The Rag

The Rag

by Michael Connelly (2)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781490774985
Publisher: Trafford Publishing
Publication date: 07/08/2016
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 187,132
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Michael Connelly is a U.S. Army veteran, a constitutional attorney, a consultant for the United States Justice Foundation, author of a blog on the Constitution, radio talk show host and, the author of five books, "Riders in the Sky: The Ghosts and Legends of Philmont Scout Ranch", "The Mortarmen", a story about my father's unit in WW II; a novel, "Amayehli: A Story of America", "America's Liveliest Ghosts" and this newly released patriotic novel "The Rag". In addition, I have an affordable, pocket size booklet on the Constitution called "Our Constitution".

Read an Excerpt

The Rag


By Michael Connelly

Trafford Publishing

Copyright © 2016 Michael Connelly
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4907-7498-5


CHAPTER 1

He was assigned to rat-killing duty in the old Marriott Hotel on the edge of the French Quarter when he found it. He wasn't looking for it. He wasn't looking for anything but rats, and he was doing that only halfheartedly. He spotted it when he was shifting a pile of debris behind what was left of the front desk in the once-ornate lobby of this high-end New Orleans, Louisiana, hotel. It caught his eye because of its colors — pretty colors that he was only vaguely familiar with.

There was no color in his world, at least no pretty colors. Everything was gray — his uniforms, his barracks, even the New Orleans landscape was just a dull gray — or so it seemed to Inmate 6024. He held the colored rag he had found in his filth-encrusted hands and glanced around the wrecked lobby to see if he could spot anything similar that the rag might have been torn from. Even in the poor light that filtered in from the smashed windows, he could see there was nothing of color remaining on the ground floor of the Marriott or suspect anything similar was on the upper floors.

This building, as well as most of the others in the historic Vieux Carré area of New Orleans, had been looted many years ago. Even the buildings that had survived the devastation of Hurricane Katrina had not been immune from the human insanity that had occurred a few years later. Inmate 6024 knew there were a few buildings in good condition in the area, but they housed the bosses and were basically self-contained units that contained luxuries that inmates and ordinary citizens were only vaguely aware of.

Since he was only a grade 5 inmate, he knew he would never be allowed inside one of those grand lodgings. Only grade 1 inmates were allowed the "privilege" of working for the bosses. Not that it really mattered to him. In fact, very little mattered to one whose brain barely functioned above the survival-mode level. He sometimes had flashbacks of vague memories of a time when he was another person entirely, a time when things did matter, but now he could not remember what those things were. He couldn't even remember what he had done to warrant the bosses putting him in the New Orleans detention camp.

All he really knows these days is that the bosses give him food, clothing, a bed, and his daily pills. They also gave him some very powerful marijuana to smoke every night to make him feel good and forget about his plight. Inmate 6024 is not even sure who the bosses are. He just knows that they work for the Socialist Republic of America (SRA), often simply referred to as the state, and they are in charge of everyone and everything.

Inmates were not allowed to have any personal possessions, and this colorful rag would be considered a personal possession and confiscated when he returned to the compound. He would be severely punished for such a transgression. Yet he felt compelled to keep it, so the question is how would he sneak it in? For some reason, he felt the answer might lie with an older man in the detention center that he only knew as Inmate 4031. A man who had seemed to develop a special interest in him, almost like the father he only vaguely remembered.

The old man once told him that he knew of a section of the high chain-link fence surrounding the compound that was not covered by the security cameras. He said that if the young man ever wanted to sneak something important into the compound, he just let the elderly gentleman know, and he would meet him as he passed that part of the fence and a small item could be handed to him through the fence. Inmate 6024 decided to try that so he hid the rag in the hotel, knowing that he would be assigned the same duties at the same location the next day.

That night, he confided to his fellow inmate about what he had found and his desire to get it into the prison. The man became very agitated when he heard the description of the rag and vowed to help. Everything went as planned the next evening, and that night, after lights out, the two men met in the bathroom where they could see if they stood under reflection of the outside lights that were shining through the small windows.

As the older man unfolded the rag, he said something that stunned the young man, "Before I give you this and we talk about what it means, I want you to tell me your name. My name is Ray."

The young prisoner hesitated because he knew that the use of real names was forbidden. Yet he instinctively trusted this man, so he said, "My name was — is James. I think I remember my parents calling me Jamie."

"OK, Jamie. Now we can talk as men instead of as robots created by our captors. How long ago did you stop taking the mandatory drugs?"

The young man stiffened up and hesitated again. He really didn't know this man, so he lied, "I am still taking the pills as required."

"No," replied Ray. "If you were still on the full dose, you would have not even have noticed what you found at the Marriott, much less asked me to help you sneak it into the compound. I just stuck my neck out for you, so it is time we trust each other. I suspect you have reduced the amount you are taking, and that is why you are not showing any of the obvious signs of withdrawal."

Jamie still hesitated, but he knew Ray was right. He had put himself at risk, and so he deserved the truth. "I had a dream several weeks ago. I think it was about my father and mother, but I could not remember the details. Then I realized that I could not even remember what they looked like or any of the details about my life before I came here. I want to remember, and something told me that it was the pills that were keeping that from happening, so I started pretending to take them and spitting them out. I have continued to use the marijuana, and so far, I can still not remember much, so getting off the pills is not enough."

"It takes some time," replied Ray, "but you obviously have regained the ability to think in the present, and the memories will return. Now, let's talk about this piece of cloth."

They talked for a few hours, and Jamie felt it all slowly to come back to him. He had not recognized the rag immediately, but it had seemed vaguely familiar. Ray told him that it was the flag of the United States of America, which was what their country had been named for almost 250 years while it was a constitutional republic. The flag had been banned even before the new government took over and the country was now named the Socialist Republic of America.

The USA had not died overnight. It took years of effort by people calling themselves progressives who believed that they were the elite and were destined to control the lives and destinies of everyone else. They were totalitarians following in the footsteps of the Communists, Nazis, and Fascists who had gone before them in other countries.

The campaign was steady and insidious. They started by taking control of most of the news media outlets and turning them into propaganda organs for the progressive political agenda. At the same time, they gradually took control of the universities and then of the entire public school system. The education system was transformed from a place where students learned how to prepare themselves to live in the real world and be productive members of a free society to an agent for reeducation.

Instead of being taught to honor their country and its history, students were trained to believe that freedom was evil and individualism and personal responsibility had to be replaced by government control of all aspects of life. Personal freedoms were replaced by collectivism and subjugation of individuals to the will of the state.

Freedom of speech and expression was replaced by political correctness that allowed the government to monitor and control what people said, did, and even thought. The Judeo Christian religious foundation of the United States came under massive attack. Freedom of religion was replaced by freedom from religion.

That was all they had time to talk about that first night, and Jamie had many questions that Ray said would be answered later.

CHAPTER 2

Ray and Jamie met every night for at least an hour, and much more of the story was revealed to the young man. He learned that the progressives had driven the vibrant American economy into the ground, putting millions of people out of work. This often left families with their only choice to survive being the reliance on government programs that were specifically designed to make them dependent upon and subservient to the government.

They soon learned that they had to surrender all their freedoms to the government if they wanted to stay on the federal dole. Any resistance to the government was severely punished. One of the requirements was for people to surrender any firearms they might own. This was part of an ongoing effort to disarm the American people by destroying the right to keep and bear arms guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the Constitution.

The disarming of the citizens had started slowly but had gained steam over the years. Throughout history, dictatorships had only been successful if they had succeeded in disarming the indigenous population. In the United States, various restrictions on firearm ownership had been passed by Congress over the years. But firearms ownership in the country had actually grown as more and more Americans realized that they needed to protect themselves from the rising crime and violence and also possibly from their own government.

The progressives saw that more proactive action had to be taken, so they took a page from Adolf Hitler's playbook. Hitler had been named chancellor of Germany in 1933 and immediately began efforts to disarm the German people, beginning with the military veterans. They represented the greatest threat to a dictatorship in Germany, and the progressives in the US government saw the same potential threat from American military veterans.

Using the Veterans Administration that was supposed to be an agency to take care of and protect veterans and using other federal agencies, the government instituted a program to declare veterans incompetent to handle their own financial affairs and based on that declaration also declare them too mentally ill to be allowed to own, purchase, or possess firearms and ammunition.

After all, as members of the military, American veterans had taken an oath to "protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic." That oath did not end when they left the military, so there were millions of highly trained veterans who posed a danger to the emerging dictatorship and therefore they must be disarmed.

Despite resistance by many veterans, the program was expanded to include senior citizens receiving Social Security benefits and then to others receiving federal or, in some cases, state benefits. Yet many people refused to voluntarily turn in their firearms, particularly in the face of increasing violent crime by gangs and left-wing political activists who mysteriously had all the weapons they needed.

Gradually, the progressives had succeeded through persistent propaganda in dividing the American people according to race, religion, and income. People were told they were entitled to have what other people had worked for even if they were unwilling to work themselves. Criminal activity was excused, and people who entered the country illegally were allowed to stay even if they committed crimes.

However, all this had not proved enough to bring down the United States completely. Something else was needed — something catastrophic. It was an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on the United States that did not go exactly as planned. In fact, it went terribly wrong.

CHAPTER 3

Ray was an enigma, even to his captors. His full name was Raymond Thibodeaux, and he had been raised in the southwest part of Louisiana by a Cajun mother and a father of Irish and Cajun ancestry. He was just over six feet tall, stout, and a lot stronger than he looked. His weathered appearance made it hard to gauge his age. All that his captors really knew about him was that he was an accomplished chef who had once owned one of the finest restaurants in the New Orleans French Quarter.

He had been arrested several years earlier when he was caught feeding some members of the patriot resistance late one night in his restaurant. This was an action punishable by death for everyone involved, and the members of the resistance who were caught were immediately executed. However, Raymond was spared because some of the administrators of the detention center were aware of his reputation as a culinary artist. The food they received in their dining hall was much more plentiful and far superior to the meager rations provided to the prisoners, but its quality of preparation left much to be desired.

Ray was seen as the solution to this problem, so the plan was not to sentence him to death but to put him in the detention center and assign him to supervise the preparation of meals for the prison guards and administrators. His captors were convinced that they knew everything they needed to about Raymond Thibodeaux, but they were wrong. Before Raymond had become an accomplished chef, he had been a Green Beret major in the US Army. The problem for the feds was that all the military records in the Pentagon had been destroyed in the EMP attack. So there was no way for the government to identify the military veterans and keep track of them. That was not the way it was supposed to have worked out.

The EMP attack had actually been coordinated by the progressives in the US government. The President had worked with the rogue governments in North Korea and Iran that had obtained nuclear weapons and essentially hired them to make the attack so it could not be traced back to the federal government. The attack was supposed to be limited and only target the states that would be the most troublesome such as those in the South, the Southwest, and the upper Midwest and Northwest.

This would cause the electric grids to be shut down in those areas for months and possibly years. Chaos would be the norm. The US economy would be brought to its knees, and everyone would have to rely on the government for survival. It would control the supply of food, water, medicine, and fuel and limit those supplies to cities and groups of people that professed complete loyalty to the new government.

The fact that there would be food riots in the big cities and millions of people would ultimately die in the chaos from starvation and lack of medical care would not be a negative but would get rid of the undesirables such as Christians, conservatives, gun owners, and members of minority races who could not be used as cannon fodder but might drain the system of resources. In other words, it didn't matter how many died or who they were as long as the elitists remained in control and did suffer from any deprivations themselves.

Before the attack took place, leftists in the government secured massive amounts of weapons, ammunition, food, water, and medical supplies. The military equipment had been placed in secure areas for years, but while every effort had been made to purge the military of those men and women who might be loyal to their oath to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic instead of being loyal to the new dictatorship, there were still many members of the military that could not be trusted. They were isolated from sensitive positions that might provide them with access to heavy weapons and equipment.

The new regime was also aware that the twenty-three million veterans in the country would be a major problem. Government efforts to disarm them and other elements of the population had been somewhat successful, but many people had managed to hide their weapons. The plan was to use the government databases of veterans and Social Security recipients to keep track of those who were suspected of still owning firearms or would otherwise oppose the government. The limited EMP attacks were designed to spare Washington DC and surrounding areas from being affected and would therefore maintain access to these databases, and the regime could proceed to arrest and incarcerate all these people immediately following the attack.

The key to the success of the limited EMP attack was to set the nuclear devices on the missiles to detonate at lower altitudes. It was supposedly well established that a nuclear bomb detonated at 250 to 312 miles in the atmosphere over Kansas would shut down the entire electric grid in the United States. To prevent this from happening, it was decided to set off detonations at 200 miles.

To a certain extent, it worked. Most of the red states lost their power while many blue states such as California and Oregon out west, the New England states, the states in the Northeast, and Washington DC were mostly spared. Unfortunately, for the government, the EMP attack produced an unintended consequence. It created an Internet virus that completely destroyed all databases including those stored in the cloud. Government computers no longer had the names and addresses of veterans or any other potential gun owners.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Rag by Michael Connelly. Copyright © 2016 Michael Connelly. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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The Rag 2.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First posted on Amazon, July 25, 2016, who deleted it. Highly recommended. Read this book, but let’s not live it. Tell your friends BEFORE the election. Pastor Greg Young has a good one sentence summary of this book on the cover: “1984 meets the Hunger Games meets the Patriot.” What genre best fits? Most say I write “Political Thrillers.” This book is more of a “Future History.” It’s a cautionary tale, a parable... (Sorry, the rest was deleted. Censorship exists.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read and a warning to us all
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While the author's name may be Michael Connelly, he's not the well known one. This book is riddled with grammatical errors and typos. It's very amateurish which told me I wasn't reading one of my favorite authors. It was very inexpensive and not worth it. I gave up after a couple chapters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a 79 year old veteran and constitutional conservative. Were I physically able I would be there with Gen. Donnally. I dispair for what I fear my grand children will have to deal with in their lifetimes. The leftists will manage to bting down our great republic. What comes after that will not be pretty. Shame on those fools!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Blah, blah.Hope I can stay awake to finish this boring rag. But rather doubt it. It's difficult for me also to ignore all the spelling mistakes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Does not seem to be written by michel connelly, no character development, reads like bad 1984 Awful