Pundit Wire

FCC Chief Tom Wheeler is five-sixths of a superhero

11934229614_66a3256877_oThe last best hope to stop Big Money’s rout of American democracy is a former trade group lobbyist who’s reluctant to stretch his spandex superhero suit too thin.

Plutocrats have been on a roll for a while in the U.S., and campaign finance reform is in full retreat. Though Americans hate money’s “obscene” role in politics, according to a new New York Times/CBS poll, they feel hopeless about changing it. Thanks to the Supreme Court’s Buckley and Citizens United decisions, money is speech and corporations are people, so forget about limiting what billionaires and Super PACs can contribute to campaigns.

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Posted in Business, Campaigns & Elections, General, Politics, U.S. | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

“A Monument to Intellectual Integrity”

LittlemoreWhen I was in England in April, I lunched with some old friends at Oxford. Then I turned my back on the majestic towers and spires of the great university and took a bus to the obscure village of Littlemore some three miles away. My destination was a row of shabby, single-story cottages that had served as a coaching station in Victorian times.

And yet, as the English writer A.N. Wilson has observed, that row of shabby cottages is, “much more than the grand colleges of Oxford, a monument to intellectual integrity.” Because it was here, in 1845, that John Henry Newman was received into the Roman Catholic Church.

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When it Comes to Outrageous Lawmaking, Don’t Mess With Texas

gov-rick-perry-gun-240jdf0428101…if Congress wants to challenge the Texas Legislature to a crazy contest, they’d better bring their lunch.

For example, Congress voted to cut funding for veterans’ programs and then complained about veterans’ services being cut. Big deal! Back in Texas, just a few days after nine people died and 18 were injured when bullets flew in a Waco biker bar, the state senate voted to allow people to carry guns openly wherever they go, accept, of course, in the Texas Capitol Building. Not really a surprise because most Texans agree that packing heat is just about our most sacred Constitutional guarantee, placed in the founding document by the Almighty him or herself. If everybody in that bar had been armed, they could all have defended themselves instead of running for cover.

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Posted in Campaigns & Elections, General, Political Rhetoric, Politics, Supreme Court & Judiciary, U.S. | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

“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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