Opinion statements by the author

Did You Drill an Oil Well? Oh, Well!

I have been watching stock markets and commodity prices for many years. I like to watch because like many Americans my retirement depends on steady growth, so I pay attention to the Dow Jones Industrials and the S&P 500.

The end of this week was disappointing. The Dow and S&P dropped significantly, which experts say was triggered by a free-fall of oil prices.

Not alone, I’ve been complaining that oil prices are extremely vulnerable because of their link to unrest in the Middle East. The instability and high-stakes drama once pushed oil to more than $145 a barrel in 2008 during the worldwide recession. Ironically, that spurred interest in the United States to drill and frack for oil and convert more corn to ethanol. Profits were guaranteed with oil at $145 a barrel and gasoline prices touching $4 per gallon. But oil prices plummeted in 2009 to a bottom of $32 per barrel, although it’s hard to remember because the consumers’ benefits were short lived.

Nevertheless, when writing mGlobal Anger Front Cover SMALL JPEGy first novel, Global Anger, between 2010 and 2012, oil prices were on a new path upward, although well short of the 2008 peak.

In 2011, following turmoil in Libya, oil prices climbed steadily past $118 per barrel, dipping and dodging $100 through most of 2012. About that time, I was concluding Global Anger and looking for a bridge to the sequels. I had Heinrich Althaus, my German expat and member of Global Anchor, the antagonists in the series, visit a Libyan oil baron after Qadaffi’s death. Althaus urges the oil baron to drop oil prices quickly in a ploy to recapture market share. The baron, Kasim al-Katulba, asserts that it’s a risky strategy.

“You are indeed a crazy man, Heinrich. Do you know what that will do to world markets, not only for oil, but for dozens of other commodities and precious metals?”

“Of course I do.” Althaus responded. “Why do you think I’m asking you to do it?”

After plotting my fiction conspiracy, Libya did indeed lower prices. So did all other Middle-East oil markets.

This week, oil went below $36 a barrel. A CBS news story said taking into consideration inflation since the mid 1960s, gasoline, now at $2.00 per gallon, costs relatively less than it did in 1965 when a gallon could be purchased for 31-cents.

Whether manipulated by conspirators – an overly dramatic theory, I know – or simply a cyclical economic reality, the fact is oil is cheap. When it’s this cheap, all of the recent investments made in America to pull oil from our ground or create ethanol from an abundant and replaceable corn supply, make one pause. The business of making the United States energy independent has hit a snag because oil from abroad is cheap, cheaper than we can harvest it.

Are all the loans made to entrepreneurs building fracking operations and drilling new oil wells and building ethanol plants – are they at risk? Will the American energy moguls who were excited by $100 a barrel oil prices in 2012 be camping out on the Capitol’s steps hoping for a bailout? I can hear them claim that they were working with national security in mind. Why wouldn’t Congress be generous? Why wouldn’t they rescue them from overdue loans?

Maybe it was a conspiracy. Maybe oil barons, such as my fiction character Kasim al-Katulba, out maneuvered eager and ambitious American investors. Maybe it was the CEOs of the world’s oil companies that duped the investors.

Regardless, keep an eye on those loans in America, those billion dollar investments in American oil wells and fracking operations and ethanol plants. If they waver or fail, how will the oil barons in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Libya, and even Russia – how will they react? Will we see $145 a barrel oil and $4 to $5 per gallon gasoline by Christmas 2017? Will Congress be pressured into bailing out a new generation of American businesses to protect the nation’s security and maybe nationalize oil production in the wake?

I think there’s interesting times ahead.

Actions, Not Platitudes, Are Needed to Arrest Anger

I’m not sure if we learned about the Quran in advanced Sunday School classes when I was 14. The classes were prerequisites to church membership.

Likewise, I don’t think there was much mention of the Quran when I took a college humanities elective in the Old Testament. So, if I had to recite prayers from the Muslim holy book in order to save my life, my life surely would have ended last week in Kenya’s Garissa University College along with the others.

Many students at Garissa, most of them Christians, also failed to know the prayers. They died. Slaughtered.

We will learn of the story of all 148 dead students eventually, such as the student whose mother was talking to him by phone when the killers took the phone and told her to say goodbye to her child. She heard the gun that took his life.

The horror of the event makes us question how to stop such madness and brutality.

Angry religious differences is what we assume is the cause, because we’re told the targets were in fact the Christian students, and the murderers were Muslim terrorists.

I assert that there’s more than religion that provokes such anger.

Hitler used religion to disguise his anger.  His victims responded much like victims react today. They protested passively because they were ill-prepared to resist the military forces that pulled them from homes, schools, businesses and places of worship.

Four men armed with automatic weapons and strapped with bombs walked into a crowded campus building and chose their victims. What could the victims do? If lucky to be far enough away from the terrorists, they fled in desperation?

I thought about circumstances like the students faced when I hustled down the escalator to the D.C. subway after work the day of the massacre. I realized that all the commuters and I were just as vulnerable as those students.

Occasionally, armed police walk the platforms. It’s comforting, but when I see them, they strike me as ill-equipped to protect us from AK-47s and grenades. If you think it’s impossible to arm a small band of terrorists in places like subway platforms, you’re wrong.

So what do we do?

Obviously, we must be vigilant without becoming paranoid. We must assume that new attempts will be made in the United States and Europe, so we must be the eyes and ears of caution.

We have lots of work to do in America to protect ourselves from terrorism. I believe our intelligence services are doing a good job, but they’re run by people and people make mistakes.

My hope is twofold. I want there to be more aggressive responses to tragedies like the one in Kenya. We need the State Department and White House to offer more than predictable condolences and platitudes. If we want the  people of Kenya to know our heartfelt sorrow, then offer a course of action that will stop the spread of ISIS and other terrorist organizations.

The second action is one I stated before. Louder voices from within the American Muslim community need to condemn terrorism committed in the name of Allah. Use the Quran to show the true self of Muhammad the Prophet. Don’t let the situation escalate to a religious war when it’s an economic and political fight.

During Easter and Passover, what better time to open an educational dialogue that helps Christians and Jews in the United States and elsewhere understand that the Muslim faith is not anchored in anger.

Anger and Islamaphobia

Please read this story posted at the (London)

While I agree with the concern that too many of us abuse social media with angry rants about things that disturb us, I am equally upset by the lack of public outrage from the Muslim community for the barbaric actions of ISIS. When the CIA or other US government agencies conduct themselves abhorrently, and it becomes public knowledge, the world protests loudly.

Anti-Muslim sentiment grows because of silence. Muslim leaders seem to be endorsing violent actions through sealed lips. Western critics would be lambasting such behaviors if committed by Christian or Jewish factions. Where are the moderate Muslim voices? Why are they not decrying such horrific actions against other human beings? And why isn’t the media hounding moderate Muslim leaders for a response?

Anger will surely continue and become worse if people with moderate and tolerant views sit on the sidelines and let the polar extremes control public dialogue. Moderate Muslims everywhere need to let the world know that they reject the actions of ISIS despite their disgust with the barbarism shown by Syrian President Assad against whom ISIS has taken up arms. To single out Christian and Jewish citizens, especially those who have converted to Islam, and murder them savagely on public display deserves protests from Muslim voices. Such actions to innocent victims strikes fear in everyone. Where fear is allowed, anger grows.

I can understand why the Muslim communities existing in Western cultures are disturbed by the vicious discourse in social media. The messages are stirring further resentment. But the hatred Muslim extremists show by their actions against Christians and Jews is equally disturbing. Why aren’t reasonable Muslim people protesting the beheadings? Do they expect revenge against “infidels” to stop mistreatment by a wicked dictator?

Brutality and dogma are not teachings of Islam. It’s anger that generates inhumane aggression, not religion. Are all Muslims angry? At what?

Those who want peace, who want to co-exist in a culture that allows them to practice their faith in harmony with others, need to speak up. When violent actions are committed in the name of religion, then all of the people of that religion own the actions unless outwardly denied. Until the denial is heard, right or wrong, all Muslims should expect to read and hear more protests in social media. Complaining won’t stop them. Renouncing ISIS will.

Me and My Shadows Welcome in 2015


IMG_1649The New Year began for me the usual way. My shadows and I walked. We played ball. And w e picked up trash along our route. Most of the items were recyclables.IMG_1655

I’m very hopeful that 2015 rebirths our nation’s interest in keeping America beautiful. I’m hopeful that the notion of recycling resources hits a new peak.

While I’m on the topic of recycling, I have this thought: I’d like to recycle my life. I turn 67 in 2015 and I’m nowhere near the end of the things I’d like to accomplish. I’d like at least another 67 years to go on new adventures and to work on solving issues that my children face in their lifetime. I’m going to address some of those issues in book 3 of the Global Anchor series as I write in 2015. My working title is Oil & Water, A Recipe for Anger.

Life depends on fresh water. Fresh water is limited despite the fact that the Earth’s surface consists of 70 percent water. To convert the seas to useable water takes energy. Lots of energy. Oil remains our go-to source of energy. Oil is finite.

While most of us struggle with daily concerns about feeding, housing, and clothing our families, world leaders face the macro-level concern for water and oil. In our children’s lifetime, nations will likely become aggressive in order to secure these basic resources.

I use anger as my theme in the Global Anchor series, because anger is triggered by conflict, by passions like love and hate, by uncontrolled animal instincts for pleasure and dominance, and by fears, including national security.

Unless world leaders can find a manageable solution for the fair and equitable distribution of fresh water and the energy resources to provide life’s necessities, there will be widespread conflicts and anger when maneuvering to control these basic natural resources. We need to recognize this inevitable circumstance while there is time to create a worldwide effort and resolution. The obstacles are greed, distrust, and unfortunately a history of cultural and religious differences that stand in the way.

Pak Yong-sung, my fictitious billionaire head of Global Anchor, wants the cultural conflicts to continue, because he asserts that without the conflicts the world is doomed to passive annihilation. He believes that man will not destroy civilization through conflicts, but through a lack of attention to new technologies and the truths that science teaches us about how life exists. Is he right? Or, are we more at risk by allowing wars to break out so that powerful leaders, powerful nations, can control the scarcities and thus control the world’s destiny?

The stakes are high. Of course, my perspective is from my roots in America. But as a journalist and traveler, I have been exposed to other perspectives. So, as a journalist, I want to explore all thoughts and challenge all my readers to think beyond our borders, but to act on whatever level they can to show their concern. Act, don’t sit by and let things happen without doing something that improves our possibilities. Start with simple things that create simple satisfactions, like picking up the trash so America can remain beautiful and the place others want to emulate. If you believe in what we have, show the world that it matters.

Oil and water can’t mix, but my shadows and I would like to see all things co-exist. We’d like to believe that 2015 begins an awareness that little steps are what one takes when starting a useful journey.

Global Anger Front Cover SMALL JPEGBlood Anger sample 2

Let’s Restore Pride

I propose we make 2015 the year of Restored Pride. It’s going to be a challenge, because there are so many people who’ve lost their pride in America. They’ve abandoned the values our founders used to build the freedoms and citizen-directed government we enjoy.

The situation is compounded by others who are new to our country. They came for the freedoms, but are less interested in adapting to America now that they’re here.  But it’s understandable. They’re disinterested in adjusting to the nation’s ways because they meet naturally born Americans who are cold, inconsiderate, and not very welcoming. They want to enjoy the freedoms, but ignore the lifestyle that turns people into ungrateful grumps.

So, where do we start?

When skilled leaders manage projects that seem overwhelming, the smart ones look for quick wins. They look for the low-hanging fruit that if picked would give their followers a sense of accomplishment. With a few quick wins, everyone sees that the campaign is worth the effort. The small steps and realistic goals create big project success.

Here is what I recommend for a first step. Let’s begin with an old theme that worked in previous decades. Let’s restore pride in the beauty of our natural resources. The theme I remember working in the 1960s and 1970s was Keep America Beautiful, the title of a not-for-profit organization supported by several leading private-industry companies.

I’m not seeing much effort in keeping America beautiful in recent years, although I’m sure the organization is still doing what it can to promote the concept. However, it’s an easy one to regain. It’s one that each citizen can do easily.

And if you have doubts about my concern, here is an example that triggered my thoughts. A woman in downtown Baltimore was recently spotted unwrapping food during a midday outing. She walked past a trashcan, but instead of depositing her wrapper in the can, she threw it to the street. Why?

When I heard the story from an upset wife, I was instantly angry, too. It was a blatant display of disrespect for the city and all of us as members of the community.

Already I had been provoked when walking my dogs to an Anne Arundel County park, which I do frequently. We cross a bridge over the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. The road has become an unauthorized dumping ground for unwanted mattresses, furniture, fast-food restaurant sacks, alcohol bottles and cans, and a few unmentionables. The dogs and I see deer, fox, badgers, squirrels, rabbits, and a surprising variety of birds as we walk past the disgusting display of human trash. The creatures’ natural homes are littered to the point that their sources of food and shelter cannot grow. I’m ashamed.



We can stop these IMG_1383needless actions and restore beauty to their natural habitat and our city streets, the places that should make Americans extremely prideful; special places that provide us all resources and comforts that few nations can claim.

We are envied around the world, but then despised when people of other nations see how poorly we treat what we have. Simple actions to dispose of our debris through proper actions and to pick up after those who need more time to understand how damaging their neglect can be are steps in the right direction.

Keeping America beautiful is a low-hanging fruit in the campaign to restore our nation’s pride. Let’s start there. Let’s start now. Let’s all keep America more beautiful. It’s a very satisfying step toward a worthwhile goal. Pride.

Should I be Nervous?

I’ve been watching the SONY dilemma with more than passing interest. The Interview, a silly movie, a comedy adventure SONY made based on a couple of stumbling journalists asked by the CIA to assassinate the young leader of North Korea, might come to mind when you read my prologue in Blood Anger, except that I take killing the leader of North Korea more seriously.

Blood Anger Final Cover -May 2014So, should I be concerned that North Korea might take umbrage at my use of a fictitious, young North Korean leader placed in the crosshairs of a skilled assassin? Technology is advanced. If you bought Blood Anger, hackers could trace the purchase. Will you avoid buying the book to keep your name from North Korean intelligence officials? Would you have gone to see The Interview if SONY hadn’t removed it from theaters? The movie trailer shows the film’s assassination plot to be mindless entertainment that no one could imagine the CIA ever attempting against Kim Jong-un. (By the way, my fictitious North Korean dictator is Kwon Ji-yul. My assassin character, Duane Manchester, has a very different objective than the CIA might employ when he takes aim, although earlier this year when Kim was out of sight, the world might have wondered.)

So that you don’t have to worry about reading Blood Anger and being a target of North Korean revenge, I’ll give you a running scene from the prologue that the North Koreans might object to so you don’t have to buy anything. And maybe the hackers won’t find you.  But if you’re not afraid, please do buy it.

Blood Anger

Prologue p. 3-5

(taking place at the Great Wall of China)

Manchester became anxious. “This setup is too good,” he said. He wanted to get the job done so he could exit.

He saw the lead soldier step to the edge and signal in the direction of yet another tower 75 meters farther east along the Great Wall. Manchester panned his binoculars to the adjacent crown.

There he was. Chinese military dignitaries surrounded Kwon Ji-yul. Kwon, the Supreme Leader of North Korea, rose from a young military general to the top position with the passing of his uncle, Kwon Su-kim.

A step behind Kwon strolled an attractive and stoic Asian woman. Manchester assumed she was about 30. She strode confidently, but stayed obediently a pace back. She wore an embroidered red formal tunic that was tapered to accentuate her curves. She covered her head with matching red material. Her escorting soldiers watched with covetous glances as she lingered behind Kwon. They tripped over each other trying to stay close to the celebrity couple. One officer seemed to dominate Kwon’s attention. Manchester put his rifle to his shoulder and watched through his scope.

The officer appeared older. His military decorations covered his chest.

“A suck-up,” Manchester labeled him. Duane Manchester loathed military suck-ups. But behind the suck-up was a female officer, a pretty woman also highly decorated.

Manchester speculated that Kwon and his lady friend had visited the Great Wall before. He followed their trek to the destination tower where the scouting patrol waited. He panned his scope back to the female officer. Her eyes were fixed on his location as she walked in cadence.

Four Chinese soldiers with automatic weapons at full ready marched 10 meters ahead of the entourage. Another four followed.

They all disappeared into the tower and reappeared on the crown. The suck-up – more apparent now as a Chinese general – stepped to an open archer’s portal and pointed into the vast landscape in front of them. He looked directly into Manchester’s killing eye.

“Pow,” Manchester whispered.

Kwon took the adjacent portal and his lady friend took the next one nearest. The pretty officer stood behind the general.

Manchester put Kwon in his crosshairs then panned again to the Chinese suck-up. He moved the barrel back to his left and fired. Almost before the casing hit the ground, Manchester had fired a second round from the semi-automatic weapon as the sound reached the unsuspecting victims.

He pulled the rifle back quickly. He crawled to the steps, descended a few, and disengaged the 20-round magazine from the Sharpshooter.

He heard the distant barrage of weapons. Manchester peeked his head above the hole again to locate the spent casings. He gathered both as bullets whistled overhead. Random shells pinged against the old blocks and stones. He knew the soldiers were peppering every potential shelter.

Manchester packed his rifle against his chest, repelled the wall, and strapped the jetpack to his back. He donned his fin-shaped helmet, but before he could fire his stealth engine, he heard helicopters closing in on his location. He darted for cover. The aircraft flew near enough for Manchester to gaze into the pilot’s eyes.

He ducked and peeled his jetpack preparing to engage. He pulled the rifle from his chest and jammed the magazine into the base of the L129A1 Sharpshooter. He loaded his first round into the chamber. He searched the sky again listening for the chopper. But the sounds faded. The chopper left.

Manchester waited 10 seconds, broke down his rifle, and strapped into his gear again. He started the stealth engine and glanced at the sky before quietly rising to the top of the tree line. He leaned into the throttle and accelerated to maximum speed.


Ahead of Reality

One thing fun about writing is taking real-life situations and twisting them into fictional possibilities. In early 2011, I wrote a set of scenes for Global Anger in which Heinrich Althaus, one of my favorite bad characters, met with an oil baron in Libya.

Two things are happening in the scene.  Heinrich realizes that he and his colleague, Robert Barnsworth, have been betrayed, but his purpose for his trip to Tripoli is discussed in a few short paragraphs. That’s what I want you to pay close attention to.

As you read the scene, think about today.  Remember the good feeling you had the last time you were at the gas pump and prices were under $2.75, whereas a year ago they were at $3.75. Then think about all the American investors who since 2011 put money into ethanol plants and U.S. oil drilling operations because world oil prices jumped above $110 per barrel. Now they’re $60 a barrel.

We may not like it, but the world’s financial condition is controlled by a very few wealthy and influential people. They are making money as oil prices plummet and know exactly where the bottom will be so they can reverse their positions and direct prices up again so they can profit as prices rise. We’re the puppets being pulled around on strings and gasoline hoses.

However, no amount of social unrest will disrupt the inevitable, because protesters think their governments are to blame, but they have less influence than protesters understand. They’ll stir the ire of others, but it will have little effect on the people in control of the situation.

So I want you to read this Global Anger scene and wander into the possibilities. That’s what I did when I wrote it nearly four years ago.


Ben Ghashir Industrial Complex

Near Tripoli International Airport – Libya


Heinrich Althaus had an appointment to see Kasim al-Kutalba, a long-time acquaintance and a one-time petroleum industry advisor to the former Libyan regime.

Heavy security required Althaus to enter a small room with no windows. Doors were closed at both ends. The room was silent. It was like being in a pressure chamber in a submarine.

Althaus put his personal possessions into a scanner as though he was going through security at a commercial airport.

Two security officers huddled over the monitor and acted strangely. One picked up a telephone receiver and said something in Arabic. They told Althaus he must remain in the waiting area.

The head of building security entered the room from the opposite door. He joined the two guards at the screen. He studied the images for less than a minute. He stepped from behind the apparatus and approached Althaus.

“You are here to see Mr. al-Kutalba?”

“Yes. He’s expecting me,” Althaus answered.

“What is your business?”

“I’m a consultant. I’m here to provide Mr. al-Kutalba some advice.”

“I must have a conversation with him before I will allow you to enter,” the security chief told Althaus.

“He’s expecting me. What is the problem?”

“Your folder. It appears to have an electronic device inside it.”

“That cannot be. I carry my notebook with me at all times. No one has touched it.”

“You must wait here. I will have Kasim al-Kutalba to see what you bring. He can determine whether to speak with you.”

The chief left. Althaus watched the two guards, one with his hand on his holstered gun. They did not speak to each other, but kept their eyes on Althaus.

Heinrich Althaus, meantime, wanted to see the screen. What were they looking at that made them think he had an electronic device?

In short order, the security chief returned followed by Kasim al-Kutalba.

“Kasim, I apologize for this inconvenience, but I do not know what the problem is.”

“My security chief says there is a recording device in the folder you were carrying, Heinrich. His job is to protect the safety of our operation. Standard procedures.”

“I’m as curious as he is, Kasim. I have no reason to record private conversations. It contradicts our team’s reliance on trust and confidentiality.”

Althaus watched al-Kutalba step behind the screen with his security chief and the two guards. The chief pointed at the screen. Althaus heard them quietly converse in Arabic.

“There is clearly a device wedged between the leather and the lining of your folder, Heinrich. Were you aware?”

“Of course not. May I see it, Kasim?”

Al-Kutalba gave instructions to the three security officials. The chief motioned to Althaus to come behind the table to see what they were looking at. After pointing to the image on the monitor, he then pulled the leather folder from the conveyor belt, held it, and looked at al-Kutalba.

“He wants your permission to retrieve the device, Heinrich.”

“Of course. I want to see it, too.”

Al-Kutalba nodded and the chief opened the folder and inspected the lining, a supple leather stitched to the heavier exterior leather. He spotted a cut at the top about three centimeters long. He pointed to it.

Althaus looked at al-Kutalba and said the chief should remove whatever was hidden. Let them see it.

The security official used a razor knife to cut a T-shaped incision from the opening near the stitched seam. He cut down the interior spine about eight centimeters. He carefully pulled the thin instrument from the folder. They examined it together.

“I don’t recognize it, Kasim. What is it?”

The security chief spoke to al-Kutalba.

“He says this tiny part is a microphone and the rest is a transmitting source. You were bugged, Heinrich. How many people have access to your personal possessions?”

“No one, Kasim. I lead a very private…” Althaus stopped. He suddenly felt foolish and angry. “I am very sorry for this interruption, Kasim. I will take care of this problem when we complete our business. May we have some privacy?”

Al-Kutalba spoke to his security chief. The chief insisted that they take the rest of Althaus’s possessions for a thorough examination. He pulled the microphone from the transmitter.

Althaus gave permission for the security personnel to keep his money clip and credit card case. One of the security guards counted his cash. He wrote a number on a pad and showed it to Althaus and al-Kutalba. They acknowledged and left.

“I am very embarrassed and very upset, Kasim. I regret this interruption in our time together. I will be brief so that I may discover where the breach in our privacy occurred.”

“I am puzzled, Heinrich, that you have no safeguards in your work. You are an extremely vulnerable individual.”

“We operate secretively. There has been no need for outward security before now.”

“It appears that has changed, my friend. We would never operate so freely. There are too many enemies in the world. But you did not come for my scolding. Why are you here, Heinrich?”

“To talk about oil; to talk about your personal future, Kasim. I hear that you are being courted by several Libyan leaders to take on responsibility for your industry, to become the new oil minister.”

“…and if true…”

“I can help you if that is your goal. But I want you to consider a new strategy. It’s controversial, so there will be many who oppose it.”

“I am in line for the ministry job, Heinrich, you have heard correctly. I have not decided whether I want to accept. If you are going to complicate my decision with one of your outrageous ideas, I’m not sure I want to hear.”

“I know you better than that, Kasim. You enjoy antagonizing others as much as I do. You will like the idea when you hear it.”

“Then speak, Heinrich. What outrageous ideas do you have now?”

“I want you to accept the ministry position and immediately drop Libyan crude prices dramatically. Say that it’s a new marketing plan to reclaim world leadership in oil production for Libya within the year.”

“You are indeed a crazy man, Heinrich. Do you know what that will do to world markets, not only for oil, but for dozens of other commodities and precious metals?”

“Of course I do. Why do you think I’m asking you to do it?”

Kasim al-Kutalba looked at Heinrich Althaus and suddenly laughed out loud.

“You are so devious, Heinrich. I will introduce you to the new leaders. They are the power brokers you must deal with. Win them over and we will play your game.”

“Thank you, Kasim. Obviously, I have an issue I must deal with first. Pak has been warning us that our autonomy would not last much longer. I need to tell the others that Pak was right again – people want to know what each of us is doing. I must find out who is spying on our activities.”

The security chief knocked on the door to al-Kutalba’s office and entered with Althaus’s possessions. He spoke to al-Kutalba. He placed Althaus’s folder, the money clip, and the credit card case on the executive’s desk.

“He says they found a second bug with your credit cards, Heinrich. He said one of his technicians did something that he thinks neutralized the signal.”

The chief held out his pointer finger with the chip barely noticeable on the tip of his finger.

Althaus took the chip and gave him a nod of appreciation. The chief returned the respectful acknowledgment and left.

“Go, Heinrich. Solve your problems. I will arrange a meeting and contact you. I’m now excited to hear the full strategy.”

“Thank you, Kasim. There’s more to tell you. Your role is the second step in our new economic plan. A year from now, the poor Americans will not understand what hit them, but you and I will have fun and we will add to our wealth.”

“I always like more wealth, Heinrich.”

Once in the backseat of his limousine, Heinrich Althaus called his friend and colleague, Robert Barnsworth. He pumped him for information. He wanted to know if Barnsworth had spent any time alone with Allison McCrae when visiting the Caymans.

Barnsworth laughed at Althaus, accusing him of becoming too involved with the young woman and becoming jealous. He chided Althaus for letting his guard down.

“You may be right, Robert. But I hope you haven’t done the same.”

“What in the world are you talking about, Henry?”

“Did she touch any of your personal possessions?”

“No. You are jealous, aren’t you?”

“…something you carry all the time. Did she have access to it?”

“No, Henry, what are you driving… Oh, well, I showed her my family pictures.”

“…from your wallet, Robert?”


“Do you have them with you now?

“Of course…”

“Take them out. Check them for a bug, a tiny wafer about the size of a dime. It has a sticky back.”

Barnsworth, sitting in the passenger side of a pickup truck at the edge of an Argentine cornfield, did as his friend instructed.

“Henry, what’s this about?”

“Like you said, I let my guard down. And you may have, too.”

“Oh, my gosh. It’s here. That thing you described is stuck on the back of my family’s picture. It’s a bug, is that what you said?”

“Yes, Robert. They know where you are.”


“I don’t know. Can you meet me in Grand Cayman by seven tomorrow morning? We need to confront her. We need to find out who she’s working for.”

“I’ll be there, Henry.”


Humbling Reviews of Global Anger

Publishing a book is like letting your child go off to college.  You hope that you did a good job of preparing them, but there are no guarantees.

Fortunately, people say great things about our children.  I know what that pride feels like.

People saying great things about Global Anger is less important, but it still feels good to know that I’ve done what I set out to do.  Entertain.  What surprises me is the different way people see things and how they express their viewpoints.

I love Vanessa Marie’s comments posted on her blog.  I love her blog, because it is so honest, fresh and yet so simple and unaffected by contemporary pressures to be outrageous or crass.  Her blog, NESSessCITY, is nice.  I like nice.  Although I can be a little rough with the truth about crime and angry people when I write, I still like nice.

Thank you, Vanessa, for speaking with such charm.  I hope the rest of you will look at her blog:  You will find this wonderful review there when you do.

NESSessCITY | Professional City Girl

In between my holiday celebrations with friends and family, I’ve been able to cozy up with a great read. Global Anger by Kent Politsch is an intense thriller I haven’t been able to put down easily. Combining my love for basketball, international affairs, espionage and the city of Baltimore, this story is like reading a cross between Leonardo DiCaprio’s Body of Lies and Idris Elba’s The Wire . Perhaps its premature to say that Mr. Politsch has invented a new genre, (one I would dub “strategical thriller”,) but this book is so much more than your average “good guys chase bad guys” storyline. I have always believed that a good book is a journey that convincingly takes you from the present place and time to wherever the author wishes you to go and Mr. Politsch does not disappoint. From North Korea to the Grand Cayman Islands, it feels strange that my passport has so few stamps…for now. I may not yet be able to solve the case of who ate the last stuffed mushroom at the holiday party, but I’m eager to see where Rodney Armstrong and Jack Fitzgerald end up next!

Here are some highlights of other reviews of Global Anger that I hope you will read.  If you’ve read the novel, please send me your comments.  The sequel is underway.  If you have favorite characters, I don’t want to ignore them or kill them off.  Yet.

Global Anger wins critical praise


In this compelling thriller by debut author Kent Politsch, college buddies Rodney Armstrong, a Baltimore cop, and federal employee Jack Fitzgerald reunite after many years to stop a wealthy Korean drug dealer’s product from infiltrating the United States economy. When it turns out that the sale of illegal substances is a facade behind which a more sinister plot lurks, the two men must race against time to stop the murder of the Secretary of Agriculture while also preventing America’s economy from grinding to a halt….

The novel mushrooms into a far- reaching conspiracy spanning multiple locales. Politsch plunges readers into places as different as North Korea and Washington DC, using deft description to create milieus that make the audience more than willing to go globe trotting.

In these intriguing settings there exist equally interesting characters. Armstrong and Fitzgerald represent nuanced individuals with complex backgrounds and multi-faceted personalities. Even the villain possesses a fascinating motivation for his dastardly actions….

Even with his many characters and locales, Politsch never loses readers; in fact, the variety of players and theaters of action help to ramp up the suspense considerably. One wants to keep turning the pages in order to discover the surprising ways in which the pieces of the narrative fall into place. The dialogue is powerful and realistic, providing an added sense of urgency to the plot…. Many characters talk in clipped, efficient tones and issue commands commensurate with their rank and status.

                  Global Anger’s timely themes of globalization, terrorism, and the power of a few individuals to invoke fear are writ large in these pages yet examined with subtlety. Politsch delivers his important messages at the human level through the actions of Armstrong and Fitzgerald. Even as the author shows the deleterious effects of great power, he also demonstrates how the concerted actions of a few can stem the tide…

êêêêê (5 of 5) – Clarion Reviewer, Jill Allen


…Global Anger author Kent Politsch strives for the international intrigue of Stieg Larsson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) by way of a conspiracy-laced plot suggestive of Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code)… Politsch whisks readers around the globe, from the streets of Washington, D.C., to the deserts of Libya, weaving a complicated tale involving political power struggles, international drug rings, government cover-ups and even inner-city youth basketball.  Sniper schemes and assassination attempts punctuate tense, suspenseful scenes portraying dealmakers at work in places ranging from the back alleys of Baltimore to the glitzy casinos of Las Vegas…


Right from the start, Politsch forces you to cringe… This novel throws you into the darkest corners of life, where money and power are the lifeblood that sustains people, human lives are dispensable, and murder is child’s play.

Global Anger is well-written, well-plotted, and well-researched. The dialogues are excellent… I learned so many things by reading this, albeit most of them are not really legal.

Politsch did an exceptional job in showcasing his knowledge and research in this book. If the scene is about basketball, then it is about basketball with all those technical terms that I could barely understand. If the scene is about police work or politics or drug trafficking or even agriculture, then the scene will use the appropriate terms.

I greatly enjoyed Global Anger. It is one of the most violent books I’ve ever read. So if you’re looking for an action-packed read, grab a copy of this book now.


Read on!


Your Book Maven


Stuck in the Mud

I was the son of a farmer once.  Didn’t want to be a farmer myself, but in a way I was.

Farmers understand what it’s like to be stuck in the mud.  It has happened to the best of us.

You’ve got chores to do.  You’ve got bills to pay and deadlines to meet.  So the rain can’t stop you.

Sometimes, however, you’re out there doing what you have to do and the rain is so resolute the ground gets soft under your feet and under the tractor wheels.  You can’t see how sloppy it is until it’s too late.

I’ve been there.  I remember a time when the old family Farmall M sank until the rim of the tire was covered.  The tractor was down more than a foot into the wet ground and I couldn’t drive it out.  When I stepped off the M, my boot went down so deep I became stuck just like the tractor.  Because my sock slipped off and I was able to pull my foot from the sunken boot was I able to get to shelter, a mud-caked mess.

The situation with the nation’s budget makes me picture 535 lawmakers mud-caked just like I was.  I’m not sure how much rain they have to endure to realize they can’t cross the low spot in the barnyard with a Farmall M.  They just can’t.  I know.

Lawmakers need a solid plan on solid ground.  They can’t let falling rain – even a downpour – alter their responsibilities and adversely affect the nation.

I don’t recall now how my circumstances ended that rainy day more than 50 years ago, but I survived.  I know the dilemma facing lawmakers is a lot more complex than doing farm chores, but being stubborn and resisting the obvious is a great waste of energy regardless of the task.

In this case, it wastes taxpayer money, too.  And it frustrates all of us because we know that struggles in the mud are futile.

The sad part for America is that Congress seems willing to ignore the criticism being heaped upon it.  Maybe lawmakers view themselves as untouchables.  Maybe they think that taking a stand exempts them from accountability for the well-being of the nation.

Sorry, but stubbornness does not supersede accountability.

It is time lawmakers replaced their rain-soaked political hats with dry ones that bare the label “statesmen.”

The debate about principles and time-sensitive policies can continue; the problem with the nation’s debt and spending habits can be addressed simultaneous to passage of fair and equitable laws.

Compromise is what Americans want.  Open discussions that reveal all of the facts is what Americans want.  Politics is what Americans are learning to hate.  And when the people hate the nation’s politics, revolution can’t be far behind.

Therefore, it’s time for Congress to get out of the mud.