Walter Mondale’s Comments on US-Japan Challenges: Short but Not Sweet

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Last Thursday, the 6th of December, I spent my evening at a 50th Anniversary black tie dinner commemorating the founding of the Japan America Society of Washington DC with former Vice President of the United States and Ambassador to Japan Walter Mondale. I was the guest of Society President and former Ambassador John Malott — and I’ve taken a few days to mull over both Mondale’s speech and a discussion I had with the former vice president privately. On one…

Scooter Libby Pardon in the Works?

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I don’t buy the argument that Scooter Libby has dropped his efforts at an appeal because of the time, hassle, and money involved in continuing the appeal. Although since presidential candidate Fred Thompson was one of those hosting fundraisers for Scooter’s legal defense fund, perhaps the distractions of the presidential race have taken a toll. But I do wonder whether Scooter Libby has been informed that a pardon is in the works. It would not surprise me if it was…

Sympathy and Acknowledgement for the Accuracy of John Bolton?

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Michael Rubin offers a bizarre entry at National Review Online today: An apology owed to John Bolton [Michael Rubin] The most recent Iran NIE confirms that Iran was actively pursuing a nuclear weapon back in 2003. Forgotten in much of the recent press coverage is that this proves John Bolton, at the time was undersecretary of state for Arms Control, correct. Many of the people under and around him, perhaps fearing that his analysis might get in the way of…

Why Chuck Hagel and No One Else?

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Helene Cooper has a useful primer on which presidential contenders got a boost or got headwind from three major foreign policy issues last week. She noted that President Bush hand signed a personal letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, a man Bush had called a “pygmy” and who John Bolton several times called “human scum.” The National Intelligence Estimate on Iran also set back Iran hawks. Last, there was the news that the CIA videotaped the harsh interrogation…

An Interesting Email Exchange with Mike Huckbee Spouse: Janet Huckabee

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Janet and Mike Huckabee at the Grand Hall of the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion In 2004, an associate of a friend began a correspondence with Janet Huckabee, wife of then Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. His concern at the time was that Janet Huckabee was simply too aggressive and snarky at a polling station when challenging those who did not show identification at the polls — and in some cases, sending people away when it was, in fact, their right to vote…

Competing Over Religious Zealotry in White House

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Tim Rutten of the Los Angeles Times offered a brilliant take on the Romney speech on religion which I have only now just read. His blunt read in “Press Preys on Wrong Question” of Huckabee’s flirtation with the anti-Enlightenment commitment to creationism is worth reviewing too. But on Kennedy, the take-down of the media’s read on Romney is definitive. Here is a part of it: . . .that sort of institutional blindness to what is at stake in the current…

Alex Gibney: This Film is About the Corruption of the American Character and Corruption of the Rule of Law

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I interviewed award-winning documentary film maker Alex Gibney after a screening of his film, Taxi to the Dark Side. His response is clear, but my question to him is not. Here is what I posed to him: Steve Clemons: “Alex, this film seemed to be a lot about missing accountability — accountability in our system for very horrific acts, undermining norms of our democracy and not letting something stay hidden. That’s the way I’m reading it. Your thoughts? Note that…

The Horror. . .The Horror: Torture Up Close and Pondering the Blowback

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I hosted a screening the other night of Alex Gibney’s powerful chronicle of America’s torture policy and activities, Taxi to the Dark Side. Afterward, I asked some of those who appeared in the film some questions. In this clip, which is not high quality film production and dark, but still important to see, I ask former military interrogator Damien Corsetti about what he saw and participated in at Abu Ghraib and Bagram detention centers. I then asked former FBI Special…

MoveOn.org Shouldn’t Attack Petraeus BUT Bolton Can Smear Entire National Intelligence Establishment?

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When MoveOn.org ran full page ads just before the Congressional testimony of General David Petraeus and Ryan Crocker with huge headlines saying “General Petraeus or General Betray Us?“, John Bolton’s fellow travelers went great lengths to condemn Move On for its lack of appropriate respect for dedicated national security leaders. Resolutions in the House and Senate were passed to condemn Move On. But in today’s Washington Post, John Bolton — who in addition to his own State Department team was…