I’ll be doing a day long workshop in Jacksonville on 13 September. I’ll be covering writing a novel from the idea through the completed manuscript along with information on the business of publishing.
Registration is here.
While it’s being run by an RWA chapter, the workshop is designed for all fiction writers.
I look forward to seeing you there and here is an example of what I’ll be covering (more is on my free slideshows page)
This is something everyone who drives or is a passenger needs to know. Beforehand. Also, there are one or two tools that are useful to have on hand. Additionally, 80% of natural disasters are accompanied by flooding.
I was never fond of the water and didn’t learn how to swim until I was forced to as part of the ‘rock squad’ at West Point. Then, of course, my Special Forces A-Team was picked to attend the Royal Danish Navy Fromandkorpset school for combat swimming and became designated as a Maritime Operations Team. For some strange reason we never went to the Bahamas for our training. It was usually the North Sea or the Bering Strait in January. Where you learn dry suits aren’t.
When we lived on Whidbey Island, we commuted by the ferry. While people laugh at these signs, there are many cars that have gone down what the driver thought was a road at night but was actually a boat ramp. BE PREPARED. Be knowledgeable.
The slideshare below contains information and a video on how to escape a sinking car.
Battles often turn on good fortune and luck as well as planning and training and execution.
When I picked 6 June as one of the days the Time Patrol sends agents back to, the foremost year, of course, was 1944. One of the agents parachutes into France the night before the invasion to link up with the French Resistance and make sure the Shadow doesn’t change our history by keeping a key rail bridge from being blown and thus allowing Panzers to make it to the beach head ahead of what history records.
D-Day (Time Patrol) is free on Kindle today, 20 August, only. Grad it while you can!
The battle fascinated both my wife and I. In fact, the very first trip we ever took was driving out west to visit the battlefield. I never quite understood how it developed, despite reading numerous books about it and studying it at West Point and as an Army officer.
The minute I stepped out of the car and saw the terrain I realized how the actual battle played out.
Of more importance though, is what events led to the battle taking place? Who was Custer?
This free slideshow is something I put together as part of my studies.
Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter which goes out occasionally featuring good deals on books and key information on writing and survival.
I’ve been uploading links to my many slideshows, like the one above to my web page for easier viewing. They’re here:
Also not the page of free and discounted books. Becca the Labrarian finds good deals every day on my books and other authors.
I really enjoyed this 6 episode series set in England and starring Stellan Skarsgard as detective John River with a peculiar psychological problem. I can’t tell you what it is, but it makes for intriguing story telling.
What I can tell you is that if you’re interested in a story where no one is what they appear to be, this is it. In fact, that’s what I loved about this series. The theme is that what we see when we look at people, hides a lot. Even though we may think we know someone very well, such as a spouse or best friend or close work companion, we really don’t.
The casting was excellent as well as the acting. I particularly like the new partner, Ira (Adeel Akhtar). He was the perfect foil for John River. In fact he might be the baseline of ‘normalcy’ in the story.
The only thing I wasn’t particularly impressed with was the actual detective work. There was a LOT of reliance on CCTV and computers. It seemed like every clue, everything that was needed, was either on CCTV or a laptop. Since my current work-in-progress is set in New York City in 1977, it’s a real eye-opener to write a story with no laptop, no cell phones, no Google, no CCTV. To call someone you have to go to a payphone and drop a dime. Literally.
Cool Gus gives it four paws up. Recommended.
While I was at West Point I went to a briefing by the LTC who had come up with the idea for the First Earth Battalion. It was an intriguing concept, one that the Pentagon never bought into.
Then when I was in 10th Special Forces we ran the Trojan Warrior program. Both those experiences helped shape my idea for my two Psychic Warrior books. Taking warfare to the virtual plane.
That is the premise of Nightstalkers: Book of Truths. Rather prescient, I think.
Of course a lot more goes on. I base a lot of my fiction on fact so here are the facts and the very opening of Book of Truths:
Author’s note: I write factual fiction. I gather real events and add in a fictional premise and characters.
Yes: There was a Marine named Smedley Butler and he was awarded two Medals of Honor.
Yes: Churchill did say that truth must be attended by a Bodyguard of Lies.
Yes: The officially acknowledged first nuclear weapon ever “lost” by the US was in 1950 over Canada. Sorry, Canadians. Our bad.
Yes: When Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara instituted technical launch codes on nuclear weapons to prevent unauthorized deployment, the Strategic Air Command, on its own, decided to override that by setting all the codes to 00000000 and they stayed that way for a while before anyone caught on.
Yes: The Pentagon did secretly remove President Nixon’s ability to launch nuclear weapons in his erratic, waning days before he resigned.
Yes: President Jimmy Carter did send the nuclear launch authorization codes out with his laundry.
Yes: President Ronald Reagan had the codes in his pocket when he was shot and they ended up on the emergency room floor, forgotten about.
Yes: General Curtis LeMay strongly believed in a preemptive first strike against the Soviet Union.
Yes: The Russians did open their nuclear “football” in reaction to a satellite launch by the Norwegians.
Yes: The scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project did have a betting pool as to the yield of the Trinity Test, with the low end being a dud and the high end igniting the sky on fire and incinerating Earth.
Which leads us to today where…
Roland stood near the closed ramp of the Snake, rigged with parachute, M249 squad automatic weapon strapped tight to one side and dressed in a Level A Hazmat suit. His fellow Nightstalkers bet the over or under whether there actually was a nuke in the site he would be jumping down toward, and then whether it would go off when Roland landed on top of it.
Roland had big feet.
In the cargo bay, between the cockpit and the ramp where he waited, the other five members made their next bets…well, four, since Moms rarely joined any betting pool. She considered it unprofessional of a team leader to engage in pecuniary entanglements with team members. At least that’s the way Eagle, the pilot, explained it. On the other hand, maybe she had more important things on her mind, like the possibility of a nuke going off.
The ones taking the over on the detonation didn’t contemplate that none of them would be around to collect if they won.
“Fifteen minutes,” Eagle warned over the team net from the cockpit. “Depressurizing in two.”
“Check oxygen,” Nada ordered. All five in the cargo bay gave him a thumbs up after making sure their rigs were pumping oxygen into their Hazmat suits from the internal bottles. They gave Nada the thumbs up. “Ready back here,” he informed Eagle.
Moms held up a finger, cutting the betting chatter on the team net. Her head was cocked slightly to the side, which indicated she was listening in on the secure frequency back to the Ranch outside of Area 51. Which meant she was being briefed by their boss, Ms. Jones.
After thirty seconds, she nodded and spoke on the team net. “Doc, are you getting the alert message Ms. Jones forwarded?”
Doc was seated toward the front of the cargo bay, a laptop open. He’d pulled off his Hazmat gloves so he could work the mouse pad and keyboard. “Yes. I have it,” he said in his clipped Indian accent. “It is most strange. I have never seen this alert code before. Rather archaic.”
“Figure it out,” Moms said. “ASAP.”
Here is an excerpt from the book, The Jefferson Allegiance, where it is used to halt President Nixon.
This book was a #2 national bestseller at Barnes and Noble when it came out!
7 August 1974
President Nixon sat alone and weary in the early morning darkness contemplating non-existent options within the positive psychosis that had become his last refuge. He was in his White House private office, surrounded by legal documents, books, spools of tape, transcriptions and bottles. He’d run out of Coca-Cola sometime during the night, and was now drinking straight rum on the rocks, but the alcohol did little to dull the pervading sense of betrayal.
The room was lit only by the reflection through the windows of the exterior security lights, which cast long shadows through the room. He sat in an armchair, a set of headphones on his lap, the cord of which dangled to the reel-to-reel machine. He just couldn’t understand why everyone else didn’t hear the tapes the way he did; understand that he had acted in the best interests of the country.
The previous day and evening had been, in his opinion, a non-stop barrage of betrayal and cowardice. Kissinger had pleaded in person; Governor Reagan had called from California; a harsh letter had been hand-delivered from George H. W. Bush who was the National Chairman of the Republican Party; a parade of naysayers had trooped down from Capitol Hill; all pushing for him to resign. And in the midst of it all, Ehrlichman and Haldeman had been calling the White House switchboard, desperately trying to get through to ask for Presidential pardons, an even more certain sign the clock was ticking.
The media was the worst, especially those parasites from the Washington Post who’d splashed what should have been classified information all over their pages. Phil Graham would roll in his grave if he knew how his wife and Ben Bradlee now used his newspaper. Nixon clenched his fist, furious with Bradlee, that hypocrite, who was tearing him apart daily, but had had no problem with his sister-in-law, Mary Meyer, banging Kennedy. Of course, she’d ended up with a bullet in her head and one in her heart less than a year after Kennedy took one. Not much reporting on that either, Nixon thought.
The door opened without a knock, and Nixon turned his gaze toward it. A ghost of a smile touched his lips as he recognized the only person he would allow to penetrate his private sanctum: his daughter, Julie. As trouble had come cascading down on him, Nixon had been disappointed that his wife had faded away, but encouraged that Julie had taken her place to the point where the press were calling her “the First Lady in practice.”
Julie had traveled across the country the past year, giving over a hundred interviews, trying to get people to see the reality of the President’s position. For that, Nixon was greatly indebted to his daughter. He tilted his head up and she kissed him on the forehead before sitting down on the leather couch close to his chair.
“You’ve heard?” Nixon asked.
His daughter nodded sadly. “They’ve turned. I know I shouldn’t be surprised, but I thought at least a few of them would stand with you.”
“And David?” he asked, referring to her husband, David Eisenhower, grandson of the former General, and the man under whom Nixon had served as Vice President for two administrations. Just two months ago, his daughter and her husband had stood in the East Garden, and she had told the press that her father planned to fight this crisis ‘constitutionally down to the wire.’
He saw a flicker of concern on her face. “He’s been fielding calls all night, trying to generate support. He says you should take a break. Go to his camp,” she added with a brave attempt at a joke as she referred to the Retreat that President Eisenhower had named after his grandson when he took office.
“You know Roosevelt called Camp David ‘Shangri-La,’” Nixon said. “I could use a Shangri-La right now. A little escape from reality.”
He caught his daughter’s glance at the bottle of rum, but she said nothing about it, instead focusing on the problem. “You’re right about the situation. I know you as well as anyone. I know the burden you carry. To resign now would be to admit you had done something wrong—and that simply did not happen. The President is above it all, and has to act in the best interests of the country in ways ordinary people cannot possibly understand.”
Nixon nodded. “Only someone who wears the heavy mantle of the office can truly comprehend what’s involved. Even the great Eisenhower, as Supreme Allied Commander had that Summersby woman, and don’t forget the U-two scandal.”
The President didn’t see his daughter’s sudden stiffening at the mention of a forbidden family topic. “And Kennedy—don’t even get me started on the women and the Bay of Pigs and the other disasters the man perpetrated in his few years in office. Hell, Kennedy got us into Vietnam, and I had to get us out. I did that. And China!” Nixon’s voice had a wavering edge to it. “No one talks about China. It’s Watergate this and Watergate that, but never a mention of China. I split the damn Commies up. Russia and China. Opened China up to us.”
“Dad.” Julie Nixon-Eisenhower’s voice was low, and he didn’t hear her the first time she said it, so lost was he in his diatribe. “Dad.”
The President paused and looked at his daughter, something in her tone getting through to him. “Yes?”
She couldn’t meet his gaze. “The General wants to speak with you.”
“I’m sorry.” She went over to the door and opened it, beckoning. Surprisingly she slipped out the door, and the President fought back a surge of irritation as he recognized his Chief of Staff entering.
“What is it?” Nixon snapped.
The General was a dark shadow, silhouetted against the open door, his military bearing unmistakable despite the suit he wore. “There are some people you need to talk to, sir.”
Nixon frowned. It was four in the morning and he was facing the most difficult time of his life. The last thing he wanted was another former colleague who had turned on him. “Who?”
“They have something you need to read.”
“I’m in no mood for—“
“You need to talk to these men,” the General interrupted in a voice used to issuing orders, which caused the nominal Commander-in-Chief to half rise out of his chair, the headphones falling to the floor with a clatter.
“How dare you—“
“It’s the Jefferson Allegiance, sir. I warned you.” Without waiting for assent, the General turned to the open door and gestured. Four men filed in, and the General departed, shutting the door behind him. The President slumped back wearily into the chair.
“Who are you?” Nixon demanded. His hand shook as he grabbed the bottle and poured a dash of rum over the half-melted cubes in his glass. He took a quick swallow, trying to alleviate the pounding in his head.
One of the men stepped forward in the darkness, a wooden tube in his hands. He had thick, flowing white hair. “I am the Chair of the American Philosophical Society, and with me are the Philosophers, Mister President. We have a message for you.”
Nixon stiffened as he heard the titles. “Who is the message from?”
“Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, and a legal majority of Congress.” The Chair opened the end of the tube and carefully pulled out a scroll, yellowed with age. He extended it to Nixon.
The President didn’t take it. “I have no time for games.” Nixon was trying to buy time, but he knew it had run out.
“This is no game, Mister President,” the Chair said.
Nixon reached up and turned on the light next to his chair, barely illuminating a small circle around him. The man appeared to be in his fifties, tall and distinguished. He was not military, that much Nixon could tell.
“You work at the Post, don’t you?” Nixon demanded. “For that ass, Bradlee.”
“My job is not important,” the Chair said. “Just my duty.”
The other three men were still as statues. All were in uniform and had the same stiff bearing as the General. The three major services were represented by the uniforms: Army, Navy and Air Force. Stars glittered on the men’s shoulders, but not enough to bring light to the gloomy room.
The President finally took the scroll, feeling the fragileness of the paper. He carefully opened the scroll. There were four sentences followed by numerous signatures. The first sentence, Nixon immediately recognized. The following three, though, were startling to say the least, but what he had been warned about.
Nixon noted the signatures, recognizing the names of men long ago turned to dust, but whose power lived on.
The Chair continued. “We require you to resign the Presidency or face the consequences implicit in the words you’ve just read. The country is in no condition to go through a long impeachment, nor do we think it is good for the country to be so divided at such a dangerous time.”
Nixon shook the document as if he could make the writing slide off the page.
“It’s the Jefferson Allegiance,” the Chair said. “It is law, sir, part of the highest law of the land. And it will be enforced. So you have no option other than to resign.” He did not wait for a reply. “Your Chief of Staff has already coordinated with Vice President Ford. You will eventually be pardoned and live the rest of your life in peace. But you must vacate this office. Your crimes against the Constitution and the country have become unacceptable.”
Nixon stared at the writing. “This can’t be true.”
“It is true,” the Chair said, “and frankly, sir, you can’t take the chance. It will harm the country greatly if we have to enforce the Allegiance, but we will. It’s our sworn duty. You know you have violated the law and exceeded your powers. The country is divided and on the precipice. It is our duty to bring it back on course. You have no other option than to do what we demand.”
The Chair reached out and took the document. He gingerly rolled it, then slid it into the tube, and sealed the end. “If you have not announced your resignation within twenty-four hours, the Philosophers will present the Jefferson Allegiance to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the generals and admirals in charge of all the major commands, who will take action.”
With that, he turned for the door and left, the three military men following. The door swung shut, leaving the thirty-seventh President of the United States alone once more in the dark.
Not for long. His Chief-of-Staff, General Haig, once more entered unbidden.
“You know what they told me?” Nixon demanded. “What they showed me?”
“Can it be enforced?”
The General took a deep breath. “Mister President, I took an oath on the Plain at West Point on Reception-Day—the very first day I was there—when I was a Plebe. The same oath every military officer takes. I didn’t swear to defend the country. Or the people. Or even the Presidency,” he added pointedly. “I swore to defend the Constitution of the United States.”
“But the Allegiance isn’t part of it,” Nixon argued.
“Incorrect, sir. The Allegiance is part of the Bill of Rights,” Haig countered. “And—“ he paused and took a deep breath—“when I received my third star and was promoted to Lieutenant General, I was made to re-swear my oath. Except there was an addition—I was told there was a secret addition to the Bill of Rights: the Jefferson Allegiance. I wasn’t told what it was, but I was informed that some day I might have to enforce it.”
Nixon leaned back wearily in his seat. “So the Joint Chiefs will uphold the Jefferson Allegiance?”
“Every officer in the military will, if they become aware of it.”
“That would be a coup!”
“No, sir,” the General said firmly. “It would be enforcing the highest law of the land. And then the country would go back to the way it was originally designed to work.”
A long silence played out, the words seeming to sink into the books lining the walls of the room.
“Leave me,” Nixon finally ordered.
The General spun on his heel and departed, shutting the door.
The 37th President of the United States was alone in the dark once more; the only sound his labored breathing. That slight sound was over-ridden by the shrill ring of the phone. Another violation of the isolation Nixon had ordered. Rattled by the recent visitors, he turned on the speakerphone. “Yes?”
A voice echoed out of the small box next to the phone. “Mister President, this is Lucius. I understand you’ve had some visitors.”
How could he know so quickly? Nixon wondered. “They just left. What are you going to do about–”
“I’m afraid The Society can’t help you, sir.”
Nixon’s hand tightened on the receiver, the knuckles turning white. “You promised—“
Once more he was cut off. “You’ve received all the support The Society could give you, and you over-stepped the boundaries. The tapes are too damning. We cannot have the Allegiance invoked. You are now on your own. Good luck in your new life.”
Many of my books deal with history. After The Jefferson Allegiance is The Kennedy Endeavor.
Don’t forget to check out all the free slideshows on history, interesting people, survival, how to write and more at my Slideshow page.
Here is an excerpt from the book, The Jefferson Allegiance, where it is used to halt President Kennedy by his mistress, Mary Meyer.
This book was a #2 national bestseller at Barnes and Noble when it came out!
22 March 1962
President John F. Kennedy, as was the custom for his lunches with J. Edgar Hoover, had the Oval Office emptied of everyone, even his brother Robert. To Kennedy, today was looking to be a particularly odious session, as Hoover was carrying a particularly thick file.
Kennedy had been advised by Eisenhower to continue a tradition begun by FDR: inviting the head of the FBI to lunch at the White House every month. It was under the principle of keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. Since taking office, Kennedy had stretched the interval out to every two months, and he was hoping he could eventually go without seeing the grotesque man at all. Bobbie wasn’t happy about the luncheons either, because technically Hoover worked for the Attorney General, although the man never acted like he answered to Bobbie. Or even the President, Kennedy reflected as he sat on the couch across from Hoover, a low, ornate, coffee table between them; Jackie’s choice.
Hoover dropped the thick file onto the coffee table with great relish. Kennedy didn’t rise to the bait. Instead he waited as his secretary refilled his coffee cup, offered some to Hoover, and then departed. Kennedy took a sip of coffee and waited some more, refusing to descend into Hoover’s gutter.
“Interesting wiretaps,” Hoover finally said. “Should I set the stage for them?”
Kennedy shrugged, knowing the old man would say what he wanted, regardless. His back was aching and he shifted, trying to adjust the brace strapped around his body. He glanced at his watch, thinking ahead to his schedule for the afternoon.
His thoughts came to an abrupt halt at Hoover’s next two words: “Judith Campbell.”
Kennedy tried to stay relaxed. “Who?”
Hoover gave that sickening smile of his. “Las Vegas. Nineteen sixty. The filming of Oceans Eleven. Your ‘buddy’ Frank Sinatra. He introduced you to her. Don’t you remember?”
“I can’t recall. I don’t even remember being in Vegas.”
The smile grew wider. “I can assure you that you were,” Hoover said. He opened the folder and on top was the picture of a woman. He slid it across to Kennedy, who didn’t pick it up.
“She’s quite beautiful,” Hoover said. “Interesting timing. You were seeking the democratic nomination at the time. Apparently you were seeking more than that, as you became involved with Miss Campbell.”
“I’m afraid your information is—“
“Incorrect?” Hoover completed for him. “Do you know how many times I’ve heard that? I never share information unless I am certain it is correct.” He grabbed the next picture in the folder and tossed it on top of Campbell’s. Kennedy’s stomach tightened.
“Perhaps unknown to you at the time, but certainly known afterwards, was that Sinatra also introduced Miss Campbell to this man.” He leaned forward and tapped the picture. “Sam Giancana. A criminal. Head of what is called ‘the Outfit’ in Chicago. Since there is no organized crime in this country, the Outfit is a bunch of thieves and murderers.” The sarcasm was dripping from Hoover’s words.
“It wouldn’t surprise you, of course, to know that Miss Campbell is also Mister Giancana’s mistress?”
Kennedy couldn’t tell if it was a question or not, so he remained silent.
“Of course not.” Hoover answered his own question. “Since Miss Campbell calls you here at the White House using the phone in Mister Giancana’s apartment in Chicago.” Hoover picked up a third picture and threw it down. “Your father. Joseph Kennedy. He had dealings with men like Giancana, especially during Prohibition. I believe the Sinatra introduction was at his behest.”
Kennedy had not thought of that, but he knew as soon as Hoover said it, that it was true. Chicago. Of course. His father pulling strings.
Hoover pursed his lips as if in thought. “Now this part is not validated, but comes from credible sources. It seems someone from your campaign gave a bag of cash to Giancana back when you were seeking the Democratic nomination. You did win Illinois, mainly because of a huge push in Chicago. Some would say a statistically impossible push. A lot of votes from the grave.”
“What do you want?” Kennedy had had enough.
Hoover picked up the next item in the folder. A thick sheaf of papers. “Come now, Mister President, are you really trying to hire this Giancana fellow and his ‘Outfit’ to assassinate Castro?”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
Hoover blinked. “You really don’t know about that? Curious. Your precious CIA is keeping secrets from you, too. But, like me, they know your secrets.”
“What do you want?”
Hoover reached over and grabbed the sheaf of papers and the photos, making a large show of putting them back into the folder and shutting it. Kennedy didn’t miss that there was a lot in that folder that Hoover had not brought out.
“It isn’t what I want. It’s what we want.” Hoover lifted the lapel on the right side of his suit jacket, revealing a medallion. “The Society of the Cincinnati, Mister President.” With his other hand he tapped the thick folder. “We have you—and your brother—by the balls, to use a crude but appropriate metaphor. If I ask for something, we want it. Do you understand?”
Kennedy just stared back at the old man.
Hoover stood, tucking the folder under one arm. “Right now, all we want it is for your brother to change his mind and sign off on the paperwork on his desk to wiretap Martin Luther King.”
“I don’t—“ Kennedy began, but stopped as Hoover waved the folder, as if fanning himself. “All right.”
5 August 1963
“I love you, too,” President Kennedy said, and then hung up the phone, severing the line to his wife in Hyannis Port.
“How is Jackie?” the only other occupant of his private dining room on the second floor of the White House asked.
Kennedy grimaced, both from the pain in his back and the recent conversation. “Not good. The heat is bad, she feels ill and she’s scared.”
“Of course she’s scared. She already lost one child. I know how she feels.”
Kennedy watched as Mary Meyer took a sip of her drink. He enjoyed her company—one of the few people he felt comfortable being alone with and simply talking, but to be honest, he still missed their affair.
“Graham shot himself,” he said, referring to the Washington Post publisher who had killed himself with a shotgun just two days previously. And who, back in January, had pushed his way to the podium at a conference of newspaper editors in Phoenix—even though he wasn’t supposed to speak—and drunkenly delivered a tirade that included references to the President’s ‘new favorite,’ Mary Meyer. He had been wrong about the ‘new’ part, Kennedy mused. He’d known Mary since college, and she’d long been a staple of White House life.
“I heard,” Mary said. “I feel for his wife. He’d just gotten out of the hospital. They thought he was better.”
“He was out of control,” Kennedy said. He had been intimate many times with Mary, and even though that part of their relationship had ended with the dual pressures of Graham’s publicity and Jackie’s pregnancy, he still felt a tight bond. He’d once smoked marijuana with her, even tried LSD—not his thing—and she’d been there with him through the Cuban Missile Crisis, Bay of Pigs, and many other significant events of his Presidency. Always someone he could confide in and count on for solid advice. “What’s wrong, Mary? Is it Jackie? She’s fine with your being here.”
Mary Meyer shook her head. “I was approached by some men. They wanted me to give you a message and they showed me something.”
She shook her head. “I can’t tell you, except that they’re for real. Three high-ranking generals and someone—let’s say he’s on a level with Graham.”
Kennedy frowned. “What did they show you?”
“A document.” Mary got up from her end of the table and sat caddy-corner to the President and took his hand.
Kennedy was surprised at the move and the look on her face. “What is it? What’s wrong?”
“Have you ever heard of the Jefferson Allegiance?”
Kennedy gripped her hand tighter. “A rumor of it. No one has ever confirmed its existence though.”
“It exists. They showed it to me.”
Kennedy could feel his back tighten, the old injury from PT-109 coming back to haunt him as it always did when he was under stress. “Why did they show it to you?”
“They wanted me to give you a message. And they knew you trusted me.”
“Go on,” Kennedy prompted.
Mary’s tongue snaked over her lips, a sign of how nervous she was. “They said that they respected what you did during the Missile Crisis. That it was important that one man be in charge and handle things. That it was one of those unique moments with high stakes where the responsibility and decision-making had to rest on the President’s shoulders.”
“But?” Kennedy prompted.
“The Bay of Pigs. The Wall being built in Berlin. Your recent speech there worried people. They felt you were continuing to challenge Khrushchev. That it had become personal. And the involvement in Vietnam greatly concerns the military men.”
Kennedy scoffed. “There are only eleven thousand men in Vietnam—all advisers. And the Pentagon has promised they can be withdrawn by the end of the year after they crush the Vietcong rebels. Vietnam is not an issue.”
“That is not the way the Philosophers see it.”
“The ‘Philosophers’? So it’s true that they guard the Allegiance.” He stared at her. “Is it as powerful as rumored?”
Mary nodded. “If they invoke it, they would remove you from office. And that’s just the beginning.”
The silence in the dining room lasted a long time before Kennedy spoke again. “What do they want?”
“For you to use the National Security Council for advice more often. To back off Vietnam. Back off of pressing Khrushchev.”
“Do they want an answer?”
“They told me they would get their answer from your actions.”
“I don’t like being threatened,” Kennedy snapped. “I get it from both sides. The damn Cincinnatians and Hoover. Now the Philosophers. I’m sick of it.”
“There’s something else,” Mary said.
“What?” Kennedy knew he was being short, but the pain in his back and this information along with Jackie being miserable in Hyannis Port was ruining what he had hoped would be a pleasant evening.
“Did you know the CIA is trying to use the mob to kill Castro?”
Kennedy leaned back in his chair, trying to ease the pain in his back, pulling his hand out of hers. “Hoover said something to me about that. I thought he was bluffing.”
“I asked Cord,” Mary said, referring to her ex-husband, who was high in the ranks of the Agency. “He said ‘of course not,’ which means of course they are.”
“Goddamnit,” Kennedy slammed a fist onto the tabletop, causing the crystal to bounce.
“The Philosophers want you to get on top of that. After the Bay of Pigs, there can’t be another Cuban fiasco. They say it’s very complicated and dangerous and that the Cincinnatians are involved.”
“Who the hell runs this country?” Kennedy demanded.
Mary got up and walked behind his chair. She leaned over and wrapped her arms around his chest. “I’m worried, Jack. Very worried for you. Cord didn’t just lie to me. There’s something going on. Something very dangerous. Promise me you’ll be careful?”
Kennedy was hardly comforted by her touch or her words, but he nodded anyway. “I promise.”
Tomorrow: how is was used against Nixon.
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Here is an excerpt from the book, The Jefferson Allegiance, where it is used to halt President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
This book was a #2 national bestseller at Barnes and Noble when it came out!
18 February 1945
President Roosevelt sat at his friend’s deathbed, aware that soon someone would be sitting by his. He felt the slightest movement through the wheels of his chair. The USS Quincy, named after the birthplace of two Presidents, was one of the new Baltimore Class cruisers churned out by the United States since the start of World War II. The sea off the coast of Algiers had minimal effect against its heavy metal sides.
The man in the bed, Major General Watson, had been by Roosevelt’s side through the entire war. To lose him now, with the end in sight, deeply saddened Roosevelt, sapping the satisfaction from the accomplishments of the past three weeks. Via the Quincy he’d met Churchill in Malta on the 2nd of February, Stalin and Churchill at Yalta after that, then King Farouk, Emperor Haile Selassie and Saudi Arabian King Ibn Saud on the Great Bitter Lake a few days ago.
Watson had collapsed after they passed through the Suez Canal and not regained consciousness, nor was he likely to according to Roosevelt’s personal doctor. Roosevelt’s hope was that his friend would last until they got back to the States so that he could accompany him back to his home, adjacent to Monticello in Virginia. Roosevelt had stayed at Watson’s Retreat at Kenwood numerous times during his presidency, often making the quarter mile journey next door to Jefferson’s house in the company of Ed Watson and his wife.
The hatch to the cabin swung open and General Marshall came inside, securing the heavy metal door behind him.
“George,” Roosevelt acknowledged.
“Mister President.” Marshall came over and looked down at Watson. “No change?”
“I am afraid not.”
“The Ambassadors will be on board shortly,” Marshall said. “Your briefing for them is prepared.”
The last thing Roosevelt felt like was another meeting. But briefing his ambassadors to the United Kingdom, France and Italy, on the agreement at Yalta was imperative. “I’ll be ready.” His hands were gripping the arms of his wheelchair. “I’ve known Ed a long time.”
Marshall took a chair from the tiny desk in the cabin and settled his bulk into it. “He was in Washington on and off for decades. Wasn’t he an aide to President Wilson?”
Roosevelt felt uncomfortable discussing Ed as if he were not here. “He’s been with me since thirty-three,” Roosevelt murmured. “Longer than anyone else except Eleanor.”
“I was talking with General Watson last week about something interesting,” Marshall said.
Something in the General of the Army’s tone roused Roosevelt out of his melancholy. “And that was?”
Marshall leaned back in the metal chair and waited as ship’s orders were broadcast throughout the cruiser, and then relative silence fell once more. “In ancient Rome when a general or emperor won a great victory, there would be a Triumph in Rome when they returned. A great procession into the city to celebrate the victory.”
Marshall paused, then continued. “General Watson reminded me of something. He said that the victorious leader, riding in a chariot, had a slave standing behind him. The slave held a wreath over his head and whispered in his ear: ‘Respice post te! Hominen te esse memento.’”
“My Latin is rusty,” Roosevelt said dryly.
“It means: ‘Look behind you! Remember that you are but a man.’”
“A warning,” Roosevelt said, arching an eyebrow.
“A reminder,” Marshall said mildly. “Your cousin, Teddy, made a promise in nineteen-oh-four, not to run again in oh-eight. He kept that promise. But he did run in nineteen twelve under his own Bull Moose platform. He won all but two of the Republican Primaries, but still lost the nomination at the convention. Have you ever wondered why he lost that nomination?”
“My cousin and I were never on such an intimate level of discourse.”
Marshall nodded toward the figure in the bed. “You know General Watson is one of the Philosophers, of course?”
Roosevelt put a hand on the left wheel of his chair and pulled back, turning to face the head of the Armed Forces. “Yes.”
“He told me that your cousin lost the nomination because the Philosophical Society opposed him.”
“But Teddy still ran on his own ticket,” Roosevelt pointed out. “Damn near won it all because he was supported by the Cincinnatians. Most votes anyone outside of the two parties has ever received. Beat out the Republican candidate who’d been nominated.”
“But he didn’t win. Wilson did.”
Roosevelt glanced at the man in the bed, then back at the man in the chair. “True.”
“You’ve been elected four times,” Marshall said. “Twice as much as any other President. You got us through the Depression and through the war. The end is in sight.”
“It is,” Roosevelt agreed, waiting for the bottom line, knowing that Marshall was maneuvering the way a politician would, not a general. Roosevelt also knew that the five star general was telling him what Watson would have, if he could. Those trips to Monticello had not been without their lessons.
Marshall continued. “In thirty-nine, despite the country’s neutrality, you declared a state of limited national emergency. There is no such term in the Constitution or even in subsequent laws passed by Congress. In March of nineteen forty-one, you got Congress to pass the Lend-Lease program.”
Roosevelt pulled out his cigarette holder and loaded it. “Are you telling me my accomplishments or my crimes?”
Roosevelt chuckled. “Do you know how I got Lend-Lease through Congress?” He didn’t wait for an answer. “I had my people push it through while sixty-five House Democrats were at a luncheon.”
Marshall didn’t seem to appreciate the humor. He continued. “In May of forty-one, when we still weren’t at war, you dropped the ‘limited’ from the state of emergency and declared a state of unlimited national emergency. Under this, you could, and did, organize and control the means of production, seized commodities, deployed military forces abroad, imposed martial law, seized property, controlled all transportation and communication, regulated the operation of private enterprise, and restricted travel.”
Roosevelt spread his hands as an innocent man would. “Would you have preferred I had not done those things?”
Marshall pulled a lighter out and lit the President’s cigarette as he brought it to his lips. “No, sir. They were necessary to win the war.”
“And I told Ed that I’d restore all our liberties as soon as the war is over.”
“Yes, sir,” Marshall agreed. “And that is why the Philosophers have not taken action despite the unconstitutionality of many of your actions. The Jefferson Allegiance remains in check.”
“So what is the problem?” Roosevelt asked, more sharply than he intended.
Marshall went over and swung open one of the small portholes to let fresh air in. “The recent conferences, sir.”
“I thought they went quite well.”
Marshall blinked. “Sir. Stalin is a thug. A despot. You and Churchill handed him Eastern Europe on a platter.”
“He promised to hold elections,” Roosevelt said. “More importantly, even you agreed that we need the Russians for the final invasion of Japan.”
“I do agree with you on that,” Marshall allowed. “But it went too far. You gave up Poland. You agreed that citizens of Poland and Russia would be repatriated whether they wanted to or not. You gave Stalin practically everything he wanted.”
“Stalin agreed to join the United Nations once we form it,” Roosevelt countered.
Marshall appeared not to hear. “And the meeting with King Ibn Saud. Sir, there are great strategic implications in the Middle East for the future. Both in terms of the displaced Jews, but more importantly, the oil. Japan went to war with us when we embargoed their oil. The Germans went into Russia for the oilfields. Oil is the key. I fear we’re setting up problems that are going to take generations to untangle.”
“You say ‘we,’” Roosevelt noted, “but you mean me.”
Roosevelt nodded ruefully. “Do you think I don’t know that?” He nodded toward the comatose General in the bed. “I hope I go quickly.”
“Sir, Stalin took too much away from Yalta. And Ibn Saud too much from the Great Bitter Lake conference.”
“We need the Russians for Japan—“ Roosevelt began, but Marshall leaned forward and whispered.
“Sir. We have the Manhattan Project.”
“If it works,” Roosevelt replied. “That’s a mighty big ‘if’ to roll the dice on the lives of millions of American servicemen. Frankly, I’d rather it be Russian blood spilled in Japan than American.”
“Sir, we must look beyond the end of the war and—“
“Please,” Roosevelt said in a low voice. He pulled the remnants of his cigarette out of the holder and slid another in, then extended it to Marshall who dutifully lit it. “I can’t see beyond the end of war, George. It’s been thirteen years. I’m tired. I’m sick. My friend is lying here dying. I’ll be gone soon enough. Enact your Allegiance if you want, but by the time you do, I doubt there will be a need.”
Roosevelt leaned his head back against the rear of his wheelchair. “I am looking behind me. And I am but a man.”
In two days– how it was used against President Kennedy.