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AOC leaves door open to primarying Schumer in 2022

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In an interview this week, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) left the door open to primarying Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) for his U.S. Senate seat in 2022.

The congresswoman from New York City was asked if she had a timeline for deciding whether or not to challenge Schumer and his more than 20-year tenure in the Senate in 2022 and if she believed he was doing a good job.

“It’s a hard thing to say, too. We’ve had to deal with a fascist president and Mitch McConnell,” Ocasio-Cortez told the newly launched Punchbowl News. “There’s this thing, ‘Are we doing a good job?’ There are things you can do in the minority. There are also things you couldn’t do with this minority because Senate rules changed.”

“I like to think of myself as a good-faith actor and not make unfair critiques. But I do wonder,” she added.

RELATED: AOC says Pelosi, Schumer need to go

“I’m not playing coy or anything like that. I’m still very much in a place where I’m trying to decide what is the most effective thing I can do to help our Congress, our [political] process, and our country actually address the issues of climate change, health care, wage inequality, etc.,” Ocasio-Cortez also said.

When asked about whether her decision would be affected if Democrats appear likely to lose their House majority in 2022, Ocasio-Cortez replied: “I’m not sure about that either. For me, I don’t make these decisions based on these short-term factors.”

The 31-year-old congresswoman also explained to the newsletter that she is looking beyond the next couple of years in her life and career, saying: “If I want to have a child, I would want my child—or my nieces or nephews to have guaranteed health care by the time they’re my age. And freedom from want. I’m also very indecisive.”

When asked about her relationship with Schumer, the most powerful Democrat in the Senate, the congresswoman told Punchbowl that “[h]e and I have an open relationship, we speak to each other regularly.”

These remarks come after the self-described Democratic socialist last month stated that Democrats need “new leadership.” She noted, however, that “the House is extraordinarily complex, and I’m not ready. It can’t be me. I know that I couldn’t do that job.”

Ocasio-Cortez shot to fame during the 2018 midterm elections, when she shockingly unseated the incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley, a then-member of the House Democrats’ leadership who had been in Congress since 1999, becoming the darling of progressives. She easily won reelection in November, and in recent months there has been speculation surrounding what’s next for the 31-year-old rising star.

Despite the viral fame and massive following that Ocasio-Cortez has found on social media, the political power she holds is still finite. Last month, the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee voted to seat Long Island, N.Y. Rep. Kathleen Ricea moderate—on the coveted House Energy and Commerce Committee instead of Ocasio-Cortez, who represents the Bronx and Queens.

Ocasio-Cortez has previously refused to rule out running for Schumer’s seat. When asked back in April if she would rule out a 2022 campaign against Democrats’ leader in the Senate, she responded by saying “I don’t know.”

She has also said in the past that she was not thinking of the Senate “in any serious way.”

The head of the New York State Democratic Party, Jay Jacobs, however, is urging Ocasio-Cortez not to challenge Schumer in 2022. In December, Jacobs told The New York Post that the young congresswoman would “absolutely” lose in such a bid.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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REPORT: China has vast network of covert police stations around the world

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China has a vast network of covert police stations abroad, according to a recent report by Safeguard Defenders, an NGO that focuses on human rights violations in China and other Asian countries. These police stations serve consular functions, but are also used by China to crack down on what the CCP deems “illegal” activity of Chinese nationals abroad. The police stations include at least 38 run by the Fuzhou City police, and 22 run by the Qingtian City police. Cities housing these police stations include New York, Toronto (which has three stations), London (two), Paris (three), Buenos Aires, Rio De Janeiro, and Tokyo.

Key findings of the report are below.

“Persuaded to return”

According to China, China has “persuaded to return [to China]” 230,000 Chinese nationals living aboard from April 2021 to July 2022 alone to face charges of fraud and telecommunications fraud. A Yangxia police station set up in Mozambique, for example, persuaded a Chinese national to return to China after being accused of stealing money from his employer. Chinese authorities also put pressure on the accused family to convince the accused to surrender.

Roughly 54,000 Chinese nationals were persuaded to return from northern Myanmar alone, in the first nine months of 2021. In July 2022, the government of Wenchang City warned that its citizens living in northern Myanmar must check in with their local police stations or face multiple penalties including blocking their children from attending urban schools back in China. Similarly, in February 2022, the government of Liayang City stated that Chinese “illegally staying” in northern Myanmar must return or the bank accounts of their immediate family members could be frozen.

The Nine Forbidden Countries

China has claimed that nine countries contain serious levels of fraud and telecom fraud perpetrated by Chinese nationals. Since November 2021, China has declared that Chinese citizens living in these nine countries must return to China immediately unless they have an “emergency reason” or a “strict necessity” to travel or stay in those countries. Those countries are: Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, the UAE, and Turkey. However, the report questions whether these countries are truly awash in such fraud, as most of China’s oversees police stations are in the West, and only one of the nine countries (Cambodia) has such a police station. Chinese staying in the nine forbidden countries, as well as threats to family members as stated above, creates a “guilt-by-association” atmosphere intended to repatriate the Chinese nationals.

Conclusion

According to the report, Chinese police stations abroad serve to bypass “bilateral extradition treaties or other mechanisms of judicial cooperation” to cooperate with CCP-linked NGOs which effectively “[sets] up an alternative policing and judicial system within third countries.” Instead of using international judicial cooperation, which establishes due process, the presumption of innocence, and the right to a fair trial, China uses the above “persuade-to-return” methods and transnational police stations to circumvent international law and coerce Chinese nationals to return to China for trials. These policies show the power of China’s long-arm oppression over its own subjects.

You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic

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