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Three At The Center Of Rage


Martin J. Ryan




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                           America The Beautiful 


 A Fiction Of Reality's Unruly Possibilities

At: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B05LN1E



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2014 Santa Update:

The reason for updating an old cartoon of mine:

Having voted twice for Obama, I'm a bit disappointed that NSA snooping

has increased under his administration.




























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                         Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander WWll, and 34th U.S. President,

                         said: "...may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion." And:

                        "Whatever America hopes to bring to pass in the world must first come to pass in the

                         heart of America."


                               S     Synopsis

This is unbeautiful America on the brink of disaster. A time of terror, of war, of financial greed reaching corrosively into politics, intelligence and defense. In the gritty foreground of this story, which travels from Manhattan to Moscow to South Asia, there are three primary, but basically unrelated, actors whose lives, while appearing to barely touch, will produce a butterfly effect with the explosive power of C4.    Continue:




               Sample Primary Character Chapters. click them:         Frank Driscoll     

                                                                                             Yusuf (Joe) Masood  

                                                                                        Charlie Farrell   



              Sample what some of the

              secondary characters do and say. click them:         Christopher Barrett  

                                                                                                Oleg Davidenko  

                                                                                     Major Nazir Hussain 


Martin J. Ryan, artist and writer, lives surrounded by wildlife in Connecticut with his talented artist-and-gardener wife of 60 years.                                          

For the curious, the much longer version: Martin's Bio: click:  


I have been asked: what influenced me in the writing of this novel. For the answer, click:

  In addition to Three At the Center Of Rage, other writings:                        

While Detective Sergeant Frank Driscoll is but one of my three main characters,  he is the novel's primary anchor.  Somewhere in the book's current version I mention that he and his wife Anne, in the past, had temporarily separated.                                                                         

Years earlier, as I was writing Driscoll I expanded that separation, seeing him in a somewhat different light than the way he is currently rendered in the novel. I present that version of Driscoll for your inspection, here, in short story form; which as I wrote it has nothing to do with police work; has more to do with being thrust into single middle age and the upending complexities of sexual and social engagements, of loneliness. Written, I hope you'll agree, with sympathy and humor.    Driscoll--featured in Back In Whack           


Two stories. 1 -- Toward the end of a happy life in: Fall Silent  

                         2 -- Darkened lives in:  Progress  


       Some years ago when I began to write an autobiography, I decided my comfort zone was the story form. Particularly since I realized from a distance of decades, however recalled, that only the essence of the important moments could be fully rendered. I therefore realized I'd be happiest writing my life as fiction, imagining and recreating the story's dialogue with fictional names, while retaining the marrow of truth at its core. Thus in the bio excerpts offered below, Martin becomes Joey.  But first a preface, setting forth my thoughts on remembering:                                                            



       For me, memory is never a linear experience, but rather it is layers of archival remnants in which I see myself as variable characters wandering in and out of historical sequence; these remnants being either rich in color and detail or uncertainly vague and easily mistaken for dreams; or perhaps, as I sometimes imagine, memory is a glimpse into a life preceding mine or the merest teasing brush with a parallel existence.

       But then at other times these fragments seem like faded snapshots which emerge through a somewhat distorted lens, creating images that are as much myth as reality, and reality itself bends undetected by the human eye as light does; all of which means, in the end, my carefully rendered fable must be taken for truth on faith, especially since the sum of it all may fail to produce even the faintest spark of epiphany. But what intrigues me most about memory is how different I seem to be today from what recollection has me at my beginning, while I remain composed of every part of all that I have ever been.


                     A good friend recently said to me, "You tend to look on the dark side."  

           In defense I said, "Not always," and suggested he read: Maggie 1934, and Silly Old Me, below.



                               Remembering - 1:  Maggie 1934                 

                                                                                                     2:  Mom & Dad 1943 


                      From 2012, my poem for little kids that neither Lorraine nor I have time to illustrate:

                                                                                               Silly Old Me  


                                                                                     Maybe more later.   

 *************************************************************************************************************************************   With  all of the bad weather we've been having, click on the Alert  insert. I wrote the text and created the artwork herein in 2006, with tongue in cheek, but it's not so amusing anymore.2006                             

 A global warming  Alert    From Andromeda Galaxy        


You can check some of my artwork at our gallery site at:



                        You may scroll down for UncleSammySays.com,                    

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                     For the conservative faint of heart, this is not for you;

                               though my cartoons might amuse you.                    















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      $  cost of war in Iraq  $                 in Iraq.  the HUMAN COST  

  Click on cropped art for complete image

          crop crop

   "Mission Accomplished"

          May 1,2003

 A related OPINION  March 4/06



          He's making a list




       Too Wussy?





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 A global warming  Alert    From Andromeda Galaxy        





Iraq For Sale: The War Profiteers



September 19/07 


OPINION Also published in Blogcritics: news and reviews

                                                         under politics


             The Will Of The People

I was writing my topic, captioned above, when I paused to listen to the President’s Thursday September 13th speech, in which he mentioned:

1--an “enduring relationship” with Iraq’s government, 2--that he was grateful for the contribution of troops from “36 nations,” 3--and that he follows the advice of his generals.


1- an enduring relationship with a non-existing government that recently took a month’s vacation?

2- troops from 36 nations? Was he counting the hometowns of his troops, from places like Harlem and Minneapolis and Kansas City?

3-- advice of his generals? Did he mean the list of four stars he fired who didn’t agree with his disastrous agenda?

Or is Bush, unlike Bill Clinton, inhaling something?

Hot News!: 1- Retired Fed Chair Alan Greenspan, in his new book says, “The Iraq war is largely about oil.” Really? When did he discover that?

2- There are as many private and unbelievably expensive contractors in Iraq as there are servicemen and women. And half of them, international mercenaries, are armed to the teeth, as are the bully boys of Blackwater, a far right organization which has contributed funds to Republican coffers. This is news?


Bush/Cheney and their neo-con cohorts have simply never appreciated the concept of the will of the people; an example of which was loudly expressed in the November elections, on which they continue to trample. A mandate the wimpish Democrats, who can‘t get their act together, have failed to exploit to the satisfaction of their antiwar constituents. Unfortunately, the neo-cons and an incompetent Bush are the only ones with vision; albeit in the neo-con’s case, cynically ideological; and in Bush’s case, messianic and dangerously hallucinatory.

So The will of the people in most matters, as usual, is too often discounted, especially by the far right who have long had a concept that is basically incompatible with the public will.

In our society:

Conservative thinkers tend to frown on the possibility of unregulated voters having too much to say, and have a way of demonizing them by suggesting they may be too uninformed to understand anything nuanced, for instance the need for unregulated capitalism. Too uninformed to understand the conservative fairy tale of how the rising fortunes of corporations will always brim and trickle down to provide the societal paradise of Joe Six-pack’s American Dream, which it did for awhile in the post-war era of this country.

A time, for instance, in 1952, when General Motors CEO Charles Wilson said: “What is good for General Motors is good for America…“ and added: “What is good for America is good for General Motors.“ The latter statement being important in explaining a fairly positive relationship between worker and corporation. A time when CEOs earned basically according to merit, and workers might increase their relative wealth according to merit, as well, and move into the middle class. But no more.

Americans have lost most collective bargaining, have lost their collective voice, are working harder for less, are losing pensions and health coverage, and are afraid of losing their jobs. Social intervention in America, something most developed countries take for granted, like universal health care, is a threat to conservative ideologues; and Social Security and Medicare have always been menaced by conservatives who voted against these initiatives from their inception. Whereas at the same time there has been plenty of intervention in favor of big business, with secretive energy policies, subsidies and lower taxes, and rescuing corporations from failure when they operate recklessly; as exampled by the unregulated subprime mortgage industry which is devaluing the dollar and pulling our economy into the toilet.

Our voices have been drowned out by overpowering corporate influence which has corrupted our political process. There are many special interests: labor, teachers, nurses, fire and police, and so on; but these interests amount to scraps in comparison to the bursting bellies of corporate lobbies, and the lobbies of foreign governments. Democracy is not working for us. Pardon--our Republic, so espoused by conservatives, is not working. To explain:















March 10/07    


OPINION Also published in Blogcritics: news and reviews

                                                          under politics




         Cheney In His Land Of Make Believe

            While Scooter Takes The Plunge.

                 And it's still about oil, folks,

                             plus a few questions.


        While I was writing this piece, V.P. Cheney’s second in command, Scooter Libby, a man who left a golden life in law to reach the much higher altitude of the most powerful government in the world, was convicted on four counts of lying and obstruction of justice. Turns out the jurors reacted like many of us, believing Scooter was the fall guy for the rest of the gang, especially Cheney, the man who orchestrated the vendetta against Joe Wilson with a vengeance to prevent the unraveling of all his deceptions in the run up to Iraq, the man who stood by without a word and watched his friend plunge like Icarus from the heights of power. 

       So much for Bush’s promise in 2000 to bring honor and dignity to his office.


       Okay, the last time I saw Vice President Cheney on television, his remarks stirred me from a prolonged period of quiet to write the following rant.   The most generous view of Cheney is to believe that he has had one foot in a make-believe universe, considering he recently told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, “We’ve had enormous successes.” No doubt Wolf was near to choking so as to restrain himself from crying “Liar, liar, pants on fire!” And when asked by Wolf about a possible anti-surge resolution, snarly Cheney replied: “It won’t stop us,” a response so typical of a man whose arrogance has known no boundaries. He also told Wolf, he was worried that Americans might “not have the stomach to fight,” conveniently forgetting WWII, when Americans had the stomach and the will for that legitimate cause. And may I mention post 9/11 when we and much of the world were one?




December 22/06

OPINION Also published in Blogcritics: news and reviews

                                                          under politics

The Way Forward. And Don't Look Back?

               To Surge Or Not To Surge







                              Caliphate terror?


       Last summer it was Bush’s “Operation Forward Together.“  Today it’s, “We’re not winning, we’re not losing.“ Huh? Additionally, whatever name you give it, no matter how it is accomplished, the Iraq Study Group‘s “The Way Forward” is merely the way out. The group took 9 months to tell us what we already knew: “The situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating.“ One of the ISG members, Vernon Jordan, said, “We didn’t talk about how we got here,“ which must have been exceedingly difficult, considering the majority of Americans can hardly think about anything else.  Which means, from the ISG point of view, we must not look back. We must only look ahead, away from the negative. Away from wire tapping. Away from American dissenters accused of being traitors. Away from Cheney lying again and again about Saddam’s connection with Al-Qaeda. Away from Cheney’s secret energy meetings and his no-bid contracts to cronies. Away from torture and the loss of habeas corpus, and away from America’s loss of its moral high ground in the eyes of the world.

       No, don’t look at all that. Forget how imperfectly better we were before the toxic Bush Administration came into power. Forget that Bush, with his usual total disrespect for the rest of us, said, “We’re absolutely winning,“ and in his mean-spirited way told us that a vote for Democrats is a vote for terrorists, just before the mid-term elections, which was the same as giving us “the finger.” No, don’t look back, Baker tells us. Only look forward to the least damaging resolution to our entrapment in a foreign civil war, and away from the worst foreign policy disaster in this country’s history.

       The President is currently thinking of reversing and expanding the military for the “long struggle,” a new term along with “surge” in his lexicon of words and phrases meant to blow another smokescreen to hide the latest bait and switch; while the new Secretary of Defense Gates is seen on television in Iraq, in a staged setting, being told by a non-commissioned soldier that we need more troops. Well if I were a soldier there, I too would want as much help as I could get, and would respond in kind. The generals until now have been steady in their opposition to more soldiers without a “well defined mission,” whatever that means; but is it possible that Bush, in another reversal, is bribing them into compliance with a big military budget boost? Huh? Wish I knew.






October 20/06  OPINION  Also published in: Blogcritics: news and reviews under politics.

The Buck Doesn't Stop Like It Used To


       In regard to Rep. Mark Foley’s improper e-mails to teenage congressional pages, the House ethics committee has approved subpoenas and promised to go “wherever the evidence takes us.” Which could mean that the buck might actually stop somewhere, as it did on that rare occasion when it slammed into Tom Delay. Okay, maybe, maybe not. Seeing is believing.

       Meanwhile, Tom Delay’s man, Speaker Dennis Hastert, after exposure and pressure and much hesitation, finally said he accepted responsibility for failing to investigate the complaints against Foley. He told us, “Ultimately…the buck stops here,” a rather famous phrase he had the nerve to borrow from our flinty past president, Harry S. Truman; though Hastert displays none of Truman’s flint, a president who had the fortitude to fire General Douglas MacArthur, the hero of the Pacific war and father of post-war Japan, who recklessly wanted to widen the war in Korea by invading China.  (Truman's desk sign, above).

       Compare Truman to President Bush, a man who up to now has evaded the buck, who edged aside the experienced general, Eric K. Shinseki, who (like Powell) sanely wanted to commit several hundred thousand troops to Rumsfeld’s Iraqi shock-and-awe, to handle the post invasion phase of that unnecessary war, for which we mostly abandoned the still important one in Afghanistan. The then deputy defense secretary, Paul D. Wolfowitz, attacked Shinseki’s estimate as “wildly off the mark.” This same sage also said, in 2003: there was no history of ethnic strife in Iraq. Really? Well the buck never got near him. Mr. Wolfowitz is now safely out of the way in his job as the president of the World Bank.   Continued....









August 21/06

OPINION  Also published in: Blogcritics: news and reviews

Terrorist Roundups, Endless New Euphemisms, & Iraq Rages On.

       Speaking to the press, President Bush said his invasion of Iraq did not “stir up a hornet’s nest.” The terrorists, he said, killed 3000 of our citizens “before we started the freedom agenda” in the Middle East. Is that what’s going on? A freedom agenda? No, this is just another in a long list of euphemisms, trying to bog down logical thinking in reasonable minds.

       He also said that “nobody’s ever suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the attack” (9/11). The rest of us have known this for several years. When did he discover it? Additionally he reassured those who wanted to hear him say it: we’re not leaving Iraq as long as he’s our president, which means, I suppose, ‘til January 2009 or until he’s impeached for misleading his country.

       While the Brits did splendid work in closing down the awful bomb plot, Bush having been kept informed by Blair, was able to exploit this event early on, while Karl Rove worked overtime on how to spin the terror angle to Bush’s advantage. i.e. Dems want to cut and run. Elect them in November and be overrun by Al Quaeda terrorists.

       Right.   Continued....



May 26/06


Gen. Hayden--NSA To The CIA. And Gonzales, The Attorney General.   Big Brotherism?


OPINION  Also published in: Blogcritics: news and reviews



       I wrote this opinion the day before General Hayden was approved.  Subsequent to said approval, President Bush said, "I look forward to working with...Negraponte, General Hayden...as we continue to address the challenges and threats we face in the 21rst century."  Challenges and threats which the president increased  by invading Iraq.

       The only no votes to Hayden's approval were Democrats Ron Wyden, Russ Feingold and Even Bayh, and Republican Arlen specter.  My hat's off to these four who had the guts to protest and not just go along.



       After 9/11, V.P. Cheney wanted to intercept domestic telephone calls and e-mails, without warrants, but was warned away by more cautious National Security Agency lawyers, owing to the measure's illegality, and especially since they were slammed in the 1990s for eavesdropping.  But the nominee for director of the CIA, Gen. Michael V. Hayden, then head of the NSA, ultimately created a collection program and sold it to the wary NSA officers, and a not-so-wary President Bush.











April 22/06

The Bush Administration And Iranian Anger. Oil And The Rationales For War. Greed And The Price At the pump. And Brazil Did It, So Why Can't We?

OPINION   Also published in: Blogcritics: news and reviews


       Did you ever wonder about countries like Iran, why so much hatred is directed at the West? No doubt you’re thinking: What the hell did we do to deserve this, huh? Well think about it. There is a history there to ponder. Anger like this doesn’t simply materialize in a vacuum. Right?  Continued.....










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Mar. 27/06--Cheney & American Idol


& The Brit Memo

Mar. 19/06--Air assault + Bush

versus Churchill

Mar. 4/06--UAE Dubai Port

Feb. 17/06--Cheney shooting

Feb. 4/06--SOTU & other gripes

Jan. 17/06--NSA domestic spying

Dec. 10/05--Republicans in a

a parallel universe

Nov. 20/05--Rep.  Murtha attacked

Nov. 19/05--Sen. McCain/torture


Nov,7/05--A lack of integrity

Oct, 28/05--Libby, Fitzgferald,

Compare then and now

Oct,26/05--Plamegate history

Oct. 7-- Rove, it's finally happening

Oct. 5/05-- VP Cheney: Miers a good choice.

Sept. 28/05--Iraq & Prince Saud al-Faisal

Sept. 21/05--Pigs will fly

Sept. 17&14/05--Fema & Bush's Responsibility

Sept. 12/05--Privatize Fema

Sept. 11/05--Katrina

& where the buck never stops

August 30--When Clinton was president

August 27/05--Bush's speech,  same ol', same ol'         

August 2/05--Bush not intelligently designed

August 1/05--If you cross this ruthless administration

July 25/05--Perjury...obstruction of justice

July 21/05-But lets not forget

July 19/05-Iraq a distraction

June 05--A soldier dies

June 05--The right of the people