Defense Spending Vs. The National Debt

March 3, 2017

With the recent announcement by the president that he is requesting at least a $54 billion increase to the military budget, though he also said it could approach $100 billion when all is said and done, it seems that decreasing the national debt is no longer a priority. With an annual defense budget of $600 billion, we spend thirty-six percent of the world-wide defense budget, out-spending number two China by $350 billion. When combined with our intelligence agencies, we spend nearly $1.5 trillion on defense and intelligence related expenditures every year. Moreover, this does not include America’s newly created ultra secret intelligence budget.

Since September 11th, our government has built up such a top-secret network of intelligence agencies that no one knows how much it cost, how many it employs or how many agencies it runs. The defense budget itself has nearly doubled since 2000, yet where has all this spending gotten us? As a nation, we live in fear of another September 11th attack; all the while, our country is falling apart. America is bankrupting itself and it is not from our spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. It is from our imperialistic attitude and our attempt to dominate the world we call planet Earth.

In a rather sad, ironic twist, America is by far the world’s largest arms dealer, with more than half of total world-wide arms sales. Thus, not only are we bankrupting ourselves with our military spending, but we are also heavily arming the rest of the world. One must remember that America armed Saddam Hussein when he was at war with Iran in the 1980s and we armed Osama bin Laden when he fought the Russians in Afghanistan, also during the ‘80s. America has a very extensive history of arming and supporting malevolence dictators and lunatics, in the name of what is best for this country, not necessarily what is best for the rest of the world.

Making matters worse is that we spend billions of dollars on military items our generals and admirals do not need, nor want, all because members of Congress feel the need to look good to their constituents back home by keeping jobs in their districts. A prime example of military waste is the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), which Senator John McCain has proclaimed a boondoggle. Construction begun on the $13 billion carrier in 2005, and though not yet commissioned is two years behind schedule with cost overruns of nearly $3 billion. Furthermore, this does not include the nearly $5 billion cost of research and development, nor the cost of more than seventy-five aircraft that will take-off and land on her massive flight deck. One must also not forget that the Pentagon’s accounting books have been unauditable for years.

In his January 17, 1961 farewell address to the nation, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned the country to beware of the mighty military-industrial complex. President Eisenhower stated “…we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

Coming from a five-star general, many credit for winning World War II, America should have listened.

Steven H. Spring
Earth

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Left Alone To Die

October 13, 2015

Twenty years ago today, on October 13, 1995, oddly enough a Friday, life as I knew it ended. Technically, I did not actually die, and there were a few close calls, but that whole day sure felt like hitting a brick wall head-on doing ninety miles an hour. It was on that dreadful day that I was falsely accused by a subordinate at work of sexual harassment, along with several other serious charges. After being interrogated by a couple of “investigators” and after numerous hearings, I was found innocent of all charges by the Auditor of State of Ohio, which I was employed at the time as an audit supervisor. However, the acquisitions resulted in me losing everything that mattered most in life. It cost me my job, career, health, marriage and most of all my precious children.

What cost me my career was that between my attorney and myself, we made the entire Auditor of State’s office look like bumbling idiots. At my final hearing, it was just the two of us against every high-ranking official in the Auditor’ office except for only the Auditor of State himself. And yet, they looked like complete fools. My attorney kicked all their asses. Each hearing led to another with more officials getting involved. I remember one time someone had to warn the Columbus district supervisor that he needed to calm down, so out of control was he. It was far more circus than kangaroo court. If only I had hired my attorney prior to being interrogated. During the interrogation, I was denied repeated requests for legal counsel by the two “investigators.” I was even told I could not leave after stating more than once that I was going back to work. It wasn’t until they brought in their supervisor, that legal order was somewhat restored.

Losing everything all at once was hard enough to take, however to make matters far worse was the ordeal of quitting my medication cold-turkey. I kept working for about six months after the acquisitions were first filed against me, and over that time, with the approval of two doctors I upped the amount of anti-depressants that I was taking four times the amount one should ever take. When I lost my job and benefits, my nightmare really begin. I went through Hell, both emotionally and physically, while withdrawing cold-turkey from the anti-depressants. I still suffer from numerous side affects of the withdrawal, and will probably do so the rest of my life. Only by the grace and mercy of God did I survive.

My children meant the world to me. I grew up never knowing my father. And, to say that my mother and I never got along is putting it mildly. The best way to sum up my relationship with my mother is something my ex-wife once said to me; my mother told her that she had better think twice before marrying me. Wow, what a ringing endorsement (that accidental pun is intended). If truth be told, it was my ex who asked me to marry her. I did, however, end up in a bad marriage.

The relationship with my ex-wife ended not long after our children were born. I place no blame on the children, it was solely the fault of both my ex and myself, but that was what happened. Except for going to a Buckeye football game once a year and an occasional concert, we did nothing together.  Sad to say, we even stopped talking to each other. When my babies came into my life, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Losing them devastated me. I paid a terrible price for any youthful indiscretion that may have possessed me. It haunts me every single day, and will haunt me all my remaining days.

If any good came out of my mid-life crisis it was buying my first Fender Stratocaster guitar exactly one month after that horrific day, which was my fortieth birthday. I can take a decent photograph, but playing a guitar has been a life-long dream. I’m still not very good, but believe I am getting pretty close to being really good. My guitars gave me the will to live during many dark years. And, still do to this very day. My ordeal also gave me some great ideas for putting words down on paper. I pull no punches, and as I once told a psychologist, my mouth has always gotten me in trouble, as I have always spoken my mind.

The following is something I wrote in April of 2001;

Left alone to die,
I was left all alone to die.
No one seemed to care,
No one had the decency to come by.

The look of death, my neighbor said,
Was evident in my eyes.
In and out of emergency rooms,
Was the only way I managed to get by.

Down on the farm and down on my luck,
And with a family that did not give a fuck.
So unstable was I at that time,
That I destroyed my brand new, bright red Dodge pick-up truck.

Left alone to die,
I was left all alone to die.
If it wasn’t for the man above,
I would not have survived.

Physicians whom I no longer had a plan,
Left me all along to die, there is little doubt.
Of the Hell I went through,
When the meds suddenly all ran out.

Down on my knees, shakin’ in pain,
Out of control and out of my mind.
Pleading with the good Lord, please help me get by,
Life was unbearable, all I wanted to do was die.

Lawyers too, had stopped their shout,
No longer cared after the money ran out.
Cost me my job and career,
They had nothing to lose, nothing to fear.

Family whom I no longer had,
Left me there all alone to die.
If it wasn’t for the merciful man up above,
I never would have survived.

Steven H. Spring

The Ballad Of Trayvon Martin

July 14, 2013

Once again, it is America’s archaic wild, wild west gun laws and now “stand your ground” laws in thirty states that all but give a shooter the legal right to kill anyone if they feel “threatened” that has resulted in one man walking away apparently free from any legal consequences while a seventeen year old young man lay dead in one more senseless shooting that never should have happened.  As George Zimmerman was found not guilty of all charges late Saturday night, and having listened to former prosecutors and defense attorneys giving their opinions throughout the course of the trial, it seems to me that like the OJ Simpson murder trial, the prosecution was out-lawyered during this trial.  I had never heard of MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Bloom, a former prosecutor, before this trial began, however I firmly believe had she been the lead prosecutor for this case, George Zimmerman would not be a free man today.

I must admit that this is certainly not one of the better songs/poems that I have attempted to write, as I wanted to finish it by the time the jury returned its verdict.  Given more time, and thanks to the editing capabilities of word processors, I will be able to make additional proof readings and make any changes I see fit in the days to come.  Hopefully, I am a much better photographer and guitarist than I am a writer or poems and songs.  However, that may be due only to the fact that I have spent many more thousands of hours shooting pictures and playing my guitars than I have writing songs.  That being said, the following is dedicated to the slain young man’s family.

The Ballad Of Trayvon Martin

Trayvon Martin, never stood a chance
Shot down in cold blood by a man who wanted street cred
Poor George Zimmerman, he wouldn’t have done anything differently, he said
Didn’t have any choice in a shooting that left young Martin dead

“Fuckin’ punks, these assholes always get away”
Were the words Zimmerman used when calling non-emergency 911
Based only on the color of his target’s skin and the clothes he wore
Pity poor Sybrina Fulton, she had to bury her teenage son

The lawyers say Trayvon Martin was the aggressor, it was he who stated the fight
Snuck up from the dark and sucker punched the neighborhood watch captain
Bashing Zimmerman’s head down against the sidewalk
His attorneys said in court over and over again and again

Busted poor George’s nose, and giving him cuts on the back of his head
He was the one screaming for help the attorneys said
Martin had his hands over Zimmerman’s bloody nose and mouth they assailed
However, the dead boy had no blood or DNA under any of his fingernails

Thought he was a cop, talking the policeman’s jargon
“They always come out at night,” George Zimmerman had said
It was God’s plan he told a popular talk show host
For him to shoot the young man dead

Witness after witness testified that they saw Zimmerman on top during the fight for life
Trayvon was armed with a concrete sidewalk was what the attorneys said in defense of their man
Blows were raining down by the assailant from above MMA style
Yet it was Zimmerman who had this type of training, Martin had only one small cut to his hands

The gun magazine was fully loaded and one in the chamber, locked and loaded, ready to fire
The defense team tried to say Trayvon was up to no good
Tried to run if only he could, but shot down where he stood
Profiling indeed, as he was nothin’ but a young black man in a hood…ie

George Zimmerman had an attitude and a loaded gun
Young Trayvon Martin was armed with only a 20 ounce ice tea and a bag of Skittles
Stalked like an animal, poor Trayvon Martin didn’t stand a chance
Now he won’t be able to attend his high school’s senior dance

A “creepy-ass cracker” was following him was what he told his friend Rachel Jeantel
Then the sound of headphones hitting the ground and him yelling “Get off! Get off”
There seems to be little doubt that it was George Zimmerman
The life of Trayvon Martin he did steal

Disclosure: For approximately twenty-five years, I have loved the candy Skittles.  And to further muddy my way of thinking defense lawyers might argue, sweet ice tea has been my drink of choice for more than fifty years.  I will admit to having on more than one occasion boasting that I make the best ice tea in the world.  However, I do not believe these facts had any bearing of my interpretation regarding the facts of this case.  And, this disclosure was in no way written to make light of such a tragic incident.

Steven H. Spring

A Fool Of Me

April 24, 2013

In honor of National Poetry Month, I am posting the following words, although I will be the first to admit that I do not consider myself to be much of a poet and/or songwriter.  Hopefully, I am a much better photographer and guitarist.  I just write about my life’s experiences and feelings from my heart and soul.  That said, the following words were penned in response to false accusations made against me by a coworker many years ago.  If I had not been this person’s supervisor, her accusations against me would have been immediately dismissed.  As it were, I was treated by my employer, the Auditor of State of Ohio and its investigators as if I had murdered someone.  They kept me against my will and ignored my demands to speak to an attorney.

Although I was found innocent of all charges made against me by the Auditor of State himself, the allegations resulted in my losing everything of value to me, my job, career, marriage, health and most important of all, my two precious children.  I even lost the proverbial farm.  If I had only hired my attorney before I was mercilessly interrogated, I would have never lost my job.  All I did was speak the truth.  During the four or five hearings that I eventually had, my attorney and I made the dozen officials from the Auditor’s Office, including every high-ranking official but the Auditor himself, look like complete fools.  With every succeeding hearing, more and more higher level officials would attend.  My attorney and I went up against the entire upper level staff of the Auditor of State of Ohio, and I must say, we kicked their ass!  This was the reason why I was fired.

I paid a very heavy price for my mid-life transgressions, however one good thing did come from this hellish tribulation, on my fortieth birthday, exactly one month after the accusations were made against me, I decided to finally pursue my lifelong ambition of playing the guitar and bought my first Fender Stratocaster.  It has been my guitars that have given me the will to live throughout this horrific nightmare!

A Fool Of Me

You made a fool of me, there is no denying it
I should have known better, and you obviously didn’t care one bit
For everyone else involved, it was so plain to see
I was weak, I was trusting, we both know you took full advantage of me

I was living a lie, wearing a suit and tie
The way you flaunted yourself, you were always very flirtatious
You seduced me over time, you know it’s so
And in the end, you wore me down, I just could not say no, could not let you go

You were some one who showed me attention
That was definitely lacking in a failing marriage
It was, I must admit the perfect psychological storm
Obsessive compulsive was certainly at fault; at least I was addicted to internet porn

Mine was not the only head you turned
All the men came running round you had to know
Whenever you wore that dress slit up nearly to your waist
You really did put on quite the show

You played me for a fool; you were just as much in the wrong
When I spoke of my feelings for you, you very easily could have walked away
You could have left anytime you wanted; however, you choose to stay
But you never said a word, and in the end, all I got was this here song

You spoke your peace, accusations were made
But there were many truths that were never told
I am not the only one to blame
Guilty only of falling in love, have you no shame?

If only I had never spoke up to defend myself
Never opened my mouth to speak the truth, I would have never lost my job
When I did, they found out your accusations were nothing but bull
But because I did, mine was not the only head that did roll

I thought you were my friend, I trusted you as such
In the end, that friendship didn’t amount too much
I knew better, but I just could not let go
In the end, I found out that you were just a hussy, a slut, a ho

I am the devil, or so you had everyone believe
You cast a spell over me, there’s no denying it
It was too strong and I was too weak, I just couldn’t fight it
But in the end girl, it was you who did truly deceive

I told you things I should never tell
However, you were just as guilty of that as well
I taught you well, you must admit
The pain you cause, you didn’t give a shit

All the guilt was placed on me, but I did nothing legally wrong
We both know you said many lies
The lives you destroyed, you have to accept some blame
For it was you who was playing a game

I never meant for it to happen, there’s no denying it
You played me for a fool
But you were just as much at fault, can’t you see
In the end, you made a big fool of me

Steven H. Spring

Christmas Time Without A Tree

This song is dedicated to everyone who is suffering this holiday season, but especially for divorced dads everywhere.

Christmas should be the happiest time of the year
People giving, giving, giving
Never asking for one thing in return
But for many, it’s a very painful time to fear

I asked you for a special gift one year
You never cared enough to buy it
Christmas’ came and Christmas’ gone
You never did find the time to acquire it

You once gave me love, you gave me life
I tried to give you my all; I did the best I could
But my best just was not good enough
In the end, there was just way too much emotional gruff

You never let me know what it was that you wanted
Never let me into your heart
Never let me into your life
In the end, it was just far too easy for you to part

What does this say about the love we once had
You never had any time for me
But always did for every one else
What should have been a special relationship was really quite sad

I was the bad guy, everything was always all my fault
Or so you had everyone to believe
How could I have treated you so mean
But baby, you know that things just weren’t what they seemed

You stole from me the two most valuable things you once gave me
They can never be replaced
You walk around all high and mighty
Judgment day will come one day, a price to pay you’ll see

Life and time goes on it always does seem
I sit alone on Christmas Eve, there isn’t even a tree
One thing that I can never understand
Is how it is you could ever be so mean

Christmas time is supposed to be a time of great joy and cheer
But you stole it all away from me that awful year
Christmas day and all tomorrows
For many like me it is a time of great sorrow

Steven H. Spring

Left Alone To Die

Left alone to die,
I was left all alone to die.
No one seemed to care,
No one had the decency to come by.

The look of death, my landlord said,
Was evident in my very eyes.
In and out of emergency rooms,
Was the only way I managed to get by.

Down on the farm and down on my luck,
And family that did not give a fuck.
So unstable was I at that time,
That I destroyed my brand new pick-up truck.

Left alone to die,
I was left all alone to die.
If it wasn’t for the man,
I would not have survived.

Physicians whom I no longer had a plan,
Left me all along to die, there is little doubt.
Of the Hell I went through,
When the meds all ran out.

Lawyers stopped their shout,
No longer cared after the money ran out.
Cost me my job and career,
They had nothing to lose, nothing to fear.

Family whom I no longer had,
Left me there all alone to die.
If it wasn’t for the merciful man up above,
I would not have survived.

Steven H. Spring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Ode To Facebook

Five long years ago…
Watching you strut your stuff.
Walking down the municipal court hallway,
My first thought was, WOW!  Did I ever fuck up!

Then yesterday I saw a picture of you on Facebook,
Standing right there next to my daughter.
I did not recognize who it was I was looking at,
Even after taking one more very long look.

It took me awhile to believe it was actually you,
It was like looking at a total stranger.
However, it said so right there in the caption.
My thoughts were…MAN, what the fuck happened?

Five long years ago, you were oh so hot!
But then on Facebook, most likely not!
Your clothes, your ‘do, you were then oh so bold,
But looking at you on Facebook now, you just plain look old!

Seeing is believing is what they always seem to say,
That my be true, be it as it may.
I just couldn’t get it through my head,
I didn’t want to believe it, no matter what it said.

The only thing missing was the grey,
It’s probably there, you just dye it.
Now days,  it’s so hard to gauge,
I guess that it’s to be expected, especially someone of your age!

I know I ain’t no spring chicken,
I myself am looking kinda old.
However, I’m a long way from being dead.
I may be losing my hair, but I’m getting more head.

Steven H. Spring