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

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How Once Great Thou Art (apologies to Carl Boberg)

August 19, 2019

Listening to news last week that another once great American city has a critical water problem, my first thought was how many more cities are facing similar problems, that being century old water mains? This time it’s Newark, New Jersey. Flint, Michigan’s water is still unfit to drink or bathe, five years after residents were first warned of the danger.

I’m no engineer, so I leave it to experts regarding America’s infrastructure, and the news hasn’t been good for years. Every four years, the American Society Of Civil Engineers issues its “Infrastructure Report Card,” and the results, on a sunny day, are horrific. The Society’s 2017 report gave America an overall grade of D+ on our entire infrastructure system.

Though there is one bright spot, with our rail system earning a B, and three others (bridges, ports and solid waste) earning C+, all other categories rate very poorly. Energy, hazardous waste, parks & recreation and wastewater all earn D+, while aviation, dams, drinking water, inland waterways, levees, roads, schools and transit grade a D.

The Engineers also gave an estimate for the “Cost to Improve” our infrastructure over the next ten years as $4.59 trillion. If that’s the cost to improve our entire infrastructure, what’s it gonna take to fix it, let alone turn it into world-class? We are America, after all.

However, like all great empires, America has reached the stage where it spends all its valuable resources protecting the far reaches of its kingdom, all the while it is collapsing from within.

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

Brett Kavanaugh vs. Christine Blasey Ford

September 20, 2018

To believe the Republican controlled Senate Judiciary Committee is seeking truth regarding a sexual assault claim against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh by Professor Christine Blasey Ford is asinine. To conduct a hearing in which only Kavanaugh and Blasey Ford will testify, only a few days after the allegation came to light, without an investigation, is asinine. To require Dr. Blasey Ford to present her written testimony by the Friday before the Monday hearing, with only two days notice is asinine.

To refuse to allow the FBI to conduct an investigation before a hearing is held, an investigation in which former U.S. attorneys and prosecutors state is the only proper way in which to conduct the Judiciary Committee’s investigation, is asinine. To refuse to subpoena Kavanaugh’s high school drinking buddy, Mark Judge, whom, based on his many writings might not be the best character reference, whom Dr. Blasey Ford has stated was in the room during the alleged assault, and that she was only able to escape the assault was when Judge jump on top of them, is asinine.

To believe Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, who tweeted “…No other OUTSIDE investigation is necessary for the Cmte to do its investigation” is impartial is asinine. To believe committee member Orin Hatch, who has stated he believes Kavanaugh when the jurist said he wasn’t at the party, and that he seems “honest and straightforward,” or that there are “lots of reasons not to believe” the professor and that she must be “mixed up,” will be impartial is asinine. Or, to believe committee member Lindsey Graham, who has stated that a longer process would be “not about finding the truth, but delaying the process till after the midterm elections,” will be impartial is asinine.

It’s funny how Republicans are so concerned about appointing a Supreme Court justice so quickly, when they saw nothing wrong with not even giving Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee to replace Antonin Scalia, an interview, citing the upcoming presidential election, which was nearly a year away. For Republicans to rush through this nomination, with midterm elections only six weeks away, not to mention the Robert Mueller investigation, which has indicted more than thirty people, including seemingly everyone associated with the president along with many Russians, and appears to be very close to knocking on the White House door, is asinine.

The Senate Judiciary Committee does not appear inclined to learn the truth about this allegation, they only seem hell-bent on appointing a very conservative jurist, someone who now believes a sitting president not only should not be indicted, but not even investigated. This newfound opinion is a complete about-face from his view of that two decades ago, when he co-authored the report that found legal grounds to impeach President Bill Clinton for committing perjury when he lied while trying to cover-up a sex act between two consenting adults.

And that, my friends, is asinine!!!

Steven H. Spring
Earth

An Open Letter To My Congressmen

September 3, 2017

The following is a copy of a letter to my House of Representative regarding the ongoing investigation by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller into the Trump presidential campaign and administration’s collusion with Russia and any potential criminal activities. The gist of my letter concerns the “president” openly boasting that he is about to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions and taking over the investigation himself, in effect, shutting it down completely.

In addition to this letter, I also sent letters to my two Senators as well. Isn’t the word processor a wonderful thing?

Steven H. Spring
Earth

September 1, 2018

The Honorable Warren Davidson
United States House of Representatives
1004 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-3508

Dear Congressman Davidson,

With the reporting this past week by the Washington Post that the “president” (I will stop using quotation marks when the “president” starts acting presidential) will most likely fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions after the November mid-term elections, I must write again to implore my three members of Congress to act now to ensure that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller is allowed to complete his investigation. After all the bad news last week, in which former campaign manager Paul Manafort was found guilty of eight felony counts, personal attorney Michael Cohen plead guilty to eight felony counts, including implicating the “president” on two counts, and both American Media Inc. chairman David Pecker and Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg received immunity from prosecution in exchange for their testimony, it doesn’t take a prosecutor to realize that Mr. Mueller is not only getting close to the “president,” but to everyone associated with him, including his family.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, infamous for his midnight visit to the White House to allegedly view classified documents, going as far as to swap vehicles along the way, recently went to England, to investigate British MI6 agent Christopher Steele and his dossier. It has been reported that British intelligence officers refused to meet with the Congressman. It was also reported Friday night that Department of Justice lawyer Bruce Ohr testified to Congress last week that Steele told him in 2016 that Russian intelligence had the “president” “…over a barrel.” Ohr is also alleged to have said that former Trump campaign aide Carter Page had met with more senior Russian officials than he has previously acknowledged.

To think that the “president” can fire the AG and replace him with one of his cronies, who in turn can completely shut down the Mueller investigation, or lock the final report in a safe, never seeing the light of day is asinine. I’m no constitutional scholar, but this scenario surely cannot be what our founding fathers had in mind. They must be rolling over in their graves. Yet, during a campaign rally in Evansville, Indiana this past Thursday, the “president” told the crowd that if the Justice Department doesn’t “…start doing their job and doing it right,” he will get involved and take over the investigation, something he has said in the past he has every right to do. Senator Lindsey Graham’s one hundred and eighty degree about-face regarding what would happen if Sessions was fired is appalling. It was only a year ago that he stated “there will be holy hell to pay” if Sessions was fired, now he says the “president” has every right, and valid reason to do so.

Is this potential firing not a classic case of obstruction of justice, a crime in which Richard Nixon was charged with the first of three articles of impeachment, although admitting to NBC nightly news host Lester Holton that he fired former FBI director James Comey in a failed attempt to end the investigation enough evidence to warrant an obstruction of justice charge? Congress needs to do the right thing by taking a stand and put country ahead of party and this, or any presidency. Congress is one of the three equal branches of government, it is past time for it to live up to the enormous responsibility given it. Doing so is the only way to restore some sort of its long-lost integrity.

Despite the “president” whining every single day about the rigged witch-hunt, one need only look at all the indictments, guilty pleas and convictions to see that this investigation is anything but that. And those are only the tip of the iceberg, as only Mr. Mueller knows what all else he has uncovered. Political pundits and legal experts all say the “president” has the right to fire the Attorney General and end the investigation, but does that make sense? How can someone being investigated have the right to end an investigation? And, in a funny, ironic sort of way, it is being reported that Republicans have created a spreadsheet, listing all the potential investigations, not to investigate the “president” themselves, but to be prepared to thwart the Democrats, who are expected to take back the House, at the very least come November’s blue wave, or potential tsunami.

Russia hijacked our 2016 election, and yet our government is doing absolutely nothing to ensure they do not do so again this November. I urge you and your fellow members of Congress to do the right thing, and insure that Robert Mueller is allowed to finish his investigation, and let the “president” know that firing Sessions will result in him being charged with obstruction of justice, resulting in him being charged with articles of impeachment.

What better way of honoring the life and spirit of John McCain, than by Congress regrowing its backbone?

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

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