Category Archives: J.D. Rhoades

Suppose They Had a Revolution and Nobody Came

By JD Rhoades

The Pilot Newspaper: Opinion

Those wild and wacky wingnuts are at it again!

What are those zany scamps up to this time? Why, trying to overthrow the government, of course! Unfortunately for them (and hilariously for citizens of the non-crackpot variety), the government didn’t seem to notice.
It happened (or more accurately, didn’t happen) last weekend, at an event called Operation American Spring, OAS for short. OAS was the “brainchild” of a former U.S. Army colonel named Harry Riley. On his website, Riley laid out his plan to “restore the Constitution.” In fine military fashion, Riley broke the op down into three “phases.”
1: OAS would “field millions, as many as 10 million, patriots” who would assemble on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., “spiritually/ Constitutionally armed” to replace the “current government.”
2: One million of the 10 million (Riley later told Alan Colmes that the count could go as high as 30 million) would remain on-site “as long as it takes to see Obama, Biden, Reid, McConnell, Boehner, Pelosi, and Attorney General Holder removed from office.”
3: “Those with the principles of a West, Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson, Lee, DeMint, Paul, Gov. Walker, Sessions, Gowdy, Jordan, should comprise a tribunal and assume positions of authority to convene investigations, recommend appropriate charges against politicians and government employees to the new U.S. attorney general appointed by the new president.”
Yes, there’s nothing that says “restoring the Constitution” like a minority of disgruntled voters overthrowing a freely elected government because they didn’t like the election result, then establishing an unelected tribunal to arrest and punish those they designate as political undesirables. Reign of Terror, anyone?
The coup wouldn’t be easy, Riley warned.
“It will be painful,” he said, “and some people may die because the government will not be nonviolent; some of us will end up in a cell, and some may be injured.”
A fellow named Terry Trussell, who identified himself as OAS’s “chief of staff,” told the “Patriot Nation” radio show that “if things got bigger,” the administration could “pull in drones,” but confidently predicted that “when the government destroys the capital just to get rid of us, I think it’s going to work to their discredit.”
Well, yeah, I guess that would be true. If, that is, the basic premise of the statement weren’t bat-spit crazy.
So the big day, May 16, rolled around, and — well, not much happened. From the live feed that the OAS people thoughtfully set up on the Internet, it looked like about 200 people showed up. It was kind of hard to tell, because for a long time, the camera was apparently lying on its side.
What could be seen in the feed, and in various photos posted from the event, was small knots of people (mostly older, almost exclusively white) milling around aimlessly, shouting a lot, and most definitely not being slaughtered by Obama’s Killer Drones.
“It’s a very dismal turnout,” 61-year-old Jackie Milton, the head of Texans for Operation American Spring, glumly told The Washington Times. One “patriot” was even more poignant; he stood in front of the camera and screamed “Where you AT?” over and over.
It is true that, in advance of the coming of the OAS wavelet, the president and Mr. Biden actually did flee the White House — all the way to a local Shake Shack, where they had a nice lunch and talked to reporters about raising the minimum wage. From the pictures, a lot more people showed up at that event than at the Mall.
Faced with this kind of embarrassment, some OAS supporters took to Twitter, with a variety of excuses for the poor turnout that were so lame that #Americanspringexcuses became a trending topic all its own.

30 million “patriots” descend on DC disguised as empty chairs! Clint Eastwood was proud! #OperationAmericanSpring
— KHARY PENEBAKER (@kharyp) May 17, 2014

Some posted photos of massive crowds on the Mall, only to have others note from a cursory examination of the signs and clothing that the pictures were from civil rights marches from 40 years ago.
My personal favorite was the often-repeated “well, a lot of these patriots have jobs.” Possibly, but here’s a thought: When the horrible tyranny under which you claim to suffer isn’t enough to make you ask for a personal day to overthrow the government, then maybe the tyranny isn’t so horrible after all.

Another right wing attempt to overturn the election has failed, because, despite the drama-queen ranting of the worshippers of “West, Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson,” etc., normal people look around and, for the most part, see things as getting better. They may not be completely happy, but unlike the deluded misfits of OAS, they’re not unhappy to the point of treason.

Via: J.D. Rhoades


Running the Big Con

By JD Rhoades
The Pilot Newspaper: Opinion

A man and a woman sat across the table from one another in a nondescript diner off the main highway. The man was older and grizzled-looking, while the woman was young and blonde, with the fresh-faced, innocent look of a high school cheerleader.

“I’ve been watching you, kid,” the man said. He saw her alarmed look and raised a hand. “Not like that. But I’ve seen you work. You’ve got instincts. You’ve got a real feel for what it takes to be a grifter, to work the big con. Once I teach you a few basic techniques, you could make a lot of money in this business. You interested?”
She leaned back in her chair, her eyes narrowed. “I’m listening,” she said.
The man ignored her cautious tone. “First,” he said, “You’ve got to show authority. People will believe anything if they think it’s coming from someone who knows. You can be wrong, dead wrong, but you can never look like you’re unsure. Never back down, never apologize, and make anyone who questions you seem like they’re the idiot. Get some guys on your crew with fancy degrees or some former military guys. Doesn’t matter if they have any idea what they’re talking about, as long as they can spin a good line of patter that supports your con.”
“Sounds expensive. And I don’t know if I want to cut that many people in on the job.”
“Kid,” the man said, “this is the big time. You can’t think small.”
The woman nodded. “OK. I guess you’re right.”
“Well, I am, but even if I wasn’t, you see how quick you were to agree with me? That’s because the key to being a confidence man — or woman — is, well, confidence.”
The woman laughed. The man noticed she was beginning to relax and smiled to himself. He was the best, and he knew what worked.
“Second,” he said, “you’ve got to use fear.”
“Fear,” he said. “You’ve got to know how to scare the rubes. Make them think that someone’s getting an advantage that they’re not getting. Or that someone’s going to get what’s theirs. Fortunately for you, it’s really easy. Most people live their lives terrified of just that. They’re like that squirrel-rat creature in those “Ice Age” movies, trying to hang on to his acorn. There’s a lot of money in fear for folks like us. Which brings me to my third point.”
He held up three fingers.
“Make the mark feel like he’s something special,” he said. “Make him feel like he’s getting information from you that no one else has. Stuff that anyone but the two of you is too dumb to know or too scared to talk about. You make the mark feel like he’s part of this special group. Combine that with the whole fear thing I just talked about, and pretty soon he’ll believe it’s the two of you against everyone else.”
“Yeah,” the woman said. “I get it. Make them seem like you’re their real friend and it’s everybody else who’s the con man. Then isolate them so that your voice is the only one they hear.”
“Exactly,” the man said. “You do that right, you can get the mark to turn against his own family if he thinks they’re trying to talk him out of listening to you. If all else fails, don’t be afraid to be a bully. Anyone tries to tell the rubes something different from what you want them to hear, cut them off. Don’t let them talk.”
“Wow,” she said. “That sounds kind of … I don’t know …”
“Kid,” the man said impatiently, “what did I tell you about thinking small? This is high stakes, big-money grifting we’re talking about here. You can’t afford to be soft. Don’t tell me I was wrong about you.”
The woman thought for a long moment. In his mind’s eye, the man could almost see the wheels turning in her head until all the windows in her mental slot machine came up in dollar signs.
“So,” the man said finally. “Whaddya think?”
The blonde woman smiled. “I’m in.”
“Great,” the man said. “I think you and me are going to make a lot of money in this business, kid.”
He stood up and extended a hand.

“Welcome to Fox News.”

Via: J.D. Rhoades


Devils and Dust -Cover and Jacket Copy

By JD Rhoades

“You bring death,” the voice said, “and Hell follows with you.”

Relentless bounty hunter Jack Keller returns in DEVILS AND DUST, the long-awaited fourth installment of the critically acclaimed series.

Keller’s been in exile, living a quiet life in the desert, since his disappearance after the cataclysmic events of 2008’s award-winning SAFE AND SOUND. Now his old friend and former employer Angela has tracked him down and needs his help. Oscar Sanchez, Angela’s husband and Keller’s best friend, has disappeared while investigating what happened to the sons he was trying to bring to America. If anyone can find Oscar, Keller can, but along the way, he has to confront his own demons and his unresolved feelings for Angela—now his best friend’s wife.

Keller’s quest takes him from a corrupt Mexican border town to a prison camp in the swamps of South Carolina and pits him against human traffickers, violent drug lords, and a vicious group of white supremacists perpetuating an evil as old as civilization itself in the name of God. All of them are about to learn a hard lesson: if Jack Keller’s after you, he’s bringing Hell with him.

Via: J.D. Rhoades


Another Benghazi Fizzle

By JD Rhoades
The Pilot Newspaper: Opinion
Another month, another Benghazi fizzle.

It seems that the Raging Republican Right is trying once again to create an administration-destroying scandal by politicizing the tragic deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, during an attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012.
Problem is, every new “bombshell revelation” they come up with turns out to be a dud.
The most famous one was the “60 Minutes” story by correspondent Lara Logan, in which a supposed eyewitness with a tale of personal derring-do and betrayal on that night was revealed within days to have been a fraud who’d told an entirely different story to his employers.
After that, you’d think the Benghazi Cult would be too embarrassed to even bring it up again. But that would assume that these people have the capacity for embarrassment. Caught spreading a lie, their reflex is to just yell the lie louder and look for a new one to spread.
They thought they’d found another “smoking gun” in the testimony of retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert Lovell, who testified before Rep. Darrell Issa’s Kangaroo Court (aka the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee) that we “should have done more” to rescue the embattled ambassador and his staffers.
When questioned about what forces exactly were in place that could have reached the scene in time to save lives, Lovell took the Way of the Weasel: “The discussion is not in the ‘could or could not’ in relation to time, space and capability; the point is we should have tried.”
In other words, we should have tried something, even if we knew it wouldn’t work.
Nevertheless, Fox News immediately touted Lovell’s testimony as “incredibly damning.” At least until later in the day, when Rep. Gerry Connolly, a Virginia Democrat, specifically asked if Lovell was saying that “we could have, should have done a lot more than we did because we had capabilities we simply didn’t utilize.”
At that point, Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, a California Republican and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, had to try to save the “Obama left them to die” narrative by throwing Lovell under the bus and impeaching the Republicans’ own witness.
“General Lovell did not serve in a capacity that gave him reliable insight into operational options available to commanders during the attack, nor did he offer specific courses of action not taken,” McKeon said.
On the heels of that failure came another supposed bombshell, an email released by the White House from Ben Rhodes (no relation), whose job title is “deputy national security adviser for strategic communication.” In other words, he’s a spin doctor.
His job, like the job of such PR guys in every single administration, is to try to put the most positive face on things for the president he works for. So his email suggested doing just that. He suggested several goals for U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s upcoming appearances on Sunday morning talk shows, one of which was “to underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.”
We now know that this assessment of the attacker’s motivations was incorrect, or at least incomplete. But we also know that the “attack as a reaction to the video” theory was based on actual assessments the CIA had sent the White House nine hours before the Rhodes memo. It wasn’t just made up out of whole cloth. It was wrong, but that’s the information they had at the time.
If your idea of a Great Scandal That Will Bring Down the Mighty is the revelation that a mid-level White House PR guy tried to do PR for Sunday morning shows that almost nobody watches anymore, using the information available at the time that came from the CIA — well, then, scandals just ain’t what they used to be.
What’s truly baffling and infuriating about all this that there’s plenty to criticize about what led to the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi. There are legitimate criticisms about our lack of preparation and our failure to have more assets within striking distance to deal with a sudden attack in a volatile region. There’s also the excellent question of whether we should have even been in Libya in the first place (something, you may remember, that I wasn’t in favor of).
But that’s not sexy or dramatic enough for the Benghazi Cult. They’re twisting themselves in knots trying to find some kind of base betrayal on the night of the attacks themselves or some kind of cover-up afterward.
Once again, their Obama Derangement Syndrome blinds them to a legitimate problem, which is why their Benghazi narrative never gains any traction outside the right-wing bubble.

Via: J.D. Rhoades


If Both Sides Do It, Why Do I Never Get E-mail Like This From Liberals?

By JD Rhoades
From todays’ e-mail, proving once again the point of todays’ column: “What the average person does not realize is that North Carolina government for at least the last 100 if not 125 years has been under the thumb of nigra democratic rule. This year, the first time in over one century, the Republicans control both houses of the legislature and the governor’s office It is great. russ”

Via: J.D. Rhoades


Wingnut Media Fails Once Again

By JD Rhoades
The Pilot Newspaper: Opinion

By now, we’ve all heard of the egregiously racist things spouted by L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling to his trophy girlfriend in a recorded phone conversation that was recently released to every media outlet, with the possible exception of the “Sesame Street News Flash.”

Immediately, right-wing media leapt into action, their crack investigative teams digging hard for the answer to the most important question of all: How do we turn this into an attack on the Democrats?
“Racist Clippers Owner Donald Sterling Is a Democrat,” blared a blog post on the National Review website. “Report: Clippers Owner Caught In Racist Rant Is a Democratic Donor,” said Fox Nation. Right-wing icon Matt Drudge and his Drudge Report told us that “NBA Sterling is a Democrat,” while Tucker Carlson’s vanity project The Daily Caller claimed “Race Hate Spewing Clippers Owner Is Democratic Donor.”
All of this, it seems, was based on the fact that, as The Daily Caller put it, “Between 1990 and 1992 Donald Sterling made a $2,000 donation to former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley, a $1,000 donation to current Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, as well as a $1,000 donation to the recalled former governor of California, Gray Davis.”
Got that? A multibillionaire makes donations of his pocket change to three Democrats 22 years ago, and suddenly he’s a “Democratic donor,” for purposes of right-wing smear campaigns.
I suppose they were desperate for something to latch onto after the debacle in which rising star Cliven Bundy turned out to be not only a freeloading welfare rancher and domestic terrorist, but a racist nutball as well — but only after he was embraced by the likes of Sean Hannity and Rand Paul.
Now, of course, they’re backpedaling on their support for Bundy faster than Wile E. Coyote when he realizes he’s gone over the edge of the cliff, while the wingnut media scramble desperately to find someone to take the heat off. I guess Donald Sterling looked like the perfect target.
Problem with the Sterling-as-Democrat charge is that, according to California’s voter registration rolls, it turns out that the creepy old dude’s a registered Republican and has been since 1998. Oops. Maybe it wasn’t such a great idea to make an issue of Sterling’s party affiliation — huh, guys?
Once again, members of the right-wing media have fallen flat on their faces in their desperate attempt to support one of the most absurd Republican tropes: “We’re not racist. Democrats are the real racists, because of Robert Byrd. So there.”
Apparently, the party whose supporters wave signs showing President Obama as an African witch doctor with a bone through his nose, a party that courts the support of a washed-up rock star who calls that president a “subhuman mongrel,” a party that has no problem with its most prominent talk show host referring to the first lady as “uppity” and playing songs about “Barack the Magic Negro,” a party that embraced a candidate who told Iowa primary voters, “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money” (even though there are more white than black welfare recipients) — apparently it’s very important to that party to distract from the pervasive racism in its own current ranks by convincing the American people that it’s the Democrats who are the real racists because Abraham Lincoln was a Republican, Southern Democrats opposed the Civil Rights Act 50 years ago (although most Northern Democrats supported it), and Sen. Robert Byrd was in the KKK before most of us were born.
Forgive me if I don’t find this argument convincing, especially after the years since 1964 — those years that brought us the GOP’s race-baiting “Southern Strategy,” giving us gems like Bush the Elder’s Willie Horton ad (AHHH! SCARY BLACK MAN!) and Jesse Helms’ infamous “White Hands” spot (“You needed that job, but the government said it had to go to a minority”).
I’m not saying that all Republicans are racists or that there are no racists in the Democratic Party. Clearly neither of those is true. I’m saying that an awful lot more racists seem to find a welcoming home in the GOP, and that the first step to solving your problem is to admit that you have one. It’s a simple truth the Raging Republican Right doesn’t seem to have learned.

Donald Sterling is now banned from the NBA for life. It’s a pity that the GOP doesn’t have the same backbone to deal with its virulent racist wing.

Via: J.D. Rhoades


DeMinted History

By JD Rhoades

The Pilot Newspaper: Opinion:

Look, I know it’s an article of faith among those on the American right that government is ineffective, useless, even downright evil — unless people who look and think like them are in control of said government. Then everything the government does is righteous, true and ordained by God.

But former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, now leader of the ultraconservative Heritage Foundation, recently took this tenet to an absurd and typically incoherent extreme. In an interview on the right-wing radio show Vocal Point, DeMint argued that the federal government didn’t free the slaves — the Constitution did:
“Well, the reason that the slaves were eventually freed,” he said, “was the Constitution, it was like the conscience of the American people. … The Constitution kept calling us back to ‘all men are created equal and we have inalienable rights’ in the minds of God.”
Stirring words. Problem is, the “all men are created equal” language is from the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution. And lest, we forget, this is the same Constitution that originally acknowledged and condoned slavery by counting slaves as three-fifths of a person for purposes of determining representation. Once again, Sen. DeMint proves that the right-wingers who talk the longest and loudest about the Constitution seem to know the least about it.
DeMint goes on, in typically DeMinted fashion:
“A lot of the move to free the slaves came from the people, it did not come from the federal government. … So no liberal is going to win a debate that big government freed the slaves. In fact, it was Abraham Lincoln, the very first Republican, who took this on as a cause. And a lot of it was based on a love in his heart that comes from God.”
Got that?
All those soldiers (government employees, let us remember) didn’t do squat. All those people working for the Union, funded by the first progressive income tax signed into law by Abraham Lincoln to finance not only the war effort but a vastly expanded federal government — none of them did a thing to free a single slave.
‘Twas the Constitution that did all the work. Which is why there was this conversation on the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg:
Gen. Lee: “Gen. Pickett, are your men ready to assault the Union line?”
Gen Pickett: “My Virginians are ready, willing and able, sir!”
Lee: “Very well, commence the …”
Gen. Longstreet: “Look! There on the ridge! It’s the Constitution! They’re waving it at us!”
Pickett: “Blast! There’s no way we can attack now! Might as well go home!”
Lee: “Yep. War’s over, boys. They’ve got themselves copies of the Constitution. Back to your farms. And I guess we have to tell all the slaves they’re free.”
Longstreet: “Dang.”
And, of course, there was this great moment from the civil rights movement:
Aide: “President Kennedy! Gov. Wallace is standing in the schoolhouse door at the University of Alabama to defy a judge’s desegregation order! Should we federalize the National Guard?”
Kennedy: “Nah, just hahve those black fellahs carry a copy of the Constitution.”
Aide: “Mr. President! It worked! And now all the schools are desegregated and black people have equal rights without the federal government lifting a finger!”
Kennedy: “Wicked pissah! Let’s celebrate with some chowdah!”
Apparently, Mr. DeMint feels that the Constitution is like the Ark of the Covenant in the first Indiana Jones movie. Just carry it before you, and it lays waste the enemies of freedom, with no human intervention at all.
It is undeniably true that the Constitution is a mighty document, inspired by the best impulses of the 18th century enlightenment and informed by the memories of men who had seen what tyranny really was.
Even with its original flaws (see “three-fifths of a person” above) it remains the greatest monument to the ideals of freedom and democracy ever created by the hand of Man.
But without people to carry those ideas out, it’s just words on paper. Sometimes those people work for the federal government. Sometimes those people are there to remind that government of its responsibilities.
But to claim the government has no role at all to play — and especially to hold Abraham Lincoln, of all people, up as an icon of limited government — is to deny the lessons of history and warp it beyond all recognition in the service of ideology.

It’s pretty silly, too.

Via: J.D. Rhoades


Review: The Unburied Dead, Douglas Lindsay

By JD Rhoades

The Unburied Dead (Thomas Hutton, #1)

The Unburied Dead by Douglas Lindsay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A serial killer is brutally slaughtering young women in Glasgow. In pursuit of the maniac is the most dysfunctional police squad I think I’ve ever encountered in print. Drunks, has-beens, cuckolds, horndogs of both sexes and all orientations, every blessed one of them seriously morose and tormented…it’s astounding that they just don’t all join hands and jump into the River Clyde together, except they seem to loathe one another too much to get that organized.

In the center of it all is DS Thomas Hutton, who’s carrying around a head full of nightmares from his wartime service in Bosnia. As the investigation goes on, members of the team start dying, and Hutton begins to suspect that the murderer may actually be one of their own. And it wouldn’t be the first time…

I love discovering a great writer I’ve never read before, and I really loved this book. It’s dark, grimly humorous, with twists, reversals and surprises that made me go “holy sh*t!” out loud, more than once (if you’re wondering how to pronounce that, the “*” is silent). I’ve already got the second book in the series from Blasted Heath Publishing, and I’m looking forward to it, after a short break to recover. It’s got that kind of impact.

Highly recommended.

View all my reviews

Via: J.D. Rhoades


The Big Blog Hop

By JD Rhoades

Okay, so there I am, minding my own business, when out of the blue fellow Polis Books author Casey Doran (writer of the Jericho Sands series) drops into my e-mail inbox to ask if I wanted to be part of the International Blog Hop. “The whut?” I answered in my best Gomer Pyle accent. It’s simple, he said: you just answer four questions about the way you write, add a pic of you, a cover pic of your latest book with a buying link; plus a link to your website and FB page. Your posting date would be Monday April 21st. You then need to invite three more authors, and tell them that if they agree, they will need their post scheduled for Monday April 28.

Sure, I said, and so, here I am.

What am I working on?

I recently turned in my fourth Jack Keller novel, DEVILS AND DUST, to Jason Pinter at

No, not the model. The fantastic, outrageously expensive jewel-encrusted bra that Victoria’s Secret uses every year as a promotional gimmick. There are redneck crooks, Jersey mobsters, and, of course beautiful women. Working title: BOOBS: A COMEDY OF APPEARANCES. It’s a lot of fun to write. I was in the middle of it when Jason and I struck up the conversation that led to me picking up Keller again, and now I’m back at it.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Other than the fact that, as noted above, I’m all over the map genre-wise, I think my work tends to deal more than most with the effect of violence, even so-called “good” or “justified” violence, on the people who commit it. Jack Keller kills people, often for excellent reasons, but the violence takes its toll. Mark Bishop, the leader of an elite and highly clandestine anti-terrorist team in GALLOWS POLE, is still dealing with a terrible choice he had to make to save one of his people on an op gone wrong, a choice that violated his own sense of morality to the point where he literally built his own prison and locked himself in it, because no one else will do it. Laura So, the genetically engineered vampire commando of MONSTER, is literally born (or more accurately created) to kill, but even as she quests across the cosmos taking revenge on the people who murdered her unit, she struggles not to become the monster she was designed to be.

Why do you write what you do?

Because these are the movies that are playing in my head. I tell you, I am not a well person.

How does my writing process work?

The flippant answer that comes to mind is “only sporadically,” but I know that’s not very helpful. I’ve gone in recent years from being a total seat of the pants writer (or “pantser” as I’ve heard it called) to being a bit more of an outliner, especially once I got the hang of the wonderful program called Scrivener. But I still tend to only plot out a few chapters ahead in advance, with the vaguest of ideas as to where I want to go from there. And then, as usual, my characters look at what I’ve planned out for them, laugh, and go “Yah. As if.” Then they do whatever the hell they want anyway.

So, anyway, there you are. My four questions. As for my latest, it’s BROKEN SHIELD, the sequel to my best-selling BREAKING COVER, featuring sheriff’s deputy Tim Buckthorn. Get it exclusively at Amazon (for now) in both e-book and trade paperback.

As for who I’m tagging to follow up next Monday…hm. Yes. Well. I seem to have let that skip my mind. Sorry. So let me get back to you on that, ASAP….anyone want to volunteer, drop me a line at

Via: J.D. Rhoades