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Wisdom

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 government.
John Adams

If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed.
Mark Twain

Suppose you were an idiot . And suppose you were a member of government . But then I repeat myself.
Mark Twain

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

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

Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.
Douglas Casey, Classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown University

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.
P.J. O’Rourke, Civil Libertarian

Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.
Frederic Bastiat, French economist(1801-1850)

I don’t make jokes . I just watch the government and report the facts.
Will Rogers

If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free!
P.J. O’Rourke

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 (1764)

Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you!

Pericles (430 B.C.)

No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.
Mark Twain (1866)

Talk is cheap…except when government does it.
Anonymous

The government is like a baby’s alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no control at the other.
Ronald Reagan

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

There is no distinctly Native American criminal class. . . save government.
Mark Twain

What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.
Edward Langley, Artist (1928-1995)

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

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.
Aesop

Categories: General
  1. Patricia (pat) wright
    March 23, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    It warms my heart that someone, at least, shares my unqualified view of government! Ours is in such disarray that each of the above observations pictures it all! Are we just cynics—or realists?

  2. March 23, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    To tell you the truth, Pat, I’m not sure whether you have a government or not. You have an executive, and you have a legislature that’s entirely separate from it, apart from the anomaly of the V-P being Presiding Officer of the Senate. (Although I know that in practice he chairs it infrequently.) Recent history shows that a two-term president will be at odds politically with at least half of Congress for at least one of those terms, most likely the second. So, how the hell can it be expected to work?

    I’m not point-scoring here. Our system isn’t perfect, as we’re finding out, thanks to Cameron not having the cojones to form a minority government in 2010, getting into bed instead with a small crew of opportunists who like the Tories about as much as they like non-specific diseases. Kim Jung-Eck, our First Minister, ran a minority government in Scotland for four years, and won an overwhelming majority next time round. I suppose that’s what Obama is doing, to an extent, but he’s constrained by the Constitution limiting him to two terms.

  3. Patricia (pat) wright
    March 23, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    Thank God for the Constitution! As you have doubtless surmised from past conversations, I am no Obama lover and wish he were more committed to the Constitution. His arbitrary and frequent excursions away from it are very troubling. We have a country, not just a Congress, split between the West and East Coast elites and the more conservative mid-section and that split is translated into the chaos in Washington(along with the eternal desire for RE-ELECTION of its members which appears to them to be more important than the weighty affairs of Government.) Sorry, Sorry Sorry to carry on so-you have a patient ear.

  4. March 23, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    The Constitution is a nuisance for most presidents, is it not? I won’t have to tell you, as a long-term elected representative, that split is to an extent irrelevant, as it’s a fixed point. Most of the people on either side vote the same way, every time. Elections are actually decided by a small group in the middle who are there to be wooed and won. I worked in politics, thirty years ago, with a lady who used to go on and on about a small patch of ‘shifting sands’; she was absolutely right.

    Am I right in thinking that the problem for the GOP is that those sands are getting bigger, and that many of the newcomers are people who may not have voted before in numbers, eg Latinos and African Americans, very few of whom will be joining the Tea Party any time soon?

  5. Patricia (pat) wright
    March 23, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    May I suggest the Republican Party may well be on the road to extinction-without giving it up entirely?? The “sands” weren’t only wooed-they were bought and with the same coin as used in the prior election. If the political game requires that tender, government ceases to be the will of the people and becomes the will of the manipulators and their promises and OUR taxes. My years as a participant in the process taught me not to rely on anyone’s selfless motives. I AM a cynic Q and convinced any type of government is prey to the same temptations and actions. ’nuff said on my part.

  6. March 23, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    As always, you’re correct. But don’t give up on the Party altogether. The British Labour Party was hopelessly outdated at one point and looked doomed to irrelevance, but the efforts of Kinnock, Smith, briefly, and Blair, reinvigorated it. Of course, Thatcher had helped them by emasculating the trade unions which had been in the habit of giving previous leaders their battle orders. Crazy but true. Maggie played a big part in shaping Britain’s modern Labour.

  7. Patricia (pat) wright
    March 23, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    We need a hero and I don
    ‘t see any on the horizon. Rubio could energize us but the old guard probably couldn’t stomach him. Ryan has the right economic instincts but the wrong PR ones. Tea Partyers require down-the-line subservience and few could fulfill their demands. We don’t seem to have a united vision and can’t outbribe the libs for the shifting sands’ votes., I can’t jump ship yet as there is only sand under it and a hard fall that would be! Thanks for engaging-you’e observations help delineate the issues.

  8. Brian Campbell
    March 24, 2013 at 1:47 am

    A foole and his money is soone parted. Dr John Bridges. 1587.
    But not just a fool. Sooner or later every penny you earn goes back to the government or the treasury or whatever no matter how wise or foolish you are. Up to 50% income tax. 13% NI. Then from what you have left to spend on yourself, around 60% tax on petrol, the dreaded VAT at 20%. The bit that is left that is not yet taxed goes to those supplying you services and that again goes through the taxation machine. The maths is a bit suspect but you know what I mean. I don’t know the relation between GDP and total tax revenue, perhaps from your earlier incarnation you can enlighten me. On a similar note this country ( the UK ) apparently owes £trillions. But who do we owe it to. Somebody must be holding our paper. It can’t all be the individual savings of John Citizen. Is it George Soros and his cronies? Is it the government of China? For every pound of debt there must somewhere be a pound of credit. Do they really want to be repaid?. They would only have to lend it again to someone else. The bank rate is a fraction of one percent, but what is the government paying to service the national debt? Why not tell these mysterious creditors ” You are ruining our economy. We will pay you half a percent until further notice “. What we need is a strong leader. Perhaps even a dictatorship! Surely this next century is going to see a cataclysmic change from a money economy to a resource economy. If the countries of Africa can sort themselves out politically they have the potential for greatness. Great Britain – Welcome to the third world.
    P.S. this is a late night rant. I don’t expect you’ll publish it.

  9. March 24, 2013 at 1:59 am

    Why not?

  10. Norah Rothwell
    March 24, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    You think the UK and US are bad? How about the self serving circus clowns we have “running” our beautiful country here in Australia. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so awful. Roll on the election which, heaven help us, is only in September.

  11. March 24, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    We tend to have less coverage of your politics, Norah. Our image is of a mineral rich country that’s ridden out the global recession far better than any Northern Hemisphere nation. We know who Julia Gillard is, obviously, but that’s about it for most of us.

  12. Norah Rothwell
    March 24, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    I am only thankful that we are a mineral rich country as otherwise we would be in deep trouble. The infighting that goes on in our government beggars belief and while not everything they touch has been a disaster much they have done has been. If you are interested in the latest chaos just Google Gillard Rudd spill and see how we spent last Thursday. Or Google Stephen Conroy and his media law. I can only say that I am comforted by the fact we are not alone in suffering incompetents.

  13. March 24, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Yes, I see what you mean. I’m looking forward to seeing your man with red underpants on his head. Happily, there is another Stephen Conroy.

    http://www.marlboroughfineart.com/artist-Stephen-Conroy-49.html

  14. patricia "pat" wright
    March 24, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Ain’t politics fun?????

  15. Diana P
    March 25, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Having been involved in politics for about forty years I have never felt that any one party had all the answers, but neither had they got it all wrong. No party has all the good, competent people (and at the moment I cannot see a true leader in any of them).

    While the governance of a country is neccessary, human beings once in power are very easily corrupted. As the sign of civilization is order which cares for those who are vulnerable and endeavours to improve the lot of the whole it is increasingly difficult to choose between any party, country or system of govrernment. This begins to sound like a call for anarchy, but that is a road for idiots. I do not know what the answer is, and I do not believe anyone else does either. Populations have become too large, expectations too high, and corruption too easy and accepted. I am thankful I am an ageing retiree

    • Simon Reid
      March 25, 2013 at 11:03 pm

      Oh, I do agree. That’s why I sit in the middle and wait in vain for somebody worth voting for.

      What we really need is a party of De-Polarisation. Or Focus On Polarisation; or…(I’ll come up with a good name later).
      I believe it’s clear to everyone where the dividing lines exist within the competing ideologies.
      I’m all for the UK adopting the American approach, where we vote for a leader – but, that leader should be either an independent or at least a centrist. Once elected, she or he will stand up in the Commons, point their finger around the room, and say: ‘You. You. Definitely not you. You. You. Not you. And… You.’

      The great failing in the EU is, while it’s an excellent idea in theory, it would take a truly independent CEO to run it like the EU Inc. that it could be. The same, at a national level, goes for the States, and the UK. In every country throughout the world, leadership is the issue. Also in every country throughout the world, leadership is the issue because of partisan politics.
      So we can continue to bang our heads against the wall and against each other; our politicians and our media can continue to make propaganda as if they’re all big fans of Chairman Mao; or we can build on the things on which we are all, mostly, agreed.

      My adventures in the internet today have delivered for me this, from that ambitious Roman senator, Cataline: “Agreement in likes and dislikes — this, and this only, is what constitutes true friendship.”
      I can see now why Cicero made sure Cataline didn’t make it up the steps.
      Agreement in likes and dislikes is a wonderful thing. But the very best of friends can also agree to disagree, without impinging upon each other’s civil liberties.
      No leader, no matter how skilled, would be able to bring about resolution on tough topics like abortion. But on tax, gun control, education, health, and many other key areas where people die, suffer, or have their rights trampled all over while politicians play politics, on those issues a decision-maker acting in the general rather than the specific interest could save us all a lot, just by the sheer force of their leadership and in the appointment of the right personnel and policies.

      It would mean putting an unprecedented amount of power into one person’s hands. Alex Salmond would move south in a heartbeat. We might be led, for a few weeks, by Jeremy Clarkson. America might have a Bieber in the Whitehouse for a month or two. But eventually we would get what we do not currently have: Leadership for the body whole.

      This may all sound like the craziest idea ever. What should be taken into account, though, is the realities of modern and emerging technology.
      The democracy we have is not suited to its times. Things have already changed to the point where, in the UK, it is not implausible to imagine a future government made up of some sort of anarcho-fascist hybrid, inbred, coalition of Occupy and UKIP; stranger things have already happened.
      Such a beast would only last a matter of minutes, but the damage they might do could last for decades.
      Far better to seek candidates for the top job who can demonstrate a proven record of overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles; who understands only talent can develop talent; somebody who gets the best, rather than the worst, out of those around them. Such a leader would be impervious to being swayed, as every successful leader knows they won’t last long surrounded by Yes Men.
      If we’re headed for more, bigger and quicker popularity contests, decided on who can get their message out while obfuscating that of their opponents, it’s incumbent upon the rest of us to ensure the vacancy being applied for is clearly defined.
      Otherwise it’s just more of the same, with the real cost borne by those who can least afford it.
      A tyranny? No, the guarantee of a free democracy would be a good enough change.

  16. March 25, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Cameron isn’t a true leader, that’s for sure. If he were, he’d have formed a minority government, rather than a Cabinet with Vince Cable and Chris Huhne in it. Leadership requires courage; Cameron doesn’t have any of that. At heart, he’s still a kid in a funny collar.

  17. patricia "pat" wright
    March 26, 2013 at 3:05 am

    Shall I apologize for getting back into this discussion? In any event, when ONLY 57.7 percent of eligible voters turn out for the election of our president, who else can we blame for the state of politics in the US? In our democracy, we vote–or not- for the government we deserve. Wonder how that other 42.3 percent would have voted.

    • Simon Reid
      March 26, 2013 at 5:29 pm

      I’m only a little bit upset about the way the last general election turned out.
      On polling day, I was offered the options of: Gordon Brown, who seemed oblivious to the many reasons why defending the quality of the banking industry was never going to be a vote winner with anyone beyond the Labour faithful.
      Then there was David Cameron: so obviously in bed with Murdoch that even I, an occasional Sunday Times reader, just couldn’t stomach it.
      Last and least there was Nick Clegg, who didn’t fool me but somehow managed to fool six million people.

      There was no way I could, in good conscience, vote for any of them.
      As it happens, I think the best man did win. But now, much like Obama before his second term win and miniscule upsurge in power, Cameron is lame at a time when strength is required. I wouldn’t bet against him winning again though.

  18. March 26, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Pat, voting is compulsory in Australia, but check out Norah’s experience. The 42.3 may have it right.

    Simon, you’ve been reading too much Terry Pratchett, yet not closely enough. Vetinari only survives by playing interest groups against each other and by being protected by honest people who serve his city, not him. As for President Beiber, he’s Canadian. Maybe Canada could swop him for Britney Spears. She’d make a better PM than Stephen Harper, according to a chum of mine.

    • Simon Reid
      March 26, 2013 at 5:03 pm

      Pratchett has written about this? Hmmm, I might be onto something.

      You read fantasy, and you know what a Justin Beiber is?
      My head hurts now.

  19. Brian Campbell
    March 26, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    Perhaps we need a Sam Vimes in charge.

    • Alison
      April 8, 2013 at 5:54 pm

      Sam Vimes is without a doubt the ultimate Hero, and he would certainly get my vote!

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