Egypt and the Held Democracy-Promoting NGO Workers

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Here are some thoughts on the churn inside Egypt over pro-Democracy NGO institutions that I shared on Al Jazeera yesterday. Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham see the crisis coming to a close soon, with the NGO workers released. I hope this is the case — but the now politically dominant Muslim Brotherhood’s support for the actions of Egypt’s military government is clearly a warning shot across America’s bow. I think it’s important to realize that the US needs to…

Writing in Chuck Hagel

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Gordon Shaw of Lincoln, Nebraska writes to the editors of the Journal Star: As I look over the leading candidates for president of the United States, I and many I have talked with have the common reaction: “none of the above.” After a long look for a quality write-in candidate who can inspire engagement in the political process, Chuck Hagel came to mind. With Chuck’s Republican roots yet independent bold character, an internationalist’s vision, solid financial discipline and experience, we…

The Real Defense Budget

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photo credit:  Reuters While everyone knows that the defense budget is large — even in the numbers that the public sees as the formally admitted figures by the Department of Defense — the truth is that when one scratches beneath the bureaucratic veneer, national security spending is much larger, nearly double the amount US citizens are told. A Republican, numbers-compulsive defense wonk at the Center for Defense Information, Winslow Wheeler, has published a great summary of what America’s defense budget…

The 3 am Call Clip: Obama vs Romney

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Last evening I had an interesting chat with Lawrence O’Donnell, host of MSNBC’s The Last Word, considering how President Obama has done answering the “3 am call” versus how Mitt Romney might answer the crisis call.  As promised, here is the clip. The Atlantic‘s Steve Clemons speaks to Lawrence O’Donnell about the “3 am call” And yes, I know that I should ‘never’ use sports metaphors when talking politics. In the clip above, I mention Obama’s nuanced use of the…

The 3 AM Call: What Would Romney Do vs Obama?

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Tonight at about 10:45 pm EST, I will be chatting with MSNBC anchor of The Last Word, Lawrence O’Donnell about the comparative foreign policy and national security strengths of President Obama versus GOP contender Mitt Romney. I wonder how many layers of staff (i.e. servants) Romney’s hypothetical 1600 Pennsylvania household would have to work through before handing him the phone — but that aside, this is an interesting issue. I wasn’t impressed with Romney’s Citadel speech, though I do think…

Corruption Watchdogs Pull a Joe Kennedy with New Blogger Jack Abramoff

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Holy Indian reservation roulette wheels Batman!  The newly launched Republic Report, an anti-corruption blog focusing on how self-interested dollars are warping the public-interest responsibilities of America’s democratic institutions has actually hired convicted felon Jack Abramoff to be one of its lead bloggers.  Yes, that Jack Abramoff, “Casino Jack”, as profiled in the Alex Gibney film, Casino Jack and the United States of Money. The Republic Report may be “pulling a Joe Kennedy” here — and I think it’s provocative, bold,…

Afghanistan 2013: America Shifts Course

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Chris Matthews speaks with The Atlantic‘s Steve Clemons and Matthew Hoh of the Center for International Policy Last night, former State Department official and US Marine Matthew Hoh, now a Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy, and I had a very good discussion with Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball about Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s comments that the US would cease combat operations in Afghanistan in 2013 — rather than the end of 2014. Key points made during the…