Pundit Wire

“A Conservative Government is Organized Hypocrisy.” Benjamin Disraeli

InhofeSnowball“One of the wonderful things about hypocrisy is that it so often comes around to bite the hypocrite on the butt.”

Of all the more popular political sins, my personal favorite is hypocrisy. One of the wonderful things about hypocrisy is that it so often comes around to bite the hypocrite on the butt. It’s widely practiced by people on both sides of the great political divide, but my friends in the Republican Party are working hard to raise the level of insincerity to new and dizzying heights.

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How Lafayette Routed Napoleon—With a Speech

Gilbert_du_Motier_Marquis_de_Lafayette_-_high_resThe history books tell us that Napoleon was decisively defeated at the Battle of Waterloo two hundred years ago on June 18, 1815. Four days later, on June 22, he abdicated and was exiled by the British to the remote island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic where he died in 1821.

This compressed version of events leaves out a wealth of fascinating details. It particular, it doesn’t tell us how Napoleon schemed to hold power even after Waterloo, and how the immediate cause of his abdication was not the bayonets of Wellington and Blücher, but a courageous speech by the Marquis de Lafayette.

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Saved by a Tux

DF-SC-82-05415“Négritude,” fashionable in the first half of the twentieth century, was a precursor of Black Pride for francophone countries.  It was a play on a French word which wasn’t flattering, though a little less abusive than the English equivalent.  It flew in the face of colonial condescension.

Because it had an element of assimilationism, it was rebuked by later generations, but put out some fine poetry while the going was good.

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Bronx Cheer for a Danish Court

5In a world of metastasizing injustices, Denmark would be one of the last places to get a red flag for public policy abuse.

Still, the Danish Supreme Court stepped in it June 3 in a case against Bent Jensen, who conveyed declassified records into a publication in 2007. The outcome has Danish writers and publishers running for cover.

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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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