The Squad Vs. The Donald

July 22, 2019

The sad thing is not that the president has yet again proven himself to be more Archie Bunker than Ronald Reagan, this time with his twitter rants over the weekend, telling four women of color freshmen Representatives to go back where they came from. One of those “shithole” countries the president is so fond of, I assume.

No, the sad thing, no make that the appalling thing is that the president is so ignorant that he does not realize that three of the four Representatives were born in America. Yes, Ilhan Omar was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, however Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was born in New York City, Rashida Tlaib was born in Detroit and Ayanna Pressley was born in Cincinnati. It doesn’t get any more American than that.

The sad thing is that Republican leaders such as Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz have become such hypocrites, more laughing-stock than leaders of their party. Three years ago, these four senators (one of which is the Senate Majority Leader) called the future president far worse names than any Democrat has, and yet now heap nothing but lavishing, lovingly praise on every single thing he tweets or does.

Don’t they know how foolish they look?

Steven H. Spring
Earth

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An Open Letter To My Congressmen

November 14, 2018

The following is a copy of my letter to Senator Sherrod Brown, regarding President Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting Attorney General, temporarily replacing Jeff Sessions, who “resigned” just one day after last week’s mid-term elections.  Similar letters were also sent to my other senator and to my representative.  Isn’t the word processor a wonderful thing?

November 13, 2018

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

Dear Senator Brown,

With the firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions only one day after the mid-term elections, and the appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting AG, I must write once again to voice my concern that the “president” (I will stop using quotation marks when he starts acting presidential) is taking steps to either fire Robert Mueller or shut down his investigation into Russia hi-jacking the 2016 presidential election. The “president” has even gone so far as to threaten war against Democrats, threatening to sic the Republican-controlled Senate on them, after they took back control of the House of Representatives, fearing numerous investigations into both his private business and presidency.

Although Sessions gave his resignation, at the request of the “president,” it doesn’t take a political scientist to know the former AG was fired because he recused himself from the Mueller investigation. Ironically, Mr. Whitaker might have even more reason to recuse himself, though we both know that will never happen. During the past two years, in television interviews and an op-ed piece, the acting AG has called Mueller’s investigation a “hoax,” a “witch-hunt” and has stated that it has “gone too far.” Whitaker has even opined he could see a scenario where a new Attorney General reduces Mueller’s budget so great that it basically shuts down the investigation.

How can America trust a man as its Attorney General who has tweeted “note to Trump’s lawyer: do no cooperate with Mueller lynch mob”? In addition to his incriminating comments, which proves he has already formed his opinion of an investigation in which he will lead, Whitaker chaired the Iowa state treasurer campaign of Sam Clovis, who had ties to the Trump presidential campaign. All of this adds up to more than enough reason for Whitaker to recuse himself from the Mueller investigation due to massive conflicts of interest.

The following are a few more quotes by Whitaker, furthering documenting his bias opinion regarding the investigation, providing even more evidence for his recusal;

“It does not take a lawyer or even a former federal prosecutor like myself to conclude that investigating Donald Trump’s finances or his family’s finances falls completely outside of the realm of his 2016 campaign and allegations that the campaign coordinated with the Russian government or anyone else. That goes beyond the scope of the appointment of the special counsel.”

Regarding the infamous June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and several Russians attending, Whitaker said “You would always take that meeting.” Federal law prohibit foreign nationals from giving something of value to U.S. election campaigns. I’m no lawyer, but I have heard more than one state that giving incrimination information on an opponent constitutes something of value.

“I think what ultimately the president is going to start doing is putting pressure on Rod J. Rosenstein, who is in charge of this investigation, his acting attorney general. And really try to get Rod to maybe even cut the budget of Bob Mueller and do something a little more stage crafty than the blunt instrument of firing the attorney general and trying to replace him.”

There is even some debate as to the legality of Whitaker’s hiring, as the Federal Vacancies Reform Act requires a president to replace Senate confirmed positions with individuals who have already been confirmed by the Senate. Mr. Whitaker was confirmed by the Senate in 2004, when he was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa in 2004. However, he resigned that position in 2009, when he and two other attorneys formed the law firm Whitaker, Hagenow & Gustoff LLP. His job as chief of staff to Sessions did not require Senate confirmation.

One more additional piece of information indicating Matthew Whitaker’s character, concerns his last job before becoming Jeff Sessions’ chief of staff, where he represented World Patent Marketing as counsel and was an Advisory Board member. It seems the Miami, Florida based business scammed thousands of customers out of millions of dollars. After being fined $26 million, the company was shut down the federal government.

According to Federal Trade Commission documents, after being threatened by Whitaker, one customer, listed as A. Rudsky (an attorney) emailed back “Do not email me with your scare tactics. Stop with your bullshit emails…You are party to a scam…You will be exposed.” Although this has no bearing on his ability to objectively oversea the Mueller investigation, it does provide oversight into his qualifications as acting Attorney General.

It does not take a genius to see why Matthew Whitaker was appointed acting AG, as he is nothing but the “president’s” toady. He was appointed preciously because of his views on the Mueller investigation. Donald Trump finally got his “Roy Cohn.”

Sincerely,

Steven H. Spring

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

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

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Government Regulations

January 26, 2017

With the boast by the president that he will cut government regulations by seventy-five percent, if not more, what could possibly go wrong if he gets his way? Regulations, like laws come about because of wrong doing. We must not forget that forty years ago, the Bald Eagle, America’s national symbol became nearly extinct because of the use of DDT. In June of 1969, the Cuyahoga River caught fire due to decades of polluted industrial waste. That was just the last time the river near Cleveland, Ohio caught fire, as it burned several times throughout the first half of the twentieth century. More recently, let’s ask the citizens of Flint, Michigan how they feel about eliminating nearly all government regulations.

Living in the Rust Belt, we like to think that our air is much cleaner than it was during this region’s steel producing heyday, and judging by photographs taken seventy-five years ago, it appears so. However, the American Lung Association deems fifty percent of all U.S. counties suffer from unhealthy air, resulting in their citizens suffering from asthma (which is becoming an epidemic, especially among our children), bronchitis, emphysema, strokes, heart attacks and premature deaths. It has been estimated that nearly five million people die every year world-wide from breathing polluted air.

Making matters worse, the president has even issued a gag order against the EPA, forbidding scientists from talking to anyone about their work. Additionally, he has frozen the agency’s funding, in effect putting an end to any future research into climate change, along with its many other services such as environmental waste cleanup and the monitoring of the quality of the air we breath. It has also been reported the agency has been ordered to begin purging its historical research data.

Ironically, the president, who bailed out son Donald, Jr.’s failed business (bankruptcy must run in the family), wants the taxpayers of South Carolina to pay for cleaning up the business site’s toxic waste. In order to do so, the president must prove he does not know the previous owner.

In what has to be the most egregious misuse of any word in the history of mankind, this president has the audacity to proclaim himself an environmentalist. This surely must be one of this administration’s alternative facts.

Steven H. Spring
Earth

A Tale Of Two Parties (Apologies To Charles Dickens)

November 10, 2016

Less than twenty-four hours after the Republican Party candidate pulled off the biggest upset this year, no, make that number two behind Penn State pulling off a huge upset in a Happy Valley white-out against the Buckeyes, President Obama invited the president-elect, who mocked Obama for years, to the White House to discuss the peaceful transfer of power come January. Whatever happened to the president-elect’s investigation into the president’s birth and religion, the results of which we were told is gonna shock us?

Eight years ago, on the day President Obama was first sworn into office, Republican Congressional leaders met at the Caucus Room restaurant to make sure the “uppity” first-term Senator from Illinois was a complete failure, in effect the most perfect example of putting party over country. Especially considering the disastrous economy he inherited. Or a world economy on the brink of a catastrophic meltdown, due to the Wall Street mess. Not to mention the two longest wars in U.S. history, both unfunded and still ongoing. Also unfunded were two massive tax cuts, benefiting mainly the wealthy elite, as well as the Medicare prescription drug program.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had the audacity to announce his number one priority was seeing Barack Obama a one-term president. He couldn’t even get that right!!!

Steven H. Spring
Earth

U.S. Elections Are Rigged, Just Not In The Way Donald Trump Whines About

November 1, 2016

How is it that America, which prides itself on being the world’s all-time greatest democracy, is becoming less and less so with each and every election? Though technically a representative democracy in which we elect local and state officials, along with members of Congress to cast our votes for us, this concluding presidential season just might prove that we are anything but one.

On the Republican side of the wall separating the two parties, businessman, blowhard and national embarrassment on the world stage Donald Trump beat a field of sixteen other mostly uninspiring candidates by out-name calling them to win his party’s nomination. Trump is such a polarizing candidate that members of his own party took an anybody-but-Trump movement right up to the moment he accept the nomination during the Republican Convention held earlier this summer in Cleveland.

Even though Trump won his party’s nomination by winning more than the 1,237 delegates needed to win, he referred to the system as rigged. As Election Day finally approaches, he has begun a full-time campaign decrying the system as rigged and massive fraud will be committed on Election Day. Trump has gone as far as stating he will contest the outcome, unless of course he miraculously wins. With election fraud virtually nonexistent, and polls indicating that Hillary Clinton just might win in a landslide, it seems that Trump is getting his excuses in order when he loses the election, so that the final result will not be a blow to his enormous ego.

Mr. Trump probably saw nothing wrong with winning his home state primary of New York with sixty percent of the vote, yet he received ninety-seven percent of the votes that really counts, the delegate vote. Making matters more complicated than this seemingly unnatural method of electing candidates are the party’s “unbound” delegates. The Republican Party cannot even give an accurate account of their highly influential number, as it ranges from plus or minus one hundred and fifty to as many as two hundred. These unbound delegates are free to vote for whomever they choose, despite the vote of the people, and comprise as much as sixteen percent of the actual vote needed to win the Republican nomination. This is democracy?

The Democratic Party, with its seven hundred and twelve unpledged “super delegates,” comprising a whopping thirty percent of the party’s total delegate count, is even more undemocratic. These super delegates, who are comprised of various Democratic leaders such as sitting governors and members of Congress, are under no obligation to vote for the candidate who won their state primary. The perfect example of democracy in action for the Democratic Party, despite the irony in its name occurred during the New Hampshire primary. Senator Bernie Sanders, who beat Clinton by twenty percentage points, walked away with a virtual tie in the delegate count.

Based on his margin of victory, Senator Sanders won the pledged delegate count fifteen – nine over Clinton, yet six of the state’s eight super delegates pledged their support for the former New York senator, with two delegates uncommitted. This resulted in fundamentally a tie between the two candidates, despite Sanders soundly beating his opponent. In an even more egregious example, Sanders won the Wyoming caucus by eleven percentage points, yet Clinton won the total delegate count eleven – seven. How is that possible?

The Democrat Party’s super delegate nominating process came about after former California governor Ronald Reagan beat President Jimmy Cater during his re-election bid in 1980. Party leaders felt to urge to correct any “mistake” made by voters during the primary season, thereby being able to nominate a candidate more their liking, despite how Americans actually voted. The vast majority of Hillary Clinton’s delegate count over Bernie Sanders was due to super delegates.

When you also consider the Republican Party is doing everything it can to restrict voter turnout, be it by reducing early voting dates or enacting new voter ID laws, America’s democratic values are being greatly undermined. In Texas, a hunting license is an acceptable form of voter ID, yet a college ID is not. We are led to believe that stricter ID laws are required because of voter fraud, yet voter fraud is basically nonexistent. From 2000 through 2014, more than one billion votes were cast with only thirty-one documented case of voter fraud, a fraction so insignificant it might very well be zero. Most cases of alleged fraud are only errors committed by citizens staffing the polling stations.

The Grand Old Party has also taken to greatly reducing the number of voting machines in historically Democratic voting districts, resulting in lengthy waits in line just to cast a vote. In this past Arizona primary, voters waited in lines for up to five hours, while during the last presidential election, voters in Ohio waited in line up to eight hours. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted was sued earlier this year by the ACLU over allegations of illegally removing tens of thousands of voter names from registration rolls. In September, the Sixth Circuit Court Of Appeals ruled he cannot purge the voting rolls merely because citizens do not vote regularly. Maybe it’s time for America to change its national motto from “In God We Trust” to “If You Cannot Beat Them, Restrict Them.”

Another method of restricting voter turnout are the “closed” primaries, in which Democrats are only allowed to vote Democrat and Republican the same, leaving Independents out of the process. One report indicated that more than a million New Yorkers were refused their constitutional right to vote. Who can forget that two of Trump’s children failed to properly register and left unable to vote for their father?

Making the entire process even more corrupt was the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission in which the court basically ruled that the ability of corporations and unions to contribute unlimited amounts of money to candidates and issues equates to speech. Money is not free speech, and not free as money buys influence. Unlimited money buys corruption. Campaign contributions to candidates by Wall Street have tripled since 2012. It is said that members of Congress now spend most of their time begging for campaign contributions.

After voting is completed in state primaries and then finally the national election, it is not the candidate who receives the most votes that wins the election, it is the Electoral College that decides who will be the next president of the United States. Is America a democracy? Hardly.

Steven H. Spring
Earth