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  • Founder of Citizens' Oversight Projects, Anti-Blackwater activist, published author (Coils of the Serpent)

    Prior candidate, U.S. Congress, 52nd Congressional District of California -- Visit my site at VoteRayLutz.com
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    "You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, burning bushes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd and primitive stories, and you say that we are the ones that need help?"
    — Mark Twain

    "I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it."
    — Mark Twain

    "A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way."
    — Mark Twain

    "When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years."
    — Mark Twain

    "[The Bible] has noble poetry in it... and some good morals and a wealth of obscenity, and upwards of a thousand lies."
    — Mark Twain

    "If Christ were here now there is one thing he would not be – a Christian."
    — Mark Twain

    "Politicians are like diapers; they need to be changed often and for the same reason."
    — Mark Twain

    "In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing."
    — Mark Twain

    "Every time you stop a school, you will have to build a jail. What you gain at one end you lose at the other. It's like feeding a dog on his own tail. It won't fatten the dog."
    — Mark Twain

    "There has never been a just [war], never an honorable one--on the part of the instigator of the war. I can see a million years ahead, and this rule will never change in so many as half a dozen instances. The loud little handful--as usual--will shout for the war. The pulpit will--warily and cautiously--object--at first; the great, big, dull bulk of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes and try to make out why there should be a war, and will say, earnestly and indignantly, 'It is unjust and dishonorable, and there is no necessity for it.' Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen, and at first will have a hearing and be applauded; but it will not last long; those others will outshout them, and presently the anti-war audiences will thin out and lose popularity. Before long you will see this curious thing: the speakers stoned from the platform, and free speech strangled by hordes of furious men who in their secret hearts are still at one with those stoned speakers--as earlier--but do not dare say so. And now the whole nation--pulpit and all--will take up the war-cry, and shout itself hoarse, and mob any honest man who ventures to open his mouth; and presently such mouths will cease to open. Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception."
    — Mark Twain (The Mysterious Stranger and Other Stories)

    "The so-called Christian nations are the most enlightened and progressive ... but in spite of their religion, not because of it. The Church has opposed every innovation and discovery from the day of Galileo down to our own time, when the use of anesthetic in childbirth was regarded as a sin because it avoided the biblical curse pronounced against Eve. And every step in astronomy and geology ever taken has been opposed by bigotry and superstition. The Greeks surpassed us in artistic culture and in architecture five hundred years before Christian religion was born."
    — Mark Twain

    "If we would learn what the human race really is at bottom, we need only observe it in election times."
    — Mark Twain

    "Man is a Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion--several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat if his theology isn't straight. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother's path to happiness and heaven....The higher animals have no religion. And we are told that they are going to be left out in the Hereafter. I wonder why? It seems questionable taste."
    — Mark Twain

    "I like Joan of Arc best of all my books; and it is the best; I know it perfectly well."
    — Mark Twain (Joan of Arc)

    "That's the difference between governments and individuals. Governments don't care, individuals do."
    — Mark Twain (A Tramp Abroad)

    "In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."
    — Mark Twain

    "I don't know how you feel, but I'm pretty sick of church people. You know what they ought to do with churches? Tax them. If holy people are so interested in politics, government, and public policy, let them pay the price of admission like everybody else. The Catholic Church alone could wipe out the national debt if all you did was tax their real estate."
    — George Carlin

    "Society is like a stew. If you don't stir it up every once in a while then a layer of scum floats to the top."
    — Edward Abbey

    "In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress. "
    — John Adams

    "In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion."
    — Carl Sagan

    "I'm worried that students will take their obedient place in society and look to become successful cogs in the wheel - let the wheel spin them around as it wants without taking a look at what they're doing. I'm concerned that students not become passive acceptors of the official doctrine that's handed down to them from the White House, the media, textbooks, teachers and preachers"
    — Howard Zinn

    "Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists."
    — Franklin D. Roosevelt

    "If by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people-their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties-someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal", then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal."
    — John F. Kennedy (Profiles in Courage)

    "The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them."
    — Karl Marx

    "Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac."
    — George Orwell

    "Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have."
    — Winston S. Churchill

    "When religion and politics travel in the same cart, the riders believe nothing can stand in their way. Their movements become headlong - faster and faster and faster. They put aside all thoughts of obstacles and forget the precipice does not show itself to the man in a blind rush until it's to late."
    — Frank Herbert (Dune)

    "I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world and do not find in our particular superstition [Christianity] one redeeming feature."
    — Thomas Jefferson

    "Why worry about minor little details like clean air, clean water, safe ports and the safety net when Jesus is going to give the world an "Extreme Makeover: Planet Edition" right after he finishes putting Satan in his place once and for all?"
    — Arianna Huffington

    "The challenge remains. On the other side are formidable forces: money, political power, the major media. On our side are the people of the world and a power greater than money or weapons: the truth.
    Truth has a power of its own. Art has a power of its own. That age-old lesson – that everything we do matters – is the meaning of the people’s struggle here in the United States and everywhere. A poem can inspire a movement. A pamphlet can spark a revolution. Civil disobedience can arouse people and provoke us to think, when we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress. We live in a beautiful country. But people who have no respect for human life, freedom, or justice have taken it over. It is now up to all of us to take it back."
    — Howard Zinn (A Power Governments Cannot Suppress)

    "American political opportunities are loaded against those who are simultaneously intelligent and honest."
    — Richard Dawkins

    "At some point in our lifetime, gay marriage won't be an issue, and everyone who stood against this civil right will look as outdated as George Wallace standing on the school steps keeping James Hood from entering the University of Alabama because he was black."
    — George Clooney

    "Extremes to the right and to the left of any political dispute are always wrong."
    — Dwight D. Eisenhower

    "I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world - no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men."
    — Woodrow Wilson

    "People often ask me where I stand politically. It's not that I disagree with Bush's economic policy or his foreign policy, it's that I believe he was a child of Satan sent here to destroy the planet Earth. Little to the left."
    — Bill Hicks

    "There's no black and white, left and right to me anymore; there's only up and down and down is very close to the ground. And I'm trying to go up without thinking about anything trivial such as politics. They have got nothing to do with it. I'm thinking about the general people and when they get hurt."
    — Bob Dylan

    "To oppose something is to maintain it... You must go somewhere else; you must have another goal; then you walk a different road."
    — Ursula K. Le Guin

    "Corrupt politicians make the other ten percent look bad."
    — Henry Kissinger

    "It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who gain by the new ones. "
    — Niccolò Machiavelli

    "Everyone should have health insurance? I say everyone should have health care. I'm not selling insurance."
    — Dennis Kucinich

    "If you surround yourself with the good and righteous, they can only raise you up. If you surround yourself with the others, they will drag you down into the doldrums of mediocrity, and they will keep you there, but only as long as you permit it."
    — Mark Glamack

    "The federal government did not create the states; the states created the federal government."
    — Ronald Reagan

    "A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have."
    — Thomas Jefferson

    "The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance."
    — Marcus Tullius Cicero

    "Jokes of the proper kind, properly told, can do more to enlighten questions of politics, philosophy, and literature than any number of dull arguments."
    — Isaac Asimov

    "In politics we presume that everyone who knows how to get votes knows how to administer a city or a state. When we are ill... we do not ask for the handsomest physician, or the most eloquent one."
    — Plato

    "It is useless for sheep to pass a resolution in favor of vegetarianism while wolves remain of a different opinion."
    — William Inge

    "There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right."
    — Martin Luther King Jr.

    "Republicans approve of the American farmer, but they are willing to help him go broke. They stand four-square for the American home--but not for housing. They are strong for labor--but they are stronger for restricting labor's rights. They favor minimum wage--the smaller the minimum wage the better. They endorse educational opportunity for all--but they won't spend money for teachers or for schools. They think modern medical care and hospitals are fine--for people who can afford them. They consider electrical power a great blessing--but only when the private power companies get their rake-off. They think American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it."
    — Harry S. Truman

    "the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary."
    — H.L. Mencken (In Defense of Women)

    "The more you observe politics, the more you've got to admit that each party is worse than the other."
    — Will Rogers

    "We should resolve now that the health of this nation is a national concern; that financial barriers in the way of attaining health shall be removed; that the health of all it's citizens deserves the help of all the nation."
    — Harry S. Truman

    "You know what's truly weird about any financial crisis? We made it up. Currency, money, finance, they're all social inventions. When the sun comes up in the morning it's shining on the same physical landscape, all the atoms are in place."
    — Bruce Sterling

    "Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children's children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance."
    — Theodore Roosevelt

    "Especially now when views are becoming more polarized, we must work to understand each other across political, religious and national boundaries."
    — Jane Goodall

    "Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket."
    — Eric Hoffer (The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements)

    "Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time: the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge,
    aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love."
    — Martin Luther King Jr.

    "Republicans are men of narrow vision, who are afraid of the future."
    — Jimmy Carter

    "The health of society thus depends quite as much on the independence of the individuals composing it as on their close political cohesion."
    — Albert Einstein

    "The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries."
    — James Madison

    "A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side."
    — Aristotle

    "I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute -- where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote -- where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference -- and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.

    I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish -- where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches, or any other ecclesiastical source -- where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials -- and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all."
    — John F. Kennedy

    "If you actually are an educated, thinking person, you will not be welcome in Washington, D.C. I know a couple of bright seventh graders who would not be welcome in Washington D.C."
    — Kurt Vonnegut (A Man Without a Country)

    "I am frankly sick and tired of the political preachers telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in A, B, C, and D. Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? "
    — Barry Goldwater

    "No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare."
    — James Madison

    "Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war."
    — Maria Montessori

    "I honestly see the battle between Democrat and Republican, liberal and conservative as the exact same dynamic--there's a group of people in this world that don't like conflict and care about what other people are going through, and then there's this other group of people in the world who hate that. 'Suck it up, man, we're not coddling you, take care of yourself, what's your problem?' It's jocks versus geeks, and I've always referred to life as perpetual high school because it never stops."
    — Paul Feig

    "In less than a year, the Bush administration will strut out of office, leaving the country in roughly the same condition a toddler leaves a diaper."
    — Graydon Carter

    "The sharpest criticism often goes hand in hand with the deepest idealism and love of country."
    — Robert F. Kennedy

    "Liberals feel unworthy of their possessions. Conservatives feel they deserve everything they've stolen."
    — Mort Sahl

    "That's the whole point of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody's going to be against, and everybody's going to be for. Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn't mean anything."
    — Noam Chomsky

    "Like music and art, love of nature is a common language that can transcend political or social boundaries."
    — Jimmy Carter

    "The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion or in politics, but it is not the path to knowledge, and there's no place for it in the endeavor of science. We do not know beforehand where fundamental insights will arise from about our mysterious and lovely solar system. The history of our study of our solar system shows us clearly that accepted and conventional ideas are often wrong, and that fundamental insights can arise from the most unexpected sources."
    — Carl Sagan

    "Latins for Republicans - it's like roaches for Raid. "
    — John Leguizamo

    "The only justifiable purpose of political institutions is to ensure the unhindered development of the individual."
    — Albert Einstein

    "I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principles of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale."
    — Thomas Jefferson

    "Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are
    presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new
    evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is
    extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it
    is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize,
    ignore and even deny anything that doesn't fit in with the core belief."
    — Frantz Fanon (Black Skin, White Masks)

    "Maybe I`m getting to the age when I`m starting to be senile or nostalgic or both, but people are so angry now. You used to be able to disagree with people and still be friends. Now you hear these talk shows, and everyone who believes differently from you is a moron and an idiot - both on the Right and the Left. "
    — Clint Eastwood

    "Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods."
    — H.L. Mencken

    "When the government puts its imprimatur on a particular religion it conveys a message of exclusion to all those who do not adhere to the favored beliefs. A government cannot be premised on the belief that all persons are created equal when it asserts that God prefers some."
    — Harry A. Blackmun

    "Many years ago I was so innocent I still considered it possible that we could become the humane and reasonable America so many members of my generation used to dream of. We dreamed of such an America during the Great Depression, when there were no jobs. And then we fought and often died for that dream during the Second World War, when there was no peace.

    But I know now that there is not a chance in hell of America becoming humane and reasonable. Because power corrupts us, and absolute power corrupts us absolutely. Human beings are chimpanzees who get crazy drunk on power. By saying that our leaders are power-drunk chimpanzees, am I in danger of wrecking the morale of our soldiers fighting and dying in the Middle East? Their morale, like so many lifeless bodies, is already shot to pieces. They are being treated, as I never was, like toys a rich kid got for Christmas."
    — Kurt Vonnegut

    "Republicans don't like people to talk about depressions. You can hardly blame them for that. You remember the old saying: Don't talk about rope in the house where somebody has been hanged."
    — Harry S. Truman

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