by John Galt
November 29, 2009
Thou commandest me to lead forth this people; and thou dost not let me know whom thou wilt send with me, especially whereas thou hast said: I know thee by name, and thou hast found favour in my sight
35:31. And hath filled him with the spirit of God, with wisdom and understanding, and knowledge, and all learning,
35:32. To devise and to work in gold and silver and brass,
The reality of the crisis will soon sink in on the American public in this portion of the story. The portion below is FICTION and I have not entered this section in italics at the request of several readers who have difficulty reading the font in that style.
February 24, 2010 05:18 A.M.
So sue me. This time I hit the snooze button twice. I decided I would head over to the office today to see if the owner had sobered up and elected to give it a try. My wife begged me to stay home claiming the news was filled with stories of muggings, hijackings of trucks and robberies everywhere but I knew that was not the case in our little part of Florida, not yet at least. I calmed her down as I shaved by saying “Look, if it is dangerous looking outside, I will turn back home. I will carry my pistol and call you when I get to the office. Heck honey, I have no idea if we are even going to be open but we have to try to get the business moving again.” She just shook her head and looked at me with those sad, sultry blue eyes and wanted to cry as she tends to do when the stress levels max out. I reassured her by saying “Don’t worry, the 12 gauge is loaded beside the computer desk in my office. I promise to call you on a regular basis, at least once an hour.”
As I put an extra magazine for my pistol in my briefcase, I turned to more important issues, like wondering just how the circus would get restarted after they shut it down cold with no warning. My company was obligated to fifteen construction projects throughout the state, about twenty percent of our former volume three years ago. The problem we had been experiencing with spare parts delivery on the big equipment had dragged on and on with excuses and little resolution in sight as the suppliers kept going bankrupt or endured transportation breakdowns. I never would forget the article on the cover of Business Week from the first of this month titled “The Death of J.I.T.” and laughed because they had no idea that the problems they wrote about had been ongoing for almost a year before. The funny thing is nobody noticed any problems until a local super market ran out of Raisin Bran for a week and that was just a little over ten days ago. Now on the local news program on 820 I listen to every morning here’s a local politician stirring up everyone with the warning that shortages are going to be pervasive in our state and soon if the government does not get the banks and credit systems open. “No duh” I thought to myself.
After shaving and listening to all of the depressing local news, I figured I might as well turn the television on and see what the financial networks had to report. I was too tired and depressed by this point in time to visit the internet blogs, message boards and news sites so I figured the cheery voices on CNBC, FBN or Bloomberg would have some sort of news, anything to give me a clue. Heck, it was a quarter until six in the morning and usually the networks had the biggest stock pumpers in the world on, but that would be sort of a moot point now.
As I settled in front of the television, the media attempted to portray things in a most interesting twist as I attempted to enjoy my coffee with a bagel. The first thing I saw on CNBC was a new feature titled “Investing in the New America” which caught my eye and made me ill all at the same time. Then as I switched over to Fox Business their feature a few minutes later was “A New Day for American Business” that finished my appetite off, but intrigued me enough to watch the feature to see what in the world was going through their minds. At just before six o’clock I switched over to Bloomberg for some sort of sanity. Sadly, it became apparent to me that when sanity left the building, it took our entire world with it. “Dawn of A New America” was the graphic emblazoned on the screen with the Third Movement to Dvorak’s New World Symphony blaring in the background and with my mouth dropping to my knees it seemed, on came a new group of talking heads that I had never seen on Bloomberg before nor would I have ever expected to based on what they said next.
“Good Morning! This is Sandra Williams with my co-host Tom Lewis and welcome to the new Dawn of American Business brought to you exclusively on Bloomberg Television in the United States, CNBC U.S., and the Fox Business Network every morning from 6 A.M. until 9 A.M. when the networks resume with their normal line up. This service is a joint effort between the cable news and broadcasters of the United States designed to insure that important information about America’s economy, government and regulatory agencies are brought to you unfiltered as a service of the United States Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. We are part of a new special reporting group from the United States Information Agency designed to keep Americans and the world informed during this brief economic crisis.”
My charming wife walked in the room in time to yell at me “I’m not cleaning up that coffee spill on the sofa, you have to do that yourself and do you realize that you’re drooling? What in the world has gotten into you?” She was right of course as I had basically drooled and spilled coffee on my chin, my shirt and the sofa in stunned amazement to what I had just heard. Then after pointing to the television and explaining what I had just heard, she sat down with me to watch a bit more of this stunning first in American broadcasting.
February 24, 2010 06:19 A.M.
The talking heads basically did recaps of everything we already knew to this point but started to add some information to fill in the blanks. The target date for re-opening the entire United States banking system was now March 15th and that could not be good for the financial system but as the announcers stated, the bad institutions would be absorbed and liquidated as necessary and that had introduced inherent instability and the concerns of bank runs as many other commentators had alluded to. Before I could say a word, an advertisement appeared for the new “$ Card” which appeared to be a slick add to push a new government sponsored credit card. In reality it was something more insidious as the ad finished with the slogan “Standby for instructions tomorrow February 25th on how to obtain and use your Dollar Card, soon to be the only legally accetable method for transferring funds from failed banks and travel overseas.”
Travel overseas? What was wrong with Travelers checks or credit cards? This is getting weirder by the minute. The ads that followed were no less uncomfortable to view as my wife and I sat dumbfounded and fixated at the screen.
- An ad from Chase telling all of its cardholders to hang in there as it would soon have a 0.0% interest rate in exchange for the new per usage fees approved by the Federal Reserve and to check our mail for further instructions.
-An ad from Ameritrade assuring its customers that the impending regulations would guarantee the value of their account as of February 19, 2010 and not to sell or panic when financial markets re-open on March 8th but to be comforted by this new government guarantee under the SIPC, now a part of the Federal Reserve Economic Security Division.
-An ad from Goldman Sachs assuring all of the customers who the Federal Reserve and FDIC that are assigned to their supervision that business will return to normal soon enough and to smile at the new dawn in America.
-An ad from FEMA urging all Americans in need to register for help by February 28th so an assessment of the economic crisis and needs of its citizens can be completed as soon as possible.
My wife was shaken by this and puzzled just looking at me and uttering “Dollar Card?” with a very puzzled look on her face. “Got me,” I replied “I’ve never heard of such a thing.” She then begged me again to not go to work and stay home but I would have none of it. It was just after six thirty in the morning and I had to leave. As I tucked my cell phone into my pocket and made sure my CCW permit was in my wallet, I kissed her on the cheek, told her how much I loved her and headed out the door. Work had to be beckoning me by now and with all of the efforts by the Obama administration, some semblance of normalcy had to be on the horizon. “Yeah, right” I thought to myself. There was never to be a normal anything for the rest of our lives the way I figured it. The morning news was only a hint of the insanity to come.
February 24, 2010 07:05 A.M.
As I pulled my F-150 into the driveway of our offices, I slowed down to a crawl and almost broke down in tears. There was a Sheriff’s office squad car sitting at the end of the driveway blocking the way, a fire truck spraying water on some smoldering rubble and what appeared to be a van from the Arson squad or Coroner’s office around the back of the fire truck as it was too far away for me to see at the moment. “Halt right there!” the deputy bellowed out, hand on his sidearm with the holster unsnapped and his other hand making a stopping motion, “Identify yourself and state your business.” I squinted through the windshield and rolled my window down “Doug, is that you? What the hell are you doing here? And what happened to my company’s offices?” Doug, a fifteen year veteran of the Sheriff’s office and long time friend and partner in my bowling league looked relieved. Doug’s voice was shaking as he told me”John, good to see that it is you. We’ve had reports of looter’s trying to get in here and mess up our crime scene. I guess we won’t be bowling again any time soon since the team sponsor was found dead inside of his own building.”
I turned my truck’s engine off and stepped slowly outside of the vehicle, somewhat in shock. “Doug, uh, wh, wha, what happened?” I stuttered choked up trying to ask the question without losing it. The deputy took a sip of coffee from the cup on his squad car and took a deep breath to reply, “John, it appears now per the coroner and arson investigator to be suicide. The initial report has him going inside the office some time last night, pouring an accelerant on the floors, turning off the fire suppression system and setting the building on fire while he was in it. They’ll conduct an autopsy this afternoon. Do you have any idea why he would do this?” I must have freaked my friend out a bit as he had never seen me shaking like this as he put his hand on my shoulder in an attempt to reassure me. “Oh God Doug, he kept talking about leaving it all yesterday on the golf course as we played through but I thought he was talking about leaving town. I had no idea he meant this!” I told him slowly, my voice low and shaking. “That’s okay John, he was in a world of trouble,” Doug said in a sympathetic voice, “He was on the list of tax evaders to be arrested later this week and I think he knew it. All debtors to the Federal government who had failed to file the proper forms by December 31st of last year were going to get a visit soon. The events of the past twenty-four hours have just accelerated the process.”
I just looked at him and nodded as if to understand what he was saying and as I began to ask another question he interrupted and shocked me with “John, you’re not carrying today are you?” I looked him in the eyes and said “Of course I am Doug. You know the way things are today, I would not leave home without it.” He shook his head and firmly advised me “Look, we’ve know each other for years. I’m letting you go straight home but do not get caught by another officer again on the streets with your weapon. They will confiscate it now. Only Federal, State and Local authorities are allowed to be out in public armed for the next sixty days and that edict will become public at 9 a.m. when the President issues a series of Executive Orders we have been advised on already. Go home. Tune into the news and watch what they tell you to do. I’m being generous another officer will not be as nice.”
With that, I shook his hand, told him if there was anything I could do to call me and he promised to call me tomorrow night when his eight hour off shift began. He had been on the eight on, eight off shift now since six o’clock Monday morning and it was wearing on him. I thanked him and headed straight home, dying to know the new orders and laws of our President which apparently suspended our CCW rights among many other things. It was seven thirty-five in the morning, leaving me plenty of time to make it and start securing our home a bit more than I had previously. I called my wife and told her what had happened and she burst into tears, crying over and over again the words “Why, damnit, why?”
February 24, 2010 07:35 A.M. Central Time
Mike had been up for three hours now and thankfully it was a quiet night for once. The National Guard had set up a roadblock on I-94 up by the North Dakota border to slow down the troublemakers and the punks who were trying to hijack the trucker screaming into the C.B. radio yesterday had been captured, well, two alive that is, and taken into state police custody. As Mike walked into the house he stomped the frost and muddy ice off of his boots before removing the layers of winter clothes when his wife yelled out “Breakfast honey, eggs, bacon and toast the way you like it!” Mike was somewhat tired after two days of adventure and keeping that truck and reefer ready to go should his company ever figure out how to pay him back and keep his unit fueled up yet relieved to be home where he could protect his wife and insure the safety of this little farm he had acquired after years of hard work and honest living. “Honest living, huh” he thought to himself as the radio began blaring with the local host saying “Buckle up America, the ride is about to begin. This is KBRF 1250 AM turning programing over now to the USIA and the Dawn in America program with important information from now until the President’s briefing at 8 A.M. central.”
Mike looked at his wife and said it as plainly as us Midwesteners could: “What the hell is this crap?” With that his wife started to tear up and Mike said quickly “No, No, No honey, not the breakfast, this crap on the radio! I’m sorry, I know you’ve been stressed out!” She whipped back at him with that ‘eye’ that men fear and said “Well now mister, that’s better. You know I’m stressed out too. I’ve been bottling and canning and filling up water jugs and sandbags working my butt off with you side by side. And you have YET to explain to me as to why we are doing all this!” Mike assumed the whipped puppy dog position his face staring down into the egg yolk and replied politely “I think we’ll know in about twenty minutes sweetie. Sorry I snapped at you.” She nodded, hugged him and then walked into the living room to settle down in front of the television to find some sort of coverage as to what was going on.
“Mike” she yelled out emphatically, “You won’t believe this. This Dawn in America stuff is on every channel, even ESPN and the Weather Channel!” He couldn’t resist the chance to lighten the mood and yelled back “HBO Latino and The Playboy Channel too?” That triggered the classic “Very funny mister, get your tail in here after you clean the dishes up after breakfast, now I’m worried!” she yelled back. Just as Mike finished breakfast and started to wash his plate the doorbell rang. “I’ve got it his wife yelled” and before Mike could yell “NO” and grab his shotgun she had opened the front door. “Mike, don’t shoot, it’s me Jack” and sure enough it was Deputy Monckton shaking snow and ice off of his coat in the entry way to the home. “Jack, are you nuts? Aren’t you supposed to be on duty now?” Mike asked. The deputy explained that his shift ended at eight and he wanted to watch the big announcement because as he put it “the life of the Sheriff’s department is going to get rough” with what ever the President said. “Have a seat over there, Jack, do you need some coffee?” Mike’s wife asked politely. Jack nodded and asked for black with sugar and she headed off to the kitchen. It was now 7:50 A.M. and the anticipation was building but the disgust for the almost comic like happiness on the teleivsion started to upset Mike and Jack. “Sounds a lot like the AFRTS crap from ‘Nam, doesn’t it Jack?” Mike asked. Deputy Monckton bristled and started a diatribe about how every time they lied to them in the field about how wonderful things were they got into the fire fight of their lives. Then he said something profound to Mike that he and his wife had never considered; that the fire fight was about to begin again because these clowns didn’t have a clue what they were doing.
February 24, 2010 8:55 A.M.
Tom woke up with his wife Sandy to find that she had elected to go to her Mom’s and check on her this morning and would come home some time this afternoon. Normally Tom would not be alarmed by this fact except that he had just heard that the Executive Orders were about to be issued and somewhat panic stricken his mind started to race. “What if they set up road blocks? What if she’s driving drunk? She didn’t take my car I hope. What if she didn’t check her gas? Oh now, does she have enough cash? Oh God, what do I do if she’s in trouble? What do I do?”
Not being the advanced planner he thought he was, he grabbed the phone only to find out it was dead. “Oh my God, the government has cut the lines. They are coming to get me. What did I say on the message board. Did I offend a Fed? Oh Lordy, what did I do?” and as Tom was hyperventilating into the moment his cell phone rang. It was his wife who started rambling “Honey, it’s me, Sandy. I had to go check on momma as this snow storm was a shocker this morning. It’s pretty but some idiot hit the phone pole by our house so we haven’t had phones since about 5 a.m. I didn’t want to wake you up but I’m heading over to Peachtree City to check on her while the roads are good and before they freeze up.” Tom sensing a bit of relief then realizing she was miles away said in an urgent tone “Be careful sweetie, who knows what kind of nutcases are out there.” Sandy told him to quit being a worry wart and they said good-bye right at one minute until nine. “Crap, the TV” Tom yelled and ran to grab the remote and turn on CNN for the news.
February 24, 2010 9 A.M. ET
Twenty Minutes that Would Rock The World
President Obama approached the podium with Treasury Secretary Geithner, Senator Harry Reid, and Majority Leader Pelosi and began to speak:
“My fellow Americans, citizens of the world, today we embark on a New Day of Economic Justice for All. The imbalances which have destroyed our current system of banking will be corrected to a large degree during the next thirty days. This briefing is for the purpose of informing the public via the United States Treasury Department of what actions we have taken immediately to assure the world and our citizens that this government will fulfill its obligations in full and that all citizens entitled to benefits and assistance from this nation will receive them uninterrupted. With that in mind, here is Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner to outline the executive orders that went into effect at midnight last night and with the assistance of the Legislative Branches, represented by Senator Reid and Majority Leader Pelosi, how we will come into compliance with the new regulatory oversight our nation has agreed to.”
As Secretary Geithner shook Obama’s hand and walked up to the podium, Tom, Mike, Jack and John all had the same feeling despite being miles apart and different in every aspect of their status in society. Geithner began reciting the orders which impacted his department, primarily in the banking and financial sectors but curiously leaving out the enforcement responsibilities of the IRS and ATF as to allow Americans a sense of calm. The feeling of unease the gentlemen felt at home would be amplified in the next twenty-four hours as the publication of the Executive Orders on the Internet and the resulting chaos that ensued would change America forever.