America vs. North Korea

June 11, 2018

As the president meets this week with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un in Singapore to try to iron out our two countries’ differences, it amazes me that no one ever addresses the question as to why North Korea hates us. Or better yet, why is America the only country they seemingly hate?

I’m no political scientist, but it doesn’t take a nuclear scientist, to figure out why Kim believes America is ready to attack any minute now; it’s leaving 30,000 troops stationed along the 38th parallel, more than sixty-five years after the Korean War ended. When you also consider that we conduct war games every year with South Korea, is there any wonder why North Korea feels threatened?

Usama bin Laden stated during a television interview that the reason why he attacked America on September 11, 2001, was because we left troops in Saudi Arabia, the most holy of land in the Islam religion after the first Gulf War ended. Not only did we learn a lesson from that horrific day in American history, we never even attempted to learn why the attack was carried out. They hate our freedom, we were told.

America likes to think it is not a militaristic empire, yet we have troops stationed on approximately eight hundred overseas bases, in all sizes and scope of missions, in nearly one hundred and fifty countries worldwide. When you consider that America dominates the world’s oceans with eleven aircraft carries, more than the rest of the world combined, we have complete domination over the entire world. Despite having nearly seven thousand nuclear missiles, we live in fear that some third-rate dictator might be on the verge of obtaining one nuclear weapon that might be able to reach mainline America.

As we currently bomb seven countries (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen) on a somewhat semi-regular basis, where has all this money spent on our military got us? Our nation’s entire outdated infrastructure has been rated a D+ by engineers in their latest biennial report, as the only thing we modernize is our military.

I close by quoting a left-wing, radical-pacifist (I write sarcastically), five-star general and president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, who said in his farewell address to the nation on January 17, 1961; “…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.”

Steven H. Spring
Earth

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An Open Letter To My Congressmen

June 1, 2018

The following is a copy of my letter to Senator Sherrod Brown regarding the Trump administration and the Robert Mueller investigation. I also sent similar letters to my other two Congressmen, Senator Rob Portman and Representative Warren Davidson.

The word processor is a great thing. I can type one letter, and with some copying and pasting, mail letters to all three of my Congressmen, and a fourth to the president if I so wish. However, I paid my dues typing on a small, cheap typewriter while in college back in the ‘80s.

Steven H. Spring
Earth

June 1, 2018

The Honorable Sherrod Brown
United States Senate
713 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Brown,

As this administration sinks further and further into chaos, and becomes a laughingstock on the world stage, I must write once again to voice my outrage over the behavior of the “president” (I will stop using quotation marks when the “president” starts acting presidential). I would also once more like to state my concern regarding the premature ending of the Robert Mueller investigation.

This “president” has made a mockery of truthfulness, presidential campaigns, the presidency, the Emoluments Clause and the entire legal system. Constant lying by the “president” is greatly eroding confidence in all phases of our government and his daily barrage of claims of fake news has very large numbers of Americans losing faith in the free press.  Ironically, the only fake news is coming from Russian bots. Presidential daughter Ivanka Trump has received numerous trademarks from China, the first several coming right Chinese president Xi Jinping visited Mar-a-Lago, she then received seven more in May, coinciding with the “president’s” announcement to help save Chinese tele-communications giant ZTE, a company who has been accused of being a national security risk by both the United States and the United Kingdom.

The Washington Post reported the “president” lied on average 5.6 times every single day during his first year in office. This is disgraceful, and yet the Republican Party stands by in silence. Your fellow congressman from Ohio, Jim Jordan, foolishly states on television he does not believe the “president” lies. Furthermore, it is not only the “president” who has difficulty telling the truth, as seemingly nearly every high-ranking official in this administration, save for Ms. Trump, has been caught in a lie. Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, now serving as the “president’s” lawyer and spokesman, embarrasses himself nightly as he constantly lies about the investigation.

The “president” is still telling people at campaign rallies (as of May 29th) that the FBI planted spies into his presidential campaign for purely political purposes, despite no truth to his boast. In spite of twenty-two indictments or guilty pleas thus far, 53% of Americans, and 85% of Republicans believe the Mueller investigation is a political witch hunt, all because of the constant lying by the “president.” After he demanded an investigation into the Mueller investigation, the FBI caved and turned the investigation into the investigation over to the Inspector General’s office. The White House even persuaded the FBI to present its evidence regarding “spy-gate” first only to House Republicans, and after Democrats objected, a second conference was held with the Gang of Eight.

As the investigation gets closer to the “president” and his family, Congress should be taking steps to ensure Mr. Mueller is allowed to complete his investigation. Yet Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stated there is no need to do so. To believe that House Speaker Paul Ryan or especially House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes wishes to see the investigation completed is foolish, at best. This “president” is making Richard Nixon look like a saint.

Russia hijacked our 2016 election, and yet our government is doing absolutely nothing to ensure they do not do so again this November. Ronald Reagan surely must be rolling over in his grave.

Sincerely,

Steven H. Spring

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Footballers

An open letter to Illinois state representative Carol Sente, regarding the dangers of playing tackle football, especially by children;

April 19, 2018

The Honorable Carol Sente
Illinois House of Representatives
59th House District
272-S Stratton Office Building
Springfield, Illinois 62706

Dear Representative Sente,

While reading an article in today’s Columbus Dispatch regarding a proposal to ban children in your state under the age of twelve from playing tackle football, I could not believe your comment that parents “need more time to absorb the evidence” which links repeated blows to the head to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Throughout the past two decades, colleges and pros have cut back on tackling in practice because of the brutality of the game, however, studies on the effects to the brain has only centered on concussions.

During the past six or eight years, if not longer, PBS aired two programs detailing the impact of tackle football on our youth. I do not remember the person’s name or occupation, but I will never forget the comment he made regarding the effects on a child’s brain when helmets bang together. He compared what happens to the brain as to shaking a bowl of Jell-O. This banging together of helmets occurs on every single play in every game and during every practice.

I grew up playing football, however the only time I wore a helmet was when I made the high school reserves team in the tenth grade. The ironic thing about helmets is that the more safer we make them, the more dangerous they have become, turning them into death-defying weapons of destruction. The sporting world only seems to link CTE to concussions, however, to me, and I’m no doctor, but the shaking of brains comparable to shaking a bowl of Jell-O, especially in children, is the real concern.

My son (and my daughter too) got his love of the sport from me, and he played two years of peewee tackle football twenty some years ago. Knowing what I know now, I would not allow him to play tackle football at such a young age.

Sincerely,

Steven H. Spring

Gun Ownership In Itself Is Not A Second Amendment Right

February 15, 2018

I hate to keep posting an updated version of my original post, which was first posted on July 28, 2012 after the horrific shooting at the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado that left twelve dead and fifty-eight wounded, however, once again a mass shooting has shaken America to its knees, and those who lost their lives and their families cry out for me to do what little I can actually do about it, that being to put into writing my disgust with the gun culture and industry in this nation.

This time, seventeen innocent students and teachers lost their lives and fourteen more wounded on Valentine’s Day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida by a nineteen year old, white man, armed with an AR-15 style assault rifle, multiple magazines, wearing a gas mask and setting off smoke grenades before pulling the building’s fire alarm. Only two days before the horrific shooting, Parkland was named the safest city in America. Audio recorded by students on their cell phones sounded as if recorded in a war zone. The shooter, Nikolaus Cruz, has been described as a troubled, former student at the school, who had been expelled for disciplinary reasons. One can only imagine the uproar had this man been a Muslim with Middle East heritage.

Because these mass shootings seem to happen all the time in Second Amendment America, I had to update the criteria for making the below list of mass murders in this nation since the Columbine High School slaughter, upping the minimum deaths to five in order to greatly limit the size of the post. The really sad thing is that my list includes only a fraction of mass shootings that occur on average every single day in America. Most of these shootings never make the national news and thus go unnoticed, except for the families involved. In the past two decades, there have been eighteen school shootings worldwide, yet this is the eighteenth school shooting during the past thirty-five days in the U.S.

Despite these senseless tragedies occurring quite regularly, I can already hear gun rights advocates opining that now is not the time to discuss new, effective national gun control laws, as they always do after every horrendous shooting. If not now, in the wake of seventeen innocent lives shot dead, and let us not forget the fourteen wounded, when is the time to properly discuss gun control? Lest anyone dismiss my ramblings as some tree-hugging liberal, take it from a gun manufacturer; William Ruger, Sr., co-founder of Sturm Ruger firearms has been quoted as saying “No honest man needs more than ten rounds in any gun. I never meant for simple civilians to have my twenty or thirty-round mags or my folding stock.”

Proponents of gun ownership and the firearms industry cite the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution as the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms. However, these folks all seem to leave out the extremely significant first four words of the actual amendment. The Second Amendment, as passed by Congress on December 15, 1791 as part of the Bill Of Rights states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Yet, these very important first four words of the Second Amendment are never mentioned by gun advocates. It’s as if those four words do not exist.

I have recently been made aware by a like-minded attorney, that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled during a 2008 case, Heller v. District of Columbia that the Second Amendment, responsible for so much carnage in America, equates an individual as being a militia. I’m no attorney, and far from knowledgeable regarding the interpretation of laws, however, the word “militia” dates back to at least 1590 when it was referenced in the book Certain Discourses Military by Sir John Smythe, who gave it the definition of a military force; a body of soldiers and military affairs; and a body of military discipline. How is it possible the Supreme Court has determined that individual citizens constitutes a militia, let alone a well regulated one?

America’s fascination with firearms has evolved into becoming the most violent nation on Earth, with the possible exception of those countries who are presently engaged in actual warfare, which it seems would include this nation as we are currently bombing on a somewhat regular basis seven countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen), dropping 26,171 bombs during 2016 alone. Even more incredibly, America, which was founded on the mass genocide of its indigenous people, has been engaged in some sort of military conflict two hundred and twenty-four years out of our two hundred and forty-one year existence.

There is no excuse for any person to own a military assault weapon or a high-capacity magazine clip, yet our politicians who dare have the courage to speak up for sensible gun laws quiver in fear of reprisal from the National Rifle Association. Politicians who do speak out in favor of new gun control legislation face the wrath of the NRA come their next election. To believe that arming every citizen is the answer to curbing gun violence, as the NRA espouses is just preposterous. Growing up during the hay-day of Westerns ruling television networks, the image I always remember is that the very first thing the town sheriff did when cowboys came into town after a long, hard cattle drive to visit the local saloons was to take away their guns. However, just the opposite is occurring throughout America as more and more cities and states are allowing the concealed carrying of firearms into drinking establishments. Many feel the need to carry their firearms with them into their houses of worship. One can only wonder how God feels about that. My thought is he must be horrified. The ironic thing is that gun ownership does not make a person safer. Statistics show gun owners are far more likely to die from gun violence than non-owners.

The following is a partial list of mass murders that have taken place in the United States just since the horrendous tragedy at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999 when two students killed twelve fellow students along with one teacher and wounding twenty-one others before committing suicide:

Twelve dead in Atlanta, Georgia in 1999,
Six dead in Fort Worth, Texas in 1999,
Five dead in Wichita, Kansas in 2000,
Seven dead in Wakefield, Massachusetts in 2000,
Five dead in Queens, New York in 2000,
Ten dead in Washington, D.C. in 2002,
Six dead in Chicago, Illinois in 2003,
Six dead in Birchwood, Wisconsin in 2004,
Seven dead in Brookfield, Wisconsin in 2005,
Ten dead in Red Lake, Minnesota in 2005,
Six dead in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania in 2006,
Six dead in Seattle, Washington in 2006,
Six dead in Carnation, Washington in 2007,
Five dead in Crandon, Wisconsin in 2007,
Thirty-two dead at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia in 2007,
Nine dead in Omaha, Nebraska in 2007,
Six dead at Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, Illinois in 2008,
Six dead in Alger, Washington in 2008,
Thirteen dead (thirty-two wounded) at Ft. Hood, Texas in 2009,
Nine dead in Geneva County, Alabama in 2009,
Ten dead in Covina, California in 2009,
Thirteen dead in Binghamton, New York in 2009,
Six dead in Santa Clara, California in 2009,
Eight dead in Carthage, North Carolina in 2009,
Eight dead in Appomattox, Virginia in 2010,
Nine dead in Hartford, Connecticut in 2010,
Eight dead in Seal Beach, California in 2011
Seven dead in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 2011,
Six dead (thirteen wounded) in Tucson, Arizona in 2011,
Six dead in Seattle, Washington in 2012,
Five dead in San Francisco, California in 2012,
Seven dead at Oikos University in Oakland, California in 2012,
Seven dead at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, Oak Creek, Wisconsin in 2012,
Twelve dead (fifty-eight wounded) in Aurora, Colorado in 2012,
Six dead in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2012,
Twenty-six dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut, 2012
Five dead in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2013,
Five dead in Federal Way, Washington in 2013,
Five dead in Manchester, Illinois in 2013,
Five dead at Santa Monica College, Santa Monica, California in 2013,
Six dead in Hialeah, Florida in 2013,
Thirteen dead at the Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C. in 2013,
Five dead in Spanish Fork, Utah in 2014,
Five dead in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2014,
Six dead in Spring, Texas in 2014,
Eight dead (grandfather/daughter/grandchildren murder/suicide) in Bell, Florida in 2014
Five dead at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, Marysville, Washington in 2014,
Five dead in Morgantown, West Virginia in 2014,
Six dead in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 2014,
Eight dead in Tyrone, Missouri in 2015,
Nine dead in Waco, Texas in 2015,
Nine dead in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015,
Six dead in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 2015,
Eight dead (six children) in Houston, Texas in 2015,
Six dead (single-family murder/suicide) in Platte, South Dakota in 2015,
Ten dead (nine wounded) at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon in 2015,
Fourteen dead (twenty-one wounded) in San Bernardino, California in 2015,
Six dead in Chesapeake, Virginia (family murder/suicide) in 2016,
Six dead in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2016,
Five dead in Glendale, Arizona in 2016,
Five dead in Belfair, Washington (family murder/suicide) in 2016,
Six dead in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania in 2016,
Eight dead in Piketon, Ohio in 2016,
Six dead (murder/suicide domestic dispute) in Appling, Georgia in 2016,
Five dead in Green Cove Springs, Florida in 2016,
Five dead in Moultrie, Georgia in 2016,
Five dead in Ravenel, South Carolina in 2016
Five dead in Roswell, New Mexico in 2016.
Forty-nine dead (fifty-three wounded) in Orlando, Florida in 2016,
Five dead (nine wounded in a sniper ambush against police officers) in Dallas, Texas in 2016,
Five dead (family murder/suicide) in Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania in 2016,
Five dead in Citronelle, Alabama in 2016,
Five dead in Burlington, Washington in 2016,
Five dead (eight wounded) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 2017,
Eight dead (domestic murder including sheriff’s deputy) in Brookhaven, Mississippi in 2017,
Six dead (workplace murder/suicide) in Orlando, Florida in 2017,
Five dead in La Madera, New Mexico in 2017,
Nine dead in Plano, Texas in 2017,
Fifty-eight dead (four hundred & twenty-two wounded) in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2017,
Twenty-six dead (twenty wounded) at First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas in 2017,
Five dead (ten wounded) in Rancho Tehama, California in 2017,
Five dead (domestic murder/suicide) in Melcroft, Pennsylvania in 2018 and
Five dead (domestic murder/suicide) in Paintsville, Kentucky in 2018.

This is a staggering list of senseless murders and family lives shattered, and does not detail the total number of incidents along with the considerable number of wounded in the carnage, except in cases of large numbers of wounded. What is alarming is that the percentage of Americans who believe we need stricter gun control laws is decreasing. What does it take a nation to realize that something is desperately wrong with our culture of guns and violence?

If a person wants to own a firearm, fine, join a well regulated militia as required by the Second Amendment. We, as a country always seem to be at war, so there will always be a need for someone who aspires to shoot something.

I see nothing wrong with a hunter owning a few rifles, and have many friends who hunt, but as a general rule, hunters do not shoot their prey with assault rifles capable of firing hundreds of rounds semi-automatically or automatically without having to reload. For anyone to have the ability to purchase military assault weapons capable of creating the type of massacre seen in this country time and again over the past eighteen years is asinine.

Be it this latest, senseless mass shooting, tens of thousands of murders committed every year in America’s inner cities or our seemingly endless wars, this is a violent nation. Our founding fathers must be rolling over in their graves.

Steven H. Spring
Earth

Train Wrecks Vs. Military Parade

February 8, 2018

Ever since witnessing la Fete nationale this past July 14th, celebrating the French revolution on the anniversary of Bastille Day with President Emmanuel Macron, Donald Trump has been fantasizing about a similar, although much larger military parade, in honor of himself. Now, it seems the Republican controlled Congress is about to grant him his wish, despite the irony that he was a draft dodger during the Vietnam War, receiving five deferments for college and “bone spurs” on one of his feet, though he cannot remember which foot.

With an expected cost in the tens of millions of dollars, not to mention the cost of repaving the streets of the parade route, which will be chewed up by tanks and other military vehicles, compounded by the exploding budget deficit and national debt crisis that is emerging due to the enormous, unfunded tax cuts to both Big Business and the nation’s wealthy elite, now is not the time for wasteful government spending.

Several recent high-profile train wrecks all seem to have been preventable if only America’s rail system had the money to install Positive Train Control technology throughout its system. Among those wrecks were a crash in Brooklyn, New York in which 103 people were injured, a derailment in DuPont, Washington in which 3 were killed along with 23 injured and the most recent crash in Cayce, South Carolina in which 3 were killed and 116 injured. Furthermore, in a crash that could have been disastrous for the federal government, a train carrying Republican members of Congress in route to a retreat at The Greenbrier, in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, collided with a garbage truck in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing one and injuring six others.

Making matters worse, Colonel Jack Jacobs, an Army Medal of Honor winner for his bravery during the Vietnam War, stated on television Wednesday afternoon that troops hate marching in parades because of all the extra training required to do so. To quote Colonel Jacobs; “Being in a parade stinks.” Wasn’t the inauguration parade, which according to legend was the largest and greatest of all-time in the entire history of man-kind, though judging by photographs, very few people actually attended, enough?

Instead of wastefully spending tens of millions of dollars with a grand military parade, nothing more than stroking the frail, enormous ego of the president, let’s use that money to implement Positive Train Control on our rail system. Many countries currently operate high-speed rail, reaching speeds up to 267 miles per hour, while Japan has reached a top speed of 374 mph on a test track, all the while in the U.S., our rail system is going bankrupt.

Steven H. Spring
Earth

Adam & Eve & Steve

January 28, 2018

I have been researching my family history for five years, if not longer, and have traced some branches of my family tree back a thousand years. Using Ancestry.com at my local library, and FamilySearch.com at home (a free search and family tree provided by the Mormon Church), I have found quite a few kings and queens and even one saint in my ancestry. However, what I found late Saturday night surprised me.

While searching branches on my father’s side of the family, one particular branch kept going back further and further and further in time. Once you go back about a thousand years, names become very weird (not an actual scientific term) and I usually stop. Last night though, I decided to go back in time a little further, and after going back to the year 500, to Boddw ap Serwyl, the King of Cardiganshire (Wales), I decided to see how far back that particular branch went.

This branch kept going and going and going. It flew past the AD years into BC time and kept going. Next came the year 1000 BC and it kept going. 2000 BC came and went with no problem. Then 3000 BC went by too, and the list of alleged relatives continued onward. Much to my surprise, the list went on for another 1000 years, where it finally came to an end.

Whose names were at the end of this extremely long list of potential relatives? Why, Adam and Eve, of course. I’m no genealogist, and have verified only a couple hundred years of my family tree via marriage licenses, death certificates and census records, but what I found last night was truly amazing.

Steven H. Spring
Earth

Why Do They Hate Us?

January 21, 2018

With the news that North and South Korea will march as one nation during the opening parade of nations in the upcoming winter Olympics, to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, along with their women’s hockey teams playing as one, a question needs to be addressed; is the U.S. a deterrent to peace in the Korean Peninsula? During 2000, in an attempt to reconcile relations between the two countries, North and South Korea announced plans to build a rail line and highway connecting the two countries, which was completed three years later.

Another question that needs to be asked is why North Korea hates us so much they are willing to risk complete nuclear annihilation. Why is it that the U.S. seems to be the only country North Korea seems hell-bent on waging war against? I’m no political scientist, nor military strategist, but the answer to both questions seems to me is that we still have thirty thousand troops stationed along the 38th parallel, sixty-five years after the Korean War ended. Making matters worse, our military conducts regular war games with South Korea, the most recent just last month. Is there any wonder why North Korean leaders fear another war with America?

In a television interview after the start of both the Afghan and Iraqi wars, Osama bin Laden stated he attacked America on September 11th because we left troops stationed in Saudi Arabia, the most sacred land in the Islam religion, after the Gulf War. Have we failed to learn any lessons from all our military engagements and foreign policy debacles over the past sixty-five years?

Steven H. Spring
Earth