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    North Korea: Providing Chemical Weapons to Syria

    There are no evil countries. There are evil leaders. President Bush was right in 2001 when he described Iraq, Iran, and North Korea as the Axis of Evil. While there is a fractioned peace in Iraq thanks to the blood of thousands of Americans, Iran and North Korea continue rhetoric threatening our security and the security of our allies.

    According to the BBC, the United Nations announced that North Korea has been providing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad the materials for chemical weapons likely in exchange for money that can help fund North Korea’s nuclear weaponry program. Allegedly some of these trades have been sent through a Chinese trading firm.

    These are chemical weapons that are not only banned, but that Syria has used as an attack towards its own citizens—time and time again.

    North Korea relies on China for most of its imports. We must leverage our relationships with other countries working with North Korea that unless they stop supporting this rogue nation they will lose our support as well. With support from China, the US can sanction global banks that work with North Korea and inhibit its money supply.  But will China cooperate?

    The United States and other global leaders need to stop a failed foreign policy that pacifies and placates. It is time to devise practical solutions that will force North Korea to change what it is doing. Without serious consequences, the country will not bend.  And without China, the solutions are difficult.  Let’s hope China wakes up and starts acting like a responsible global power.

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    Thirteen Russians Indicted for Meddling with Election—Now it’s Time to Come Together

    Thirteen Russians were indicted for meddling with the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. Now that we have names and faces where we can place some blame, is it time to stop crying foul and stop the fighting between our parties?

    Wishful thinking.  We all know the infighting will not stop.  The rhetoric over supposed differences between the Adam Schiff (D-California) vs. Devin Nunes (R-California) memos and the purported revelations in a memo published by Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) add more fuel to the fire.  And it doesn’t advance bringing this all to an end when President Trump continues tweet attacks. (I’m sorry, but debates cannot be logically concluded with a 280 character limit.)

    No one denies that Russia has been trying to destabilize our political system by instigating fights among Americans over politics.  No one argues that their meddling has contributed to triggering an irrational political rift in our country.  Nor has it gone unnoticed that we have been giving the Russians exactly what they want by playing into their hands for far too long. Now that we know who has been meddling in the U.S. election, it is time to punish those who are accountable and move on to other issues.

    But will we?

    Not likely. Legal scholars seem to agree that none of the Russian defendants included in the latest indictments will ever enter an American courtroom to be questioned or tried.  So is this latest from Mueller helping find a resolution of the greater issues?  I doubt it.

    Why can’t we end this bickering and get to the point of protecting American voters – Democrats and Republicans alike – from foreign interference with our electoral process?

    Because its politics as usual.

    Will we ever end this unproductive and childish debate over an election that was won by Donald Trump and lost by Hilary Clinton, pure and simple?  Some liked that result; others hated it.  But the election is long over.  Let’s move on.

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    What Can We Do About Gun Control?

    In every instance of a mass shooting, the victims are innocent and are, all too often, children.  And every time a horrible tragedy like those we’ve seen occurs, one side of the political spectrum drums the beat for a ban on guns and limitations on Second Amendment rights while the other side shouts from the rafters that it’s not about guns, but a mental health problem.

    Those who would legislate a ban are convinced that such a solution will keep weapons out of the hands of people who will use guns to kill innocent citizens. They claim these murders are evidence that current laws requiring the registration and purchase of guns don’t work.  Yet statistics show that a greater number of shootings are the result of unregistered or illegal weapons than those that are registered.  And statistics further show that most murders are committed with hand guns.  If people want guns, they’ll get them with or without registration laws.  So merely outlawing guns is not the answer and an indefensible position.

    Likewise, ignoring the ready availability of AR-5s in the hands of teenagers, bump stocks, lax background check standards, poor reporting and coordinating among law enforcement authorities, and high capacity ammo clips is equally indefensible.

    Amid this polarizing debate we have now witnessed yet another mass murder in Florida with no meaningful action from Congress or the states.

    Shame on all of them.

    My advice to the President, Congress and States: In order to keep guns off the streets and out of the hands of criminals and psychopaths, the two sides must compromise – and that includes the NRA – and find ways to sensibly regulate what weapons can legally get into the hands of those who should never be allowed to own them, share intelligence, increase security, address the mental health issues, and encourage more social media interaction and surveillance.  And as far as I’m concerned, everything needs to be on the table.

    Find where you can agree, and at least enact laws on those issues.  Where you can’t agree, find compromise.

    Advance towards a solution rather than continue entrenching yourselves in partisan positions, while innocent children die.