Saturday, October 23, 2010

Robert A. Hall Sends Out Scary Email

Hi, Hon--

Robert A. Hall at 73
Thank you for sending me the forward from Robert A. Hall. I'm assuming, based on the fact that you sent it to me, and to your children, that you feel the email accurately reflects your own feelings and beliefs. Since I've recently sent you a fair amount of info about MY feelings and beliefs, I'm glad you want me to know what YOU feel, as well.

At the same time, Hall's email presents me with what is quite simply a not-to-be-missed opportunity.. because it is a perfect example of what is most pernicious about the way the Republican Right is manipulating voters. That entire email is a masterpiece of propaganda... carefully crafted to play upon your fears, speak to your life experience. What it is NOT... is sincere. Not in any way, shape, or form. He isn't who you think he is... and he doesn't have your best interests at heart.

Let's start with Robert A. Hall himself. I asked Allan to do some research on him, and the first thing he found is that the two photos on the email are NOT of the man who wrote it. They're both of the ACTOR, Robert Hall, from C.S.I. The dramatic picture in the email that shows a man covered with blood, facing what appears to be a brain... that man is NOT Robert A. Hall. And while that picture IS actually labeled truthfully, the other is not... and the juxtaposition of the photos with the email is DECEPTIVE. It creates the impression that the man writing the email IS the man in those photos.

The next thing Allan found out is that while Robert A. Hall claims to speak for the common man-- you know, the ones like YOU, who worked hard for 40 years and then couldn't afford to retire-- he actually has almost nothing in common with ordinary people. Though Hall claims he is being hurt by the policies of the federal government, he actually is not. In point of fact, he's been supported by government assistance (and hence, taxpayer's money) most of his life. He is eligible for Medicare, possibly receives Social Security, and enjoys an enviable lifestyle, due in part to his taking advantage of military benefits, serving as a public servant in the Massachusetts Legislature, and taking advantage of the educational system that is heavily subsidized by state and federal governments. (I'm just going to put in most of what Allan wrote here, and add in my own bit at the bottom...)

Hall neglects to add that he served as a Republican in the Massachusetts State Senate. This might explain why all his complaints are about Democrats, and why his intention is to demoralize voters during this off-year election.

When Robert A. Hall pretends he doesn't have enough money to retire, he's lying. By my count, he has at least 4 pensions, as a lieutenant in the Marines, as a former Massachusetts State Senator, as a worker in the private sector (Social Security), and, as executive director of non-profit associations since 1982, a 501(c)3 pension. We all wish we had that much retirement income. He owns his $250,000 condo free and clear. As a State Senator, he was able to shelter a portion of his salary from any taxes to invest in retirement instruments. His salary, as president of the American Association of Cosmetic Dentistry, from 2002 to 2007, was likely more than $150,000 per year, although he doesn't come clean about that. He also qualifies for federal health plans, Medicare and VA hospitalization.

Hall has also been writing right-wing articles for his blog and other publications. He's not saying how much money he gets for these, though others who do the same thing are not hurting.

Many of us are not so lucky as he. For example, those who had their retirement money in 401k equity accounts saw the accounts lose 50% of their value in 2008-2009. It will take years to recoup those losses, but of course people who are retiring don't have years to wait. But the people who lost their retirement funds are not to blame. They are the victims. The ones whose greed caused the financial meltdown are responsible for the suffering of millions. One of these, AIG, has donated $18 million to the U.S. Chamber of commerce since 2003. They still owe $50 billion to the U.S. taxpayers for their bailout. The CoC uses their donations to finance attack ads against people who voted to regulate the financial industry.

Hall's email contains a hodgepodge of false and prejudiced claims (... if you have favorite ones, pick them and I'll address them in detail-- otherwise, it would just be too time-consuming... and many of his complaints are too general). Its viewpoints about race and ethnicity are similar to those of white supremacist and other hate groups around the country. Hall hopes that he can get away with stoking hatred as long as he isn't wearing a sheet or a nazi uniform.
What Hall does NOT do is offer any solutions. He stirs up anger. He echoes frustration. But he leaves his readers with a feeling of hopelessness. It's quite clear his intention is to stop you from voting by piling up lie upon lie, prejudice upon prejudice, none of them backed up by facts, until you decide it's just not worth it to go to the polls.
The superwealthy heads of corporations, such as Rupert Murdoch, who owns Fox News, have been spending millions of dollars to buy this election, through front groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and willing stooges like Beck and Rove. The banks and stockbrokers are upset by the current administration's success in financial reform. The insurance industry is upset by the passage of health care legislation. The energy companies are concerned that their subsidies may be re-routed to renewable energy sources and companies looking for environmentally sensitive solutions. The New York Times reports that half of the $50 to $70 million the Chamber will spend to buy this election will ome from just 45 corporations, many of which received billions of dollars in bailout money from TARP. These 45 corporations are managed by just a tiny handful of superwealthy executives, like Rupert Murdoch. When asked whether stockholders would be consulted about his $2 million in contributions to Republican candidates, Murdoch replied no, that if the stockholders didn't like his actions they could vote him off the board, otherwise he would do exactly as he sees fit.
Hall's role in this election is an important one. If all the voters who would benefit from the decline of corporate influence stay home, the corporations will win and take back the government. Then, the hundred or so executives of those 45 corporations will make all governmental decisions from now on.

Robert A. Hall isn't tired... and he could retire if he wanted to. He just doesn't WANT to. He's wealthy, he's successful, and he's having fun, doing what he likes. Why would he retire? Frankly, I think he's more likely to run for another office... and accrue another pension.

Hall's task is to make you feel frustrated, powerless, and hopeless. So you won't bother to vote.

Don't succumb to despair. Vote.

Lee-- I'm sure you know all about propaganda. I also understand that this is a brother Marine... but I feel certain that not ALL Marines, in your memory, were worthy of that name. This one is NOT... because this one is STROKING you.

If you doubt anything that Allan has said, or feel that any of the statements put forth by Mr. Hall in his email deserve a further answer, please say so-- and be specific. I will be happy to produce documentation (which, I assure you, Mr. Hall will NOT) for any statement that I or Allan has made here, so that you may judge for yourself who is telling you the truth.

Love, always--
Holly

Robert Hall responds

8 comments:

allanm051 said...

---I received the following email in response to this post:---

I am the Robert A. Hall that you posted this string of lies about. Let me address them.

First, you are correct that I am not the Robert D. Hall whose pictures and name some idiot added to my piece “I’m Tired” as it went around the net since February of 2009. I assume it wasn’t done with malice, but because the person assumed there could only be one Robert Hall in the world. I am not responsible for the lies other people tell on the web, as you have.

If you look at the original post on my website, you will see that the actor’s picture and name are not there:

I’m Tired
http://tartanmarine.blogspot.com/2009/02/robert.html

I didn’t retire from the Marines. I served four years in the regulars and later another six in the reserves. I was not a Lt. and will never receive a penny in retirement from that service.

I do not receive a penny in retirement from my ten years in the Massachusetts senate. I had a small amount in the retirement fund, which I used as a down payment on a home costing about $45k.

I do not collect social security yet and am not on Medicare yet. I have paid into these systems all my life, but have yet to get a penny back. I may die before I do.

I have worked for associations in the private sector for the last 29 years. I am supporting two households, my wife and I in a small condo her in the Chicago area and my druggie step daughter, who is 35 and never worked full time, in a condo in Wisconsin, though she steals from us. I support her because she has a daughter, ten, who we love dearly, who would go on the street if we evicted her. The step-daughter is, of course, a fervent Obama supporter, as she hopes to live off the taxpayers after I can no longer work.

I do have an IRA, but it’s not enough for me to retire and meet these financial obligations, especially as it’s down so much since the Democrats took control of Congress four years ago. I’m not sure how much longer I can work, as I have pulmonary fibrosis, a terminal illness that kills more people every year than breast cancer, but gets very few research dollars, as it’s not a political disease. I’m on oxygen, but still working full time.

I’ve also published three books, but not made a penny on them, either. The one that is selling well, Chaos for Breakfast, directs the royalties to charity.

You’ll note that my blog has my full name and 950 followers (www.tartanmarine.blogspot.com), while yours has one follower and no name. So who is the honest person here? Looking at the lies you’ve told about me, I think people will know.

Other pieces that your readers might be interested in are below.

Robert A. Hall, Med, CAE
Des Plaines, IL
tartanmarine@gmail.com

The Choice
http://tartanmarine.blogspot.com/2010/09/essay-choice.html

Why the Rich Should be Taxed More
http://tartanmarine.blogspot.com/2010/09/taxing-rich.html

This I believe
http://tartanmarine.blogspot.com/2009/03/this-i-believe.html

The Coming Collapse of the American Republic
http://tartanmarine.blogspot.com/2010/03/essay-coming-collapse-of-american.html

Economic Facts of Life
http://tartanmarine.blogspot.com/2009/08/economic-facts-of-life.html

I’m dying
http://tartanmarine.blogspot.com/2010/05/im-dying.html



Posted by TartanMarine to Masri Zone at October 24, 2010 8:26 AM

Kate Powell said...

Hi, I knew Robert A. Hall in high school, and he was, and still is, a really straight-up guy. Even as a teenager he was an extremely fair-minded person, very balanced. He was a conservative then, while most of us at school were liberals. When President Kennedy was murdered, Bob Hall wrote a poem about it. I was surprised and said, "But you're a conservative." He replied, "Nobody kills my President." Bob Hall is a patriot. He's been offered money to run ads on his blog and has refused it. We were out of touch for many years until the advent of the internet. I've been through some very hard times since we re-connected, and he has always been a steady support. Recently, someone from Britain wrote to Bob's blog to say that they wished he could be the Prime Minister. I am very grateful to know Robert A. Hall. His blog provides a valuable service and an antidote to the mainstream media. What we need in this hour of crisis are facts, not name-calling.

ronpittenger said...

My name is Ronald Pittenger. I live in Shrewsbury, Mass. I am currently retired, but thinking of returning to work as nothing has gotten easier over the past year.

I have been honored to know Robert A. Hall (the true author of "I'm Tired") since I met him in December, 1964 when we were both Privates in the USMC. I even outranked him for a while.

Upon discharge, I went to visit him in Lunenburg, MA. After a week staying with his family, I decided to stay in New England, and poof, it's been 41+ years like a flash.

I volunteered in most of Bob's Senate campaigns. I was there at 6:00AM the morning after election day in 1972 when he beat Joe Ward by 9 votes.

I recently visited him at his home near Chicago, because after listening to him on the phone, I didn't think he'd survive until next year. Fortunately, his doctor put him on oxygen, and that makes him seem almost normal.

I have admired no one in my generation as much as I admire Bob Hall. He has worked hard all his life, doing and accomplishing things that are beyond most of the rest of us. In the 46 years I've known him, I've never known him to do a dishonorable or dishonest thing.

The email you are excited about was published in its current form in 2009. Less complete and less polished versions of it existed several years earlier, before Bob was on the net. I haven't looked, but I probably have one somewhere because I'm a packrat and save old correspondence. As to the picture, I assure you if Bob had thought it practical or useful, he would have put his own on it, but it was published without any.

Your "investigative friend" should know Googling someone can get you in amazing amounts of trouble via misinformation about the right person and valid data about the wrong person. It would probably also be useful to remind him state governments have different retirement rules from the federal government. Since Bob has a blog, it wouldn't have been very difficult to send him an email or a blog comment before publishing such a badly slanted, one-sided column.

I suppose I'll now discover I'm another rich Republican with nasty personal habits, since that's the normal ad hominem response. But know this: if I have to go into a fight, I'd take Bob Hall, sick and dragging his oxygen bottle behind him a thousand times before I'd take any of his detractors. I can depend on him.

Sincerely,
Ronald G. Pittenger

The society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools. ---Thucydides

allanm051 said...

You guys just don't get it. My objection to the piece is this:

Hall hits every one of the touchstones of white supremacy. He attacks African-Americans, who he claims are lazy and stupid. He attacks Latinos, who are criminals and welfare recipients. He attacks Muslims, who are murderers. He attacks scientists who study global warming because they suppress debate. He attacks Democrats because they caused the financial meltdown and the mortgage crisis.

In brief, Hall strikes a strong chord with Republicans because he names nearly every prejudice they have and says he shares them.

I published the letter that Hall sent me that explains what was wrong about my original post. I don't see that it alters the original thrust of my post, which was to show that he was lying when he said he couldn't retire. For example, he says he doesn't get social security or Medicare. But he is definitely qualified for them and could use their income to retire. I'm glad to know that he doesn't have military benefits or benefits from the Massachusetts Senate. He reaffirms for me that it is not personal poverty that prevents him from retiring, but personal choices that have nothing to do with African-Americans, illegal immigrants, or global warming.

Hall has a degenerative disease and supports his adult daughter in a separate household. He will definitely retire when his disease prevents him from working. At that time his medical bills will be covered by Medicare and part of his living expenses will be covered by Social Security. In addition he has an IRA and he owns at least one house.

Contrast that with the situation of my friend, Lee, who has only a high-school teacher's pension and a small house in a rural area of California. Lee believed that Hall shared the same problems as he does, but Hall was lying. By Lee's standards, Hall is well-off. He has been earning a good income at steady jobs for 40 years.

Instead of considering himself well-off, Hall pretends he is persecuted, and names all the groups that he believes should be persecuted instead of him. His anger at these people show he is perfectly willing to do that.

We will not be able to solve the problems of this country by blaming the victims of failed social policies, or by pretending that global warming will go away if we ignore it. We will not be able to confront an inconvenient truth if we turn to Fox News for comfortable falsehoods.

Instead of stoking the fears of his fellow true-believers, Hall should be seeking solutions that are acceptable to all. He and the rest of the Republican Party are using fear and hatred to splinter our country and make us unable to work together for the future.

gpence61 said...

What you see as the "touchstones of white spuremacy" is not so clear to me... I certainly hope you can see opposition to welfare fraud, illegal immmegration, higher taxes, etc. without seeing racism as the sole possible cause!

From my perspective, I see the liberals as forcing things down America's throat and not being willing to do what's best for the COUNTRY as a whole.

I see too many political issues (welfare, immegration, etc) as buying votes to keep politicians in power (be they Dems or Repubs).

I would love to see terms limited to no more than 2 terms at any level -- after that, you're ineligible to run for election (except for President). That would limit career politicians...

ron said...

You're right. We just don't get it.

Why would someone try so hard to discredit someone based on their opinion?

The dollar's going to be worthless in a few years with this administration's policies. Pension programs are in big trouble.

Is it that difficult to understand why someone can't retire on pensions alone?

Hard work and faith in the American dream are what Hall is about.

allanm051 said...

to gpence61:

Those who use racial slurs never seem to understand what they are saying. Those who suffer racial slurs always recognize them.

If you truly believe that any one of the views I mentioned is not an irrational belief based on personal prejudice, you should write to the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and ask them whether they agree that African-Americans are lazy or stupid; or write to LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) and ask them whether they agree that latino immigrants are criminals or welfare cheats; or write to AIC (American Ismalic Conference) and ask whether they agree that Muslims are murderers.

Kate Powell said...

I'm Tired of Robert A. Hall.

I am Kate Powell. I am embarrassed to see on this page a post I sent some time ago in support of Robert A. Hall. I no longer support Robert A. Hall in any way, shape or form. I'm too embarrassed to read the old post on this page, but please disregard anything good I said about Robert A. Hall. We can all be wrong, can't we? Except for Robert A. Hall.