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De Blasio calls for investigation into Cuomo sexual harassment claims

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) on Thursday called for an investigation into sexual harassment allegations made against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) by a former member of his administration, Lindsey Boylan.

On Wednesday in an essay published to Medium, Boylan accused the governor of inappropriate touching and remarks, as well as kissing without consent.

RELATED: ‘Let’s play strip poker’: Fmr. Cuomo aide accuses NY governor of sexual harassment

“These allegations are really disturbing. Let’s be clear about that, they’re really disturbing. We have to, as New Yorkers, we got to take this seriously. When a woman comes forward with this kind of very specific allegations, they have to be taken seriously,” de Blasio said at a press conference.

De Blasio, who is widely considered to be rivals with Cuomo, specifically called for an investigation independent of any possible influence from Cuomo’s administration.

“We need a full and independent investigation, I want to emphasize the word ‘independent,’ investigation by some individual or entity that is not compromised, is not dominated by the governor’s office, but an independent investigation,” de Blasio continued. “This kind of behavior, if it’s true, is unacceptable in any public servant, in anybody. So we’ve got to get the truth about this.”

Back in December, Boylan accused the governor of making inappropriate comments about her appearance but did not elaborate further at the time.

Cuomo’s press secretary, Caitlin Girouard, said in a statement Wednesday afternoon that Boylan’s accusations were “quite simply false.” In particular, Girouard pointed to a statement from other administration officials saying they did not witness conversations that she alleged occurred on a flight in October 2017, when Cuomo allegedly remarked to Boylan: “Let’s play strip poker.”

De Blasio’s remarks also follow him last week coming to the defense of a Queens lawmaker, Assemblyman Ron Kim (D), who accused Cuomo of threatening him over the phone for not helping the governor allegedly cover up the scandal surrounding the administration underreporting the number of coronavirus-related deaths at nursing homes.

MORE ON DE BLASIO, CUOMO: ‘The bullying is nothing new’: de Blasio unleashes on Gov. Cuomo after lawmaker says he was threatened

Kim himself on Wednesday came to the defense of Boylan, and called Cuomo a “coward.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Shanghai: China’s Potemkin Village

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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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