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Live on our screens, all politics is parallax

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It came in a torrent last week on our streaming platforms, our screens, and social media:  A PM ousted, a former PM assassinated, a presidential palace overrun by the people

SUMMIT COUNTY COLORADO — Last week, all these political events were parallax:

“The apparent displacement,” Miriam Webster states, “or the difference in apparent direction of an object as seen from two different points not on a straight line with the object.”

Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister, resigned under enormous pressure as dozens of his senior team, including the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Health Minister, resigned their posts.  They could not take it any more. 

BOJO RESIGNS AFTER SCANDALS ROCK DOWNING ST

They and a clear majority of their Conservative Party caucus could not abide by the lies and the prevarications, the twisting of words and denial of responsibility, hypocrisy on issues and personal conduct, the selfishness of the man at the pinnacle who could never reform himself, and therefore could never regain the confidence of the electorate. 

BORIS JOHNSON RESIGNS AS UK PM

Two impossible-to-lose by-election seats were lost last month, and the chairman of the party resigned too.  The PM was not taking responsibility, but the chairman did. Johnson narrowly survived a vote of confidence in his party room just five weeks ago – but not by a sufficient margin to keep his job, exactly as we saw with Theresa May and Margaret Thatcher in their time in power.

In Washington, the political class had a parallax view.

A president lied and continues to lie about the 2020 election; is at the centre of an historic insurrection against the Capitol in an effort to overturn the election. And yet the Republican Party does not turn on Donald Trump.

DONALD TRUMP

The Republican leaders in the House swear allegiance to him as they prepare to take control of their chamber next year. Most Senate Republicans support Trump’s policies, from guns to abortion.  The Republicans see the hearings of the January 6 Select Committee on the insurrection, and hear the testimony that Trump wanted to join the mob that attacked the Capitol, that Trump was indifferent to whether the mob would hang Vice President Mike Pence, that Trump acts like a child and bully at mealtime in the White House dining room.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell

But when Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and former Attorney General Bill Barr are asked, after all the terrifying tumult of January 2021, after they speak the truth of what Trump did and that they opposed it, if he is the nominee in 2024, will they vote for him?  Yes, they say, they will.

Parallax:  A PM is forced out by his party.  A disgraced former president, who would never accept being deposed by his party, is lionised by his party as he prepares to run for office again

SUSPECT ARRESTED OVER ABE ASSASSINATION

Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated by a gunman in the city of Nara.  Shock is an understatement.  Japan effectively bans guns.  There are only a handful of gun deaths each year. The killing of Abe rocked the country.  But as American journalists reported on this, the jarring chasm  between Japan and the United States is an open wound.  As Judy Woodruff for the PBS NewsHour observed:  

“With the assassination today of the former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a country where there’s so few, I mean, almost vanishingly few instances of gun violence, and then the contrast to our country, where I looked it up again, over 300 mass shootings already this year in the United States, and then punctuated by the July 4 massacre of seven people and many more wounded in the Chicago suburb, we’re — it reminds us where we are as a country, doesn’t it?

ABE DEATH SHOCKS NATION

Yes, a country with 400 million guns and a population of 330 million people. A country that could never consider a gun buyback program as occurred in Australia after the Port Arthur massacre.  A country where 60% of Americans want to ban assault weapons.  A country where none of this will occur – because the political system, on this issue and on abortion rights, does not permit the will of the people to be expressed, and the political system’s leaders are too weak to fix the system.

Parallax:  Shock and renewed unity in Japan; shock and resignation in America to the knowledge that more massacres will occur, and soon.

TRIBUTE FOR JULY 4TH MASS SHOOTING, USA

In Sri Lanka, the good people of that country have had enough of the corruption from the top, of the collapse of the economy, of the desperate daily search for food and fuel, of the hopelessness that has crushed the country’s spirit, of the bankruptcy of the political class and its leaders.  Over the weekend, the presidential palace was overrun, and the prime minister and president could not restore order. The president pledges to resign, but we will see.  Ultimately, the crowds will retire from the palace, with democracy and anti-corruption the goals. But rebuilding Sri Lanka will be an almost-unbearable burden. 

SRI LANKA

Where did we last see images like this on our screens?  On January 6 last year, when a mob of people overran the Capitol.  If the president had had his way that day, he would not have ended his term in office, but stayed permanently in office.

JAN 6 RIOTS

Parallax: In Colombo, a cry of rage to restore Sri Lanka.  In Washington, a cry of rage to destroy America.

Stay tuned.  More parallax is coming soon to a screen near you.

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?

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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

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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?

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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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