FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day March 5th through 12th 2018

Friends of FOD

I’m hearing the periodic message sent you subscribers out there is not reaching you in a timely manner.  You might check your junk mail and see if it’s there or another folder.  Sometimes recurring messages get sent there.  I’m getting my best FOD IT guy working on it to see if I can make some changes from this end.  Thanks.  And I know I’m a bit late getting this edition out.  I’ve been writing, just not publishing.

 

FOD Saying of the Day

Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves. Albert Einstein

 

 

Xi Secures Power In Perpetuity

The path was cleared on Sunday for China’s Xi Jinping to rule the country indefinitely as its rubber-stamp parliament passed a constitutional amendment removing presidential term limits.  The amendment was passed almost – but not quite – unanimously, with two “no” votes and three abstentions, against 2,957 in favor. I don’t think those “no voters” are around anymore.  Party members’ loyalty belied a wave of criticism of the move among internet users, a wave which censors have taken care to extinguish. The amendment was revealed by the Communist Party just last month.  Delegates to the National People’s Congress, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, applauded after each vote in what comes as China’s first constitutional amendment in 14 years. Had members rejected it, it would have been the first time a party diktat had ever failed to pass.  Xi, 64, has consolidated power since 2012, when he was appointed party general secretary, the country’s top office. The position has no term limits, but his two predecessors both gave it up after two terms as part of the “orderly process” established by Deng.  The presidency is a largely ceremonial office, but the now-abolished constitutional limits meant Xi would have had to give it up in 2023. Before Sunday’s vote, US President Donald Trump had joked that Xi was “now president for life.”  As the holder of the top offices of party, state and military, Xi is also referred to as China’s “paramount” leader; and, in 2016, he was officially designated “core” leader by the party. His accumulation of titles has also earned him the nickname “Chairman of Everything.”  Under Xi’s leadership, China has experienced tighter restrictions on civil society, including detentions of activists and lawyers, and ever-stricter internet controls. Simultaneously, he has purged many officials, and sidelined potential rivals, by means of a relentless ‘crackdown on corruption’ that seems yet to have run its course.  “I think that during the past five years, he has been carrying out a soft coup, including making the Politburo a mere figurehead,” Chinese political commentator Wu Qiang told AFP, referring to the 25-member Communist Party body one notch under the ruling council.  “He wants to prevent power from falling into the hands of technocrats like Jiang (Zemin) and Hu (Jintao),” Wu added, referring to Xi’s two predecessors.  So what does it all mean for the Chinese people?  Dissenting is becoming even more risky.  The room for debate becomes narrower.  The risk of a policy mistake becomes higher.  Correcting a flawed policy will take longer.

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