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AOC says Pelosi, Schumer need to go

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said that the Democratic Party needs new leadership, specifically stating that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer need to go. She warned, however, that a power vacuum within the Democratic Party could be filled by “nefarious” forces who are “even more conservative” than the current caucus leaders.

The self-described democratic socialist made the remarks during a podcast interview on “The Intercept” that aired Thursday.

“I do think we need new leadership in the Democratic Party,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “I think one of the things that I have struggled with, I think that a lot of people struggle with, is the internal dynamics of the House has made it such that there [are] very little options for succession.”

Pelosi, who is 80 years old, was handily re-elected as speaker for another two-year term last month, despite the Democrats’ lackluster performance in U.S. House races in which they unexpectedly lost a handful of seats to Republicans. She first ascended to the speakership in 2006, which made her the first—and still only—to serve in the influential role. She has indicated that this will be her final term as speaker.

Since the 2020 election, Democrats from different factions have clashed with each other over the direction of the party as the progressive wing’s influence has grown meteorically in recent years, thanks in part to Ocasio-Cortez, who was first elected during the 2018 midterm elections. A major incident occurred on a November 5 Democratic conference call, during which moderate Rep. Abigail Spanberger (Va.) and other Democrats reportedly criticized progressives and accused them of playing a role in their 2020 losses.

Schumer, who is 70 years old, also easily won re-election as Senate Minority Leader unopposed.

The direction of the party’s leadership also concerned Ocasio-Cortez, indicating that a power vacuum could allow members who are more conservative than the current leadership to seize the reins.

“My concern—and I acknowledge this as a failing, as something that we need to sort out—is that there isn’t a plan,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “How do we fill that vacuum? Because if you create that vacuum, there are so many nefarious forces at play to fill that vacuum with something even worse. And so, the actual sad state of affairs is that there are folks more conservative than even they are willing to kind of fill that void.”

The New York City congresswoman also said that there are a lack of leadership opportunities, which ultimately spurs talented freshmen representatives to depart Capitol Hill or to run for statewide office instead.

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“The answer is we need to shift power,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “We need to make sure that we have a transition of power in the Democratic Party.”

The Bronx and Queens congresswoman shut down the possibility of running for House leadership anytime soon.

“The House is extraordinarily complex and I’m not ready,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “It can’t be me. I know that I couldn’t do that job.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Shanghai: China’s Potemkin Village

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Screen Shot 2021 01 08 at 11.55.24 AM

Following a recent outbreak of COVID-19, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has imposed a month-long draconian lockdown on the residents of Shanghai. The CCP has used the outbreak to persecute its own citizens, including through forced evictions and quarantines, and placing alarms on doors to prevent COVID-19 people from leaving their homes. The harsh measures have resulted in food and healthcare shortages and separation of families.

But of course, we wouldn’t know that by reading the CCP-run press readily available in the United States. Instead of presenting the facts, the CCP engages in a comprehensive propaganda campaign that props up Shanghai as a Chinese Potemkin village. The CCP media asserts that China’s actions in Shanghai are benevolent and wise, while Western criticism is a product of malice. Chinese state-run media also insists that the Shanghai lockdown promotes economic stability in China and the world.

Claim 1: China Has the Best Policy for Combating COVID-19

The CCP media portray the Shanghai lockdown as the best and ideal policy. As cited by a XinhuaNet editorial, “China’s dynamic zero-COVID approach” is “the best option to save lives,” according to a “Rwandan researcher and publisher,” “…a miracle for us to learn,” according to a Kenyan scholar, and “a very ideal response,” according to Ethiopia’s National COVID-19 Response Task Force Coordinator. According to CCP media, Chinese citizens have greeted the Shanghai lockdown warmly, even with “[a] mixed sense of intensity, unity and hopefulness,” according to China Daily.

Claim 2: The West Hypocritically Defames China

The CCP press also accuses the West of lying about the Shanghai lockdown, and using COVID policies for nefarious ends. According to XinhuaNet, “Shanghai…has never imposed what Western media described as a ‘lockdown.’” Other CCP editorials actually accuse the West of malice. One Global Times editorial claims that the lockdown “has been deliberately exaggerated by the West.” Another Global Times editorial asserts that the Western approach of “coexisting with the virus” amounts to a way “…to drive out a large number of the vulnerable people with low immunity,” and a form of “cruel social Darwinism.”

Claim 3: China’s COVID Policies Result in an Economic Windfall to China and the World

The CCP also portrays the lockdown as necessary to achieve great economic growth in China and beyond. One Global Times editorial, while conceding that the lockdown amounted to a “sealing-off,” it is “a temporary measure to better resume work and production and to make the economy and society function more effectively. Its effectiveness has been proven.” According to another Global Times editorial, China’s policy is “widely considered to be the best strategy…to both contain the epidemic and ensure stable economic development.”

In an Orwellian fashion, Chinese press claims that China is solving, not causing, the world’s economic problems. According to XinhuaNet, “China has played a decisive role in stabilizing the global economy and resuming the supply chain disrupted by COVID-19.” Citing a Bloomberg article, the same XinhuaNet editorial claims that China “has prevented a huge number of deaths at home and ensured that everything from iPhones and Teslas to fertilizer and car parts continues to flow to the rest of the world.” Chinese citizens, of course, are collateral damage: Ji Qiwei, vice-general manager of SAIC Motor Passenger Vehicle, stated that “The domestic market may be impacted a little by the COVID-19 outbreak this year, but our export market will continue to see strong growth,” according to China Daily.

While the world continues to suffer economic and human damage as a result of COVID-19, China continues to revise history regarding its role. Through its propaganda in its English publications of Xinhua, China Daily, and Global Times, China seeks to portray itself as a benevolent force in the fight against the virus.

You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic

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