You Want to Honor Our Troops? Re-institute the Draft and Save America

By MIKE SPINDELL

The truth of the matter is that I didn’t serve in the Vietnam War. Besides not believing in it, I was simply not cut out to be in the military, either by temperament, or by physical ability. 640px-SmedleyButlerUS_Navy_Medal_of_Honor_(1913_to_1942)Being in college from 1962 to 1966 I had a student deferment. After college, as the war was really heating up, I feared being drafted. At first I tried to enlist in the Air Force thinking my poor eyesight would put me on ground duty. The recruiter told me that I wasn’t to worry because bombardiers in B52’s could wear glasses. There was no way in hell that I was going to be a bombardier and so I was going to be subject to the draft. I might have split for Canada, but that didn’t seem possible at the time, even though I was an orphan. I went down to Whitehall Street, the New York City Selective Service Center, with no sleep after having spent the night smoking pot and drinking bourbon. At Whitehall you had to strip down to your undershorts and were processed into lines for various physical examinations. The first was for a urine sample and you had to pee into a cup over a long trough, with literally dozens of other men peeing with you. The second was for an eye exam, where I was told my 20x/100x vision, with extreme myopia, was no problem in combat. At the third was an exam of my feet and I was told my fallen arches actually made me a better candidate for marching. And so it went on for hours until I came to the last exam station: blood pressure. They put the cup on me and the medics eyes widened because my blood pressure was 212 over 175. They had me lie down and relax. About 30 minutes later they took it again and it hadn’t gone down. Thinking I had taken something to raise my bp they sent me to the Fort Hamilton Hospital, in Brooklyn, for overnight observance. They tested my pressure four times during the night with no real change. I saw an M.D. in the morning who told me I was being put on a list of those ineligible for the draft, but that they would test me in another year and that I should see a doctor immediately.

I was jubilant as I rode the train back to Queens. I didn’t see a doctor. Knowing that he would put me on a medication to lower my blood pressure and knowing I would have to come back the following year, I didn’t want it lowered. The next year I returned and my bp was still quite high, thus I received a permanent deferment and never had to serve in Vietnam.  I disclose this as a prelude to a suggestion that I’m going to make in this Memorial Day Post, which is that this country should re-institute drafting young people into the military, with the understanding that to do so will unlikely ever affect me or my children. With also the understanding that I marched in Washington in the first large march against the war and those many other marches that followed. Also I believe with General Smedley Butler, Congressional Medal of Honor winner, that “War is a racket”. Permit me to make my case. Continue reading

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Picture of the Day for May 25, 2015: A Political Cartoon for Memorial Day by Rob Rogers

Posted by Elaine Magliaro

6RSt4dJRob Rogers is the award-winning editorial cartoonist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Click here to view more of his political cartoons.

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On the Subject of Hypocrite Mike Huckabee and His Degenerate Pal Rocker Ted Nugent

11269476_10202860269267755_8030692496872741767_nBy Elaine Magliaro

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is good buddies with rock musician and degenerate Ted Nugent. Nugent, a supporter of the Republican party and board member of the NRA, is well-known for his conservative political views and his unhinged rants against Democratic  political figures like President Obama and Hillary Clinton.

An in-depth look at Huckabee’s friend Ted Nugent–courtesy of Dickipedia:

Huckabee attracted a lot of attention earlier this year “when he criticized the president and first lady for letting their daughters listen to Beyoncé’s music – which in his new book he calls ‘obnoxious and toxic mental poison.” The former governor wrote that Beyonce’s husband, Jay-Z, was “arguably crossing the line from husband to pimp by exploiting his wife as a sex object.”

According to TPM, Huckabee compared Obama allowing his daughters to listen to the “toxic mental poison” of Beyoncé’s music to buying a 12-year-old a stripper pole.

Back in January, Jon Stewart called out Mike Huckabee on The Daily Show for palling around with Ted Nugent “and for his hypocrisy when attacking Beyonce.”

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Posted in Barack Obama, Christianity, Conservatives, Homosexual Rights, Religion, Society, United States | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

The Age of Enlightenment, Religious Cowardice and Religious Ignorance

By MIKE SPINDELL

“The Age of Enlightenment (or simply the Enlightenment, or Age of Reason) is an era from the 1650s to the 1780s in which cultural and intellectual forces in Western Europe emphasized reason, analysis, and individualism rather than traditional lines of authority. It was promoted by philosophes and local thinkers in urban coffee houses, salons, and Masonic lodges. It challenged the authority of institutions that were deeply rooted in society, especially the Catholic Church; there was much talk of ways to reform society with toleration, science and skepticism.

Philosophers including Francis Bacon (1562–1626), René Descartes (1596–1650), John Locke (1632–1704), Baruch Spinoza (1632–1677), Pierre Bayle (1647–1706), Voltaire (1694–1778), David Hume (1711–1776), Cesare Beccaria (1738–1794), Immanuel Kant (1724–1804), and Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727)[1] influenced society by publishing widely read works. Upon learning about enlightened views, some rulers met with intellectuals and tried to apply their reforms, such as allowing for toleration, or accepting multiple religions, in what became known as enlightened absolutism. Coinciding with the Age of Enlightenment was the Scientific revolution, spearheaded by Newton.” Here.

The focus of this essay is really on the roots of religious fundamentalism in our modern world, rather than on the philosophical and cultural movement that today we call the “Age of Enlightenment”, or just “The Enlightenment”. My belief is that you can’t understand today’s Fundamentalist Religious fervor among some, without understanding why it came about and why to me at least, represents a regressive movement in human history.

“In his essay What is Enlightenment? (1784), Immanuel Kant described it simply as freedom to use one’s own intelligence.[22] More broadly, the Enlightenment period is marked by increasing empiricism, scientific rigor, and reductionism, along with increased questioning of religious orthodoxy.”

Immanuel_Kant_(painted_portrait)Kant’s essay to me sums up both the promise of “enlightened” thinking and the danger it represented to those narrow religious thinkers unable to conceive of a sea change in human thought. I see a link in the rise of extreme Fundamentalist religious with the “Enlightenment” because its premise of intellectual freedom deeply threatens those who cling to their religion as a way of guiding them through this uncertain life we all lead.

When it comes to Christian Fundamentalism there are two great streams. The earliest of these two strains is Evangelicalism, which has it roots in the 18th Century. The second stream, Dispensationalism, arose in the early 19th Century. The former “Evangelicals are Christians who believe in the centrality of the conversion or “born again” experience in receiving salvation, believe in the authority of the Bible as God’s revelation to humanity and have a strong commitment to evangelism or sharing the Christian message.”Dispensationalism consists of a distinctive eschatological end times perspective, as all dispensationalists hold to premillennialism and most hold to a pretribulation rapture.” For the most part these two threads merged in the 20th Century and make up what is today known as Christian Fundamentalism. I believe it is no accident that Christian Fundamentalism arose following “The Enlightenment”, in fact I think the “threat” to religion posed by “The Enlightenment” was the direct cause of the rise of Fundamentalist movements in the 17th and 18th Centuries. It was the new perspective bought by “Enlightenment” philosophers that threatened certain Christian religious establishments, causing some believers to move to new extremes. As I will show this was not only a Christian phenomenon. Continue reading

Posted in American History, Archaeology, Arkansas, Biology, Buddhism, Carl Jung, Celebrity, Christianity, Climate Change Deniers, Cosmology, Countries, Creationism/Intelligent Design, Deism, Denialism, Duggar Family, Empire, Enlightenment, Evolution, France, Fundamentalism, Germany, Hinduism, Historical Persons, History, Homosexual Rights, Hypocrisy, Iran, Islam, Israel, James Dobson, Joseph Campbell, Judaism, Media, Mike Huckabee, Mythology, Philosophy, Prohibition, Psychology, Racism, Religion, Renaissance, Reproductive Rights, Roman Catholic Church, Saudi Arabia, Science, Scotland, Sexuality, Society, Sociology, State Government, Theism, United Kingdom, United States, Voltaire, War on Drugs, Women's Rights, World History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Mark Fiore Political Cartoon Video about the Trans-Pacific Partnership: “Obama Trades Transparency”

Posted by Elaine Magliaro

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Posted in Animation, Barack Obama, Government, Presidents, Short Video, United States | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Picture of the Day for May 24, 2015: On the Subject of Mike Huckabee’s Hypocrisy

Posted by Elaine Magliaro

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Picture of the Day for May 23, 2015: Regarding Michelle Duggar, Transgender People, a Political Robocall, and Karma Being a Bitch

Posted by Elaine Magliaro

MichelleDuggar

Last summer, Michelle Duggar, the matriarch of TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting” publicly campaigned against an anti-discrimination bill in her home state of Arkansas. She was the voice behind a robocall “opposing a civil rights proposal put forth by Alderman Matthew Petty.” Petty reportedly had “devised the bill to handle complaints from Fayetteville residents who had suffered discrimination pertaining to housing, employment, and other public accommodations.”

The text of Michelle Duggar’s robocall is below the fold.

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Posted in Conservatives, Equal Rights, Politics, United States | Tagged , , , , | 18 Comments