Another Perspective

Another Perspective

The Case for Ex-Im Bank

By 7.11.14

The Export-Import Bank of the United States, more commonly known as Ex-Im Bank, is fighting for its life, now that its eighty-year-old charter is up for renewal by Congress. The new leadership and conservative wing in the House of Representatives view Ex-Im Bank as an entitlement for private enterprise, an example of corporate welfare and so-called crony capitalism. But before overreacting, Congress should consider the facts about Ex-Im Bank’s mission to support American jobs, its performance, and the possible consequences of its demise.

In view of systemic bad credit practices, the economic meltdown, and the destruction of part of Wall Street in 2008, there is no shortage of sniping at anything with “bank” in its name, or for that matter, anything resembling a harbor for the one percent. When he was a presidential candidate, Barack Obama himself called Ex-Im Bank an example of corporate welfare, although in 2012 when he extended its existence for two years, he emphasized the need for American export competitiveness.

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National Service for Those Who Missed Out

By 7.10.14

Our armed forces have been stretched to the breaking point with the continuing commitments in Afghanistan and Iraq. Troops have experienced three and four combat tours and repeated extensions of their tours in country beyond what was predicted. Reenlistments are down and military recruiters are having trouble meeting their quotas. 

Various strategies are being devised to boost recruitment. The Pentagon has appealed for more generous GI benefits, and some time ago the Army raised the maximum age for recruitment from 35 to 42, the second time it has acted to broaden the pool of potential recruits.

Recently, the Air Force announced extension of the maximum age for enlistment from 27 to 39, meaning it may now be the best choice for those who feel the call to military service later in life. The Navy and Marines continue to cap recruit ages at 34 and 28, respectively.

Not to worry, your average 42 year old Army recruit can probably manage the rigors of basic training just fine. In fact, I know some 62 year olds who would put some young, flabby 18-year-old recruits to shame on the obstacle course and the dreaded ten-mile forced march with full field gear.

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The Other Daniel Allott

By 7.9.14

“Police name suspect Daniel Allott, wanted in connection with fatal stabbing” 

That was the headline that greeted me one morning in April. It dropped into my email inbox in the form of a Google Alert I’d set up to track where and when articles I write are published.

Of course, I knew I wasn’t the Daniel Allott the police were looking for. For one thing, I don’t make a habit of stabbing people. I also learned from the article that the stabbing had taken place in England, the country I was born in and frequently visit but hadn’t set foot in in over a year. Nevertheless, it was a little jarring to see my name associated with murder.

In the subsequent days, I received a series of Google Alert articles whose headlines shed some light on what happened next.

“Wanted man, Daniel Allott, arrested in Burton-on-Trent”

“Stafford man Daniel Allott charged with murder after death of Connan McLeod in Stone”

“Daniel Allott denies murder of Stone man Connan McLeod”

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Hillary’s Religious Hobby

By 7.3.14

A few years back I wrote book on the faith of Hillary Clinton. To this day it jolts liberals and conservatives alike that I, a principled Reagan conservative, would have written God and Hillary Clinton: A Spiritual Life, especially on the heels of books I did on the faiths of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

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Lt. Gen: ‘Putin Has Knocked the Pieces off the Board’

By 6.27.14

For a long time, we’ve been playing checkers while Putin has been playing chess, combining tactics with strategy and looking several moves ahead,” said the General. “In Ukraine, though, he’s done something wildly different, to which we have no real response. He has simply knocked the pieces off the board.”

The speaker, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, is the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, which supports our combat operations everywhere. Commissioned as an Army intelligence officer in 1981, he served in that branch ever since, in many posts and deployments. A chest full of ribbons attests to his qualifications. He has sharply original points of view and he has not hesitated to shake up the organizations he commands. He is of medium height with short hair, has strong, lean features, and an intense expression. The modernistic DIA building where we met is on the Anacostia-Bolling air base, out beyond the Pentagon.

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Raul Labrador Moves on From Majority Leader

By 6.26.14

Raul Labrador, fresh off his failed bid to become Republicans’ House majority leader, doesn’t know what he’s going to do next, but that doesn’t seem to bother him. In terms of his job as a congressman from Idaho’s first district, it’s back to regular-scheduled programming for the sophomore lawmaker.

“You know, I don’t have my sights set on anything,” said Labrador from his small office in a corner of the Longworth House building. “I didn’t come here to be in leadership. I came here to make a difference, and if I can make a difference without being in leadership, I would be very happy with that.”

Labrador challenged Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy for the job of majority leader, which is being vacated by Eric Cantor at the end of July. In what can only be described as a “whirlwind,” the native Puerto Rican threw his hat in the race less than a week before the election was set to take place.

Now things seem to be getting back to normal. His press secretary, Todd Winer, chuckles when I bring up what must have been a hectic past few days. “It was crazy,” he concedes before motioning to his boss, “but he did most of the work.”

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Defending David Brat on Immigration

By 6.23.14

David Brat’s stunning primary victory has happily killed off the prospect of immigration reform this year, and so the pro-immigration folks are busily trying to tell us that immigration had nothing to do with it. What nonsense!

David is not a one-issue candidate, to be sure. On the public debt crisis and crony capitalism he’s right on the money. But more than anything it was the immigration issue that brought him into the race and propelled him to victory. I say this as one whose friends encouraged David to run, and who spoke with him about the primary back in December. 

The 1965 Immigration Act has weakened our economy and transformed American politics by bringing an immense number of new Democrats to the voting booths. But for them, Obama would have lost the last two presidential elections. It’s no wonder that Democrats are so heavily invested in immigration, and that conservative fear the prospect of immigration “reform” designed to add yet more Democrats to the voting rolls.

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Singin’ the Blues

By 6.13.14

Ah, nostalgia! Merriam-Webster online defines it as “pleasure and sadness that is caused by remembering something from the past and wishing that you could experience it again.” And so it was that I experienced an acute pang of pleasant wistfulness as I watched Hillary Clinton’s hair-tossing attempts at school-girlery when trying to explain her way out of her claim that she and her husband were “dead broke” when they left the White House. Oh the memories conjured up watching a fawning press, with their puerile devotion to Barack Obama fading fast, returning to their first love; the smartest woman in the world.

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Is There Really an Epidemic of Mass Shootings?

By 6.9.14

The recent tragedy at the University of California, Santa Barbara has reignited debate over the fraught issues of gun control, mental health, and school safety. The loss of any life is of course tragic. Parents, community members, and policy makers are right to ask questions about how each attack might have been prevented.

But some perspective is in order. Type “mass shootings” and “common” into a search engine and you’ll get all sorts of breathless commentary that might lead one to believe there Americans face a genuine epidemic of shooting rampages. A few headlines:

Vox: “Mass shootings on campus are getting more common and more deadly.”

ThinkProgress: “Mass Shootings Are Becoming More Frequent.”

NPR: “Study: Mass Shootings Are On The Rise Across U.S.”

Washington Post: “Why are mass shootings becoming more common?”

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Tyrrell’s Too Cheerful Thesis

By 6.5.14

To coin a phrase, R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. has forgotten more about politics than I’ll ever know. His familiarity with great ideas and thinkers, his personal ties to some of the most important conservatives in recent history (Ronald Reagan visited his home!), and his affable writing style — not to mention that he founded the publication I write for — give me pause when considering even a modest contradiction of the man.

Perhaps RET is much more congenitally optimistic than I am about politics, but I cannot share his counseled optimism that a renewal of the “Liberal Death Wish” may cause the left to “go the way of the dinosaurs.”

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