Pundit Wire

“A Dealer In Hope”

speakerNapoleon once said that a leader is “a dealer in hope.” If putting heart into people is the touchstone of leadership, then General Colin Powell is one of the outstanding leaders of our time.

I had the chance to observe the General at close range during the three years that I worked for him as his speechwriter. (See the picture of me with the General on the home page of my web side, www.ringingwords.com. I no longer have the beard but I’m still recognizable.)

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Some Still Don’t Know What We Knew Then and Aren’t Sure What We Know Now

Jeb_Bush_at_CPAC_2015,_National_Harbor,_MD_05“…every other real or imagined candidate felt compelled to jump in with their response to what they would have decided twelve years ago based on what we knew then or what we know now or what we thought we knew then or think we know now but didn’t know then.”

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Posted in Campaigns & Elections, General, History, National Security, Political Rhetoric, Politics, U.S. | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Looking before you Leap

IMG_20150514_102213At $50.3 billion (FY 16 projected), the U.S. budget for diplomacy and overseas development is a pretty good deal.  One-tenth the spending of the Department of Defense and well below two percent of national public expenditures, it comes in almost unnoticeable by people like me, baffled by zeroes.

Even so, it’s real money and needs to stand up to scrutiny.

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Small Enough to Succeed

IMG_9382May 28, one of these candidates will succeed Donald Kaberuka as African Development Bank president.  Kaberuka’s ten-year run got the African Development Bank (AfDB) up to $3.16 billion in loans and grants per annum to infrastructure projects on the Continent, pretty modest compared to the World Bank’s $15 billion. China puts in about the same $15 billion per annum in investments, which some would consider “real money.”

With Africa’s visible problems, it nevertheless churns on at six per cent growth as a whole, positioning it to move up the world scale in the near future as China’s growth slows.

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Kyle Clark, Brandon Rittiman should moderate all the debates

debate_539_332_c1Here’s Kyle Clark grilling Republican Cory Gardner, who went on to oust Mark Udall from his Colorado senate seat in 2014:
“You continue to deny that the federal Life at Conception Act which you sponsor is a personhood bill to end abortion, and we are not going to debate that here tonight because it’s a fact. Your co-sponsors say so, your opponents say so and independent fact checkers say so. So let’s instead talk about what this entire episode may say about your judgment more broadly…. A charitable interpretation would be that you have a difficult time admitting when you are wrong, and a less charitable interpretation is that you’re not telling us the truth. Which is it?”

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U.K. – United or Federated Kingdom?

6997132774_8fa975c208_oThe big story to emerge from Britain’s recent elections is the remarkable showing by the Scottish National Party or SNP.

The SNP went from 6 seats to 56 seats out of a total of 59 Scottish seats in the U.K. parliament. The upset, which came at the expense of Britain’s Labour Party, makes the SNP the third-largest party in parliament. The SNP is a regional party; it is a party pledged to make Scotland an independent country; and it is a party that is ideologically further to the left than the Labour Party.

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Ed Miliband: Not Clint Eastwood

Clint_Eastwood-Rawhide_publicityOne of the best quotes about politics and democracy is attributed to US Senator Russell B Long: Democracy is like a raft. It won’t sink, but your feet are always wet.

Here in the United Kingdom our “first past the post” voting system produces some amazing anomalies.  For example, people not familiar with the Splendour that is Westminster Democracy might think it superficially unreasonable that the UK Independence Party received nearly 4,000,000 votes but won only one parliamentary seat, whereas the Scottish National Party received 1,500,000 votes yet won 56 parliamentary seats.

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Lusitania: How the Unthinkable Happened

article-0-14059853000005DC-49_634x380One hundred years ago on May 7, just ten months after the start of the First World War, the British luxury liner RMS Lusitania was torpedoed by a German U-boat and sank in just 20 minutes. Out of nearly 2,000 passengers and crew only 764 survived. The dead included 123 Americans.

To mark this tragic anniversary, I am reading the much-acclaimed new book by Erik Larson–Dead Wake: The Lusitania’s Last Crossing.

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