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Thune: Trump allies engaging in ‘cancel culture’ for censuring GOP senators who voted to convict

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On Thursday, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) accused Republican politicians and activists of engaging in “cancel culture” for seeking to censure GOP senators who voted to impeach and convict former President Donald Trump.

In his first interview since he voted Saturday to acquit the former commander-in-chief, the No. 2 Senate Republican defended GOP lawmakers who sided with Democrats on the “vote of conscience” and warned against shutting out dissenting voices in the party.

“There was a strong case made,” Thune said of the Democrats’ impeachment presentation to the Associated Press. “People could come to different conclusions. If we’re going to criticize the media and the left for cancel culture, we can’t be doing that ourselves.”

Next year, the three-term senator is facing reelection in deep-red South Dakota. According to the AP, Trump loyalists are huddling to challenge Thune in 2022, which could present a bitter battle for Thune since his candidacy has gone unchallenged in past elections.

The senator only rarely criticized Trump while he was in office, as the AP noted. However, he called the former commander-in-chief’s actions after the 2020 presidential election “inexcusable” and accused him of undermining the peaceful transfer of power.

The South Dakota Republican, according to the AP, also suggested that he would be taking steps to assist candidates who “don’t go off and talk about conspiracies and that sort of thing.”

Moreover, Thune lauded GOP Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), who was censured by the Wyoming Republican Party for voting to impeach Trump, for doing an “exceptional job on most issues” and said he was ready to jump into primary battles like the one she is sure to face.

“At the grassroots level, there’s a lot of people who want to see Trump-like candidates,” Thune told the AP. “But I think we’re going to be looking for candidates that are electable.”

Like Cheney, Republican Sens. Richard Burr (N.C.) and Bill Cassidy (La.), who voted to convict Trump, were censured by their states’ Republican parties. The Pennsylvania GOP, the AP reported Monday USA Today, is reportedly planning a meeting to discuss censuring outgoing Sen. Pat Toomey for his vote to convict the former president.

During the Senate impeachment trial, Thune and other Republicans argued that Trump could not be impeached because he was no longer in office. After his vote, according to the AP, Thune said that he was concerned with the idea of “punishing a private citizen with the sole intent of disqualifying him from holding future office.”

Nonetheless, Thune indicated last week, according to The Hill, that he was open to censuring Trump before the final impeachment vote was held.

“I know there are a couple of resolutions out there […] I’ve seen a couple of resolutions at least that I think could attract some support,” Thune said to reporters at the time.

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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