Fireworks Over Mount Rushmore

Fourth Of July, 2020

In celebration of the president’s defiance of his own COVID-19 task force’s guidelines regarding social distancing and wearing of face masks by having a taxpayer-financed campaign rally Friday night at Mount Rushmore, complete with fireworks celebrating America’s 244th birthday, I thought it fitting to post my own version of fireworks over a mountain sacred to this country’s indigenous people, on land “appropriated” from them many years ago.

On June 30, 1980, in United States v. Sioux Nations of Indians, the Supreme Court ruled that the Black Hills did indeed belong to the Sioux Nation, declaring the government violated the terms of the Fort Laramie Treaty of April 29, 1868. Every one of the more than five hundred treaties agreed to by the federal government and the indigenous people were broken in some manner by our government. One was broken by the rightful landowners.

Like most people that attended the campaign rally last night, my family and I were not wearing face masks, nor did we abide by the six-foot social distancing guidelines. Neither did any of the other people that were there among us. However, our blatant disregard of task force guidelines were not born out of civil disobedience, but judging by the size of my precious babies in other photos from this vacation, merely due to our trip out west occurred most likely in very late 1980s, possibly 1990.

Furthermore, I do not remember which month we made the trip, but there were no fireworks the night in which I shot this photograph. Judging by the size of the pyrotechnics in the original photograph, these fireworks most likely exploded over London. London, Ohio, that is.

Digital photography is truly an amazing invention.

Steven H. Spring
Earth

 

COVID-19

March 22, 2020

As an American, I find this administration’s preparedness and response to the COVID-19 pandemic appalling. As the father of a daughter who is a nurse, I find this nation’s lack of basic medical Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), such as face masks and shields disgusting.

How is it that China built two mobile hospitals (a total of sixteen hundred beds) in ten days, and yet we cannot provide enough N95 face masks or virus tests, telling medical personnel that they should use bandanas to cover their mouth and nose, only weeks into the virus coming ashore? Or that, in a pinch re-use their PPEs. How is this possible?

Why is it that this administration had nearly three months’ notice of the pending viral attack, but it seems more and more likely that it is the most ill-prepared (pardon the pun) and least capable of containing it? Maybe we should create some sort of government agency to handle such extreme circumstances. Oh wait, we did. However, this administration shut down the National Security Council’s Global-Health-Security unit (created by the Obama administration) and slashed Center For Disease Control And Prevention funding.

However, lets not place all blame on this administration. Does the health care industry, which is the most profitable industry in America, accept some responsibility as well. I’ve long said the health care industry should not be for-profit. My accounting degree from OSU reminds me that inventory cost money, not only the initial cost, but to store it as well. Just ask the Detroit auto industry, which found out the hard way. The Japanese standard is the just-in-time (JIT) method, eliminating costly inventory. This is evidenced by all the Japanese factories located throughout central Ohio in outlaying villages and towns, supplying Honda of America up in Marysville. This method works great when all is well, however when you throw a pandemic into the supply chain, problems arise, as we are desperately finding out.

America, and especially this administration, likes to pride itself with constant boasting of being the greatest nation of all-time, yet cannot provide paper face masks or cotton swabs to conduct testing. This is disgraceful.

Steven H. Spring
Earth

The Death Of America (God Bless Her Soul)

January 31, 2020

As a life-long political junkie, I watched probably ninety percent of both the House of Representatives impeachment hearings and the Senate’s “trial” of the president. Though I am not an attorney nor legal scholar, however this “trial” was nothing more than a kangaroo court, as Republicans prevented Democrats from subpoenaing eye-witnesses nor any documents. Trials without witnesses or documentation are what dictators conduct. To borrow a much over-used word by Republicans and especially the president, it was nothing more than a sham.

Republicans cried out numerous times over the past several weeks that Democrats produced nothing but hearsay witnesses, relying on third or fourth party testimony. However, this was due only to the president preventing nearly everyone from testifying nor complying with any subpoena for documents. In addition, the assertion is false, as European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified under oath that he had first-hand knowledge of the quid pro quo demand by the president’s merry band of shysters, hustlers, and grifters. If new claims by former Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, that was reported Friday afternoon turn out to be credible, this conspiracy and cover-up goes much deeper involving high ranking officials and longer in time than anyone could ever imagine.

This administration will go down in history as the most corrupt, most inept and most untruthful in American history. Alan Dershowitz, a constitutional scholar and member of the president’s defense team opined that Trump can basically do anything he wants, if it is done in pursuit of getting re-elected. It doesn’t take a genius to conclude that this president will do anything to get re-elected and with four more years in office, anything goes. Once Senate Republicans acquit him of all charges, the president will be free to do any and every thing he chooses, legal or not.

America has been slowly dying an immoral death the past three years, and this “trial” has pounded the last few nails into its coffin. We are a laughingstock on the world stage. The only hope for her is that Democrats and Independents come out in mass on the third day of November and take back both the Senate and White House.

If not, Vladimir Putin will have defeated this nation without firing a single shot.

Steven H. Spring
Earth

The Impeachment Of Donald Trump

November 13, 2019

Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, who was inserted as a last minute, temporary member of the House Intelligence Committee just so he could be his usual, highly partisan self during the Committee’s public hearings of the impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump, proved what the true intent of the Republican Party is when he raise an objection to the hearing, accusing Chairman Adam Schiff of knowing who the whistle-blower was.

Chairman Schiff, in his usual low-key manner, replied that Jordan was incorrect. Had I been the chairman, I would have replied, “That sir, is a lie.” Is there any doubt that the only goal of the Republican Party during this historic hearing is to be nothing more than a disruptive force, with no intention of finding the truth?

I only wish someone would start a GoFundMe page, to raise much needed money so Representative Jordan can afford to buy a suit jacket. Winter is here and poor Mr. Jordan doesn’t seem to be financially secure enough to afford one.

Steven H. Spring
Earth

Who’s Foolin’ Who?

October 2, 2019

Correspondent Norah O’Donnell did her darndest to get truthful answers from Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman during her interview with the Saudi leader Sunday evening on 60 Minutes season premiere, however, I believed his answers about as much as I do anything (everything) our president says, which is to say, none of them.

If America wanted to see the true bin Salman, she would have watched the season premiere of PBS’ Frontline investigative series Tuesday evening entitled The Crown Prince Of Saudi Arabia. An extensive segment of the two hour program centered on the killing of Saudi-born, Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

My only criticism of the show, hosted by Martin Smith, is that more time should have been spent discussing the Saudi – Yemen war, a war pitting the kingdom against Houti rebels, who are accused of being backed by Iran. During the five year old war, which has been declared a massive humanitarian crisis, the kingdom, armed by America with F-15 fighter jets, armored vehicles, bombs, missiles and missile defense systems, has bombed numerous hospitals, schools (as many as 1,500) and at least one school bus which killed forty children.

Then, there is the Donald Trump/Jared Kushner financial ties with the kingdom, ties so deep that bin Salam boasts that he has Kushner “in his pocket.” Surely those ties would not conflict with America’s best interests, would they?

Steven H. Spring
Earth

Let’s Go To Yet One More War

September 18, 2019

Why is it, that an administration that ran on a promise to get us out, and keep us out of all these unnecessary wars, is now hell-bent on attacking Iran, whom it claimed is responsible for the recent drone and missile attack on a Saudi Arabia oil processing plant and oil field? The administration determined Iran was responsible within a matter of hours, and yet Virginia freshman Representative Abigail Spanberger, a former CIA operative, stated there is no way to ascertain who is responsible in such a short period of time.

Other experts have said that the president and vice-president boasting like Clint Eastwood and John Wayne that America is “locked and loaded” is the last thing our fearless (or is it careless?) leaders should have said. Especially if they are actually preparing an attack. If nothing more than schoolyard braggadocio, such talk could lead to all-out war in the powder-keg that is the Middle East, with threats escalating and neither country wanting to appear weak by backing down.

America wasn’t attacked, Saudi Arabia was. The kingdom is America’s biggest buyer of military armaments, let them handle their own affairs. We are still engaged in the two longest wars in our history, with no end in sight in either, not to mention we are periodically bombing five other countries (Libya, Niger, Somalia, Syria and Yemen). Northern Yemen’s Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the attack, as part of their ongoing war with the kingdom, which began in early 2015 when Saudi Arabia, backed by America, launched its military campaign against the Yemen insurgency. We do not need to get involved in something that potentially could make all these other conflicts look like child’s play.

When you consider the CIA concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman ordered the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi less than a year ago, a fact denied by the president, and that the president and his son-in-law has deep financial ties with the kingdom (so much so that bin Salman boasts that Jared Kushner is “in his pocket”) something just doesn’t smell right.

Steven H. Spring
Earth

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

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