population of California (37m). The money to pay for food stamps comes from government borrowing. The national debt is now 100% of GDP. $15 trillion = $15 trillion.
While 200,000 new jobs a month may seem like a good number, we need to create over 400,000 per month to compensate for the increasing population and lack of job growth during the recession. It took ten years for the labor force participation rate to go from 67% to 64%. It will take at least another TEN years to get back to the levels of the year 2000.
We handed our economy over to the environmentalists and they gave us high gas prices.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
“He was a very outspoken person,” said Roh Moo-hyun, who as South Korea’s president met Mr. Kim in Pyongyang in 2007. “He was the most flexible man in North Korea.”
In fact, he was the only flexible man in North Korea, all the others were in prison or dead.
Wendy Sherman, now the No. 3 official in the State Department, who served as counselor to Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and accompanied her to North Korea, said in 2008: “He was smart, engaged, knowledgeable, self-confident, sort of the master-director of all he surveyed.”
She’s not talking about President Bush here, but no doubt this assessment would also apply to Stalin, Pol Pot, Gadaffi and all the other notable mass murderers of the 20th century. It gives you a warm and fussy feeling about our State Department, they sure have a handle on diplomacy.
Monday, December 19, 2011
Jello used to be one of my favorite foods, that was before the the Red Jello man started referring to our President's negotiating tactics. The most recent pre-Christmas affront to the jello loving electorate was uttered by the Blue Jello Schumer, talk about ruining my Christmas dessert.
Unfortunately jello is an apt analogy for the spineless wonders that inhabit Capital Hill. Extend unemployment insurance,(just a small serving please), cut spending (over 20 years), new pipelines (after an election).
What is it with these Neanderthals throwing jello at each other?
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Newt has some great advise for young people, ‘get to work’ become an apprentice janitor. This advise comes from real world experience, not Newt’s mind you but someone’s. While Newt was studying hard to get his college degree his wife worked hard supporting him – he was too busy for a part time job- and when it came to getting his Ph.D. – she kept on supporting him in his academic endeavors. That’s how he got to know that the Palestinian’s aren’t a ‘real’ people – they’re invented. Maybe like Newt, just invented from reading and writing too many books. But I don’t want to give books a bad rap.
Newt’s so smart he added an additional pledge to the American people, he’ll be faithful to his wife. I’m sure his wife will be pleased to hear that. Did Newt forget fidelity was included in the marriage vows? He was probably working too hard at the time. Newt recalled previous infidelities by explaining, “There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate.” You couldn’t make this stuff up. Patriotism and hard work caused the infidelity?
Finally, ask yourself this – is Newt smart, clever, an excellent debater, possessed of hair brained ideas, given to grandiose statements and unearthly ideas? Yes to all of the above. Do I want Newt to be the next President of the United States? Not in my lifetime.
Monday, December 12, 2011
Sunday, December 11, 2011
OBAMA’S CHRISTMAS GIFT TO THE GOP
A 2012 RECESSION
While the Republican presidential hopefuls busy themselves with debates the US economy continues to ‘muddle’ through producing a sub par number of jobs and a total workforce in contraction mode. This ‘muddle through’ economy may be about to end and end with a bang. The bang will be a recession that will all but seal the demise of President Obama’a second (hoped for) term.
In another month or two you might ask yourself why you haven’t heard from the hordes of economic forecasters that a recession was in the works. Well, there are a few economic forecasters predicting a recession (if we’re not in one already), but you won’t be hearing about it in the MSM or on CNBC. Recessions are depressing to report and most importantly, the MSM have their long standing liberal bias, sort of like goggles with tiny wholes to prevent snow blindness. Cover your eyes and ears and maybe it will disappear or you may be able to report that, ‘ the recession that started three months ago is nearly over’, you might even get an unexpected thrill up your leg.
That thrill in your leg is going to turn into a severe aneurysm and President Obama will have to explain why another recession was spawned on his watch. Expect the usual suspects. He’ll blame Republicans in Congress, the European debt crisis, the Japanese tsunami, President Bush and of course the rich that won’t pay more taxes. Have I missed anyone? Finally, it will be full-scale class warfare a la Reverend Wright and Bill Ayers. Americans won’t buy the rhetoric, jobs are no substitute for ‘ hope and change’.
I wish the President well in his final year in office. He’ll be reincarnated as a community organizer, write a few books, give speeches and become almost as wealthy as Bill Clinton. Good luck to him and God Bless America.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
New Bedford fisherman forced to give up 800-pound tuna
By DON CUDDY
November 21, 2011
This fish story may lack the epic qualities of Ernest Hemingway's 1952 classic“The Old Man and the Sea,” but for New Bedford's Carlos Rafael, the outcome was about the same. In both cases, despite capturing and bringing home a huge fish, powerful circumstances conspired to deprive the luckless fishermen of a potentially huge reward.
Boat owner Rafael, a big player in the local fishing industry, was elated when the crew of his 76-foot steel dragger Apollo told him they had unwittingly captured a giant bluefin tuna in their trawl gear while fishing offshore.
“They didn't catch that fish on the bottom,” he said. “They probably got it in the midwater when they were setting out and it just got corralled in the net. That only happens once in a blue moon.”
Rafael, who in the last four years purchased 15 tuna permits for his groundfish boats to cover just such an eventuality, immediately called a bluefin tuna hot line maintained by fishery regulators to report the catch.
When the weather offshore deteriorated, the Apollo decided to seek shelter in Provincetown Harbor on Nov. 12. Rafael immediately set off in a truck to meet the boat.
“I wanted to sell the fish while it was fresh instead of letting it age on the boat,”he said.“It was a beautiful fish.”
It was also a lucrative one. Highly prized in Japan, a 754pound specimen fetched a record price at a Tokyo auction in January this year, selling for nearly $396,000. These fish can grow to enormous size. The world record for a bluefin, which has stood since 1979, was set when a 1,496-pound specimen was caught off Nova Scotia.
However, when Rafael rolled down the dock in Provincetown there was an unexpected and unwelcome development. The authorities were waiting. Agents from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Law Enforcement informed him they were confiscating his fish — all 881 pounds of it.
Even though the catch had been declared and the boat had a tuna permit, the rules do not allow fishermen to catch bluefin tuna in a net.
“They said it had to be caught with rod and reel,” a frustrated Rafael said.“We didn't try to hide anything. We did everything by the book. Nobody ever told me we couldn't catch it with a net.”
In any case, after being towed for more than two hours in the net, the fish was already dead when the Apollo hauled back its gear, he said.
“What are we supposed to do?” he asked. “They said they were going to give me a warning,” Rafael said. “I think I'm going to surrender all my tuna permits now. What good are they if I can't catch them?”
No charges have yet been filed in connection with the catch, but a written warning is anticipated, according to Christine Patrick, a public affairs specialist with NOAA who said the fish has been forfeited and will be sold on consignment overseas. Proceeds from the sale of the fish will be held in an account pending final resolution of the case, NOAA said. No information on the value of the fish was available Friday.
“The matter is still under investigation,”said Monica Allen, deputy director with NOAA Fisheries public affairs. “If it's determined that there has been a violation, the money will go into the asset forfeiture fund.”
“I think I'm going to surrender all my tuna permits now. What good are they if I can't catch them?”
Friday, November 18, 2011
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
by Wynton Hall - biggovernment.com
President John F. Kennedy’s nephew, Robert Kennedy, Jr., netted a $1.4 billion bailout for his company, BrightSource, through a loan guarantee issued by a former employee-turned Department of Energy official.
It’s just one more in a string of eye-opening revelations by investigative journalist and Breitbart editor Peter Schweizer in his explosive new book, Throw Them All Out.
The details of how BrightSource managed to land its ten-figure taxpayer bailout have yet to emerge fully. However, one clue might be found in the person of Sanjay Wagle.
Wagle was one of the principals in Kennedy’s firm who raised money for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. When Obama won the White House, Wagle was installed at the Department of Energy (DOE), advising on energy grants.
From an objective vantage point, investing taxpayer monies in BrightSource was a risky proposition at the time. In 2010, BrightSource, whose largest shareholder is Kennedy’s VantagePoint Partners, was up to its eyes in $1.8 billion of debt obligations and had lost $71.6 million on its paltry $13.5 million of revenue.
Even before BrightSource rattled its tin cup in front of Obama’s DOE, the company made it known publicly that its survival hinged on successfully completing the Ivanpah Solar Electrical System, which would become the largest solar plant in the world, on federal lands in California.
In its Securities and Exchange Commission filings, BrightSource further underscored the risky nature of the Ivanpah venture and, more broadly, the company’s viability:
Our future success depends on our ability to construct Ivanpah, our first utility-scale solar thermal power project, in a cost-effective and timely manner… Our ability to complete Ivanpah and the planning, development and construction of all three phases are subject to significant risk and uncertainty.
Ironically, in 2008, Kennedy wrote a CNN article praising Obama as reminiscent of his famous father and uncle. The article, titled “Obama’s Energy Plan Would Create a Green Gold Rush,” proved prophetic. However, the “green gold rush” came in the form of $1.4 billion of taxpayers’ money flowing into the pet projects of rich venture capital investors like Kennedy, not average citizens.
What’s more, BrightSource touted the Ivanpah project as a green jobs creator. Yet as its own website reveals, the thermal solar plant will only create 1,400 jobs at its peak construction and 650 jobs annually thereafter. Even using the peak estimate of 1,400 jobs, that works out to a cost to taxpayers of $1 million per job created.
As Schweizer writes in Throw Them All Out, “A billion dollars in taxpayer money being sent to wealthy investors to bail them out of risky investments—does this sound familiar to anyone?”
Friday, October 21, 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
Sunday, August 28, 2011
545 vs. 300,000,000 People
- By Charlie Reese
Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.
Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?
Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?
You and I don't propose a federal budget. The President does.
You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.
You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.
You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.
You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.
One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.
I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.
I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.
Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party
What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The President can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.
The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House? John Boehner. He is the leader of the majority party. He and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. If the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.
It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts -- of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.
If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.
If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red.
If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it's because they want them in Iraq and Afghanistan.
If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.
There are no insoluble government problems.
Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like "the economy","inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.
Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.
They, and they alone, have the power.
They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.
Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees.
We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess.
Charley Reese's final column for the Orlando Sentinel.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
BLAME IT ON THE SPECTULATORS
Here are the ‘speculators’ with America’s future, spending beyond their means:
Who’s to blame – Congress and the American people that believed unlimited expansion of debt would not be a problem. The Congress had an answer for everything - spend more money. We deserve the people we elected and we deserve a debt downgrade.