Mandate of Heaven by Nomi T. Smith and Adolphus Writer — An Excerpt

Tianming CoverTiānmìng – Mandate of Heaven was Mandated Memoranda Publishing’s first eBook, available in June of 2013. It follows the career of Michael Babbage, freelance reporter, during five years of world turmoil and upheaval from 2018 to 2023. Tiānmìng – Mandate of Heaven extrapolates today’s headlines into tomorrow’s nightmares. Click here or on the book image to read an excerpt in a new browser tab. Click learn more to view Amazon’s landing page for Tiānmìng – Mandate of Heaven. Thank you.

Uncertain Footing

We go about our business without a care for the ground beneath us. However, can we be sure our foot will not slip? Losing what we think is firm footing can occur suddenly and without warning. Some causes are of this earth and some are not. All are common to the human condition.

One way we lose our footing is due to sinkholes. These occur because water erodes underground supports via either natural or manmade processes.

A Sinkhole in a Northeastern Chinese City Swallowed Five People [Required Hospitalization], CCTV, published on Aug 27, 2015

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) cites a shocking statistic. Between 35 to 40 percent of the US is susceptible to sinkholes. These occur in two rock types: evaporites (salt, gypsum, and anhydrite) and carbonates (limestone and dolomite). Many formations, but not all, occur at deep depths.

http://water.usgs.gov/edu/sinkholes.html

USGS Sinkhole Susceptibility Map

Commonly, water erosion in these areas results in underground caverns which can lead to ground subsidence. However, sometimes the cavern erodes so extensively that the ceiling collapses and a sinkhole results. Such things are common in Florida and Louisiana.

8/21/13 Slough in, Assumption Parish, Louisiana

As frightening as these may be, we find ourselves in a much worse situation: at any moment we can plunge into Hell.

Only God’s patient endurance gives any of us more time on this earth. He is in the right concerning this because He gives us existence. And He calls us wicked because we continually disobey Him.

A famous (some say infamous) American preacher, Jonathan Edwards, delivered one of many sermons to his congregation called “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Maybe you studied it in high school or college.

The sermon’s premise is summed up by Edwards’s statement:

“There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God.”

Of Edwards’s ten considerations, these three bring home our predicament:

2.  The Wicked deserve to be cast into hell. Divine justice does not prevent God from destroying the Wicked at any moment.

6.  If it were not for God’s restraints, there are, in the souls of wicked men, hellish principles reigning which, presently, would kindle and flame out into hellfire.

10.  God has never promised to save us from Hell, except for those contained in Christ through the covenant of Grace.

Just as his congregants cried out, we must say:

“What shall I do to be saved?”

And as Paul and Silas answered the Jailer:

Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household

Only then will we have sure footing.

Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God,” sermon reenacted by Ralph Green, October 30, 2012, Cloverhill4’s channel

The Fourth Revolution – Lee Kuan Yew and the Asian Consensus

Lee Kuan Yew (16 September 1923 – 23 March 2015) was founder and Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore. He started out as an advocate for Beatrice Webb’s societal view.

Lee shifted right to counteract communism and tighten control over Singapore. He ended closer to Hayek‘s views while developing a unique blend of authoritarianism, self-sufficiency, and meritocracy. In the process of his transformation, Lee Kuan Yew molded Singapore according to his principles.

As a result, Singapore has become the economic success it is today. Micklethwait and Wooldridge, the authors of The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State portray Lee and his Singapore as the model for the economic rise of China and the rest of Asia. They also pose the possibility that Singapore is the model for success of authoritarianism over democracy.

Asian Ascent

Singapore is a night-watchman state that provides its citizens with economic opportunities and control over how they fund their healthcare and pensions. In return, citizens must not challenge the social order.

Rather than Western democratic governance and generous benefits, Lee’s model is elitist, authoritarian, and parsimonious. This approach follows from Lee’s fundamental axiom: “human beings, regrettable though it may be, are inherently vicious and have to be restrained from their viciousness.”

Like Lee, other Asian nations sense that Western political dead lock and economic sluggishness point to the failure of liberal democracy. Additionally, their own economic growth puts them in competition with each other and good government seems to be the way to succeed. Asian nations are therefore looking at Lee’s model.

Although self-sufficiency is a core Eastern value, the entire experiment might derail as their populations prosper and age. Almost everyone eventually wants bread and circuses if they can get it.

The Singaporean State

“We decide what is right,” Lee once said. “Never mind what the people think.” “I do not believe that democracy necessarily leads to development,” Lee remarked to Philippine hosts in 1992. “The exuberance of democracy leads to undisciplined and disorderly conditions.” He also said, “what a country needs to develop is discipline more than democracy.”

To Westerners, Singaporean government looks like Plato’s Republic, composed of chosen guardians of society. Actually, it is modelled on China’s mandarin tradition of merit selected elites who rule administratively.

Singapore identifies individuals with potential early. It gives them scholarships and trains them afterward for service. Those that make it can receive pay packages upward of two million dollars per year. Those who don’t are thrown overboard.

This elite acquires over time both private and public administration experience. They apply best practice management techniques to both state dominated enterprises and government. They rotate between the two for the benefit of the citizens and shareholders that they serve.

With regard to social benefits, Lee had said: “westerners have abandoned an ethical basis for society…In the East, we start with self-reliance. In the West today, it is the opposite.” Western leaders made charity an entitlement: “and the stigma of living on charity disappeared.”

Lee also said: “When you have popular democracy, to win votes you have to give more. And to beat your opponent in the next election, you have to promise to give more away. So it is a never-ending process of auctions—and the cost, the debt being paid for by the next generation.”

Self-reliant Singaporeans pay a fifth [although the rate has varied] into the Central Provident Fund. Employers pay about fifteen percent more to the fund. Most of what a citizen receives from the fund (about 90%) is tied to what they pay in. Hard work is thereby rewarded.

Other countries are trying to duplicate Singapore’s success. Dubai has a modern financial district, exclusive shopping malls, state-run companies, a Government Excellence Program, and they use Harvard Business School professor Robert Kaplan  ‘s key performance indicators (KPI) as metrics of their progress.

China’s Rise

China shares Lee’s concerns about the west: democracy isn’t efficient, society and the economy need direction, and right governance means success and survival. It has the world’s second largest economy. It is the largest energy consumer, merchandise exporter, smartphone market, and foreign holder of US debt. China is home to the most of the world’s millionaires and billionaires and has accomplished the largest poverty reduction in history. Lee had said that China will reach its former prominence in thirty to fifty years but warned, if it pursued liberal democracy, “It would collapse.”

However, China’s leadership is not so credulous to ignore the fact that most cities use land grabs as a means to balance their budgets. While Shanghai is ranked at the top of OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), primary and secondary education receives short shrift when compared with bribing local officials. Old corruption, similar to early nineteenth century Britain, is pervasive.

According to the authors, China has tried to follow Singapore most closely in state capitalism and in meritocratically selected administrators (rather than democratically elected officials). China’s implementation of these two aspects of state control are good in part, say the authors.

State Capitalism

China’s state directed capitalism follows a long tradition from the East India Company to Korea’s Chaebol. However, they’ve taken control further. The authors quote the Party Committee of the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC): “Where there are people, there are Party organizations and Party activities.” The state directs many state-owned enterprises (SOE)

The State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) oversees the SOEs by appointing top executives, approving mergers, approving stock or asset sales, and drafting SOE related laws.

The Organization Department of the Communist Party of China controls more than 70 million personnel assignments throughout government and industry. In that role it compiles detailed and confidential reports on future Party leaders. It is a highly trusted and secretive agency at the institutional heart of the Party system.

According to the authors, the SOEs are still expected to compete abroad and use modern management techniques internally. They have to meet common industry wide strategic goals while exercising relative freedom in daily operational decisions. Company management informs government management and vice versa in what the authors call “joined-up capitalism.”

State capitalism is an instrument of foreign policy and initiative. SOEs fund eighty percent of foreign direct investment. Through loans from state banks, China has woven a web of foreign economic and policy advances. China is fostering Lee’s ideas through the China Executive Leadership Academy in Pudong (CELAP) which trains their best and brightest leaders. They also counterbalance Davos with the Boao Forum for Asia. This is how China exercises soft power.

However, SOEs are viewed by investors as favoring government interests over their own. Corruption is a disincentive for investment. SOEs can be forced to implement state policy. Further, SOEs attract capital that more independent Chinese companies might otherwise put toward more innovative use leading to faster growth.

The authors point out that intellectual and cultural freedom lead to breakthrough ideas and vibrant competition. Although some think that SOEs will wither away as the economy grows, others are not so sanguine. For state capitalism to work well, you need a strong and competent state. We’ve see how that’s worked in the past.

State Meritocracy

China originated the concept we in the West refer to as mandarin administration. They instituted formal civil service examinations in 605 AD. The authors quote a common saying, popular for a thousand years, that Chinese parents tell their children: “those who work with strength are ruled. Those who work with their minds manage others. Those who excel in scholarship become officials.”

China’s elite agrees with Lee Kuan Yew’s opinion that meritocracy offers more benefits than democracy such as long term planning and leadership succession without pressure to win votes at the expense of societal breakdown.

Recruitment starts at university rather than the factory. Candidates need to excel at the Central Party School and CELAP. Then they prove themselves as competent administrators by running a province (maybe as large as several European countries combined). More recently, these leaders are called to prove their business skills running an SOE.

Young leaders of the future, selected and promoted up the ranks based on merit, tackle big problems. They’ve had both government and industry experience. Increasingly, they have had graduate level training or work experiences in countries around the world. They conduct civil service in a business-like manner using best practices culled from successful examples proven globally.

The authors are quick to point out that elitism comes with problems. They cite the example of a deputy who was denied office space to meet with locals to conduct his part in an anticorruption drive. Ordinary citizens with legitimate grievances are hard-pressed to get a hearing with officials, let alone a satisfactory resolution. They vent their anger on one of many Weibo, a Twitter equivalent, complaining of inefficient government, failing schools, unsanitary hospitals, and inept officials.

President Xi Jinping sends leaders from Beijing into the provinces to instill order. But, citing a Chinese proverb, the authors point out: “the mountains are high and the emperor is far away.” And the leaders are not as meritorious as they would have everyone believe. Many in the upper echelons are “red princelings:” offspring of the Communist Party elite.

Inside or outside the party, leaders systematically accumulate wealth and privilege using their power. The authors cite an internet posting:

They drive top-brand cars. They go to exclusive night bars. They sleep on the softest beds in the best hotels. Their furniture is all of the best red wood. Their houses overlook the best landscapes, in the quietest locations. They play golf, travel at public expense, and enjoy a life of luxury.

But, the authors say, it is the same the world over. And it is, unfortunately.

A Reckoning

China’s economic and world power rise validates its authoritarianism to its people and many in the world at-large. It poses a challenge and viable alternative to the Western liberal democratic, capitalistic model. Singapore has managed its success on the strength of its now deceased leader. However, Asians, like the rest of the world, increasingly want a generous social safety net.

China’s economic growth is slipping as its population is aging. Corruption at the local level and vast unpaid (and unpayable?) debts threaten stability. Western impulses for bread and circuses already surge through its citizenry. Although there is hope that representative democracy might develop, the populace is so diverse that the center is sure not to hold. Censorship can prevent unrest only so long.

However, Asia as a whole is still trying to improve government. They have a fresh start and innovative technologies and techniques may yet provide efficient social services and governance (even if not democratic) that are responsive to their citizens. Singapore and the Nordic countries provide a way forward. If only the West would follow suit to revamp their now illiberal democracies.

Here is yet another presentation by the authors of: The Fourth Revolution: the global race to reinvent the state.

The Fourth Revolution: the global race to reinvent the state

A memorial tribute to Mr. Lee Kuan Yew.

Passing of Mr Lee Kuan Yew

Climate Changiness

Please forgive this Hollywood conceit: “The arrogance of man is thinking nature is under our control, and not the other way around.” Actually, the Lord Jesus Christ is in control but we don’t even believe the Hollywood metaphor, so…

Godzilla – Asia Trailer [HD]

It’s not as if there was some gathering storm on the horizon.

5/18/14 Wright to Newcastle, WY Supercell Time-Lapse

Of course, that’s not what some would have you believe.

Chris Mooney’s MJ article ‘This Ice Sheet Will Unleash a Global Superstorm Sandy That Never Ends’ explains that glaciologist Richard Alley claims losing West Antarctica would produce 10 feet of sea level rise in coming centuries. That’s comparable to the flooding from Sandy—but permanent.

The NY Times article titled ‘Scientists Warn of Rising Oceans From Polar Melt’ starts:

A large section of the mighty West Antarctica ice sheet has begun falling apart and its continued melting now appears to be unstoppable, two groups of scientists reported on Monday. If the findings hold up, they suggest that the melting could destabilize neighboring parts of the ice sheet and a rise in sea level of 10 feet or more may be unavoidable…

Wait for it

…in coming centuries.

However, the Economist explains more carefully:

Glaciologists use the word “collapse” to describe a shift towards an irretrievable loss of an ice sheet. There is, reckons Dr Joughin, probably nothing that can now be done to save the Thwaites glacier. Much of the coverage of the new studies, though, suggests there will be a collapse in the everyday, imminent sense of the word.

Dr Joughin’s models predict that once the loss of ice from the Thwaites glacier really gets going, it may be enough to raise sea levels by a further 1mm a year by itself. But they also predict that this will not start to happen for at least another 200 years—and perhaps much longer than that. Bad news, then, but not quite a collapse—or at least, not on human timescales.

But what’s the worst that can happen?

Quoted in a WSJ opinion article, Secretary Kerry said, while addressing graduates of Boston College,

If we make the necessary efforts to address this challenge—and supposing I’m wrong or scientists are wrong, 97% of them all wrong—supposing they are, what’s the worst that can happen? …We put millions of people to work transitioning our energy, creating new and renewable and alternative; we make life healthier because we have less particulates in the air and cleaner air and more health; we give ourselves greater security through greater energy independence—that’s the downside.

The WSJ opinion author says:

The “worst that can happen” is that we spend trillions of dollars trying to solve a problem that we can’t do anything to stop; that we misallocate scarce resources in a way that slows economic growth; that slower growth leads to less economic opportunity for Boston College grads and especially the world’s poor, and that America and the world become much less wealthy and technologically advanced than we would otherwise. All of which would make the world less able to cope with the costs of climate change if Mr. Kerry is right.

And 97% of scientists are agreed so, from a postmodern perspective, it must be settled. I bet 99 and 44/100 percent believed in the Aether before Einstein’s special relativity was verified (Aether is on the march again, though; a relativistic Aether this time).

However, let’s not forget: Truth does not depend on man’s theories, only his theories do.

The climate change controversy seems to be a case of agnotology, the study of how ignorance arises via circulation of misinformation calculated to mislead. Quoting from the abstract for ‘Climate Consensus and ‘Misinformation’: A Rejoinder to Agnotology, Scientific Consensus, and the Teaching and Learning of Climate Change’

Agnotology, then, is a two-edged sword since either side in a debate may claim that general ignorance arises from misinformation allegedly circulated by the other. Significant questions about anthropogenic influences on climate remain. Therefore, Legates et al. appropriately asserted that partisan presentations of controversies stifle debate and have no place in education.

In the effort to stem climate change, the current administration has issued new federal limits on greenhouse-gas emissions.

Under the rule, states will be given a wide menu of policy options to achieve the pollution cuts. Rather than immediately shutting down coal plants, states would be allowed to reduce emissions by making changes across their electricity systems — by installing new wind and solar generation or energy-efficiency technology, and by starting or joining state and regional “cap and trade” programs, in which states agree to cap carbon pollution and buy and sell permits to pollute.

The Washington Post adds:

Under the draft rule, the EPA would let states and utilities meet the new standard with different approaches mixing four options including energy efficiency, shifting from coal to natural gas, investing in renewable energy and making power plant upgrades. Other compliance methods could include offering discounts to encourage consumers to shift electricity use to off-peak hours.

WSJ comments on the political fallout:

Republicans are using the proposed rule to assert that Democrats will raise energy costs and kill jobs, and that carbon restrictions are futile in the absence of similar action by China and other large polluting nations…

While Democrats are more vocal than Republicans in saying that man-made climate change is a problem, some in energy-producing states are wary of backing a government response…

Additional WSJ commentary claims large adverse economic impact for small climate improvement:

The EPA claims to be targeting “polluters,” but the government is essentially creating an artificial scarcity in carbon energy. Scarcities mean higher prices, which will hit the poor far harder than they will the anticarbon crusaders who live in Pacific Heights. The lowest 10% of earners pay three times as much as a share of their income for electricity compared to the middle class. If you want more inequality, this is an ideal way to ensure it.

and

The irony is that all the damage will do nothing for climate change. Based on the EPA’s own carbon accounting, shutting down every coal-fired power plant tomorrow and replacing them with zero-carbon sources would reduce the Earth’s temperature by about one-twentieth of a degree Fahrenheit in a hundred years.

And, of course, China is following suit with their own climate change measures. At least, that is, until their people rebel at the resulting deprivations.

What will we do if our people rebel? Well, we’ve got restrictions against what happened in China twenty-five years ago.

Except, of course, until we don’t.

Then there’s the whole issue of blatant racism. Caleb S. Rossiter explains in his opinion article ‘Sacrificing Africa for Climate Change.’

…Each American accounts for 20 times the emissions of each African. We [America] are not rationing our electricity. Why should Africa, which needs electricity for the sort of income-producing enterprises and infrastructure that help improve life expectancy? The average in Africa is 59 years—in America it’s 79. Increased access to electricity was crucial in China’s growth, which raised life expectancy to 75 today from 59 in 1968.

From a WSJ review of Robert Bryce’s new book Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper:

“For the vast majority of the world’s population,” Mr. Bryce argues, “the cheapest and most reliable forms of energy are, and will continue to be, hydrocarbons.” Anyone who thinks that he is doing the world a favor by compelling the switch from fossil fuels to wind and solar is consigning billions of people to a life of poverty and darkness.

Or there’s geoengineering on your own terms. What could go wrong with that?

We are meant to live peaceful and quiet lives, practicing true equity, and not using the poor (and soon to be poor) as pawns. But, as Calvin (no, the one from the Calvin and Hobbes comic) proves, we are all wet when we think we are in control.

Tiananmen – Gate of Heavenly Peace

On June 5, 2015, one lone man stood down a column of Type 59 PLA main battle tanks as they left Tiananmen Square following the suppression of protests by force the night before. He is known as Tank Man.

Here’s a CNN video clip showing raw footage of Tank Man’s own protest. Note the long tank column at the 10 second mark.

Tank Man

The Tiananmen Square protests were a long time coming. The protest developed in mid–April 1989 as an immediate result of the death of Hu Yaobang, denounced former as the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, a known liberal within the Party.

At that time, thousands of students from China University of Political Science and Law, Peking University, and Tsinghua University marched on Tiananmen Square (other protests gathered in Xian and Shanghai).

The students drafted a list of pleas and suggestions (Seven Demands) for the government:

  1. Affirm as correct Hu Yaobang’s views on democracy and freedom;
  2. Admit that the campaigns against spiritual pollution and bourgeois liberalization had been wrong;
  3. Publish information on the income of state leaders and their family members;
  4. End the ban on privately run newspapers and stop press censorship;
  5. Increase funding for education and raise intellectuals’ pay;
  6. End restrictions on demonstrations in Beijing
  7. Provide objective coverage of students in official media.

Through demonstrations, boycotts, hunger strikes, military crackdowns, and martial law, the confrontation between the students and government built. At 4:30pm on June 3, the order for martial law was finalized:

  1. The operation to quell the counterrevolutionary riot was to begin at 9:00 pm
  2. Military units should converge on the Square by 1:00 am on June 4 and the Square must be cleared by 6:00 am.
  3. No delays would be tolerated.
  4. No person may impede the advance of the troops enforcing martial law. The troops may act in self-defense and use any means to clear impediments.
  5. State media will broadcast warnings to citizens.

The morning of June 4th, at 4:00 am, lights on the Square were suddenly turned off. The government announced: “Clearance of the Square begins now. We agree with students’ request to clear the Square.” The students sang The Internationale and braced for a last stand. An officer with a loudspeaker called out “you better leave or this won’t end well.”

It didn’t, an untold number died in various confrontations.

On June 5, a lone man stood in front of a column of tanks driving out of Tiananmen Square on 5 June on Chang’an Avenue. This is Frontline’s Tank Man documentary in its entirety.

Tank Man Documentary

The government regained control in the week following.  Officials responsible for organizing or condoning the protests were removed, and protest leaders were jailed.

However, the China democracy movement, although suppressed, continued. Liu Xiaobo helped write Charter 8, released 10 December 2008. The charter called for more freedom of expression, human rights, more democratic elections, for privatizing state enterprises and land and for economic liberalism. He was imprisoned on charges stemming from soliciting signatures for the Charter. Liu Xiaobo explained in a statement prepared for trial that was eventually delivered to the Nobel Prize committee:

China’s political reform […] should be gradual, peaceful, orderly and controllable and should be interactive, from above to below and from below to above. This way causes the least cost and leads to the most effective result. I know the basic principles of political change, that orderly and controllable social change is better than one which is chaotic and out of control. The order of a bad government is better than the chaos of anarchy. So I oppose systems of government that are dictatorships or monopolies. This is not ‘inciting subversion of state power’. Opposition is not equivalent to subversion. ”—Liu Xiaobo, 9 February 2010

In an open letter to Hu Jintao, now former General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, Brunhild Staiger, President of the European Association for Chinese Studies questions the basis for Liu’s imprisonment.

Others have advocated similar gradual reformations. While the reforms are similar to those of Charter 8, they specifically reject Jacksonian democracy. Yu takes a Marxist approach.

Along these lines, President Xi Jinping announced the “China Dream” (中国梦) at the 18th National People’s Congress, that began on November 8, 2012. According to Xi, the China Dream is to realize the hopes of the Chinese people and achieve the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

President Xi has set out goals for China:

…To achieve a “moderately prosperous society” (小康社会) by 2021 (the hundredth anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party founding) and a strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and modernized socialist country by 2049.

These tenets share the “path of rejuvenation’s” focus on the Century of Humiliation, the period of roughly 100 years between the First Opium War and the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 when foreign powers took advantage of a weak China. Core to the idea of the China Dream is that China is finally reclaiming a position of prosperity and power enjoyed before the period of national humiliation. To achieve the dream, China requires an effective government, a prosperous economy, a harmonious society, and a strong military.

And then there’s the 2010 book, The China Dream, by retired Colonel Liu Mingfu of the People’s Liberation Army. The book preceded President Xi’s party congress speech. The Wall Street Journal said of the book:

…The former professor [Colonel Liu Mingfu] at its National Defense University wrote a book of the same name [The China Dream], arguing that China should aim to surpass the U.S. as the world’s top military power and predicting a marathon contest for global dominion. The book flew off the shelves but was pulled over concerns it could damage relations with the U.S., according to people familiar with its publication.

Reuter’s excerpts Liu’s book:

“To save itself, to save the world, China must prepare to become the (world’s) helmsman.”

All but forgotten in that great nation, Tiananmen Square and all that took place must be remembered. Along with Zhao Ziyang, we must say 我們已經老了,無所謂了, “We are already old, it doesn’t matter to us anymore.” But it will matter to you.

The situation is Not OK! 不行!! Bù xíng!

We stand with you all.

Best Laid Plans

We’ve gotten Tiānmìng – Mandate of Heaven on Amazon’s bookshelves. Figuratively speaking, of course, since it is only out as a Kindle Edition. We’re offering it for free the Friday and Saturday before Father’s day 2013.

We’re now turning our attention to the second book, Tragic Wonders. We renamed it from Horrors of the Heart since a small circle of readers thought it had little horror in it (except for the grammatical errors). It will still be an anthology of stories and essays delving into our souls’ deepest fears and needs. We’d like this on shelves by the fall. The art department has designed the cover and we plan to post a thumbnail of it soon.

Book three is: Who Shall Be God. It is a fictional account of the struggles of two families, the Stadists and the Libertas, who live north and south of 38th street, respectively, in a Midwestern city. We have a cover in mind and the ending sketched out in broad outline.

Book four will be an anthology dealing with the perils of this digital age: from genetic engineering to surveillance and the Singularity. Book five must be about the coming clash between China and the Western world. They aren’t the Middle Kingdom for no reason.

Finally, we’ve been asked if we could do something funny (as in ha-ha, we already do strange). Book six may achieve that (although strange has its appeal).

We do not intend to do vampires, sleaze, or a self-publishing how-to. In this last vein (excuse the pun), the next post will recount what we remember of our experience producing Tiānmìng – Mandate of Heaven. Only the names have been changed to protect the participants.

You Are Home

This place looks like a concentration camp.

The food sure is good. Very good in fact, I know because I used to be a chef.

Anybody label you with a number yet?

No, are they doing that?

Nah, I hear they want us to learn how to be good citizens for the 21st century and this is boot camp.

What makes you so knowledgeable, man?

I’m the next speaker…

…and I want you to give a hand for the President of the United States, Harry Smith, come up here Harry.

Thanks Senator Walker, my fellow citizens, you are the third group to pass through this camp…that’s right, pass through. As I was just telling some folks we’re going to learn how to be good citizens for the 21st century and this is boot camp. I’m going to give you a little history of the place, we call it Camp Tareen, what you can expect for the next six months, yes six months, and what we expect of you afterward.

Three short years ago former President Bertram Matumbo, before his assassination, made agreements with Canada, China and the United Kingdom for our safety and the safety of our children and grand children. He arranged for the Canadian Northwest Territory and Yukon to be opened up for migration until we can resettle CONUS. Whatever you say about global warming, it’s still really cold up here.

Camp Tareen is named for a brave man who tried to prevent the Pakistan – India nuclear exchange. His leadership hanged him for it. The previous two  groups before this one built this fort, some really grand settlements to the north and the roads that lead to them.

You and your families will be clothed, housed and fed. Very well by some accounts. Your children will be educated in the fundamentals: reading, writing, science and mathematics. We have all grade levels and some college and graduate school training. We’re always looking for more teachers.

We live by the laws of the United States. The Constitution, Bill of Rights and much of the case-law is in effect. We have a Supreme Court and the lower courts. The officers you see here are empowered to enforce the law. They are also here to help you obey it and they will live among you with their families.

Here, you’ll be trained to build your own settlement and much, much more. We’ve made some advances that I think you’ll be amazed at, I know I was.

I won’t lie to you, it will be a hard life. But, you’ll live, learn, work and one day see your children and your childrens’ children in cities you’ve built in the reconstituted United States. Right now there are cadres of workers and soldiers laboring to clear the eastern cities and reforest the Central and Mountain states. The United States will look different but we hope to be stronger, self-sustaining, more equitable and debt free.

Now I’ll open it up for questions, please use the microphones so we can all hear you. You’ll show up on the screens so everyone will see, too.

Mister President, what’s happening on the West Coast, I heard that the Chinese are in control and the situation is ‘difficult’?

The Time is Now

The time is now gentle men and women. We have to act for the good of the nation.

“The GOOD of the NATION”. Come off it, you want to get reelected or what?

I don’t care about that… maybe they don’t even care, but posterity will. Some decorum, please, Everett.

Oh, you mean the ‘children not yet born’, who said that? You! Bill payers I call them, they’ll slave for the bondholders and like it. We’ve tried to inflate those things away but the World Bank, IMF and WTO won’t let us.

Everett, this is the last time I’m going to say this…you sit down and hold your tongue.

Since when do you hold sway in the Cabinet Room, Moses? I’ll tell you what you are going…

Please remove Secretary Harmison from the room quickly.

Well, I’ve never…

You got that right, Ev.

As I was saying, ladies and gentlemen, we’re signing this Presidential Directive today with the understanding that you all are sworn to secrecy. You are witnesses to a historic day. Our partnerships with Canada, the United Kingdom and China will serve the nation well. Especially over the next three years if the scientists’ measurements are correct. Leaders in their countries are signing similar secret directives as we speak. We will provide for our posterity’s future and our partners will see to it since it is in their interests to do so.