Mao is Dead

Long live Mao.

People’s Republic of China’s newly crowned Emperor and President-for-Life Xi Jinping has mounted his throne and is starting to exercise his power.

Under Mr Xi’s orders, mandatory political-study sessions emphasizing his speeches and policies were revived for all party members.

And

So was the Mao-era practice of members criticizing others and themselves.

Can we look forward to reeducation camps, too?  Maybe.  Here’s Xi on necessary fervor and “right thinking:”

We must continue to rid ourselves of any virus that erodes the party’s fabric[.]

And

Centralizing Power

China’s Communist Party granted President Xi Jinping authority on a par with Chairman Mao, revising its constitution to inscribe a political theory bearing Mr Xi’s name and endorse policies to make the nation a world power.

A weeklong party congress that ended Tuesday appeared to give Mr Xi unassailable power as he begins a second five-year term.

The move was unanimous, with not a single Party member out of 2,336 willing to vote no—an indication of Xi’s already present overweening power.

Rajoy vs Catalonia

Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had and has an obligation to uphold the Spanish Constitution which, among other things, made the recent Catalan independence referendum illegal even to hold.  I’ve written elsewhere about what I think of his tactics in his enforcement campaign.

Whether Rajoy ordered his Policia Nacional and his Guardia Civil to engage in the violence they inflicted in Catalonia (nearly 900 Catalan casualties) or they acted on their own initiative, it’s hard to believe Rajoy was so stupid as to not know the violence would ensue when he ordered them in.

Thurgood Marshall’s Politics Deserve Respect?

Jason Riley certainly thought Justice Thurgood Marshall’s approach to it deserved respect.

One of the final scenes in “Marshall,” a new film about the early legal career of civil rights superstar Thurgood Marshall, shows the future Supreme Court justice in a train station in Mississippi. It’s 1941—peak Jim Crow —and a large “Whites Only” sign hangs above a water fountain beside him.

Marshall ignores the sign, takes a paper cup from the dispenser, and draws water from the fountain. An elderly black gentleman quietly watches him, in seeming awe of this defiant act. The two men exchange glances but no words as Marshall exits the station, yet his message to the older man is clear: don’t be afraid.

Duties

President Donald Trump’s decertification of Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA—because they’ve not been, and after two certs (six months) of data collection reasonably free from Obama administration bureaucrats’ fogging, the data are clear.

The Wall Street Journal headlined their piece earlier in the week that forecast that decision with this:

Trump Leaves Thorny Issues at GOP Lawmakers’ Doorstep

This is entirely appropriate. Our elected representatives should be handling the thorny issues instead of cowering under their desks avoiding “hard choices.”

“New Commitment To, and Connection With, Each Other”

That’s what Ana Palacio, Spanish Foreign Minister at the turn of the century, disingenuously claims is needed in Spain following the recent Catalan separation referendum.

Spaniards need to work toward a new commitment to, and connection with, each other and the constitutional system.

But apparently Catalans are not Spaniards according to Palacio, since she also insists

“Dialogue”…is pointless given that Catalan secessionist authorities refuse to live up to or even recognize their responsibilities under the law.

Gerrymandering and Voting Districts

Further on the Supreme Court’s considering a Wisconsin gerrymandering case, and that dredges up some thoughts in my pea brain.

Taking the Federal government as my canonical example, I suggest the following to saucer and blow the whole gerrymandering question.  Each State should be divided into squares having substantially equal numbers of citizens resident.  Then, starting with four squares sharing a common corner that is at the geographic center of the State, add squares around the four, building outward in that fashion to the State’s borders, deviating from the square and the square’s straight-line sides only at those borders.

Gerrymandering and the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has taken up a Wisconsin gerrymandering case, Whitford v Gill, in which some Liberal plaintiffs claim the State’s Republican legislature went too far in gerrymandering the State’s state legislature districts.  The plaintiffs are centering their beef on the idea that Republicans are overrepresented in the State’s legislature compared to State-wide voting tallies; Democrats didn’t get their “fair share” of the seats.

The plaintiffs are targeting Justice Anthony Kennedy in what is likely to be a sharply divided court, and some of Kennedy’s remarks at oral argument are, indeed, troubling.

A Referendum

Catalonia is trying to have one (had one as you read this) on whether the Autonomous Community should completely separate from Spain.  It’s turning violent as the Spanish military organization with police duties, the Guardia Civil, and the more civilian Policía Nacional, are using hammers and other such tools to break into locked buildings within which voting is occurring and truncheons and rubber bullets to try to block Catalans from entering and voting.

Nearly 850 civilian casualties had been inflicted by late Sunday, Dallas time.

On Catalonia’s Drive for Independence

The Wall Street Journal argued against it Wednesday.  I disagree ( a surprise, I know).

Nor is such a referendum permitted by international law….

This is a domestic Spanish affair; dragging international law into the matter is just cynical.

…they [Catalonians] fail to acknowledge the price all Spain pays for the national defense and diplomacy that keep Catalonia secure.

This is a cost that Spain no longer would have to bear if Catalonia succeeds in secession. As the Spanish, Catalonians, and Tunku Varadarajan, who wrote the piece at the link, well know.