Current Events

The Republican Party Appears To Be Heading Down A Dangerous, Dark Path

4-22-21
   Seems to me that the Republican Party is going down a seriously dangerous, dark path when you stop to consider what has been going on lately. Think about it. I’m not talking about tax rates or the like. No. I’m looking at the way too many members of the Republican Party are going along with disturbingly extremist influences that are terribly harmful to other people and undermining to our democratic values.
   We saw this trend pick up steam during the Trump Administration when Donald Trump and others in the Republican Party did things like attacking the free press, encouraging xenophobia, denying science, and viciously going after the election process itself. On multiple occasions, Trump seemed to go out of his way to avoid criticizing white supremacists and other extremist elements, which in turn emboldened them to come out of the woodwork and spread their vile, disgraceful intolerance, bigotry, and hate more than they had in many years.
   Trump’s unfounded, dangerous attacks on the 2020 election then exacerbated the boiling cauldron of intolerance, xenophobia, paranoia, and hate to the point where it exploded on January 6th when the entire world saw the angry mob of Trump supporters literally attack the United States Capitol Building. Even now with Trump out of office, he is still spreading despicable, dangerous lies about the election which is further encouraging these far-right extremists to the point where there is serious concern that they will conduct more domestic terror attacks upon our nation.
   Despite all of this, a large percentage of the Republican Party is continuing to go along with (and even blindly follow) Donald Trump’s twisted, self serving, dangerous, narcissistic whims and lies. They are frequently denying science so that many refuse to wear masks or get vaccinated against COVID (thus worsening and prolonging the pandemic). A scary percentage still question the validity of the 2020 election despite the overwhelming evidence that it was free and fair. This in turn has led to efforts by many Republicans in numerous states to try to pass laws which would make it more difficult for many people to vote, which is clear voter suppression.
   There are other disturbing trends emanating from the Republican Party. One is the way many Republicans continue to deny human-caused climate change and often promote the use of fossil fuels despite the fact that this worsens the climate change crisis the planet currently finds itself in. This is also very narrow-minded economically because the future is not in fossil fuels but in renewable energy instead. Another sickening trend is the way the Republican Party in many states is attacking the Transgender Community, particularly Transgender kids. These attacks are extremely harmful to innocent Transgender people and increase the likelihood that some may take their own lives.
   How long will this go on? How many lives are going to be lost and how much damage will our country have to endure before these dangerous trends by the Republican Party finally abate.
   Many Republicans see themselves as rugged individualists. But their behavior says otherwise. Instead, many have shown themselves to be blind followers who are unwilling to think for themselves, stand up for what is right, or speak out against what is clearly wrong.

Republicans Killing A Bipartisan January 6th Congressional Commission Undermines US Democracy

5-18-21
   Well, the Republicans did it. They killed any hope that a bipartisan Congressional Commission will investigate the January 6th assault on the United States Capitol Building.
   Think about that. What happened on January 6th has never happened before in American history. We’ve never had an angry mob of American citizens storm the Capitol Building like that with the intent of interfering with a legitimate national election. What occurred on that day was of major significance, and as such, a bipartisan Congressional Commission is not only recommended, frankly, it’s essential to make it clear to the entire world that US Democracy will continue to stand and thrive into the future.
   But instead, Republicans killed any hopes of a Commission.
   The fact that the Republicans did this is beyond disturbing and sickening. It’s dangerous. There are times when issues arise which are so vitally important that partisan politics should be put aside. Frankly, it should be a no-brainer that a bipartisan Commission is entirely in order here.  And the proposed Commission would have been based on the 9/11 Commission with an equal number of Republicans and Democrats on it and both sides having subpoena power. Democrats also agreed to the Republican demand that the Commission wrap up by the end of 2021 so that it didn’t push into midterm elections.
   What is going on?
   In my opinion, it’s a symptom of the dangerous path the Republican Party has been going down of late. Most Republicans are bowing to Donald Trump’s whims and demands no matter how outrageous or incorrect those demands may be. Some may be doing this because they’re true believers while others may be doing it out of fear, fear that Donald Trump will speak out against them so that they may lose their future reelections, and many Republicans are especially worried about the midterm elections. They appear to be putting party loyalty and a tendency to blindly follow an authoritarian wannabe, Donald Trump, over standing up for American Democracy and the United States Constitution.
   It’s obvious why Trump doesn’t want a January 6th Commission. Trump’s outrageous rhetoric and lies about the election clearly instigated the mob who then stormed the US Capitol Building. So Trump is afraid that he’s going to be made to look bad by a Commission, and there are other Republicans who fear that as well because they were parroting Donald Trump’s lies too.
   But it’s also extremely troubling the way there are Republicans such as Mitch McConnell who, while they may have laid the blame on Trump immediately after the January 6th events, have since changed their tune so that they no longer appear to hold Trump responsible to any significant degree. Many Republicans started downplaying the assault with one even referring to the mob as “tourists.” Tourists?! Are you kidding me?! They literally assaulted the United States Capitol Building on live TV. The entire world saw it happen! Those were not tourists.
   This is so dangerous to our democracy. We have a major political party, the Republicans, that is bowing to the disturbing will of one person, Donald Trump, despite the fact that that person has been spreading outrageous rhetoric and flat out lies. Instead of learning about what happened in a bipartisan way for the good of country, the majority of the Republican Party want to sweep the Jan 6th assault under the rug because of Trump’s outrageous demands and the Republicans’ desire to try to gain more power in the midterm elections. This further undermines American democracy.
   People need to open their eyes about what is going on these days because our democratic values are under threat. Remember the Republican Senators and Representatives who voted against the January 6th Commission and vote them out of office when they come up for reelection. Speak out against them. Make your voices heard.
   Demand democracy!
   Democracy is precious and should not be taken for granted. We must all stay vigilant to ensure our democratic values survive and thrive into the future.
  

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.