Connect with us

Ticker Views

“Do something” on guns? It comes down to one political equation in Washington

Published

on

Over 100 people are killed in America by gunfire every day.  Half are suicides.  Half are violent acts with guns as the weapon of choice.  There are more guns in the country than America’s 330 million citizens and residents

Bruce Wolpe on ticker NEWS

The United States has not followed Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Canada, the UK and other countries who have moved aggressively to curb gun ownership in the wake of gun massacres in their countries.

More weekends will be filled as this one has been with the President and Vice President visiting scenes of tragedy in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York.  

There is no end to the horror, the agony, the anger, the losses and the mourning.

Consider the words of two presidents.  Biden from the White House last week:

“As a nation, we have to ask: When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?  When in God’s name will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done? …Why are we willing to live with this carnage?  Why do we keep letting this happen?  Where in God’s name is our backbone to have the courage to deal with it and stand up to the lobbies? 

It’s time to turn this pain into action. For every parent, for every citizen in this country, we have to make it clear to every elected official in this country: It’s time to act. It’s time — for those who obstruct or delay or block the commonsense gun laws, we need to let you know that we will not forget.”

And Trump who spoke at the National Rifle Association convention in Houston:

“Sadly, before the sun had even set on the horrible day of tragedy, we witnessed a now familiar parade of cynical politicians seeking to exploit the tears of sobbing families to increase their own power and take away our constitutional rights …In 2022, we are going to vote for tough on crime, pro-Second Amendment candidates in record numbers.

Get out and vote — make sure the voting is honest, by the way.  Together we’re going to take back the House, we’re going to take back the Senate. And in 2024, we are going to take back that great and beautiful White House that we love and cherish so much.” 

The late Charlton Heston, the former actor and head of the National Rifle Association, addresses gun owners during a “get-out-the-vote” rally in New Hampshire in October 2002.

These are impossible chasms to bridge. 

But some Senators are trying to get something accomplished.  The bills seen as most compelling at this moment, when openness to “do something” is more serious with these tragedies still so raw, are to improve the system of background checks on purchasers of guns, and to have “red flag” systems that can remove guns from the hands of those who are under mental stress. 

More attention is also being given to the argument to raise the age of purchasing a gun from 18 to 21.  Florida passed such a law after the Parkland school massacre in 2018.

All these measures are popular with the American people by margins of 70-90% support.

But the gun lobby is not going to give a pass on any legislation.

And it will take 60 votes in the Senate to pass a bill – and that means 10 of the 50 Republicans in the Senate will have to vote” yes” for gun legislation.  

For decades, the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, has prevented that from happening.

But Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, the leading lawmaker on gun control in Congress, believes there is a chance for progress this time.  He said over the weekend:

“I am at the table in a more significant way right now with Republicans and Democrats than ever before—certainly many more Republicans are willing to talk right now than were willing to talk after Sandy Hook.” 

Everywhere President Biden and members of Congress go, the shouts from the crowds are: “Do something!” 

In Washington, this moral cause is governed by a raw political equation that has but one calculation: 

Will Senators Chris Murphy and Mitch McConnell agree on a gun control bill and urge Senators support it? Without that, all the words, all the tears, all the memorial services will have failed to get Congress to “do something”—and finally act.

Bruce Wolpe is a Ticker News US political contributor. He’s a Senior Fellow at the US Studies Centre and has worked with Democrats in Congress during President Barack Obama's first term, and on the staff of Prime Minister Julia Gillard. He has also served as the former PM's chief of staff.

Continue Reading

Ticker Views

Trump’s campaign debut was panned – but don’t underestimate his chances

Published

on

Last weekend, Donald Trump held two events in New Hampshire and South Carolina, his first official forays onto the 2024 presidential battlefield. 

The experts panned it.  

“Former President Trump’s first campaign swing of the 2024 campaign generated little of the excitement that has long defined his glitzy political rallies…The widespread sentiment among Republicans there is that Trump served the country well, but he’s unelectable in 2024.”  

Axios, the super-sophisticated DC political newsletter

“As he hit the trail for the first time since launching a third bid for the White House in November, signs of Trump’s newfound vulnerabilities came into focus. The trip effectively ushered in the start of the 2024 Republican presidential primary campaign season, with Trump fighting to keep his place at the top of a potentially crowded field.” 

The Washington Post

“He remains the clear front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, yet the solidity of his support seems increasingly in doubt.  Longtime donors have been reluctant to recommit. Leaders in the Republican National Committee are openly encouraging other candidates to run. Voters rejected the handpicked candidates he vowed would win Republicans control of the Senate, but whose losses instead left the chamber in Democratic hands.”

The New York Times

A lot of the political class is talking about Trump in the past tense, and not the future, briefing out to the media that his rambling, Fidel Castro-like  monologues bore his audiences silly, that his obsessions and battles with his political enemies do not have the reach they did in 2016 and during  his term in office, that he is immersing himself more deeply in extremist QAnon cult waters, that he faces indictments and trials that will derail his campaign and might even put him in jail.

Trump 2020

And more: that Trump wallows in the “stolen” 2020 election, knowing that there was no way he could have lost since he got 12 million more votes than in 2016.  Trump never concedes.  Six years later, he does not acknowledge that Hillary Clinton got almost 3 million more votes than Trump in 2016 – and that he won only because she lost in the Electoral College.

The telling critique – the one driving Republicans in private to say that Trump is done (or should be done, or will be done) is that Trump is a loser. 

That Trump lost Republican control of the House of Representatives in 2018, bringing back Nancy Pelosi who secured not one, but two impeachments of the president; that he lost the White House in 2020; that he lost control of the Senate in January 2021 when Democrats swept both Georgia Senate seats, giving them control of that chamber; and that Trump-backed candidates in Pennsylvania, Georgia, New Hampshire, and Arizona again cost Republicans control of the Senate in the 2022 midterms.   As Vince Lombardi, legendary gridiron coach of Green Bay and Washington, said, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” Lombardi would say Trump was a loser.

Trump is having none of it, and his iron resolve was on full display for those listening more closely when he gave his orations last weekend.

“Maybe he’s lost his step,” Trump said in evoking the musings of some Republicans. But, “I’m more angry now, and I’m more committed than I ever was.”

Former U.S. President Donald Trump points as he announces that he will once again run for U.S. president in the 2024 U.S. presidential election during an event at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S. November 15, 2022. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The anger is palpable.  The Trump 2023 brand joins his anger with the hottest culture war buttons he can press. Immigration, the open wound that is the southern border, the wall he will finish, the rapists and criminals who are flooding in and that he will keep out tomorrow.  Immigration is his lead-off weapon.

Then promises of energy independence and oil forever.  Utter hostility to electric vehicles and wind energy – especially if the windmills are offshore.  No transgender women in sports.  No way they are tolerated.  A purge of woke content from school curricula, schoolbooks, school libraries, and school boards.  Parents empowered to fire the principal of the schools their children attend; Trump says the parents can vote them out of their jobs.

Trump never goes far into the culture wars without conjuring up Hunter Biden, the president’s son. 

Hunter Biden with Joe Biden

Trump cannot get enough of Hunter’s laptop and the criminality of the Bidens, their business dealings and their money.  We can barely follow all the Trump twists and turns in this tale, but there is no mistake that Trump wants Hunter nailed and his father to bear the consequences.

Reprising his role as Commander-in-Chief, Trump said, in case we have not been paying attention, that we are on the brink on World War III. That Ukraine would not have happened if he had been president. That we could have a peace deal “in 24 hours.” Trump wants to call Putin and knows Putin will be waiting for that call.

Trump’s great loyalist, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, was on the podium with Trump and put it this way after the event. “How many times have you heard we like Trump’s policies but we want somebody new? There are no Trump policies without Donald Trump.”

That’s the message Trump delivered to his base last weekend.  And that’s how Trump intends to win.

Buried in Trump’s massive monologue was the core of what could be a winning message.   “My mission is to secure a middle-class lifestyle for everyone.  I did it before and I will do it again.  And we will be respected in the world once again.”

Three powerful sentences which, coupled with the red meat of his anger and rage, mean that Trump is very much alive and kicking.

Continue Reading

Ticker Views

Leading athletes and medical experts push for medicinal cannabis in sport

Published

on

Leading lawmakers, medical experts and athletes are pushing for therapeutic use of medicinal cannabis for chronic pain and injury

Basketball star Brittney Griner is one of the leading players of her generation. She jumped into the spotlight for serving a sentence for possession of cannabis oil in Russia.

It begs the question whether medicinal cannabis and athletes are a good mix. Well, many lawmakers, health experts and athletes around the world want to break down the stigmas associated with its use.

Many want to use Griner’s ordeal as motivation to change cannabis laws and therapeutic use exemptions in sports.

Mark Brayshaw, Managing Director of Levin Health has spoken closely with Dr. Peter Brukner who is a world-renowned Australian sports medicine clinician and researcher.

Dr. Peter Brukner

Brukner believes athletes should be able to compete in their field with medicinal cannabis because it doesn’t enhance their performance.

“Medicinal cannabis is arguably performance diminishing rather than performance enhancing…

It’s likely to be taken off the ban list in the near future.”

Mark Brayshaw, Managing Director of Levin Health

“I don’t see there are any risks at all.”

Mark Brayshaw, Managing Director of Levin Health

Brayshaw believes there are higher risks for athletes becoming addicted to anti-inflammatory and opioids. As opposed to any risks associated with taking medicinal cannabis.

He explains it enables athletes to function in a healthy way, pain free.

Overall, there is hope Griner’s case will break down stigma surrounding natural medicines and athletes.

In Australia, there are tens of thousands of new applications for medicinal cannabis every month.

“We’re seeing a significant stigma reduction… There are 30,000 new applications every month [in Australia] for medicinal cannabis...

In the right hands, and through a GP it can be a very safe alternative to opioids and anti-inflammatories in the treatment of chronic pain.”

Mark Brayshaw, Managing Director of Levin Health

There are also growing calls for countries to adopt therapeutic use exemptions in sport, including in the Australian Football League.

“We’ve got Alistair Clarkson and Damien Hardwick on our board, they’ve taken a keen interest… Yes, it’s on the rise.”

Mark Brayshaw, Managing Director of Levin Health

Continue Reading

Ticker Views

Why is China’s changing its strategy to handling the pandemic?

Published

on

Changes to China’s COVID policies are coming thick and fast, much faster than many people anticipated given how strict the country has been in the last few years, the latest big announcement is around an app that people had to install on their phone

Then it tracked them when they travelled across the country, alerting them if they’ve been to a high risk COVID area, the government says that that app is now deactivated and people no longer have to have it installed on their phones.

It’s yet another indication of the change in China’s strategy to handling the pandemic.

We’ve seen changes related to quarantine, and also testing as well. And a real change in narrative from the authorities when talking about the virus and how dangerous it is. Now officially case numbers are dropping.

But that is largely due to the fact that much less testing is taking place, and we are seeing signs that in reality cases are surging.

There’s queues of people outside of pharmacies, queuing to get medication for colds and for fevers, and also self testing kits as well.

On social media, many people in China now saying that they have caught COVID For the first time, or that they know a number of people who have COVID When previously they didn’t know anyone at all.

So it’s clear that cases are rising, and this is coming just the month before the Chinese New Year holidays, which will take place at the end of January, traditionally a time when millions of people will travel across the country.

We would expect that to happen this year, as travel within China is now much easier.

So we would expect COVID cases to spread across the country talking to travel and is yet no sign of when the borders will open internationally.

Still very, very hard to get into China and very strict. When people do enter and the procedures they have to follow.

Maybe the government will wait and see how the first phase of reopening goes domestically, before thinking internationally?

Continue Reading
Live Watch Ticker News Live
Advertisement

Trending Now

Copyright © 2022 The Ticker Company PTY LTD