Oliver Stone Commentary On The Elections

Oliver Stone

 

 

Election 2016
Stone writes that Sanders has rescued him from complete despair about our political scene.
By Oliver Stone / Huffington Post VIA ALTERNET

Photo Credit: Screen capture / YouTube
When fear becomes collective, when anger becomes collective, it’s extremely dangerous. It is overwhelming… The mass media and the military-industrial complex create a prison for us, so we continue to think, see, and act in the same way… We need the courage to express ourselves even when the majority is going in the opposite direction… because a change of direction can happen only when there is a collective awakening… Therefore, it is very important to say, ‘I am here!’ to those who share the same kind of insight. — Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist Monk, The Art of Power
I’ve been in deep despair these last few months about our political landscape. This quote from Thich Nhat Hanh recently elevated my spirit, and I share it with you. Because I am — we are — still here! Though it’s clear that the die is cast and that Clinton will win — that is, if you believe in numbers and materialism, but I don’t, not completely.
I enclose here (below) several recent articles, which you need to read to understand how difficult a situation we’ll be in if we continue with a harder-line version of Obama. Hillary Clinton has effectively closed the door on peace, blasting both the Palestinian peace process and the Russians in the same week. NATO is her god, the best thing the “exceptional” US has to export in this new “American Century.”
But who set this policy and who controls this country? Her point of view is steeped in the traditional post-World War II, Atlanticist, NATO-domination of the universe. It’s set in stone. No president it seems, no democratic vote, no dissenting media can alter this. We’re going to be in border, resource, and forever wars for the next 10, 20, 100 years, until Trump (who our shadow government will never allow to exercise power) actually said in his straight way of talking, “our cities go bust.” Our media has been drained and made callous by war, increasingly sensationalized by TV, looking for the next high in the next headline, the more outrageous the better. Modesty in American politics is dead — it’s better to be sensational.
Ironically, as they call Trump unelectable (which he is), it leaves you to think Clinton is the “new normal,” in which case you’ve been deceived by the unnecessary dichotomy that Clinton is actually “respectable” in the same way that Eisenhower/Dulles 1950s were respectable when we went about intervening and overthrowing governments in many countries. But the difference was they at least had the brains not to get into shooting wars. To suggest that NATO should’ve expired in 1991 when the Soviet Union disintegrated, I suppose, isn’t questionable anymore. NATO, which has expanded to 13 countries since 1991, must be supported and Clinton has been brainwashed by the neoconservatives to believe it’s about “Russian aggression” when it’s the United States that’s ensuring the greatest build-up on the European borders of Russia since Hitler did it in World War II.
We’re going to war — either hybrid in nature to break the Russian state back to its 1990s subordination, or a hot war (which will destroy our country). Our citizens should know this, but they don’t because our media is dumbed down in its “Pravda”-like support for our “respectable,” highly aggressive government. We are being led, as C. Wright Mills said in the 1950s, by a government full of “crackpot realists: in the name of realism they’ve constructed a paranoid reality all their own.” Our media has credited Hillary Clinton with wonderful foreign policy experience, unlike Trump, without really noting the results of her power-mongering. She’s comparable to Bill Clinton’s choice of Cold War crackpot Madeleine Albright as one of the worst Secretary of States we’ve had since … Condi Rice? Albright boasted, “If we have to use force it is because we are America; we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future.”
Hillary’s record includes supporting the barbaric “contras” against the Nicaraguan people in the 1980s, supporting the NATO bombing of the former Yugoslavia, supporting the ongoing Bush-Iraq War, the ongoing Afghan mess, and as Secretary of State the destruction of the secular state of Libya, the military coup in Honduras, and the present attempt at “regime change” in Syria. Every one of these situations has resulted in more extremism, more chaos in the world, and more danger to our country. Next will be the borders of Russia, China, and Iran. Look at the viciousness of her recent AIPAC speech (don’t say you haven’t been warned). Can we really bear to watch as Clinton “takes our alliance [with Israel] to the next level”? Where is our sense of proportion? Cannot the media, at the least, call her out on this extremism? The problem, I think, is this political miasma of “correctness” that dominates American thinking (i.e. Trump is extreme, therefore Hillary is not).
This is why I’m praying still for Bernie Sanders, because he’s the only one willing, at least in the name of fiscal sanity, to cut back on our foreign interventions, bring the troops home, and with these trillions of dollars no longer wasted on malice, try to protect the “homeland” by actually rebuilding it and putting money into its people, schools, and infrastructure.
Albert Camus, talking about the doomed Spanish Civil War in the 1930s wrote, “Men of my generation have had Spain in our hearts. It was there that they learned … that one can be right and yet be beaten, that force can vanquish spirit, and that there are times when courage is not rewarded.” It’s true the light was extinguished for generations in Spain. America was sleeping, but it finally did the right thing and went to war against Fascism. I believe Fascism is still our greatest enemy and its face is everywhere in our so-called “democracies.” It was always about the moneyed interests that had the power. That is what Fascism is and that is the danger we are in now. Sanders talks about money, listen to him. He talks cogently about money and its power to distort. He’s the only one who has raised his voice against the corruption in our politics. Clinton has embraced this corruption.
“The Clinton/Trump AIPAC ‘Pander-Off,’“ by Robert Parry
“Critics Aghast at ‘Disgusting Speech’ Clinton Just Gave to AIPAC,” by Lauren McCauley
“Fearing Sanders as ‘Closet Realist,’“ by Robert Parry
“A World War has Begun. Break the Silence,” by John Pilger
“Risking Nuclear War for Al-Qaeda,” by Robert Parry
“Neocon Kagan Endorses Hillary Clinton,” by Robert Parry
“Sanders the ‘Realist’: Hillary the ‘Neocon,’“ by Robert Parry
“A Crazy Establishment Demands ‘Sanity,’“ by Robert Parry

Hillary Rodham Clinton The Queen Of Chaos

” Terrorism is a poor man’s war. War is a rich man’s terrorism.” Peter Ustanov

Never ending, earth destroying, life killing, war machine fueled with our tax dollars and the lives of the youth of the world….making some folks very very rich on the blood and sorrow of human kind.

This is the deep underlying base of the neo liberal iceberg wrecking our country and ruining lives here and across the globe. The cost of war is everything else in society. Constant destruction is theft of life and limb, food and shelter from the many for the enrichment of the few. We need investment in constructing a just, viable, society supportive of life on earth. There are many, many reasons NOT to vote for Clinton and by proxy empowering her corporatist, bankster, racist, fracking-extracting, polluting, debt machine, kleptocrat friends on both sides of the aisle. Interesting to track how very rich the Clinton’s became while in office. But the intense disregard for human life tops the list.

There is no legitimate reason so many people have to suffer in this country and abroad because of US militarism and scorched earth policy madness. The status quo is evil. I will be voting for BERNIE in the primary and IF in his absence from the general election, JILL STEIN of Green Party. Maureen

Following is a special message from Diana Johnston on Hillary Clinton.

April 12, 2016
About a year ago, I concluded my book on Hillary Clinton, Queen of Chaos, with a fairly pessimistic chapter on the “War Party” which controls United States foreign policy. At the time, I wrote:
“A last-minute peace candidate would be a divine surprise. But a real alternative to the War Party must be built up over time…”
In fact, this primary campaign has produced a couple of surprises, more earthly than divine. Both surprises reveal widespread grass roots discontent with both Hillary Clinton and the whole American political establishment. However, this discontent so far fails to focus on the point of my book: the need to combat the ideology and practice of U.S. war policy personified by Hillary Clinton. Where is the effective alternative to the War Party?

Donald Trump has made it clear he wants to end the current hysterical anti-Putin pre-war propaganda and do business with Russia. This sounds like a major step toward preventing nuclear war. All to the good. The problem is, Trump is a lone wolf. Many of his supporters seem more excited by style than by content. Their multiple incoherent grudges against the system do not add up to an anti-war movement. Trump is unpredictable, and it is hard to see where he would find the foreign policy team and the support needed to overthrow the entrenched foreign policy elite.
With Bernie Sanders, things are a bit the other way around. The Sanders campaign is creating an enthusiastic popular movement, with specific aims in domestic policy. Bernie calls for a “political revolution” and insists that he cannot accomplish all this by himself. All to the good. But Bernie Sanders has said little about foreign policy. The radical shift in domestic priorities advocated by Bernie implies drastic cuts in military spending, but he has not been spelling this out. Despite his strong opposition to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, he has been susceptible to the “humanitarian” war cries of the liberal interventionists, who would certainly strive to take charge of his foreign policy should he miraculously be elected.
So, Trump has the defiance, and Bernie has the movement.
What is still lacking in this campaign is clear denunciation of the very worst of Hillary Clinton’s many negative traits: her eagerness to go to war. And it is not merely Hillary who needs to be defeated: it is the entire militaristic power structure she represents.
One hopeful sign is the resignation from the Democratic National Committee of Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard in order bring her strong voice against “regime change” wars into the Sanders campaign. There is a chance that as it develops, anti-war sentiment may grow more explicit in the Sanders movement, influencing Bernie himself and providing the social force needed to confront the liberal interventionists within the Democratic Party.
The occasion of this campaign should be seized not only to expose the lies of Hillary Clinton, but also to seek freedom from America’s seven decades of subjugation to the military-industrial complex and its organic intellectuals who never cease conjuring up “threats” and “enemies” to justify the war economy. This entire policy needs to be exposed, denounced and rejected. That is what I tried to do in Queen of Chaos.
CounterPunch invited me to write this letter to advertise my book at this crucial time, but I prefer to quote someone I admire, David Swanson, who wrote:

“Diana Johnstone’s forthcoming book, Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton, succeeds in providing an understanding of Hillary Clinton’s own worldview like nothing else I’ve read — and it does so despite being largely not about Hillary Clinton. Johnstone’s book is culture and political criticism at its finest. It’s a study of the American neo-liberal, with a particular focus here-and-there on Clinton. I strongly recommend reading it, whatever your level of interest in the ‘Queen of Chaos’ herself, for its illumination of the ideologies underlying U.S. adventurism, exceptionalism, and ‘responsibility to protect’, obsession with identifying believable threats of ‘genocide’ in nations disloyal to Washington or Wall Street.”
Sincerely,

Diana Johnstone

Diana Johnstone is the author of Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO, and Western Delusions. Her latest book is Queen of Chaos: the Misadventures of Hillary Clinton.

CounterPunch
P.O. Box 228
Petrolia, CA 95558
707-629-3683 or 800-840-3683

A Damning Look At The Cancer Industry

This first in a series of free video stories
About the cancer industry tells more about
The medical industrial complex than any
Other so far. It’s long but organized and comprehensive. Plus it’s daming! Say it
If you can’t see right now. But never go
To see an oncologist for cancer treatments.
The best is five years never a cure, and a miserable end of life experience. Clic in Mexico gets cures, in expensively.

(WO2017)

What an amazing first episode of “The Truth About Cancer: A Global Quest,” and thank you everyone for all the kind words and feedback!

We’re so honored to be able to give this to you and your family. 🙂

If you haven’t watched yet, be sure to go here asap to watch today before we take it down to move on to Episode 2 for tonight.

(If you did watch, further below you’ll find the link to Episode 2 for tonight in case you want it in advance.)

Here’s just a few of the comments about it so far:

“This first episode of “The Truth About Cancer” was mind blowing. I knew about some of the information, however, what I learned tonight was way more, and I’m sure that the rest of the series will be even more phenomenal. If you have not tuned in to this series, you’re doing yourself an injustice.”

“I’m 40 minutes in and my impression is “this is brutal!” Brutally honest and something I hope everyone watches & learns about.”

“This is the best 2 hours I’ve ever spent in my entire life. Thank you so very much for caring enough about others to provide this so very important information. I can’t wait for the remaining episodes.”

“This has been the most eye-opening documentary I have seen in a very long time!!! Everyone needs to watch this and you will learn more than you ever thought you could about cancer and the lies we have been told.”

This is a powerful show where you learn the history of Chemotherapy — and how “involved” the pharmaceutical industry really is in what people are and are not being told about how to prevent and beat cancer — in a way like you’ve probably never heard it described.

I think you’re going to love it too. 🙂

Go here to watch the replay right now.

https://go2.thetruthaboutcancer.com/agq/episode-1/

BTW — We received some feedback that not everyone got the email yesterday with the link to watch so here’s what I suggest.

1. Make sure that you add us (info@thetruthaboutcancer.com) to your contact list in your email service (Yahoo, Gmail, etc.). This will ensure that you get all our emails.

2. Follow us on Facebook — we’re going to share the links for each episode on our Facebook page as well — follow us on Facebook here

Okay, that’s it for now.

I’ll see you at 9:00pm Eastern US time tonight for Episode 2: “Cancer Facts and Fictions, Breast Cancer, Hormones, Skin Cancer.”

Ty Bollinger

PS. Please watch your email because later I’ll be sending you the link to watch tonight’s Episode 2 that starts at 9pm Eastern 🙂

If you aren’t sure what time that is in your time zone, then check out www.time.gov

P.P.S. This was discussed yesterday and deserves mention again.

We’re doing something extra special with this series that we tested last year and everyone absolutely LOVED it.

We want to make sure that you have everything you need to prevent and treat cancer and that means answering questions that you may have along the way.

On each episode page, there will be a section titled “Live Q&A With Ty & Charlene” where you can submit your top 2 questions about that specific episode (or topic) and at the end of the series, we’re going to hold a Live video broadcast where we’ll answer all your top questions from each episode.

This way you’re guaranteed to get as much information as possible so that you have everything you need to live a long healthy life. 🙂

And again, head here now to see Episode 1 if you missed it before we have to take it down for tonight’s Episode 2.

https://go2.thetruthaboutcancer.com/agq/episode-1/

——

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RT America Reports That U.S. Has Almost Depleted Bomb Arsenal


RT America has uploaded US almost out of bombs, dropped 20,000 last year alone
RT America

According to Air Force chief of staff General Mark Welsh, we are dropping so many bombs, that we are now running out. The Pentagon’s stockpile of them is almost gone. Through Operation Inherent Resolve, against ISIS, the US has dropped laser and GPS guided bombs, Joint Direct Attack Munitions bombs, Joint Standoff Weapons, and air-to-ground missiles. Each one of those ranges from about $25,000 to $400,000. We even dropped Tomahawk cruise missiles, which can cost about one million dollars each. We have dropped so many bombs that are so expensive, not to mention the devastation they each cause. All told, in 2015, in just Iraq and Syria, the US dropped more than 20,000 bombs and missiles. The Resident discusses. Follow The Resident athttp://www.twitter.com/TheResident

Find RT America in your area: http://rt.com/where-to-watch/
Or watch us online: http://rt.com/on-air/rt-america-air/

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Follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/RT_Amer… (More)

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The Middle East In A Nutshell

A year ago, shortly after some atrocity in the Middle East (I can’t remember which one – there are so many), our Commander-in-Chief ordered our military to “degrade and ultimately defeat” ISIS in Syria. The military said “Yes, Sir, Sir,” and according to published reports, the CIA then tried to conjure into existence a fighting force of 5000 bloodthirsty fighters, to “ultimately defeat” roughly 30,000 ISIS psychopaths. (I apologize for the split infinitive, even though it’s not my fault.)

According to published reports, the CIA then spent something like $500,000,000 to provide monthly paid vacations for locals, in some peaceful neighboring country, under the guise of training them. This resulted in “four or five” CIA-trained soldiers fighting against ISIS in Syria. Four or five. That’s not even enough for a minyan.

Obviously, for that kind of money, the CIA must have trained more than four or five soldiers, right? So what happened to the rest of these fearsome fighters? Well, because geography, they had to pass through al-Nusra territory to get near ISIS. (In Syria, Al-Nusra is what passes these days for al-Qaida.) According to published reports, al-Nusra arrested a bunch of the CIA-trained fighters at a checkpoint. And another bunch decided to turn their weapons over to al-Nusra, and fight for al-Nusra instead. Yes, that’s right – the CIA-trained and armed soldiers went to work for al-Qaida. Just like the old days, in Afghanistan.

Not to be left out of the game, DOD undertook its own “degrade and defeat” effort. Going back to Saddam Hussein times, there has been a long love affair between DOD and Kurdish militia forces, the Peshmerga. DOD calls them “the Pesh,” because that’s a really good name. Unlike the Iraqi Army, the Peshmerga have done a reasonably good job at protecting Kurdish areas in Iraq within their control from falling to ISIS. According to published reports, DOD has sought to exploit this, by arming the Peshmerga with tons and tons of weapons (literally – tons), and encouraging the Peshmerga to fight ISIS in Syria(not in Iraq, because that’s the job of the Iraqi Army, even though the Iraqi Army is exceedingly bad at it). To make this seem palatable to the Arabs (not Kurds) who live in the area to which the Peshmerga was sent to fight, DOD invented a no-show Arab armed force called the “Syrian Democratic Forces.” In other words, unlike the CIA, which paid lots and lots of coin to fail to create a fighting force, DOD simply made one up.

Unfortunately, again, geography. According to published reports, the Peshmerga fighters, armed by DOD, decided to attack marginally Kurdish areas north of Aleppo, rather than attacking ISIS in Arab areas south of Aleppo. Which pitted them against the CIA-backed fighters who had joined al-Nusra. So we now have created two proxy armies, who are fighting each other.

Who will win? Well, for sure, the arms manufacturers. And the military-industrial complex.

Here is a very good example of what Presidential candidate Barack Obama referred to, in 2008, as a “dumb war.” A very dumb war. Please contribute to our campaign and help elect me to the Senate, where I can expose it, condemn it, and shut ‘er down >>

Wait – there’s more. The Peshmerga may be teacher’s pets as far as we’re concerned, but our ally Turkey regards them as terrorists. So as we’ve been arming them, the Turkish Air Force has been bombing them. Because if the enemy of my enemy is my friend, then I suppose that the friend of my friend must be my enemy.

My head hurts.

Here is some recent history that we all know, but hate to think about: We backed al-Qaida against the Soviet Union, and al-Qaida then perpetrated the 9/11 attacks against us. We armed Saddam Hussein against Iran, which not only perpetuated an extremely bloody war between Iraq and Iran, but also facilitated Saddam’s occupation of Kuwait. The Bush Administration lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in order to rationalize an attack, told us that the war would be over in a week, and then launched a decade-long occupation — followed, very quickly, by the disintegration of the country. Our decapitation of the Gaddafi regime in Libya has set off a civil war, and chaos that may last for a generation. Our interference in Egypt somehow has caused both the coup-installed regime and the Muslim Brotherhood government that it overthrew to despise us – not an easy thing to do. The CIA conducts drone attacks all over the place, and it refers to targeted children as “fun-size terrorists.”

I feel nauseous.

In Congress, I conducted the first and only Congressional hearing regarding the innocent victims of drone attacks in Pakistan. That hearing led to a one-year pause in those attacks.

When a third American war in the Middle East loomed, I did seven national TV interviews in one day, patiently and successfully making the case for peace.

And before I was elected to Congress, I spent years of my life waging what the Wall Street Journal referred to as a one-man war against contractor fraud in Iraq.

Now I ask for your help to wage a new war:

A war against stupid meddling in the affairs of others.

A war for peace.

Show your support for PEACE, by contributiong to our campaign today >>

Courage,

Rep. Alan Grayson

 

Michelle Alexander’s Message On Presidential Race

Below are excerpts from Michelle Alexander’s article in The Nation titled “Why Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote.”

“[Hillary Clinton is] facing a democratic socialist who promises a political revolution that will bring universal healthcare, a living wage, an end to rampant Wall Street greed, and the dismantling of the vast prison state—many of the same goals that Martin Luther King Jr. championed at the end of his life. Even so, black folks are sticking with the Clinton brand. …

“On the campaign trail, Bill Clinton made the economy his top priority. … In practice, however, he capitulated entirely to the right-wing backlash against the civil-rights movement and embraced former president Ronald Reagan’s agenda on race, crime, welfare, and taxes—ultimately doing more harm to black communities than Reagan ever did. …

“Bill Clinton presided over the largest increase in federal and state prison inmates of any president in American history. … He supported the 100-to-1 sentencing disparity for crack versus powder cocaine, which produced staggering racial injustice in sentencing and boosted funding for drug-law enforcement.

“Clinton championed the idea of a federal ‘three strikes’ law in his 1994 State of the Union address and, months later, signed a $30 billion crime bill that created dozens of new federal capital crimes, mandated life sentences for some three-time offenders, and authorized more than $16 billion for state prison grants and the expansion of police forces. …

“When Clinton left office in 2001, the United States had the highest rate of incarceration in the world. Human Rights Watch reported that in seven states, African Americans constituted 80 to 90 percent of all drug offenders sent to prison, even though they were no more likely than whites to use or sell illegal drugs. … All of the presidents since 1980 have contributed to mass incarceration, but as Equal Justice Initiative founder Bryan Stevenson recently observed, ‘President Clinton’s tenure was the worst.’ …

“In her support for the 1994 crime bill, [Hillary Clinton] used racially coded rhetoric to cast black children as animals. ‘They are not just gangs of kids anymore,’ she said. ‘They are often the kinds of kids that are called “super-predators.” No conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.’ …

“As unemployment rates sank to historically low levels for white Americans in the 1990s, the jobless rate among black men in their 20s who didn’t have a college degree rose to its highest level ever. … Why is this not common knowledge? Because government statistics like poverty and unemployment rates do not include incarcerated people. …

“To make matters worse, the federal safety net for poor families was torn to shreds by the Clinton administration in its effort to ‘end welfare as we know it.’ … Experts and pundits disagree about the true impact of welfare reform, but one thing seems clear: Extreme poverty doubled to 1.5 million in the decade and a half after the law was passed. …

“Perhaps most alarming, Clinton also made it easier for public-housing agencies to deny shelter to anyone with any sort of criminal history (even an arrest without conviction) and championed the ‘one strike and you’re out’ initiative, which meant that families could be evicted from public housing because one member (or a guest) had committed even a minor offense. …

“Hillary Clinton is still singing the same old tune in a slightly different key. She is arguing that we ought not be seduced by Bernie’s rhetoric because we must be ‘pragmatic,’ ‘face political realities,’ and not get tempted to believe that we can fight for economic justice and win.”

Here’s a quick way to help build the movement: Forward this email to all Californians and ask them to
1) Read Michelle Alexander’s full article.
2) Vote for Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary.
3) Sign our petition asking Superdelegates to vote the way the voters of their state vote.

— The RootsAction.org team

P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Coleen Rowley, Frances Fox Piven, Lila Garrett, Phil Donahue, Sonali Kolhatkar, and many others.

www.RootsAction.org

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Old Movie Review: Men in Black

Short Comment on the Movie Men in Black.

By William Olkowski, PHD 7.20.12

I saw this as a spoof on the genre of save the world by superheroes. Here the world is saved by what must be a sort of secret police. That’s so odd that its worth some attention. After all, the way to take over a society is through the secret police. Every dictator knows this. And one of the ways I think about what is common, accepted or dominant at a time in society is probably the opposite of what is actually happening.

I saw the movie twice because I liked the animations and because of the role cockroaches and pest control played. I am always interested in how insects are used in film. But in general, insects are objects of fear in most cases. I don’t see them solely in that way. For example, some can be objects of beauty. But there are a small important minority that , others threaten by their bites and stings, and others are competitors for our foods and destroy our artifacts including houses. The beauty part in dramas is usually left out.

Normally what is dramatized is a tired view of the most common forms of life: the bad part. Why do people go to the movies to experience fear? The news is enough for me. Further, to degrade those who fight for justice and try to save humanity from its coming disasters against factionary problems is to deflect the real work and direction of how we are to avoid the triple threats of: world wide temperature increases, nuclear accidents and war, and the widespread global contamination of the planet from “Cides” of all sorts, the worst of which are GMO organisms because they pollute the genetic banks of all species.

This sort of deflection is a common practice as our current GOP and political Theater confirms. I wonder to whom such dramas like the Men in Black are directed? Maybe its 14 year old boys like those who fell for Star Wars with its upgraded WWII dog fights as the key feature.

But humor in all its forms can be a needed distraction for some. Me, I am naturally distracted by my inner thoughts and need to practice focus and examine my thoughts regularly to see what is slipping through my net of perceptions. Men in Black filled the bill for me once upon a brief time. But some of the themes are old, tired, and over worn, plus a waste of time.

10 Facts to Burst GOP Brains

Ten True Facts Guaranteed to Short-Circuit Republican Brains

By Richard Riis
Tuesday Sep 04, 2012 • 11:32 AM PDT

As a public service to those who find themselves inextricably cornered by aggressively ill-informed Republicans at work, on the train or at family gatherings, presented here are ten indisputably true facts that will seriously challenge a Republican’s worldview and probably blow a brain cell or two. At the very least, any one of these GOP-busters should stun and confuse them long enough for you to slip quietly away from a pointless debate and allow you to get on about your business.
1. The United States is not a Christian nation, and the Bible is not the cornerstone of our law.

Don’t take my word for it. Let these Founding Fathers speak for themselves:
John Adams: “The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.” (Treaty of Tripoli, 1797)
Thomas Jefferson: “Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law.” (Letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814)
James Madison: “The civil government … functions with complete success … by the total separation of the Church from the State.” (Writings, 8:432, 1819)
George Washington: “If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.” (Letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia, May 1789)
You can find a multitude of similar quotes from these men and most others who signed the Declaration of Independence and/or formulated the United States Constitution. These are hardly the words of men who believed that America should be a Christian nation governed by the Bible, as a disturbingly growing number of Republicans like to claim.
2. The Pledge of Allegiance was written by a socialist.

The Pledge was written in 1892 for public school celebrations of the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ arrival in the Americas. Its author was Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister, Christian socialist and cousin of socialist utopian novelist Edward Bellamy. Christian socialism maintains, among other ideas, that capitalism is idolatrous and rooted in greed, and the underlying cause of much of the world’s social inequity. Definitely more “Occupy Wall Street” than “Grand Old Party” by anyone’s standard.
3. The first president to propose national health insurance was a Republican.

He was also a trust-busting, pro-labor, Nobel Peace Prize-winning environmentalist. Is there any wonder why Theodore Roosevelt, who first proposed a system of national health insurance during his unsuccessful Progressive Party campaign to retake the White House from William Howard Taft in 1912, gets scarce mention at Republican National Conventions these days?
4. Ronald Reagan once signed a bill legalizing abortion.

The Ronald Reagan Republicans worship today is more myth than reality. Reagan was a conservative for sure, but also a practical politician who understood the necessities of compromise. In the spring of 1967, four months into his first term as governor of California, Ronald Reagan signed a bill that, among its other provisions, legalized abortion for the vaguely-defined “well being” of the mother. Reagan may have been personally pro-life, but in this instance he was willing to compromise in order to achieve other ends he considered more important. That he claimed later to regret signing the bill doesn’t change the fact that he did. As Casey Stengel liked to say, “You could look it up.”
5. Reagan raised federal taxes eleven times.

Okay, Ronald Reagan cut tax rates more than any other president – with a big asterisk. Sure, the top rate was reduced from 70% in 1980 all the way down to 28% in 1988, but while Republicans typically point to Reagan’s tax-cutting as the right approach to improving the economy, Reagan himself realized the resulting national debt from his revenue slashing was untenable, so he quietly raised other taxes on income – primarily Social Security and payroll taxes – no less than eleven times. Most of Reagan’s highly publicized tax cuts went to the usual Republican handout-takers in the top income brackets, while his stealth tax increases had their biggest impact on the middle class. These increases were well hidden inside such innocuous-sounding packages as the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982, the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 and the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987. Leave it to a seasoned actor to pull off such a masterful charade.
6. Roe v. Wade was a bipartisan ruling made by a predominantly Republican-appointed Supreme Court.

Technically, Roe v. Wade did not make abortion legal in the United States; the Supreme Court’s decision held only that individual states could not make abortion illegal. That being said, the landmark 1973 ruling that Republicans love to hate, was decided on a 7-2 vote that broke down like this:
Majority (for Roe): Chief Justice Warren Burger (conservative, appointed by Nixon), William O. Douglas (liberal, appointed by FDR), William J. Brennan (liberal, appointed by Eisenhower), Potter Stewart (moderate, appointed by Eisenhower), Thurgood Marshall (liberal, appointed by LBJ), Harry Blackmun (author of the majority opinion and a conservative who eventually turned liberal, appointed by Nixon), Lewis Powell (moderate, appointed by Nixon). Summary: 2 conservatives, 3 liberals, 2 moderates.
Dissenting (for Wade): Byron White (generally liberal/sometimes conservative, appointed by JFK), William Rehnquist (conservative, appointed by Nixon). Summary: 1 liberal, 1 conservative.
By ideological orientation, the decision was for Roe all the way: conservatives 2-1, liberals 3-1, moderates 2-0; by party of presidential appointment it was Republicans 5-1, Democrats 2-1. No one can rightly say that this was a leftist court forcing its liberal beliefs on America.
7. The Federal Reserve System was a Republican invention.

Republicans, and, truth be told, many Democrats, despise the Federal Reserve as an example of government interference in the free market. But hold everything: The Federal Reserve System was the brainchild of financial expert and Senate Republican leader Nelson Aldrich, grandfather of future Republican governor and vice president Nelson Rockefeller. Aldrich set up two commissions: one to study the American monetary system in depth and the other, headed by Aldrich himself, to study the European central banking systems. Aldrich went to Europe opposed to centralized banking, but after viewing Germany’s monetary system he came away believing that a centralized bank was better than the government-issued bond system that he had previously supported. The Federal Reserve Act, developed around Senator Aldrich’s recommendations and – adding insult to injury in the minds of today’s Republicans – based on a European model, was signed into law in 1913.
8. The Environmental Protection Agency was, too.

The United States Environment Protection Agency, arch-enemy of polluters in particular and government regulation haters in general, was created by President Richard Nixon. In his 1970 State of the Union Address, Nixon proclaimed the new decade a period of environmental transformation. Shortly thereafter he presented Congress an unprecedented 37-point message on the environment, requesting billions for the improvement of water treatment facilities, asking for national air quality standards and stringent guidelines to lower motor vehicle emissions, and launching federally-funded research to reduce automobile pollution. Nixon also ordered a clean-up of air- and water-polluting federal facilities, sought legislation to end the dumping of wastes into the Great Lakes, proposed a tax on lead additives in gasoline, and approved a National Contingency Plan for the treatment of petroleum spills. In July 1970 Nixon declared his intention to establish the Environmental Protection Agency, and that December the EPA opened for business. Hard to believe, but if it hadn’t been for Watergate, we might remember Richard Nixon today as the “environmental president”.
Oh, yes – Republicans might enjoy knowing Nixon was an advocate of national health insurance, too.
9. Obama has increased government spending less than any president in at least a generation.

Republican campaign strategists may lie, but the numbersdon’t. Government spending, when adjusted for inflation, has increased during his administration (to date) by 1.4%. Under George W. Bush, the increases were 7.3% (first term) and 8.1% (second term). Bill Clinton, in his two terms, comes in at 3.2% and 3.9%. George H. W. Bush increased government spending by 5.4%, while Ronald Reagan added 8.7% and 4.9% in his two terms.
Not only does Obama turn out to be the most thrifty president in recent memory, but the evidence shows that Republican administrations consistently increased government spending significantly more than any Democratic administration. Go figure.
10. President Obama was not only born in the United States, his roots run deeper in American history than most people know.

The argument that Barack Obama was born anywhere but at Kapiolani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii, is not worth addressing; the evidence is indisputable by any rational human being. But not even irrational “birthers” can dispute Obama’s well-documented family tree on his mother’s side. By way of his Dunham lineage, President Obama has at least 11 direct ancestors who took up arms and fought for American independence in the Revolutionary War and two others cited as patriots by the Daughters of the American Revolution for furnishing supplies to the colonial army. This star-spangled heritage makes Obama eligible to join the Sons of the American Revolution, and his daughters the Daughters of the American Revolution. Not bad for someone 56% of Republicans still believe is a foreigner.
Okay, feel free to drop any or all of these ten true facts on your local Republican windbag. Tell him or her to put any of these choice nuggets in his or her teabag and steep it. Then sit back and enjoy the silence.
Note: Although the facts are 100% true, the context is, of course, one of humor; the oxymoronic reference to “Republican Brains” in the title should have been a dead giveaway. Additionally, as everyone knows, there are no facts in the Republican cosmos, only Fox News Alerts.