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Grinch 3, Biden 0 – U.S is very far from normal | ticker VIEWS



It was not a good week for the home team in the White House

The plan was to win Senate approval of President Biden’s sweeping social program and climate change package and use the political capital that comes with victory to pivot to a heroic fight to change the Senate rules to enable voting rights legislation to become law in time for the 2022 elections.

But it was not to be…

Sen. Joe Manchin refused to give his endorsement to Biden’s program by the time the Senate adjourned for the year. On Sunday morning on Fox News, Manchin said he was now opposed to the bill altogether: 

“I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I’ve tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there. This is a no.”

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin

And in a statement after being on TV, Manchin added insult to injury:

“My Democratic colleagues in Washington are determined to dramatically reshape our society in a way that leaves our country even more vulnerable to the threats we face. I cannot take that risk with a staggering debt of more than $29 trillion and inflation taxes that are real and harmful.” 

The White house reaction in a statement by Jen Psaki was exceptionally blunt:

“If his comments on FOX and written statement indicate an end to that effort, they represent a sudden and inexplicable reversal in his position, and a breach of his commitments to the President and the Senator’s colleagues in the House and Senate.”

The bill cannot pass without Manchin’s 50th vote.  And if this bill cannot pass, no further Biden bills of consequence are likely to pass in the remainder of this Congress.

Without the votes of Manchin and Sen Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona to change the rules and prevent a filibuster of historic voting rights, that bill could not pass either.  And this was after Biden addressed students at a Black college in South Carolina, the state where Black voters cemented his win of the Democratic nomination to become president:

“We must pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.  We must. We’re going to keep up the fight until we get it done.  And you’re going to keep up the fight.  And we need your help badly.”

Biden is lagging in the polls in part because Black voters, who overwhelmingly supported Biden in 2020, see no progress on racial justice issues

Biden’s words did not change any votes in the Senate.  And the Senate has adjourned for the year.

At the same time, the new Covid variant started sweeping across the country, disrupting the holiday season. 

Cases are spiking alarmingly, with over 120,000 per day, and deaths at 1,200 per day – just as the US marked 800,000 dead from this pandemic.  That toll is expected to reach 1 million by Easter.

The score this Christmas week: Grinch 3. Biden 0.

With the pandemic raging, lives and hopes are disrupted. Covid is people and people are the economy.

Households in this economy are immensely burdened with the spikes in inflation. At 6.8%, the highest in 39 years, with beef up 20%, fish and eggs, 8%, petrol 58%.

Biden came into office signaling that the pandemic can be managed, and the economy will recover and we will have normal.

The US is very far from normal. And this is why it is really hurting the president, in his overall standing, in his approval rating and in the strong sentiment among voters that the country is moving in the wrong direction.


Especially in these days leading up to Christmas and the New Year, Biden urgently needs a reset.  He and his advisors now recognize this, with the White House announcing over the weekend that Biden will address the nation Tuesday night.

This is what it needs to accomplish in that speech:

  • On the virus.  What to do.  What not to do.  What the situation really is.  How we will handle it.  How we will get through the holidays and January.  How those who are not vaccinated are at mortal risk.  How he has done everything he can.  How everyone has it in their hands whether they will stay healthy or get sick and possibly die. This is not about mandates.  It’s about the choices the American make and live or die with.
  • Biden needs also to update country on his Build Back Better program and why he is optimistic he  can still get it. The genius of the initiative is to lower cost for what most American households need for childcare, education, care for seniors, health care. Biden has to tell everyone what they will get.  He has to tell them why this is not done yet.  And tell them he will not stop working on it.
  • And Biden must outline the strategy and tactics to change the Senate and win voting rights- or die trying. Why this is so crucial to all Americans and why this is so crucial to America’s democracy.  And demand that the Senate enable this legislation to pass. And demand that they take votes to change the rules. And demand they take votes on this even if the first votes fail – to let everyone know where each Senator stands. (That’s how civil rights bills were passed in the Senate in the ’60s: The southern Senators won early test votes on the civil rights bills, but over time, popular sentiment shifted, and the filibusters were ended by cloture votes and the bills were passed.)

On Tuesday Biden needs to make where he is right now the bottom of his term- and start going up from here. 

Biden needs a speech that turns the tide and makes things happen.

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.

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How close to a full scale nuclear war are we really?



Since President Vladimir Putin’s latest warning that he is ready to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia, the question of whether or not the former KGB spy is bluffing has become much more urgent.

There are several reasons why Putin’s nuclear warnings have the West worried. First, Russia has been increasingly aggressive in its actions in recent years, from annexing Crimea to intervening in Syria. This has led to a feeling that Putin is becoming more and more reckless and unpredictable.

Second, Russia has been beefing up its nuclear arsenal, with reports indicating that it now has more nuclear warheads than any other country in the world. This increase in firepower makes Putin’s threats all the more credible.

Last but not least, there is the fact that Putin is a former KGB agent. This means that he is no stranger to playing games of brinkmanship and bluffing. In the past, he has used nuclear threats as a way to get what he wants. For example, in 2008, he threatened to aim nuclear missiles at European cities unless the United States agreed to drop plans for a missile defense system in Eastern Europe.

The West is worried

Given all of this, it’s no wonder that Putin’s latest nuclear threats have the West worried. Only Putin knows if he is actually bluffing, but given his track record, it’s certainly a possibility.

If a nuclear weapon were used in Ukraine, it would cause a massive humanitarian crisis. Tens of thousands of people would be killed or wounded, and millions more would be displaced. The economic and social damage would be enormous, and Europe would be plunged into chaos.

In addition, the use of nuclear weapons would also have devastating consequences for the rest of the world. The nuclear non-proliferation regime would be dealt a serious blow, and there would be a renewed risk of nuclear war.

The world would become a much more dangerous place.

Nuclear impact

A nuclear explosion in Ukraine would have a regional impact, but it could also have global consequences. The use of nuclear weapons would violate the nuclear non-proliferation regime, and this could lead to other countries acquiring nuclear weapons. In addition, the risk of nuclear war would increase, and this would have a negative impact on the entire world.

The UN has condemned Russia’s threats of nuclear war, and it has called on all parties to refrain from any actions that could lead to the use of nuclear weapons. The UN Secretary-General has said that there can be no military solution to the crisis in Ukraine, and he has urged all sides to return to the negotiating table.

Russia has several allies in its war against Ukraine. These include Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. Russia also has the support of China and Iran.

The war in Ukraine has had a significant impact on energy prices.

Due to the conflict, there has been a disruption in the supply of natural gas and oil from Ukraine. This has led to an increase in prices for these commodities.

The West can only threaten Putin further, as they’ve done all year, since President Biden warned that Russia was about to invade Ukraine.

Every step of the way, Putin has done exactly what the West has feared.

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“These are the guys?” Putin’s Dad’s army



Vladimir Putin’s army is in a bit of a pickle. They’ve been drafting retirees, and telling conscripts to use tampons for bullet wounds.

This isn’t exactly the most impressive fighting force we’ve ever seen. In fact, they look more like dad’s army than anything else.

It’s clear that Putin is desperate to beef up his forces, but it seems like he’s just throwing bodies at the problem instead of actually preparing them for battle.

Pictures from Sevastopol in Crimea show groups of men — many well into their 50s and 60s gripping weapons and wearing uniforms.

Several appear in questionable fighting shape.

This could be a big problem for Russia if they actually get into a serious conflict. We hope for their sake that they never have to find out.

Thousands of Russian men are fleeing the country to avoid conscription. This just goes to show how unpopular Putin’s policies are, even among his own people.

The Kremlin is now trying to catch thousands of Russian men as they try and leave the country. But it’s not going to be easy.

Many of these men are willing to risk everything to avoid being drafted into Putin’s army.

It’s estimated that up to 100,000 Russian soldiers have died in Ukraine since the conflict began.

This is a huge loss of life for Russia, and it’s all thanks to Putin’s reckless policies.

Many of these soldiers were just boys, barely out of their teens. They had their whole lives ahead of them, but they’ll never get to experience it now.

It’s tragic, and it’s all thanks to Putin. He needs to be stopped.

At the same time, a video shared on social media shows a Russian officer telling new recruits what to expect.

“I say right away if you are near the fire, you are f***ed,” she says, before reeling off a list of items they will need to acquire themselves before entering the war zone.

“Take sleeping bags with you, you will sleep where you have to.”

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IRAN PROTESTS | Are countries using religion as an excuse to violate basic human rights?



Iran protests are engulfing the country as thousands take to the streets in a revolution against oppression

IRAN PROTESTS – The story of Iran is one of a country that has been through a lot in recent history.

An uprising of both men and women has engulfed Iran, following the death of Mahsa Amini. Women are cutting their hair and burning their hijabs, demanding some form of change to the strict rules that impact their ultimate freedom.

From the Iranian Revolution in 1979 to the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, the nation’s residents have witnessed their fair share of turmoil.

Many insist that religion, like Islam, is being used as a reason to violate basic human rights in Iran.

“It’s a totalitarian regime… Islam is being used to deny freedom of speech, freedom of education, freedom of movement.”

Mariam Memarsadeghi
Cyrus Forum and Senior Fellow at Macdonald-Laurier Institute

There is a feeling of discontent among the Iranian people. The economy is struggling, and many young Iranians feel they have no future.

They are fed up with the corruption of the government and the lack of opportunity.

Mahsa Amini’s brutal death

On top of this is the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman.

Amini was arrested by the so-called morality police for “improperly” wearing her mandatory hijab.

Reports suggest she was beaten so severely that she went into a coma.

Mahsa Amini protests in Iran

Three days later, she died, and many suspect it was a direct result of this police brutality.

Amini’s death has fuelled further anger and extreme protest, with widespread condemnation from Iranians, denouncing her death and the regime that caused it.

“There were 10-11 blows to her head… She was beaten while still in the van…When her body was delivered to the family they saw bruises to her neck and head.”

Mariam Memarsadeghi
Cyrus Forum and Senior Fellow at Macdonald-Laurier Institute

The incident has brought attention to the plight of many Iranians who feel they are living under an oppressive regime.

While it is difficult to predict what will happen next in Iran, many hope the death of Amani will not be in vain.

Many pray the protests will lead to real action and a country where women are treated as equals. They want a country where there is opportunity for all.

Women in Iran and around the world are now lifting the veil on Iran’s corruption and human rights violations.

In 2022, many are angry that men are controlling what women do with their bodies and what they wear.

However, the Founder and Director of Cyrus Forum and Senior Fellow at Macdonald-Laurier Institute Mariam Memarsadeghi explained its women who are enforcing the strict rules too.

“It’s actually women also who are policing other women to wear hijab… It’s a very Handmaids Tale situation.”

Mariam Memarsadeghi
Cyrus Forum and Senior Fellow at Macdonald-Laurier Institute

Will this drive change?

In Iran, many young Iranians are showing the world they don’t want this system any more, that they want democracy.

They’re cutting their hair and burning their hijabs, they’re putting their own safety on the line to take a stand against the regime that has silenced them for so long.

This generation is very different, but it doesn’t guarantee that this uprising will fuel any real change.

However, Memarsadeghi said “there is no way back from here.”

“It’s very dangerous, there is a tremendous amount of respect for the men and women on the streets because each and every single one of them risks being beaten, killed, tortured, maybe even executed.”

Mariam Memarsadeghi
Cyrus Forum and Senior Fellow at Macdonald-Laurier Institute

How can organisations and world leaders help?

Iran is in the midst of a political upheaval and the world is watching.

Scenes of protest and violence are being shared far and wide on social media. The world has a front-row seat to the unfolding crisis.

However, the Iranian Government has responded by imposing a sweeping internet ban, cutting off the protesters from the outside world.

This only adds to the urgency of the situation, as Iran’s people are now risking their lives to speak out against their oppression.

World leaders and democracy advocacy groups are already discussing ways to help the people of Iran and hold their violations to account.

“The solidarity and attention from celebrities, athletes and world leaders has been extremely helpful… The future of freedom is what these men and women in Iran are doing.”

Mariam Memarsadeghi
Cyrus Forum and Senior Fellow at Macdonald-Laurier Institute

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