Saturday, February 21, 2009

Historical Figures look at the Stimulus Bill

Given that the $800 Billion “Economic Stimulus Bill” is so controversial, as someone with a master’s degree in history, I naturally wondered what some of the great figure of history would have to say about the bill. So I asked them. Here are their responses.

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. –Plato

The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not. --Thomas Jefferson

Since a politician never believes what he says, he is surprised when others believe him. –Charles DeGaulle

Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them. --Frederick Douglass

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard. --H.L. Mencken

Laws are like sausages. You sleep far better the less you know about how they are made. --Otto Von Bismark

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. From that time on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the results that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. Sir Alex Fraser Tytler (Editor’s note: I had a bad connection, so can’t be sure it was actually Sir Alex I was speaking with.)

We must all live so that our children do not have to pay for our deeds. --Andrejs Upits

Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual). --Ayn Rand

The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground. --Thomas Jefferson

The flood of money that gushes into politics today is a pollution of democracy. --Theodore H. White

Democracy does not guarantee equality of conditions - it only guarantees equality of opportunity. --Irving Kristol

In a democracy the people get what the majority deserves. --James Davidson

Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it. --Ronald Reagan

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. –Thomas Jefferson

Every time that we try to lift a problem from our own shoulders, and shift that problem to the hands of the government, to the same extent we are sacrificing the liberties of our people. --John F. Kennedy

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be lead to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. --H.L. Mencken

The taxpayer: That's someone who works for the federal government but doesn't have to take the civil service examination. - Ronald Reagan

Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread. --Thomas Jefferson

Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder. –Arnold Toynbee

The laws of economics tell us that the expansion of the central state can't go on forever. Its limit is reached when the looted turn on the looters. --Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr

All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree." --James Madison

I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious. --Thomas Jefferson

The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help. - Ronald Reagan

If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there'd be a shortage of sand. --Milton Freidman

The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money. --Margaret Thatcher

We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. --Thomas Jefferson

It is vain to do with more what can be done with less. --William of Occam

If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy. --Thomas Jefferson

In America, the President reigns for four years, and journalism governs for ever and ever. –Oscar Wilde

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery. Winston Churchill

I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground that ‘all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states or to the people.’ To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, not longer susceptible of any definition. —Thomas Jefferson

So much of left-wing thought is a kind of playing with fire by people who don't even know that fire is hot. –George Orwell

Luxury ruins republics; poverty, monarchies. -- Charles De Montesquieu

The same prudence which in private life would forbid our paying our own money for unexplained projects, forbids it in the dispensation of the public moneys. --Thomas Jefferson

A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.--George Bernard Shaw

Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else. --Frederic Bastiat, French Economist

The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools. --Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher

What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.--Edward Langley, Artist

At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to state this or that or the other, but it is 'not done'... Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. --George Orwell

Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of government. The history of liberty is the history of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of the limitation of governmental power, not the increase of it. --Woodrow Wilson

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

No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session. --Judge Gideon J. Tucker, 1866

I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle. --Winston Churchill

The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin. ---Mark Twain

In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other. –Voltaire

Put not your trust in princes, nor in any human power, for there is no help in them. --Psalm 146.

There you have it folks. The ink is hardly dry, and the corrupt have hardly wet their beaks in the biggest boondoggle in history—but we already know what history thinks!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I'm Tired--some updates

I’ll be 63 soon. Except for one semester in college when jobs were scarce, and a six-month period when I was between jobs, but job-hunting every day, I’ve worked, hard, since I was 18. Despite some health challenges, I still put in 50-hour weeks, and haven’t called in sick in seven or eight years. I make a good salary, but I didn’t inherit my job or my income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, there’s no retirement in sight, and I’m tired. Very tired.

I’m tired of being told that I have to “spread the wealth around” to people who don’t have my work ethic. I’m tired of being told the government will take the money I earned, by force if necessary, and give it to people too lazy or stupid to earn it.

I’m tired of being told that I have to pay more taxes to “keep people in their homes.” Sure, if they lost their jobs or got sick, I’m willing to help. But if they bought McMansions at three times the price of our paid-off, $250,000 condo, on one-third of my salary, then let the leftwing Congresscritters who passed Fannie and Freddie and the Community Reinvestment Act that created the bubble help them—with their own money.

I’m tired of being told how bad America is by leftwing millionaires like Michael Moore, George Soros and Hollywood entertainers who live in luxury because of the opportunities America offers. In thirty years, if they get their way, the United States will have the religious freedom and women’s rights of Saudi Arabia, the economy of Zimbabwe, the freedom of the press of China, the crime and violence of Mexico, the tolerance for Gay people of Iran, and the freedom of speech of Venezuela. Won’t multiculturalism be beautiful?

I’m tired of being told that Islam is a “Religion of Peace,” when every day I can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives and daughters for their family “honor;” of Muslims rioting over some slight offense; of Muslims murdering Christian and Jews because they aren’t “believers;” of Muslims burning schools for girls; of Muslims stoning teenage rape victims to death for “adultery;” of Muslims mutilating the genitals of little girls; all in the name of Allah, because the Qur’an and Shari’a law tells them to.

I believe “a man should be judged by the content of his character, not by the color of his skin.” I’m tired of being told that “race doesn’t matter” in the post-racial world of President Obama, when it’s all that matters in affirmative action jobs, lower college admission and graduation standards for minorities (harming them the most), government contract set-asides, tolerance for the ghetto culture of violence and fatherless children that hurts minorities more than anyone, and in the appointment of US Senators from Illinois. I think it’s very cool that we have a black president and that a black child is doing her homework at the desk where Lincoln wrote the emancipation proclamation. I just wish the black president was Condi Rice, or someone who believes more in freedom and the individual and less in an all-knowing government.

I’m tired of a news media that thinks Bush’s fundraising and inaugural expenses were obscene, but that think Obama’s, at triple the cost, were wonderful. That thinks Bush exercising daily was a waste of presidential time, but Obama exercising is a great example for the public to control weight and stress, that picked over every line of Bush’s military records, but never demanded that Kerry release his, that slammed Palin with two years as governor for being too inexperienced for VP, but touted Obama with three years as senator as potentially the best president ever.

Wonder why people are dropping their subscriptions or switching to Fox News? Get a clue. I didn’t vote for Bush in 2000, but the media and Kerry drove me to his camp in 2004.

I’m tired of being told that out of “tolerance for other cultures” we must let Saudi Arabia use our oil money to fund mosques and madrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in America, while no American group is allowed to fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi Arabia to teach love and tolerance.

I’m tired of being told I must lower my living standard to fight global warming, which no one is allowed to debate. My wife and I live in a two-bedroom apartment and carpool together five miles to our jobs. We also own a three-bedroom condo where our daughter and granddaughter live. Our carbon footprint is about 5% of Al Gore’s, and if you’re greener than Gore, you’re green enough.

I’m tired of being told that drug addicts have a disease, and I must help support and treat them, and pay for the damage they do. Did a giant germ rush out of a dark alley, grab them, and stuff white powder up their noses while they tried to fight it off? I don’t think Gay people choose to be Gay, but I damn sure think druggies chose to take drugs. And I’m tired of harassment from cool people treating me like a freak when I tell them I never tried marijuana. Update: People have written to tell me I'd have more sympathy if this was close to me. It is exactly having seen the destruction of alcoholism and heroin addiction in my own family that makes me pretty intolerant of people who are willing to destroy the people around them to indulge themselves.
I’m tired of illegal aliens being called “undocumented workers,” especially the ones who aren’t working, but are living on welfare or crime. What’s next? Calling drug dealers, “Undocumented Pharmacists”? And, no, I’m not against Hispanics. Most of them are Catholic and it’s been a few hundred years since Catholics wanted to kill me for my religion. I’m willing to fast track for citizenship any Hispanic person who can speak English, doesn’t have a criminal record and who is self-supporting without family on welfare, or who serves honorably for three years in our military. Those are the citizens we need. Update: A few people have taken this to indicate some bias against Catholics, based on events 400 years ago. While I think they are either too touchy or fail to understand, I was only trying to say that I have zero problem with Catholics wanting to come to the US, but that I have great concerns about Muslims, as a good % of them do want to kill me, or force their religion and moral code on me.

I’m tired of latte liberals and journalists, who would never wear the uniform of the Republic themselves, or let their entitlement-handicapped kids near a recruiting station, trashing our military. They and their kids can sit at home, never having to make split-second decisions under life and death circumstances, and bad mouth better people than themselves. Do bad things happen in war? You bet. Do our troops sometimes misbehave? Sure. Does this compare with the atrocities that were the policy of our enemies for the last fifty years—and still are? Not even close. So here’s the deal. I’ll let myself be subjected to all the humiliation and abuse that was heaped on terrorists at Abu Ghraib or Gitmo, and the critics can let themselves be subject to captivity by the Muslims who tortured and beheaded Daniel Pearl in Pakistan, or the Muslims who tortured and murdered Marine Lt. Col. William Higgins in Lebanon, or the Muslims who ran the blood-spattered Al Qaeda torture rooms our troops found in Iraq, or the Muslims who cut off the heads of schoolgirls in Indonesia, because the girls were Christian. Then we’ll compare notes. British and American soldiers are the only troops in history that civilians came to for help and handouts, instead of hiding from in fear. UPDATE: It has rightly been pointed out to me, several times, that I should have included Canadian, Australian and New Zealand troops here. My apologies for slighting these gallant allies of freedom.

I’m tired of people telling me that their party has a corner on virtue and the other party has a corner on corruption. Read the papers—bums are bi-partisan. And I’m tired of people telling me we need bi-partisanship. I live in Illinois, where the “Illinois Combine” of Democrats and Republicans has worked together harmoniously to loot the public for years. And I notice that the tax cheats in Obama’s cabinet are bi-partisan as well.

I’m tired of hearing wealthy athletes, entertainers and politicians of both parties talking about innocent mistakes, stupid mistakes or youthful mistakes, when we all know they think their only mistake was getting caught. I’m tired of people with a sense of entitlement, rich or poor.

Speaking of poor, I’m tired of hearing people with air-conditioned homes, color TVs and two cars called poor. The majority of Americans didn’t have that in 1970, but we didn’t know we were “poor.” The poverty pimps have to keep changing the definition of poor to keep the dollars flowing.

I’m real tired of people who don’t take responsibility for their lives and actions. I’m tired of hearing them blame the government, or discrimination, or big-whatever for their problems.

Yes, I’m damn tired. But I’m also glad to be 63. Because, mostly, I’m not going to get to see the world these people are making. I’m just sorry for my granddaughter.

Robert A. Hall is a Marine Vietnam veteran who served five terms in the Massachusetts state senate. He blogs at Update: Someone attached a picture of Robert D. Hall, an actor, to some versions and forwarded it on, saying that I was on CSI. We are two different people, and I am not an actor--unless you count running for public office.

And to the folks who said I'm Old and should die and get out of the way, I have IPF, so will comply soon enough.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How many women must die?

This woman who was murdered for disobaying her husband, who founded the network designed to protray Muslims as peaceful! But the political philosophy--shari'a law--behind the murder cannot be mentioned. So more must die.
When will the media and Americans have the courage to speak out against ritualized and condoned abuse and murder?

Look at the pictures of the victims of honor killings on this site.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Republicans are acting all surprised and outraged that Senator Roland Burris (D-Blagobamaville) apparently lied to the Illinois Legislature about contacts with former Governor Blagojevich before Burris was appointed to the Senate.

Republicans should just say, "Get over it. He's a Chicago Pol. Of course he lied."

Meanwhile, Democrats who were terribly outraged at deficit spending under Bush (even when they voted for it), are now saying the much larger deficit spending in the "stimulus bill" is good for the economy. So, wasn't Bush's deficit spending good for the economy back then? If this deficit spending is good now, think how much worse the economy would have been without Bush's deficit spending then, right.

I assume they'll apologize to him any day now.

But I note cartoonists, editorial writers and Democrat politicians--much the same, come to think of it--having few Republicans in power to knock, are still knocking Bush, out of habit.

If that meteor strikes the Earth in 2035, some editorial writer will blame it on Bush just before everyone dies.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The 2016 Olympics

New Games for the Chicago Olympics
Robert A. Hall

As all the world knows, Chicago is one of the cities bidding to be the site for the 2016 Olympics. For those of us who live here in Blagobamaville, the prospect is thrilling. Millions of dollars in revenue, thousands of new jobs, wonderful entertainment and not a cent of taxpayer money at risk—what could be finer?

Oh, sure, other cities that have hosted the Olympics or the World’s Fair have had financial troubles, corruption and crime. But there’s no danger of that happening here, because Illinois in general, and Chicago in particular, has a national reputation for solid management, fiscal prudence and gold-plated integrity that extends all the way to the White House.

Speaking of the White House, the word on the Chicago street is that, with this being the home of the new President, the fix is in—figuratively speaking, of course.

As a resident of Crook County, I’m delighted at the prospect, and looking forward eagerly to 2016, when the Chicago Olympics will make the last year of President Obama’s media-guaranteed second term even more to be anticipated than usual.

To do my part, I have several new games to suggest to the Olympic Committee, which will add a real Chicago Flavor to the Olympics.

The Guano Gambol: Erstwhile politicians attempt to emulate the feat of our new President by tiptoeing barefoot across the cesspool of Chicago/Illinois politics without noticing the stink, mentioning the manure or soiling their tootsies. While it’s a violation for Olympic Athletes to be paid, this is Chicago—surely there’d be no harm in Tony Rezko helping the winner get a discount on a new home?

The Drum Cram: Contestants honor the Chicago Outfit by dismembering a six-foot mobster and cramming the body into an oil drum. Points for time, style and creative hiding of leftover bits.

The Musical Senate Seat: Hosted by former Governor Rod Blagojevich. Contestants dance around a bleepin-golden chair, whispering in Rod’s ear how much sitting in it is worth, trying to convince him to stop the music at just the right spot. Contestants may be assisted by teammates based on ethnicity. Contestants caught on tape are disqualified. Winner gets to serve a cold crow lunch to Harry Reid and other Democrats in the US Senate.

The Patronage Plunge: Contestants are giving a billion dollars in “stimulus” funds to spend on public works and government programs in Chicago. The object is to hire the most friends, campaign workers and relatives without the media catching on. Winner receives a trophy known as “The Daley.”

The Pocket Pick: While one contestant distracts gullible taxpayers with visions of world-class sporting events, free-flowing dollars and wonderful jobs, a teammate must deftly slide out the enthralled folks’ wallets, extract all the cash and credit cards, and slip them back into the fans’ pockets undetected. Victory goes to the team that contributes the most taxpayer cash to cover the inevitable Olympic fiscal nightmare. Winning team receives the Gold Chumbolone Award, presented by Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass.

I don’t know about you, but 2016 can’t get here fast enough for me.

Robert A. Hall is a Marine Vietnam veteran who served five terms in the Massachusetts state senate. He blogs at

Letter from a Quaker

This is worth reading:

Monday, February 9, 2009

My new income tax strategy

I finished my taxes yesterday. It was pretty easy this year, due to my new tax strategy.

See, in the past, I’ve always been a straight arrow, claiming only what I could document, paying everything I owed. But I discovered that I was being, as Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass says, a chumbolone.

Now I have seen the light. The middleclass, working, Republican centrist approach to taxes is for, well, chumbolones. So this year, I decided that following the example of those working-class heroes Tim Gaither, Charlie Rangel, Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer was the way to fame and fortune.

Yes, I forgot to pay taxes on my many vacation homes, on my compensation as a consultant from international organizations, on the car and driver provided me out of “friendship” as “gifts” from big political donors I’ve supported, or taxes on the many nannies and domestics who staff my mansions. I now know that being for the poor and powerless clearly pays off better than working for a living and paying taxes.

I put a note to the IRS in my return, saying that while they might not agree with my decisions, I’d remind them that this type of thing is just a “hiccup,” according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Who are they to argue with a fine lawyer like Harry or the many lawyers on his team who now run the Congress?

Now all I have to do is wait for a job offer from President Obama, and I’m off to Washington to fight for the little guy. If it turns out as lucrative as these other folks’ careers, a couple of my nannies may even be able to give up their day jobs at Hooters.

Taxes? They’re for the chumbolones!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Change we can believe in

Let’s look at the record so far.

Bill Richardson withdraws as Obama’s choice for Commerce secretary, after it is revealed he is being investigated for the same kind of “Pay to Play” deal that forced Gov. Rod Blagojevich (endorsed twice by Obama for Governor) from office.

Eric Holder is confirmed as Obama’s Attorney General, despite having guided the “Pay to not Pay” pardons of billionaire fugitive financier Marc Rich and other questionable, but connected figures at the end of the Clinton administration.

Tom Daschle is nominated as Obama’s Secretary of Health & Human Services, despite forgetting to pay a lot more taxes than the Democrats pilloried poor Joe the Plumber for, after he dared to ask candidate Obama a question. Update: before I posted this, Daschle withdrew. Guess now he doesn't have to pay his back taxes!

Tim Gaither is confirmed as Obama’s Secretary of the Treasury despite his failure to also pay thousands in taxes. (He did pay the back taxes, for which the statute of limitations had run, immediately before being nominated, the kind of fine coincidence the Obama administration is becoming noted for.) If Joe the Plumber had been an Obama guy, he’d probably be an ambassador now.

Rahm Emanuel becomes Obama’s Chief of Staff, moving from the Congressional seat formerly held by Rod Blagojevich. Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass reports Emanuel won the Blagojevich seat because of the support of the Daley machine, which provided the illegal help of thousands of city-employed campaign workers. Obama investigates and clears Emanuel of involvement in the Blagojevich scandal. (Will Dick Chaney investigate and clear Scooter Libby next? And will the media quietly accept that?)

Hillary Clinton is confirmed as Obama’s Secretary of State, where she will doubtless deal very firmly with foreign dictators who have pumped millions into the Foundations of Bill Clinton. Guess it depends on what the meaning of “conflict” is.

Ray LaHood, a Republican with long ties to the “Illinois Combine,” is named as Obama’s Transportation Secretary. John Kass reports in the Chicago Tribune that LaHood, “will have billions of federal dollars to dole out in state grants for contracts for roads, bridges, airport modernization—all the sugarplums the guys behind the guys dream about. One such guy is the indicted Republican boss of Springfield, William Cellini, a wealthy developer and executive director of the Illinois Asphalt Pavement Association. LaHood is a Cellini guy.” The drool must be causing flooding in Springfield.

This is just what we know about the Obama team so far. They have a free hand to spend hundreds of billions of dollars, due to the economic collapse started in the housing industry by the Community Reinvestment Act, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Yeah, yeah, I know, there were enough greedy Wall Street and banker types piling on to do it without that. The collapse in Asia and Europe can hardly be blamed on either party, not that the voters don’t always blame the guy in the White House. There’s plenty of bi-partisan blame to go around. And, as noted about, the Obama administration is certainly hiring questionable characters on a bi-partisan basis.

No one seems to notice that every dollars the government spends on the economic stimulus, it has to take out of the economy, in taxes, borrowing or inflation by printing money, so you and I don’t have that dollar to spend on economic stimulus. The answer is that we might not spend it, we might put it in the bank. But didn’t the government just put billions in the banks through the bailouts, to prop them up? Why is our putting money in the bank bad?

America wanted change, any kind of change, and is certainly getting change. Can we loot the public treasury in a bi-partisan way? Yes, we can!

Update: Missed this one. "Nancy Killefer, Obama's nominee for the newly created position of chief performance officer, also stepped aside because of a tax problem." Performance Officer?

Team Obama: Bi-partisan bums!