GUEST WORDS--This weekend's Pride Parade in Seoul drew a record number of revelers chanting "LGBT is love!" as they marched through the rain under rainbow color umbrellas from Seoul Plaza to the Bank of Korea. 

Hosted this year under the slogan, “There is no later - now is the time for change,” the celebration is part of a Korea Queer Culture Festival that has grown from about 50 people in 2000 to last year's roughly 50,000. This year, organizers estimated the crowd at 85,000; disapproving police said attendance was about 9,000. 

While homosexuality is not a crime in South Korea, LGBT people remain largely scorned and isolated. This year's event included, along with the usual booths, the presence of many foreign ambassadors and diplomats, who hoisted a banner reading “Diplomats for Equality.”   

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GUEST COLUMN--When a leader takes pains to stand distinctly apart from and even contrary to virtually every other leader in the pack, what does that deliberate sort of disjunction from the mainstream suggest? Some might say it speaks to the lone leader’s profound vision and courage. Others might point to such behavior and call it out as a flight from reality or descent into isolation. 

The recent G20 meeting in Germany in which the U.S. president took pains to step apart from his 19 other counterpart heads of state brings these questions to mind. 

Going it alone can have an upside. It provides a certain freedom of movement. When you represent the biggest economic and military power on the planet, it guarantees you the spotlight. But does it actually stand for what your people want and believe? What does it signal to  the constituency back in the home country, most of whom have counted on presidents in their lifetimes to represent security and stability?

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GUEST COLUMN--Organizers of the Women’s March have announced a July 14 protest in Fairfax, Virginia against an NRA so emboldened by the accursed times they've now followed up their recent, incendiary, let's-shoot-all-them-liberals ad with yet another stunningly bellicose screed.  

In the sinister new video, titled “We Don’t Apologize for Telling the Truth,” right-wing talk-show and NRATV host Grant Stinchfield begins with a snarling response to progressives objecting to the first ad: “You call it dangerous and demand it to be taken down? I’m here to tell you not a chance,” he sneers menacingly. 

"Those of you on the violent left who claim we believe there’s an ‘us’ and ‘them’ in this country, you’re absolutely right. There are those of us who believe in freedom then there are those of you who actively burn down our country because you can’t get over the fact that your so-called progressive didn’t win the election. Get over it and grow up." 

Going further, Stinchfield calls out specific protest actions by the left and their supporters. "I'm talking to you Tamika Mallory” - a Women's March organizer who wrote an open letter charging the first ad posed a threat to women and people of color "exercising our Constitutional right to protest" - and to "professional rioter" DeRay McKesson,” a Black Lives Matter leader who deemed the earlier ad "barely a whisper shy of a call for full civil war." 

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INDEPENDENCE DAY—July 4, 1776 … Congress approved the final draft of the Declaration of Independence … a capper to the uprising. For those of you swelling the ‘resistance’ of 2017, not a bad model where engagement, dedication to cause, passion are concerned. That was some kind of Revolution! 

Wishing you a happy … and meaningful … Independence Day.

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GUEST COLUMN-Sorry, but another egregious failure by the Flailing Trumpettes. 

Facing an upcoming vote on their crappy let-poor-people-die-to-get-tax-cuts bill and eager to ram it through Congress despite widespread condemnation, the White House has  embarked on a sleazy effort to trash the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. 

In a newly released shiny bauble of a video, they charge the CBO "uses faulty assumptions and bad math” in its devastating criticisms of the bill. Arguing that CBO once over-estimated the number of people who would be covered by Obamacare, they go on to claim that CBO's estimate of at least 22 million Americans left uninsured by the debacle of TrumpCare is likewise unreliable and "based on bad numbers."

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GUEST COLUMN--It’s weeks like this when Democrats need to remind themselves that with Donald Trump in the White House and a Republican majority in Congress, they not only have to walk and chew gum at the same time, they have to do it blindfolded on a tightrope. They’re looking at a potential nuclear event on the Korean peninsula, a historic meeting between Trump and Vladimir Putin in which anything could happen, a global confab with 20 world leaders and the necessity to prevent the legislative atrocity of the GOP health care bill.

All that is on top of the ongoing trickle of news about the Russia investigation and the various horrors emanating from the executive agencies that would normally inspire headlines and protests of their own. The news media will flit from one thing to another, and is especially drawn to its own ongoing war with the White House, which is somewhat understandable.

It’s a lot to keep up with. Indeed, the assault from every angle, while haphazard and chaotic, may succeed in some areas simply because it’s impossible to defend against all of it.

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GUEST WORDS--The virulent haters of Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) – which boasts close ties to white nationalists and, these appalling days, many members of the Trump administration - got the unwelcome they deserve at their 11th annual "Hold Their Feet To The Fire" conference aimed at prodding political leaders to deport brown-skinned "illegals" even faster than they already are in the name of a devoutly-wished-for "Anglo-Saxon dominance." 

The June 28 and 29 event, held quietly at D.C.'s Phoenix Park Hotel and said to be the largest ever, is slated to draw white supremacists, new GOP allies (yes), and up to 60 right-wing radio hosts for two days of anti-immigrant rhetoric on the toxic air waves.

Long designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and viewed as "nativist weirdos" even by many conservatives, FAIR members have been emboldened by Trump, who "became the face of the anti-immigrant movement from the moment he rode the gold escalator down and started talking about Mexicans as criminals and drug dealers.” 

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