Yes, Canada does have a 1%!

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has an infographic that highlights the wealth and income maldistribution problem in this country. It’s not as severe in the USA, granted, but given that we pride ourselves on not being like Americans*, and that craven politicians like Brian Mulroney and Stephen Harper tend to be disliked for their ass-kissing to the US, it’s something we should damn well be working on. Why didn’t the NDP get just ten more seats last election???? 😦

I’d also like to bring to your attention the spending cuts Harper’s government continues to embark upon even as he gets ready to help out his buddies in the oilpatch.


* That said, we don’t reject American culture or values, and to a large extent we like being good neighbors with the US. But too many Americans I’ve dealt with over the years have that “lol 51st state” mentality that just grinds my gears.

Current Events: Some Notes and Thoughts

I was thinking about the Edge of Apocalypse book today in the context of events like the governor of Arizona sticking her finger in Obama’s face. If we go back to when Joshua Jordan was speechifying about how horrible the USA was getting, and the book’s attribution of nefarious motives to the Obama Administration, the book has the same tone of disrespect for forms of government not run by Republican white guys.

I’ve also been reading Third World America and amid the depressing stuff in the book, the thing I keep remembering is that in another book I read back in the 1990s (which came out just prior to the tech boom of the late 1990s), the author basically took the trends happening in the United States almost twenty years ago and extended them in straight lines.

Conclusion: The USA would fit every definition of a Third World country by 2020 or 2030.

The fact that in 2010 Arianna Huffington could write a book that showed that for all intents and purposes the basic nature of the “game” ordinary Americans are being asked to play is still so stacked against them, that for all the economic and social transformations of the last 20 years nothing fundamental has changed – that’s just unconscionable. And it shows how severely out of touch the elites of the USA are with respect to how the vast millions of ordinary people are faring in the bold new post-Cold War America, which doesn’t have a Soviet Union to compete against and keep sharp lest the Commies prove they could do anything better than can-do Americans.

I waver between the notion that the Democratic and Republican politicians are not really different and that they do differ in important ways. Right now, it’s more on the “Republicrat” side because so few Dems are willing to push against the massive volumes of money showered upon them by wealthy special interests who have every incentive to keep the money rolling in.

You know how if you can take just one dollar from every American you’d have $300 million? One dollar from every Canadian and you’d have $30 million? That’s what banks have basically been doing to people for the last couple of decades. Charge a little fee here – a little fee there – and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.

The same goes for all the ways other corporations manage to game the system. Take a tax dollar here – a tax dollar here – and pretty soon it’s more profitable to game the tax system than to actually put people to work doing stuff.

I want to round this out with a few links:

Young black professionals are having a harder row to hoe this time around stumping for Barack Obama. Something like 90% of the blacks in the USA vote Dem to begin with, but that’s mostly because even in the “Republicrat” paradigm there’s one crucial difference: Democrats don’t have central policy planks based on hidden racism towards minorities. So what could happen? Blacks just won’t vote. And given the issues over voter turnout and ongoing vote suppression, this is actually a critical issue.

The ongoing whitewashing of slavery (I use it in both contexts*) is something that just flabbergasts me. Way back in the mid-1980s I had an Encyclopedia Britannica set largely sourced from stuff printed in the 1970s. Well, back then it seemed very settled to me that the Civil War was fought over slavery and that the North winning was a darn good thing. It seems of a piece with the bizarre attempts at historical-revisionist attempts by people on the political right to try and get the albatross of their extremist policies being associated with fascism, by making the most ridiculous claims of Hitler and the Nazi party being “socialist”.

Apple’s Steve Jobs caused iPhones to be made in China. Why is this important? Because it points up the dawning consequences of a mode of thinking I was worried about over ten, twelve years ago when the stock market started getting the big press and everybody and their dog wanted to be a stock trader. When the USA even back then was graduating something like three financial analysts for every engineer, I could only conclude that it would come some day that the USA’s population would realize that the US was no longer capable of making anything for itself, just creating more and more wealth-sucking machines to transfer large amounts of money from actual workers outside the financial sector to the pockets of those in the financial sector.

In the words of Jim Stanford, a similar form of this phenomenon (though less dangerous) has happened in Canada. The “paper economy” is hobbling the “real economy” in both Canada and the US. Well, the “real economy” in the USA, judging from that depressing Apple article (seriously, when Chinese workers exhibit the kind of derring-do that used to characterize American workers…**) is verging on the “needs life support” stage of life and something seriously needs to be done about this.


* “Whitewashing” as in substituting the white-majority viewpoint for the minority one, as well as the meaning of covering something up by slapping white paint all over it.
** Remember the stories from World War II when the USA’s factories and shipyards rebuilt an aircraft carrier in something like three weeks going 24 hours round the clock and had it on the ocean in time to beat the crap out of some Japanese ships? Yeah, like that.

EoA: CSI: Zoom in. Now… Enhance!

Edge of Apocalypse: pages 265-268 (Chapter Forty-Six)

As you might guess, this part of the chapter is slightly guilty of the Enhance Button trope, which has been associated with CSI Episodes, and has been parodied a few times. 😛

Along with that, have a kick-ass Cotton Eye Joe dance style remix. 😀 (note: the image in the youtube is somewhat NSFW, it’s a still of a scantily clad woman.)


So, John Gallagher’s ready to do his FBI thing, as he’s hot on the trail of Atta Zimler and is damn close, he feels, to actual proof that Zimler was present in the USA! He’s gonna miss his flight, so he decides to book a train trip instead that’ll get him into New York first thing the next morning.

Meanwhile, he’s viewing surveillance footage.

Gallagher’s eyes were fixed on the paper-thin flat-screen monitor on the wall.

The time and date were running in the lower right-hand corner of the black-and-white video as the image of an empty corporate building lobby was cast on the screen.

“Sorry they didn’t use color footage. But these building owners always go the cheap route.”

“No, this is better,” Gallagher muttered. “Black-and-white gives you better definition. At least for what I want.”

I have no idea if B&W is actually better for what he wants to do, but I have heard it said that sometimes photographic negatives can reveal more about a picture than the picture itself, because the negative has higher contrast. So perhaps the better contrast you can get in B&W is what Gallagher’s hoping to benefit from.

Roll some film, and … Bammo!

“Stop there!” Gallagher shouted out.

They froze the frame.

A man of medium height. Well dressed. Broad shoulders. Confident strut. But his head was slightly turned away from the camera.

A shiver crawled up Gallagher’s spine.

“Zoom in.”

The tech guy brought the image closer. It blurred a little with magnification.

Gallagher stared at it. He had to know. Was it Atta Zimler?

Well, this part’s realistic – Parshall notes the blurring with magnification, which you might expect, since the original video has finite resolution.

Okay,” he said, “roll it, but very slowly, frame-by-frame.”

So the tech did.

The man in the lobby, as he was caught in each sequential, choppy frame, had kept his face turned away.

(…)

And just then, as the man in the lobby was approaching the elevator doors, he gave a side glance toward the watch on his left wrist, revealing about half of his face.

Got ‘im! 😀

Now for some of the technical stuff that might be a bit iffy and veering into the CSI type zoom-and-enhance thing:

The tech magnified the frame until a face could be partially seen.

Gallagher walked right up to the screen. He touched it with his index finger.

“I know it’s you. I know it!”

Then Gallagher wheeled around. “Can we get an immediate high def JPG image of this emailed to somebody?”

First, the extra magnification might cause enough blurring that even having a close-up to help facial identification might fail to work. Second, JPG is lossy. Gallagher would not want this, since the image extraction would drop stuff the algorithm “knows” isn’t important to the average human eye viewing an average image (e.g. a photograph of, say, your new tree you planted in the backyard), but in his case, if he wants the best shot at getting that image processed, he ought to ask for a PNG, which is lossless normally.

After Gallagher’s on his way to the train, he calls the image processing guru to get a rush on that picture identification.

On his way to the railroad station, Gallagher called the private home number of Sally Borcheck, the facial ID guru at the Bureau.

She was watching TV. After nine rings she picked up.

“Sally, it’s John Gallagher here.”

“Geez, John, I’m here at home in my pj’s. What’s up?”

He manages to convince her it’s pretty damn important, and we get more of the CSI style zoom-and-enhance business:

“Where’s the image from?”

“Lobby surveillance footage.”

She groaned again.

“Those are usually pretty lousy.”

“You’re a genius. You can make it unlousy.”

She won’t be able to add resolution that wasn’t there in the first place, though. And to be fair, this isn’t like the story in the TV Tropes page of literally four pixels somehow resolving into a totally clear face. 😀

I’ll mostly give Parshall a pass on this since a lot of people are conditioned (through TV shows like CSI, as well as movies) to believe computers can enhance just about anything, and in that paradigm, this portion of the chapter kinda sits in between the very realistic touch-ups on surveillance photos of suspects in ATM fraud or the like, and the ridiculous Enemy of the State style 3D rotate and reveal kind of enhancement.

We’ll revisit Bill Cheavers next section.

EoA: AmeriNews Gets Leaked

Edge of Apocalypse: pages 262-265 (Chapter Forty-Six)

So, check out a great remix of the Ghostbusters theme. It seriously rocks. 😀


So now we’ve moved away from Josh Jordan and to his erstwhile competitors. Or at least they would be if they knew what was going on. It turns out that Allen Fulsin is indeed not quite 100% heart and soul with the stated goals of Jordan’s Roundtable buddies. He has shown up in a previous writeup.

In the crowded upscale piano bar called Johnny One Note on Park Avenue South, attorney Allen Fulsin was sitting across the booth from his contact. They’d just ordered drinks and were engaging in small talk. But the other man, Bill Cheavers, an executive vice president for the North American Division of World Teleco, was getting impatient.

“Allen, you said you had inside information for me.”

“Are you up to speed on the pending negotiation between World Teleco and a media group called Mountain News Enterprises–MNE?”

And the ball drops. Cheavers learns from Allen that it’s a front organization:

“That media group MNE is a cover.”

“For what?”

“A radical group. Don’t know the name. But it meets secretly. Some very powerful people in it.”

“How do you know this?”

“As luck would have it, a retired former Idaho State supreme court judge named Fortis Rice approached me about this secret group, you know, to feel me out. They meet regularly in some clandestine spot in the Rocky Mountains.”

When you look at it that way, the Roundtable of Josh Jordan’s definitely seems a lot more like a secret cabal than LaHaye and Parshall perhaps wanted to convey. Certainly if you look back at the discussion in this blog regarding the inaugural meeting of the Roundtable which kicked off this media empire-building you can see that a plain surface reading of that chapter gives the impression of a secret cabal of power brokers, rather than a group of concerned citizens.

Fulsin goes on to discuss how he thinks he might have pulled the wool over Judge Strong Rice’s eyes (of course, we the readers know he wasn’t 100% successful).

“Yeah. Full of extreme anti-Corland people. It seems that you either have to be filthy rich or really well connected–or both–to be invited in. I guess they thought I was the latter. I’m sure not the former, though I’m working on that one.” And then Fulsin smiled and took a swig from his glass.

“And they don’t know you have a connection to me, as my personal lawyer?”

“Naw. The question Rice asked me was whether I ever represented World Teleco. And I said no. Which is technically correct. Very technically.”

“But how’d you find out about the connection between Mountain News Enterprises and this secret political group?”

Allen Fulsin laughed again. “Because after Rice talked to me I started digging around like a West Virginia coal miner. Looking for information. And I know how to find it in this town. Hey, when opportunity knocks…”

Basically what Fulsin wants at this point is for World Teleco to fail to help MNE. How he stands to benefit by this isn’t real clear, but Cheavers isn’t real happy about getting socked with a breach of contract suit, especially from a company with deep pockets (and Josh’s Roundtable buddies are wealthy enough to pitch in a few grand for some two-bit reverend’s legal fees, for example, and not even feel the loss as they bankroll this media venture of Josh’s). Fulsin, however, implies heavily he knows that something’s coming down the pipe that will help World Teleco escape legal liability for cutting off MNE.

“Companies do it every day,” Fulsin said. “Have your lawyers find some loophole. That’s what you pay them for.” Then he bent forward and said, “You’ve got to stop this media plan from happening.” After looking at his watch, Fulsin added, “In one hour you’ll get a call from a restricted number. Pick it up. It will be the White House. After that call I think you’ll want to pull the rug out from under this Mountain News Enterprises deal.”

Dun-dun-DUUUUN.

But there’s more, folks!

That was when another man at the bar, who had been watching the two of them, pulled out his Allfone and dialed a number.

A man answered the phone on the other end and simply announced, “This is the Patriot.”

The man at the bar said, “I’ve just eye-balled the rendezvous between Fulsin and a fellow named Bill Cheavers.”

“Who’s Cheavers?”

“High-ranking executive with World Teleco.”

Well, hey, we meet the elusive Patriot at last! (sort of)

From the way the “Patriot’s Wife” introduced herself, it definitely seemed that “the Patriot” was some kind of bigwig. I was just listening to some Inspector Gadget techno remixes and the shadowy way he’s introduced reminds me of Dr. Claw, only these equivalents to the MAD agents seem to be quite competent at tailing others.

Question is, how did “The Patriots” come to know Allen Fulsin was trying to become a mole in Joshua Jordan’s organization? Hmm. Food for thought.

Next section, we’ll switch back to Agent Gallagher and see how he’s doing chasing down Zimler.

EoA: Swanky Dinner With a Patriot

Edge of Apocalypse: pages 259-261 (Chapter Forty-Five)

For variety’s sake, check out Techno Tetris, another Techno Remix of the Tetris theme, and a Hard Trance Remix of The Tetris theme. 🙂


When we last left Joshua Jordan, our brave hero had decided “Looks like it’s time to take a calculated risk”.

Next section of the chapter, we are now with him in the private dining room of the hotel. We won’t consider how he might have moved about without being at least taped by the security cameras, and just follow along.

Ten minutes later Joshua was seated in a private room off the main dining room, behind polished mahogany doors that had been closed, eating dinner across the table from an attractive middle-aged woman.

This woman would be the “Patriot’s Wife” mentioned in the note. Why, though, not be meeting with the “Patriot” guy himself? A nunber of unkind thoughts about the nature of the gender roles LaHaye and Parshall might be employing present themselves, but withholding judgement would be best for now, since there is another equally valid reason below that I mention.

Joshua took another bite of his filet mignon. He had noticed that his host was fashionably dressed. Though Abby would have recognized even more, like the exclusive Vera Wang dress, and the carat weight of the diamond studs in her ears–likely two carats each.

The narrative style seems a little odd here. Usually Parshall sticks well to the third person limited point of view, in which we know only the perspective character’s emotions and thoughts, and not all characters’ emotions and thoughts. So for the narrator to effectively become omniscient here, is a little strange.

I think it’s because of the “good person = trappings of wealth and/or patriotism” motif in this book, since FBI Agent John Gallagher isn’t wealthy by any means, but has his patriotic credentials more than amply established in the first chapter that introduces him. Similarly, Josh and Abby get nice digs, lovely clothes, and of course, Allfones. So presenting the woman’s refined, exclusive taste may be a callback to this motif.

“Sorry to be so secretive,” the woman said. “But I know you’re currently undercover, Mr. Jordan. First, let me tell you how much my husband and I appreciate you.”

The “secretiveness” these people employ sounds more like a rather amateurishly conceptualized version thereof. Haven’t LaHaye and Parshall seen enough movies to know that the derring-do of spy thriller movies almost always ends up mandating a clandestine meeting at some out of the way pond, or whatever? Hell, consider John Grisham’s later books. His characters have clandestine meetings in clothing stores, back alleys, cheap hotels, you name it. Anything but a ritzy place for which some private dinner would have had to have been arranged in advance with the maitre d’.

Anyway, she goes on to say she can’t reveal her or her husband’s name (that said I’m starting to guess that were her husband to show up, Josh would know who he is immediately), and that he’s on the ‘right track’:

[Joshua said,] “Which track would that be?”

“Your distrust of Senator Straworth. And perhaps a few other members, or their staff, on the special committee investigating the North Korean missile crisis. My husband also agrees with your decision not to give them the RTS design information. Some members of that committee cannot be trusted.”

The conversation meanders a little, then they get back to the whole “Hey-you’re-in-danger-Josh” thing:

[The woman said,] “You’re in danger.”

[Joshua said,] “That’s not very specific.”

“I realize that. Let’s just say that I’m not talking about the things you’re already aware of. Like the crazies out there who don’t understand the reasons for what you did. Or the Capitol Hill political bunch that wants to bury you. None of that.”

“Then what?”

“We have the distinct sense, from multiple sources, that you are at substantial risk from foreign actors.”

Dun-dun-DUN. Of course, Josh foreshadowed this when Parshall rather clumsily had him speechify near the end of his Congressional testimony, and we the readers know Atta Zimler, backed by Caesar Demas, is after the technology. This is Josh basically being brought up to speed with us folks.

“Nothing yet. I just want you to know we are out there. And if you are willing, then we can set up a meeting so you can be briefed in more detail.”

“This is all very interesting…but I still don’t know your name.”

“For now I’m just the Patriot’s Wife,” she said with a smile.

Then she reached inside her little purse, which was exquisitely decorated with white beads, and pulled something out. She laid it on the table. A white business card. All it said was The Patriot. And there was a telephone number.

Clandestine future contacts! Presumably, through the super-duper encrypted Allfone and inside his fancy Colorado mansion instead of a sensible place like any number of forested places in upstate New York.

The lady does point out one thing that should lead Josh to trust “The Patriots”:

She reached out and shook his hand. Then before turning to leave, she said one more thing to Joshua. “Perhaps you can reflect on two things. First, we were able to locate you here, even though you took precautions to hide from the federal authorities. The U.S. marshals haven’t been able to find you so far. But we did [… and] haven’t reported you.”

That having been said, Josh Jordan hasn’t really hidden himself very well. Now it’s early times yet, but the feds and US marshals, if they had any notion of how Josh likes to live, would be fanning out over the major hotels in New York, asking if anyone’s seen the Hero of New York and showing around pictures to refresh anyone’s memory. And for a guy who’s gotten some major press over it, I’m surprised nobody’s recognized him yet, striding about the hallways of that fancy-ass hotel.

So you could almost argue that “The Patriots” know Josh likes to live well, and simply chose the path of least resistance in checking up on which hotels had a sudden room booking for one of their fancy rooms for which the registrant paid in a manner designed to obscure from whose pocket the money originally came.

In that vein, this book could have been about Josh, so puffed up by his own ego that he gets easily rooked by  a group of people who manipulate him through his patriotism into giving up the very thing he promised he’d keep VERY SECRET. Alas, that won’t happen, but it’s interesting to see how a much better political/spy thriller could have been made from the basic ingredients of this book, and in the process truly exploring how human flaws can end up blinding people to truths about themselves and about others, and could provide a much more realistic “Christian conversion” story than anything we’ve seen so far.

The next chapter is a real hop-skip-and-a-jump set of sections, so I’ll probably tackle it in a series of quick writeups through this week. First up, we’ll be meeting with the people at World Teleco who wouldn’t want to see AmeriNews get going as a competitor to their own media empire, being tipped off by Allen Fulsin. See you next time. 🙂

EoA: The Patriots Make Contact

Edge of Apocalypse: pages 257-258 (Chapter Forty-Five)

Before we get into Josh Jordan’s latest shenanigans, have an old 1970s-era Polka Time song.


So, Josh is hiding out in palatial digs, as I mentioned last time. The book also doesn’t hesitate to describe the other aspects of Josh’s sybaritic existence:

Joshua was now in hiding. He had checked himself into the triplex suite at the Palace Hotel in midtown Manhattan. Only two people knew where he was. One was Abby. The other was his long-time private chauffeur, who had booked the room under his brother-in-law’s name and paid cash so Joshua’s name wouldn’t appear on the registry.

Just for fun, I checked to see if that hotel actually existed, and it’s probably the New York Palace in real life. Kinda expensive, too. I do wonder if Josh is going to pay back his no-name “long-time private chauffeur”, or if he’s gonna stick that guy with the expense. Now, how will Josh contact people? Use the hotel phone? A pay phone? Pshaw, nothing so pedestrian for Mr. Jordan!

Joshua’s company had been developing a super-secure Allfone, one with signal-cloaking capacity so it couldn’t be located via satellite or tower tracing. It was designed for special-ops guys operating in hostile territory, but the Defense Department put the project on hold. Joshua was carrying the prototype with him.

Oh, how convenient that he just happened to be carrying the sooper special secret Allfone. The love that LaHaye books seem to have for techno-gadgetry shines through here. 😛

Basically, Josh is waiting until the AmeriNews thing kicks off, which he thinks will take the political heat back off him, because patriotism, that’s why.

Joshua’s plan was to stay undercover until the AmeriNews media service got off the ground. The project was taking longer than Phil Rankowitz had predicted. Then, hopefully, the Roundtable’s project would ignite citizens into immediate action. People would learn that Joshua’s real motives in resisting Senator Straworth’s heavy-handed demands about the RTS system were to protect America. Voters would discover that a gang of Washington politicians were trying to send an American hero to jail. The phone lines at the Capitol switchboard would light up with angry calls from American citizens. Straworth would see his approval ratings drop like a bowling ball in a swimming pool. What else could he do then but withdraw the subpoena entirely?

The “embattled hero” thing strains credulity, considering the way he’s acted like a kid throwing his toys out of his crib because he’s being told to share what isn’t 100% his to begin with.

Anyway, Josh muses over what he can and can’t do from jail, and then decides to order room service, only to find someone left an Ominous Message in an envelope:

On the outside were written the words To the Gentleman in Room 2507. After tipping the bellman he ducked back into his room and read the note.

Joshua Jordan:

You don’t know us. But we know you. It is important we talk. We can help. I am downstairs in the private dining room, the one with the closed doors. It is not visible to the public. I will have dinner waiting for the two of us. Please forgive me for the note, but in the interests of discretion I must not be seen coming up to your room.

The Patriot’s Wife

Joshua’s first thought was that his cover had been blown. Someone knew where he was. Was this a trap to lure him out of his room? But if the feds were behind it, they wouldn’t be using this cloak-and-dagger stuff. They would simply come up to his room unannounced, armed with a warrant.

And we get our first introduction to the shadowy “Patriots” mentioned in the blurb on the back cover, the highly placed group of Christians who want to save the USA from “economic and moral collapse”. Dun-dun-dun….!

I want to break here and discuss this next paragraph, because a couple of phrases in it basically knock the props out from under a lot of Josh’s previous grandstanding.

No, this was something else. He knew he had friends in the Pentagon who were quietly supportive of him. Maybe there were others. But one thing was clear. Now that a federal judge had targeted him for arrest, he needed all the help he could get.

Okay, so he has friends who are “quietly supportive” of him, in the Pentagon? Besides, of course, his good buddy Rocky Bridger who’s probably ass-deep in Good-Ole-Boy connections over there? So why the hell didn’t Josh, way back, have Harry Smythe call up one of those guys, or even have Bridger do it, and get all their stories straight so they could testify in front of the committee and not reveal too much, if Joshy-boy was really worried about someone heisting his company’s equipment and drawings and specifications for the RTS-RGS?

I mean, you just have to stop here and ask why it is that Parshall has led us down the garden path at all? Why has he set up such a patently illogical conflict here, when it all could have been deflected handily had Josh had any sense at all of subtlety?

Let us grant that the committee was not intended to question Joshua Jordan in good faith. Let us grant that the Democrats for whatever reason hate this man so very much that even though anyone ought to be properly grateful to the guy whose experimental-as-hell system saved New York, they still believe he should be grilled over its use.

Then why would anyone with even a smidgen of horse sense not call in for some backup? Make sure all the people who could be called as potential witnesses have their stories straight? Here’s how that committee thing could have gone:

Straworth: Now, Mr. Jordan, will you please explain to this committee why you cannot show us the documents that explain how your Return to Sender system works?

Jordan: Unfortunately, Senator, my contract with the Pentagon precludes my releasing this information without their consent to do so. However, if I may provide you with my contact’s name at the Pentagon, I’m sure we can clear this matter up fairly quickly.

Straworth: Very well. This committee is adjourned for two hours while we locate your Pentagon contact and summon him before the committee.

Written differently, this could be the story of a man so focussed on his own personal glory that he fails to realize he’s burned through all the goodwill he’s accumulated until finally it dawns on him just how completely and utterly he’s gone and bollocksed everything up to the point where only his wife still supports him at all, and he knows he doesn’t deserve even that.

As it is, though, the glory-seeker will be feted and rewarded and called a good Christian. What a complete bizarro world this is.

EoA: Addiction Counselling and Prayer, RTC Version

Edge of Apocalypse: pages 252-256 (Chapter Forty-Four)

In keeping with the theme of Polka-based intros, I’d like to introduce you all to the catchy Clarinet Polka by, of course, Walter Ostanek. 😛

In addition, for readers who’ve followed along, you know that I self-identify as a QUILTBAG person, and as such I really was moved by this heartfelt open letter originally linked to by Fred Clark over on Slacktivist: John Shore’s Open Letter to Gay People.

We now turn to the drug counselling session for Darlene Rice, who, we should recall, was last seen at lunch with Abigail, where she admitted she had problems coping with her son’s death and had been taking high doses of Valium as a result.

I’d like to note that I don’t like the Christian-themed drug-counselling in this chapter, because inappropriate coping strategies (i.e. drug use) do not point in a straight line from surrendering to a drug to surrendering to God (to be fair, this is my interpretation of how Abigail’s advice and Darlene’s discussion with the counsellor are being presented). In point of fact I would say that such conversions born from someone wanting a hand up from a desperate situation are probably at the worst time, because the decision to convert may not have been made with the full understanding or honest desire of the person undergoing conversion.

I knew someone who’d converted after nearly hitting bottom from drugs and partying, and the thing I found bothersome was that when I struck up an acquaintance with him, I was mostly just wanting to chat with a fellow university student (and to be honest he was kind of cute 😛 ), while he clearly saw a notch on his evangelical belt in front of him, and it showed in his earnest desire for me to meet his fellow compatriots and develop “a personal relationship with God”.

Granted, this person did clean up his act post-conversion, but it seems likely that a different, non-religious catalyst for change in his life could equally have worked had his life-stream gone a little differently.

Let’s follow the chapter along, as Darlene meets with a counsellor named Margaret at the Living Waters Recovery Center in Tucson, Arizona. In the book, it notes that she’s been at the Center for “a few weeks”.

Margaret looked up from a report, smiled, and began.

“We’ve finished the assessment. During the days you’ve been here we all think you’ve been very cooperative. In the end, you are the one who will be directing your own recovery. It may look like we’re the ones in charge, but not really. A person has to understand they have an addiction, and then they have to want to get better. From our perspective, it looks to us like you do. That’s a really good thing, Darley. We’re very encouraged. You should be too.”

Ok, so far so good. This is fairly boilerplate stuff I’ve heard from various sources regarding addiction treatment, and so on and so forth. Sounds like Parshall did his research.

Some wrinkles have come up, though. Judge Strong Rice didn’t show last visiting day:

Margaret continued, “We’ve got a picture now of your situation. I’d like to talk to you about the next steps. First, I noticed that your husband, Fortis–“

“We all call him Fort.”

“Okay. Fort didn’t come during visiting day yesterday. No big deal. People have busy schedules. But I just wanted to ask some more about him.”

The thing that comes out of the next few paragraphs is that some gender-essentialist thinking seems to have gone into the structuring of how Darlene and Fortis view this counselling business. Without going into a whole load of detail over what gender essentialism means, one aspect of it that’s relevant is the hidebound old “women = emotional, free to talk about emotions, men = rational, do not talk about emotions” dichotomy. To be fair, Fortis is also shown to be holding some relatively ineffective viewpoints about how to recover from addiction, as not all addicts can ‘just help themselves’ (as witness the frequent relapses of smokers who try to quit cold turkey):

Darlene decided it was time to blurt it out, so she said, “Fort hasn’t bought into this whole counseling thing. He’s very traditional. A private man. He’s not convinced I really have an addiction. He doesn’t like the idea of a group program where people tell other people their problems. His attitude is–just stop taking the pills. Plus, there is the other thing…”

(…)

The fact that this is a Christian drug rehab center. Oh, my, he really does have a problem with that.” Darlene gave a little chuckle. “Fort says that ‘too many people use God as the front man for all their problems.'”

It’s interesting to note that the essentialist ‘be a man’ concept of “just stop taking the pills” is considered ‘strong’ compared to the ‘wishy-washy’ group therapy idea. It’s probably not entirely coincidental that Fortis’s name translates as “strong” in cod Latin.

It’s also worth noting that the men in this series (as I believe I mentioned before) are the ones generally resistant to Christian teachings while the women are the path-breakers in converting to Christianity (the RTC variety of LaHaye-ism being of course the only acceptable one in LaHaye-sponsored books). Joshua Jordan and Fortis Rice both seem to believe “those are helped who help themselves”.

The next segment where Darlene discusses Abigail sounds vaguely innuendo-y in a couple of places. But what’s interesting is that holding the Christian faith is compared to a kind of power; that’s not an analogy I’ve seen before, at least not one used widely.

“Yes. My good friend Abby Jordan recommended it. I’m so glad she did. Abby is one of those ‘glow-girl Christians.’ That’s what I call it. You know, they have an inner glow. Like the power light on your curling iron that lets you know it’s hot and ready to go. Anyway, she’s got a power inside that other people don’t have. I’d love to have that.”

Darlene and Margaret go on to discuss the usual “transformative power of Jesus Christ” (Margaret says she was also an addict once, but converted and this helped her to end it) that I’ve seen in other literature – this concept is all about the idea that humans can’t help themselves unless they are willing to accept Jesus Christ into their lives and let Him aid them in whatever changes they want to make.

They go on to discuss the “all people are sinners” doctrine; Darlene concurs that she believes she is a sinner, and Margaret applies (indirectly) the “wages of sin is death for which Jesus substituted Himself” doctrine as she talks about the “washing away of all sins”.

Fred Clark discussed conversion scenes like this, calling them “intrusively intimate“, and I tend to agree (see also his “LB: Explicit Content” writeup). It’s the same when Parshall tries out his version of it in this book:

“Yes. I believe all that,” Darlene said. “I remember what Abby used to tell me. She used to ask me whether I was willing to invite Jesus Christ into my heart, to forgive my sins, and to change my life forever. I’d change the subject. I wasn’t ready. But now I am. I want Jesus to be my Savior. I mean…personally. Not just some religious figure on a cross or in a picture. But to be real…I want to meet Him in my heart. I don’t want to put this off any longer.”

They both bowed their heads.

Just then, Darlene had the instinct to get down on her knees. So she did. Margaret followed her to the floor, sitting next to her, both of them resting their arms and hands on the couch.

The “instinct to get down on her knees” for prayer seems like Darlene has never heard of or seen prayer stances before. That’s patently unrealistic, and caters to the feelings of RTC readers that they’re “in on” what Parshall’s trying to say. In reality almost any television show in the 1950s to the 1970s likely had scenes of a child praying before bed, usually kneeling at bedside. Therefore the “instinct” of getting on her knees to be closer to the floor is likely to be simply a learned response to the “I’m praying” thought, and it’s hardly as mysterious as Parshall makes it out to be.

And then she Prays The Prayer. To Parshall’s credit, I think this is less formulaic than the ones Jenkins has his characters recite when they convert to RTCs. He’s also set the stage for a more realistic way in which these newly converted RTCs will adopt the dialog and mannerisms of people like Abigail, since the Rapture hasn’t happened yet and she can help her friend Darlene along the path, as it were.

“I am a sinner, God,” Darlene said, with her eyes closed tight, her voice trembling. “No surprise there, right? You always knew that. And I know that. I believe your Son, Jesus, died on the cross for my sins. Then He walked out of the grave because, well, He had to, because He’s the Son of God. Not a problem for God’s Son to get that done. So, God, I want Jesus Christ to come into my heart. Please have Him come, God. I need Him to save me. Clean me up. Not just the pills. But everything…”

Her words were wavering and caught in her throat as she continued, “I want Jesus to be totally in charge. A changed life. Transformation. Please, God, I need this so badly…”

This version, however, is also uncomfortably intimate as are the stories and prayers Jenkins has his characters tell in the Left Behind series. I used to skip those, actually, because having the characters recite their backslid old lives seemed kind of redundant; as Fred Clark pointed out the scenes are actually for the RTC audience to vicariously witness sin and be free to denounce it.

Just as Jerry Jenkins had his characters bubbling over with excitement about praying the prayer and wanting to announce it, so Parshall does with Darlene:

She got Abigail Jordan’s voicemail and said, “Guess what, Abby dear! I prayed a prayer today. And anyway…I guess I’ve become a glow girl!”

Is it just me or does “glow girl” sound kind of California-esque? (Or maybe WWE-esque?)

The chapter ends on a more tense note, as she wonders what she’s going to tell her husband. Given that she confesses that things have been ‘interesting at home’ when we last saw Darlene, and that she’s worried, not excited, about telling her husband, I have to wonder at the unfortunate (and hopefully unintentional) subtext that LaHaye and Parshall have introduced to the Fortis-Darlene relationship. I would like it if he was not an abusive husband, but then why emphasize “interesting” and have this uncertain thought?

Re: Christian counselling.

To the credit of the Center as portrayed here, Margaret has been relatively un-pushy about her own faith, and while she and Darlene seem to have discussed it prior to what we’re shown here, I think she did wait for Darlene to take the initiative in discussing matters of Christian faith.

That said, it still strikes me as a bit inappropriate to have an avowedly religious-themed program of addiction treatment. As I noted previously, it is possible that the converter to a new faith has not been properly and fully informed about what demands his or her new faith shall make, and also possible that a conversion to religious faith is used as a “short cut” method of treatment, intentionally or not.

I expect we will see more of Darlene later on, but for now the chapter ends. We’ll meet back with Josh and Abby as they continue to break the law, in palatial digs of course. See you next time.

EoA: Moment of Reckoning

Edge of Apocalypse: pages 247-251 (Chapter Forty-Three)

A quick aside:

First of all, I’m Canadian, as I’m sure most of you know. Second of all, when I was younger I used to love Polka Time, with Walter Ostanek and his band. A lot. 🙂

Well, recently I’ve been finding some of his old tunes on Youtube. Here are some of my favorites, although only one is from when I watched it in the late 1980s.

  1. Rolling Rock Polka
  2. Polka Time 1989
  3. Bartenders polka

As you can see, just a sampling of music by the great man himself 🙂 and a welcome reprieve from the tedium of this book’s paean to pro-military posturing.

Now, let’s turn away from the Canadian King of Polka and turn to the representative of a far lesser man.


Lawyer Harry Smythe is in court to try and get the Congressional subpoena quashed. Will he or won’t he be successful? Let’s find out as he begins court with Judge Jenkins. No, not that Jenkins, thankfully. 😛

Less than a minute later Judge Olivia Jenkins entered the courtroom, and the lawyers jumped to their feet.

The rest of the courtroom was empty. The government had secured an order from the judge clearing visitors and bystanders and barring the media on the grounds of national security.

Jenkins was an attractive, middle-aged black woman with a reputation as a smart, no-nonsense judge.

Sounds like she’d be in good company with Judge Strong Rice, then, if her sentencing methods are anything like his can be assumed to be.

Smythe tries on the “Josh made it himself so it’s his, and suck eggs” line of argument:

There were only two main points. First, that the RTS design belonged to Joshua Jordan, not the government. It was a matter of patent law and intellectual property rights. Congress had no right to force disclosure of weapon designs that were trade secrets and belonged to a private citizen. Besides, Smythe argued, Joshua Jordan had had no qualms about testifying to the select committee and he had answered all of their questions. The only “line in the sand” he drew was his refusal to produce highly sensitive documents for the design of the RTS weapon to members of Congress.

No qualms??

NO QUALMS??!

Chutzpah defines trying to slip that kind of whopper past the judge, I tell you! Didn’t he find a quick enough excuse to avoid having to discuss anything to do with his system?

He can’t testify as to the value of the RTS-RGS* being thrown in at the last minute, possibly taking time and soldiers away from more conventional methods of attempting to destroy the nukes, without pointing to the technical documentation that backs him up. Would any court of law, never mind a Congressional committee, accept the word of an expert witness without written notes, and/or something physical that he or she could point to? What was he going to do without the technical docs? A bald “The RTS was used at the last minute” is a nice qualitative statement, but it doesn’t have any gravity to it without, “We could not reprogram the detonation time, because (technobabble),” which was one question raised earlier in the book when it briefly discussed the media and political response to the non-nuking of New York. And being able to justify why conventional aircraft wouldn’t have worked by, say, pointing to the faster flight time of the RTS missile? Well, there’d be ballistic test data, or even ballistic measurements while in-flight, no?

Let us recall that the whole business of him withholding technical documents and claiming them as trade secrets is very likely based on a paper-thin assumption, not explicitly stated in the book, that the working prototype is not enough to reverse engineer it, and that the design documents held in his company’s computers and printed drafts are what provide the crucial method of developing one’s own RTS-RGS.

Even if we grant that, it is still not within Josh Jordan’s purview to withhold this stuff. This thing was paid for on a defence contract! Let’s assume this was a software company and a client. A software company that provided a client with, say, a working version of a program but failed to include basic specifications and instruction manuals could conceivably be in breach of contract and that, readers, is a civil tort. Now I don’t know if failure to meet a DoD contract would be a civil suit only, or if criminal penalties apply as well**, but if Josh hasn’t provided DoD with any of the documents yet, he is either really good buddies with someone in the Pentagon, or they’re being unusually lenient for something this critical.

The government lawyer and the judge finally make complete mincemeat of Josh Jordan’s ridiculous prima donna flounce fit over the question of who has the right to get access to the technical documentation:

The first government lawyer was brusque. “The contract that the Pentagon had with Mr. Jordan states, Your Honor, that when the weapon was officially accepted by the United States, it would become the property of the United States. Mr. Jordan signed away any special rights he had to the RTS design–“

Harry Smythe shot back, “But the RTS system was still experimental. It was never officially accepted by the U.S. government–“

“You’re wrong,” the government attorney countered. “When the U.S. government used the RTS weapon to turn back incoming missiles–and used it, Your Honor, with Mr. Jordan’s permission and participation, I might add–that was the same as ‘accepting’ the weapon for purposes of the contract.”

Judge Jenkins made short work of that argument. “I’m not convinced,” she said, “that Mr. Jordan retained any private rights to the RTS weapon design, at least as against the United States of America. He can protect his patent against other private citizens, but not against Congress, which is an arm of the U.S. government. Mr. Smythe, you’ve lost on that one.”

That admittedly hangs on a bit of a technical detail, the question of what constituted “acceptance”; wouldn’t it be more likely that taking delivery of the prototype would constitute acceptance-pending-further-testing and also knock the props out from under Smythe’s argument?

The basic point, though, is that in book canon, the above four paragraphs cement Senator Straworth’s position, that the Congressional committee can request and view Josh Jordan’s technical stuff.

Also, a nitpick: See the bolded text? I don’t know about US legal practice but I was told in my law class that Canadian practice is that lawyers do not address each other directly, but must instead “address through the bench”, i.e. by referring to “my colleague” or “my learned colleague” or some other acceptable third person form of reference. If US practice is the same, the government lawyer should have been admonished by the judge, especially a judge who is supposed to be “no-nonsense” like this Judge Jenkins.

Smythe then launched into his second point. That Joshua Jordan had a concern about the ability of the congressional committee to keep the RTS weapon design information secret.

“That committee had already leaked information to the press,” Smythe said, losing his characteristic professional calm. His face was beginning to get flushed as he spoke with an angry passion. “How can we assume that it will not allow the leaking also of this sensitive weapons information?” he added.

If this thing is as classified as it should be, I suspect there are already very strict penalties on Congresspeople and Senators for any attempt to divulge the contents of classified materials. This court case and this concern is simply LaHaye and Parshall painting a US government run by the Democratic Party as a bunch of unpatriotic twerps.

There’s a little back and forth, and the judge finally decides that since there are already confidentiality procedures in subpoena cases, she is convinced she can work out acceptable secrecy procedures in order that the committee and Josh be satisfied. Except that the prima donna won’t be:

But Smythe knew somebody wouldn’t be happy. He knew that Joshua Jordan had no intention of divulging his RTS design for the eventual use–or misuse–by a group of politicians.

(…)

Harry was about to pull the pin in the hand grenade. “Because Mr. Jordan is not inclined to comply with the subpoena. He won’t divulge his RTS technology. Except to the Defense Department under conditions where he has some guarantee that it won’t be used for political purposes and that it won’t be shared with other nations.”

Judge Jenkins is now officially displeased:

“That’s not what I asked. Is your client willing to admit service on the subpoena?”

“No, Your Honor. He isn’t.”

“So Mr. Jordan is in defiance of Congress. He’s defying an official subpoena. I wonder, Mr. Smythe, if he will also be in contemptuous defiance of this court?”

She finally lowers the boom for good on Joshua Jordan:

“Your client has exactly forty-eight hours to turn over these documents to this court. Failing that, I will consider–and will probably order–his indefinite incarceration in a federal detention jail. You’d better tell your client he’s in deep water right now. I hope he knows how to swim.”

Smythe calls Jordan and gives him the bad news; we end this chapter with another example of Josh’s strutting-peacockery:

“[Bring the documents or] federal marshals put out a warrant for your arrest. Then they haul you in for processing, take your mug shot, remove your personal effects for safe-keeping, and do a strip search. Then they put you in a jail cell.”

“What’s your next move?” Joshua asked coolly.

“Appeal it. But don’t count on a favorable result. More important, Josh, what’s your next move?”

“What I always do when enemy fire is incoming. Keep my head down and my finger on the trigger.”

This kind of ridiculous hero-in-your-own-mind rhetoric is intended to resonate with the audience reading this book who probably harbor anti-government sentiments and have been raised on a steady diet of “jack-booted thugs” mythology about the federal government. Josh Jordan thus becomes the larger-than-life hero who defies the Almighty State as he Does The Right Thing (for very restricted values of “right thing”).

Also, the last two statements by Smythe and Josh bring forth a very problematic interpretation: that for “patriotic” motives as defined by the extreme right wing, it is acceptable and honorable to break the law, and do so even when the premises behind the lawbreaking are completely artificially constructed, as is the case with Josh Jordan’s laser redirection system, and especially so when Democrats are in charge.

Given that Tim LaHaye is of a Christian sect that claims God as the ultimate authority over humans (possibly to the extent of not needing to obey human laws), it is of concern that this book effectively counsels Christians that they need not obey the laws of the United States of America when Godless Democrats are running things. I don’t think it’s a coincidence this book was pushed out after Barack Obama became President. His election to the highest office of the land crystallized a form of opposition to the Democrats that had failed to “gel” when the Democratic Party retook both houses of Congress.

But once a man who did not appear to have white skin got elected President, this opposition crystallized and “our America is being lost” gained new life among right-wing politicians and movements. You can see it being echoed in this book when Josh speechifies at the Roundtable about the “socialist second-rate America” he doesn’t want to see.

I trust that I am wrong, that this book doesn’t have the traction or the exposure that Left Behind does. But if it does, the book’s endorsements of the primacy of the military and contempt for Democratic Administrations may prove to be quite problematic.

With that, I close the chapter analysis and we’ll meet with someone we’ve only seen for a little while: Darlene Rice. See you next chapter.


* A reminder to readers that the book calls it “Return-to-Sender-Reconfigured-Guidance System”
** Likely, criminal fraud – i.e. uttering false documents with intent to defraud, or some similar type of offence.

EoA: Double-Cross Discovered

Edge of Apocalypse: pages 241-246 (Chapter Forty-Two)

Hamad Katchi meets with Ceasar Demas. Question: Will Monsieur Demas find out if Katchi was doing a little side dealing with the Russians?

This chapter’s great, actually. It actually has some suspense and spy-thriller and Bondesque evil crime boss stuff in it. XD

Somewhere in Hamad Katchi’s brain, all was not well. Even though all around him the azure blue seas of the Mediterranean were calm and sparkling and a gentle four-knot wind was blowing.

Katchi had been on the huge yacht of his partner, Caesar Demas, many times before (…)

The Pakistani-born arms dealer was afraid of boats. He made no pretense of that. It was the general unpredictability of the sea that gave him that unease. The undulating expanse constantly changing. He found the absence of the sight of land disconcerting. As well as the fact that it contained living, teaming creatures under the surface. Things you cannot see. But creatures that can eat you.

Great set-up XD

So, Demas gets to the heart of the matter. He’d rather sell off (or probably auction off) the RTS-RGS documents to the highest bidder, or group of bidders:

“So,” Demas continued, “we are still of one mind, you and I, that when we are in possession of the RTS design, we should sell it to a group of willing nations. No exclusive rights to just one nation. Right? Didn’t we agree on that?”

They most certainly did. Maximize profit and all that. Demas decides to offer Katchi a gin & tonic. Settle the nerves, y’know. 😛 Katchi’d rather have water and he ain’t feeling so good. Demas has a little surprise in store:

“So,” Demas said, making a sudden right turn in the conversation, “how was your trip to Moscow?”

Katchi was stunned. He hadn’t told Caesar anything about the trip.

“Good,” was all he said in response.

Careful, Katchi. You might want to avoid future boat trips with this guy; you’re already regretting it, aren’t you?

Now Katchi was getting nervous. He felt as if he needed to give some explanation about the Moscow trip. If I don’t explain, Caesar might think I just didn’t consider it a big deal. Which would be good. On the other hand, my silence might make him think I’m hiding something. Which I am. Does Caesar know why I was there? Maybe he does and he’s just playing with me. That’d be just like Caesar. Why did I go on his yacht today? I could have come up with an easy excuse. Told him I was sick. That I don’t like boats.

Katchi decides to try and fob off Demas claiming his side trip to Moscow was a small-arms deal – miscellaneous AK-47s, stuff like that. But Demas, it turns out, wasn’t convinced. He has a couple sidekicks with him, the hired muscle any good crime boss always has for jobs like this:

“The Moscow trip was successful for you?” Demas asked.

“Oh, sure. Not a lot of money. But worth the trip I suppose.”

Demas made a quick, flitting gesture to the two men, quick, almost indecipherable.

The two men came up to stand on either side of Katchi.

Katchi’s dead, he just doesn’t know it yet. Demas has discovered that he changed the terms of the deal with the Russians. Double-cross discovered!

Something wasn’t clicking in Katchi’s brain. In his business of trading in weapons of destruction and death, he should have recognized what was happening. The survival instinct should have kicked in. Fight or flight.

(…)

He also noticed a life vest lying on the deck. But the life vest was not orange like all the others he had ever seen. It was blue. Like the ocean. Which was strange, because someone wearing it would not be noticed from the air.

He’s been told to get up out of the chair and stand on that mat. The hired muscle obliges Demas and shoots Katchi in the leg, and Demas begins his questions in earnest. Katchi still keeps insisting he just did a small deal, but Demas isn’t fooled. Katchi gets a dunking in the ocean, with a free life vest, of course.

Bobbing in the cold Mediterranean as the blood flowed out from the wounds in his legs, Katchi was still conscious. He could see Caesar Demas and the two muscle guys bending over the rails of the yacht.

Demas yelled out to him. “Just tell me yes or no. Did you agree to sell the RTS to Vlad Levko in Moscow? Agree to give Russia exclusive rights to the RTS? Just nod your head up and down if you can’t talk. If you tell the truth, we’ll pull you in. Fix up your legs.”

Katchi gives up and acknowledges the real version of the Moscow deal. He suddenly wonders about sharks when Demas seems to be very uninterested in hauling him back onto the boat. Unfortunately, he’s right. Cue the standard shark bait ending.

This chapter establishes Demas as someone not to be trifled with, and sets the stage for why he might not mind dealing with Atta Zimler, even if his sidekick Feditzch isn’t too happy about dealing with a loose cannon like that guy.

So! An actually decent-ish chapter because Parshall isn’t trying to push an agenda here. It’s kind of bad that only the villains* seem to come off believably in this book, and even that’s in doubt when it comes to the way Zimler acts. This makes the book uneven in its verisimilitude, and that’s unfortunate.

Anyway, next chapter we’ll meet back with Harry Smythe, Josh Jordan’s lawyer. See you then.


* As well as Deb and Cal Jordan, but authorial meddling will no doubt mess up their characterization at some point.

EoA: Breaking the Law is OK (If Your Name is Jordan)

Edge of Apocalypse: pages 235-240 (Chapter Forty-One)

Hello everyone, and a Happy 2012 (hopefully) to you all. 🙂

Let’s start the New Year with another chapter of Joshua and Abigail Jordan as they deal with the Subpoena of DOOM. As you may judge from the title of this thing, LaHaye and Parshall essentially lay out the case that it’s okay to break the law regarding acceptance of service of a subpoena if you’re a right-wing proto-RTC ex-military person.

We start off with the Big Bad Bullying Government in the form of a US Marshal. Now I don’t know if a US Marshal would have to serve this subpoena to Josh, or if an ordinary cop would do. But it’s clear that the presentation is designed to appeal to all the standard right-wing fantasying about abuses of power by That Evil Federal Government (when run by Democrats, naturally). Incidentally, under the rules for Contempt of Congress, failure to respond is a civil tort.

In the lobby of Jordan Technologies, Inc., the secretary had the deer-in-the-headlights look. Joshua had warned her that it could happen. But she still hadn’t been prepared to come face-to-face with a U.S. marshal holding a subpoena in his hand.

“Madam, do you hear me? I’m a United States marshal. This is a legal document. I have to deliver it to Mr. Joshua Jordan. Immediately.”

She reads the document in all its capital-letter glory, and then nervously replies that Josh isn’t there and she doesn’t know when he’ll be back. Turns out that Josh actually told her to lie and thereby not have to accept service of the document. But it’s OK if you’re a Republican!

Remember how Josh has a private helicopter and private jet? He’s also got a private limo, and he’s in it while these events proceed. After he rings off with his secretary, he’s back on the line with his lawyer.

“Well, just like you predicted, Harry, they were over at my office trying to serve me with the subpoena.”

“I think we need to just face up to this, Josh. Admit service. I’ll accept service of the subpoena on your behalf at my office. Then I’ll see what can be done legally.”

“Harry, I want Abby’s input on this.”

“Is she there with you?”

“No. She’s up in Pennsylvania. She’s helping out a family friend of ours. They had a personal tragedy.” [ Note: She’s with Rocky Bridger’s family. ]

As you can see, Josh just ain’t having any of it, and intends to continue to evade service of the subpoena for as long as he can. The problematic aspect of this book is that it presents Josh Jordan’s flouting of the legal procedures of the US government as a Good Thing, when the basic premise behind it is completely at variance with any realistic understanding of how a thing like the RTS-RGS would be developed and under whose ownership the system would ultimately reside.

Yes, sometimes breaking the law in service of a higher objective can be a noble and even very necessary thing.

But what Joshua Jordan is doing isn’t motivated by any altruism as it would be commonly understood by an average person; he’s doing this because it’s his RTS-RGS and he doesn’t wanna share. He’s doing this because the authors have purposely set everything up in the book to make it look like he’s actually doing this out of more concern for his country than any concern shown by his country’s own leaders. And those very leaders are portrayed as self-serving and/or incompetent because it justifies LaHaye’s and Parshall’s Militarist-Christianist Exceptionalism.

Again and again this book creates such a bizarro world of exposition that any similarity between the EoA-verse and our own is purely accidental. It really is mind-boggling, when you sit down and try to think about it.

Consider this extract from a later portion of the chapter:

After Joshua looped all three of them in, he spelled out the issue. “Abby, Harry says we should let them serve the subpoena, then try to fight it out in court.”

Abigail jumped in immediately. “Harry, I assume you’re going into D.C. federal court with a motion to quash the subpoena?”

“That’s the strategy. I just don’t want my position weakened by any delay in Josh accepting service of the subpoena from the marshals.”

Abigail was silent on the other end. Joshua knew she was digesting it. Then she spoke her mind. “Harry, once Josh is served with the subpoena, the clock starts ticking. You then have to rush into court. What if you get the wrong judge and your motion is thrown out?”

“Well,” Harry said, “then the game’s almost over. Josh either turns over all his RTS documents or he goes to jail. Those have pretty much been the two options all along.”

“You know Josh,” Abigail chimed in. “He won’t turn over those documents to Congress. He believes that our national security is too compromised on Capitol Hill right now. And if he goes to jail, his reputation, all that he’s accomplished will be tarnished and destroyed.”

The whole reason “our national security” is “compromised” is because LaHaye and Parshall made it so. They have created this world in this book, claiming it to be “ripped from today’s headlines”, in a not too distant future. It is a false and distorted portrayal that is an attempt to justify contempt for government authority when the government is run by the “wrong” people (i.e. Democrats).

Chutzpah. I don’t think anything better defines it than this. *shakes head in astonishment*

So, what will the Jordans do? Take the lawyer’s advice? Oh no.

Abby said, “If we keep the marshals from serving that subpoena on you, then we keep you out of jail just long enough for the American people to read the first issue of AmeriNews. Once they find out the truth, I’m betting they’ll vent some outrage to their senators. When that happens, I’m betting that Senator Straworth and his buddies will start thinking about withdrawing that subpoena.”

Joshua Jordan, Misunderstood Patriot. *rolls eyes*

Fred Clark over on Slacktivist has noted how RTCs buy into this idea that the practitioners of the Christian faith in all its various forms are somehow an endangered minority in the United States. LaHaye nutures this and banks on it as a selling tool in the Left Behind series, as Rayford Steele mulishly overreacts to the very smidgen of a notion that anyone might possibly maybe sort of wonder why he reads his Bible all the time, and makes a huge issue of it when it turns out that Hattie Durham tee-hees a prank at Rayford over the FAA examination to certify him on his more fully-loaded 757.

In ths book, LaHaye and Parshall cater to a similar siege mentality among people who hold right-wing political views and who buy into the ridiculous “Liberal Media” trope which has never been as true as they’d like to pretend it is. In their view, America (as an abstract concept) is in mortal danger and these heroes in their own minds (Real True Patriots!) are the last vanguard of this imaginary version of the USA. So Josh Jordan becomes the guy they can relate to as he manfully, with pluck and derring-do, outmaneuvers those rascally Liberals who hate rich and successful people, trufax.

At least next chapter we can leave this cliched crap behind and look at Hamad Katchi and Caesar Demas, which is actually more interesting to follow than any of this RTP pablum.