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Report: Biden to pick Merrick Garland for AG

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President-elect Joe Biden will nominate Judge Merrick Garland to serve as United States attorney general, two people familiar with knowledge of the decision told Politico in a report published Wednesday afternoon.

Garland, a political moderate, is most well known for being President Barack Obama’s pick in 2016 to replace Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia after he passed away. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), however, blocked confirmation hearings on Garland’s nomination, holding out until President Donald Trump was elected later that year in November.

Ultimately, Trump successfully appointed Neil Gorsuch, an originalist, to the Supreme Court, followed by two other originalist justices: Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. These appointments will most certainly leave conservatives with a strong grip on the court for the decades after Trump soon leaves office.

Depending on if Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff beats Sen. David Perdue (R) in his Senate runoff election in Georgia, which Ossoff is overwhelmingly favored to win, Democrats will gain a majority in the upper chamber, with control over 50 of the 100 seats in the upper chamber and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote. If Republicans unexpectedly maintain their Senate majority, Garland, a source of ire for conservatives, would likely have a brutal confirmation process.

Garland, who has been serving as the chief judge on the crucial United States Court of Appeals in D.C., will head the U.S. Department of Justice if successfully confirmed by the U.S. Senate, beating out Alabama Sen. Doug Jones (D) and former deputy attorney general Sally Yates for Biden’s nomination. No replacement for Garland on the appellate court has been announced.

Politico reports that, in a GOP-controlled Senate, Jones was seen as the easiest person to get confirmed because of his strong relationships with Republicans. Meanwhile, the report says that Garland was accordingly viewed as a risk because of a foreseen challenge of confirming a replacement for him on the D.C. appellate court.

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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