Current Events

The Border Between North And South Korea Is One Of The Most Tense And Heavily Fortified In The World

12-26-20
   On May 3rd of this year (2020), North Korean soldiers fired across the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) towards a guard post on the southern side. South Korea says its soldiers then issued a warning broadcast and fired two shots back in return. No one on the southern side was injured.
   Did you know that the Korean DMZ is probably the most heavily fortified border in the world?
   It is.
   The Demilitarized Zone was established in 1953 when the Korean War came to end and runs across the Korean peninsula separating the Communist North from the Democratic South. It’s approximately 150 miles long and 2.5 miles wide running along the 38th parallel. An estimated 2 million mines are dispersed in or near the DMZ which is in addition to all the guard posts, fences, barbed wire, tank traps, artillery, combat vehicles, and hundreds of thousands of troops that line the entire border area.
   And guess what? This isn’t the first incident to occur there. Oh no. There have been scattered clashes occurring between the two sides since the end of the war which have included helicopters being shot down when they accidentally strayed across the border, engagements on water, and guard posts having firefights against each other.
   Panmunjom is a village that straddles the border itself. Here, North Korean and South Korean soldiers stare at each other day in and day out, sometimes with just feet separating them. There are 5 one story buildings, 3 of which are painted United Nations blue, that stand directly on the border line so that half is in the South and half is in the North. These buildings are where delegates can sit down at a table (that is also bisected by the border) for talks. When South Korean soldiers open the door to the North, they do so in pairs. One opens the door while the second holds on to him. They do this because there is genuine fear that North Koreans might try to grab and abduct the first soldier. That is how tense things are.
   Considering how dictatorial and ruthless the North Korean regime is, it doesn’t look like there will be any significant easing of tensions at the Korean DMZ anytime soon.

Trump’s Actions During This Lame Duck Period Are Endangering American Democracy

11-17-20
   Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the presidential election. That is very clear, yet Donald Trump has thus far refused to concede and is making baseless, destructive accusations of fraud. In addition to that, Trump is refusing to allow the Biden transition team the access it needs to prepare for the peaceful, safe transfer of power from the old administration to the new.
   All states are reporting that no significant irregularities occurred this election. International observers monitored the election as well and are also reporting that no widespread irregularities happened. As a matter of fact, an international observer report has criticized Trump for making baseless claims against the election.
   The United States is deeply divided to a scary, unhealthy degree with people, organizations, and political parties not trusting each other and often even hating one another. It’s hurting our nation. Donald Trump has exacerbated these divisions throughout his time in politics and the presidency.
   It’s no surprise that Trump is making unfounded claims of fraud despite having no evidence for it. He has been sending clear signals for months that he would act like this if he lost. Thing is, Trump’s childish behavior making baseless attacks upon the election is hurting our democracy. Even when Trump is clearly lying, millions of Americans still choose to believe him. This means that even though there is overwhelming evidence that the election was fair, millions of Americans think the contrary.
   This is dangerous and is really hurting our nation.
   Elections and the peaceful transfer of power is part of the very foundation of the United States. It’s a major factor in making this nation great. But Donald Trump (along with the millions of Americans going along with his dangerous behavior) is undermining the entire process with false claims of fraud and in doing this is undermining the United States itself.
   By impeding the transition process as he is currently doing, Trump is endangering this country’s national security as well as increasing the likelihood that more innocent people will needlessly die from COVID. Biden should be receiving intelligence briefings like Trump does, but Trump is blocking this from happening. Biden officials should be coordinating with Trump officials in the various government departments (such as the State Dept, Intelligence, Defense, Health, and so on) to ensure a smooth transition so that things don’t get screwed up and fall through the cracks. Again, Trump is blocking this. The production and distribution of new COVID vaccines is a monumental, complex operation that will go well beyond the date of the inauguration. Biden’s COVID officials need to be coordinating with Trump’s to avoid confusion and delays that would cost lives. But Trump is preventing this from occurring as well.
   People need to open their minds.
   Joe Biden won in a free, fair election, and Donald Trump lost. Time for people to accept this and move forward.
   To be blunt, stop blindly following Donald Trump! Don’t blindly follow anyone. Look at the facts using varied, reliable, independent sources for information. Don’t use sites that just tell you what you want to hear.
   There is no evidence of widespread irregularities. None.
   Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the election fairly.
   Time for people to accept that and move forward. Demand that the transition process proceed. Put pressure on Republican officials to demand this as well.
   And for goodness sakes, quit blindly following Donald Trump’s outrageous, dangerous lies and rhetoric.  Don’t contribute to undermining democracy, people’s health, and the security of this nation because that is what Trump’s actions are doing right now.
   Stand up for truth, honesty, democracy, helping one another, and trying to do the right thing.
   We need to start working together so that we can begin healing this nation and get through this pandemic.

11-14-20
   Cold weather is arriving in the Northern Hemisphere, and with it is a rising tide of COVID cases, especially in the United States. To anyone paying attention to what has been going on, this should come as no surprise.
   Other viruses such as the common cold and flu often seem worse in terms of numbers during colder weather as compared to warmer weather. There are a variety of possible causes for this phenomenon that we won’t delve into here.
   Now, consider how the United States as a whole has done a terrible job in trying to deal with the COVID pandemic. The Trump Administration has grossly mishandled the crisis with confusion, incompetence, false information, and a lack of coordination coming from the White House. States have in many ways been left to their own devices in battling the pandemic far more than they should have been. Their tactics have varied with some being more effective than others. The result has been a kind of ad hoc, patchwork approach instead of a coordinated national strategy. On top of this is the fact many Americans (including Donald Trump) are not taking this pandemic seriously and frequently disregard social distancing and mask wearing guidelines.
   As a result of this confused quagmire of a response, it is no surprise that we are now seeing record numbers of cases throughout the country, and tragically, it will get worse. Many more people are going to die.
   Since Trump is president until Biden’s inauguration on January 20th, we cannot expect much, or any, new help from the federal government for the next couple of months. It will primarily be up to local and state governments to do what they can in addition to every day people.
   Each and every one of us has a responsibility to do our part in combating COVID.
   Practice social distancing and mask wearing whenever you are in public. Educate yourself in what you need to do in fighting the pandemic. Avoid big crowds, especially when indoors. Don’t have big holiday gatherings with people coming from all around because doing so would spread the virus.
   Remember since people can carry the virus without even knowing it, this is more than keeping yourself safe. It’s about keeping everyone you come in contact with safe as well.
   By working together, we can get through this.
   It’s up to all of us!

Gun violence pervades American society. We need better gun control legislation to curb the suffering that is all too common these days. Check out this article from NPR: https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2019/08/05/743579605/how-the-u-s-compares-to-other-countries-in-deaths-from-gun-violence