David Ignatius: A National Security Wonk’s National Security Wonk

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Politico‘s Dylan Byers has written one of the fairest, most earnest reviews of another journalist’s work that I’ve read in some time, particularly when it is about a writer who enjoys enviably high degrees of access at the White House, CIA, State Department and Pentagon.  There is none of the cheap shot snark that invades too much of today’s punditry. I am referring to Byers’ piece that just appeared today profiling the work of David Ignatius, who recently was given…

Did Obama Administration Resuscitate Corrupt Banking System?

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The New York Times editors nail it today in a piece ridiculing the settlement between too-big-to-fail banks and states designed to assist anti-foreclosure efforts and underwater home mortgage victims. Although the Obama administration did get some financial sector reforms through, like Dodd-Frank, the result seems to have been not a rewiring of the system to change the balance of power between economic stakeholders, particularly consumers and workers, but rather a resuscitation of the old system with some fig leafs (like…

O’Biden & St. Patty’s Day

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all.  I’m not really all that into this festive day but I can be dragged along to get into the fun now and then.  That said, A friend has been wearing this O’Bama shirt all day today. And what it makes me think of is Sarah Palin as depicted in the film Game Change repeatedly saying “O’Biden.” I really, really want a green O’Biden shirt, coffee mug, refrigerator magnet, bumper sticker. . .And to be…

Richard Branson Dissing the Drug War: Streaming Live

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This morning, starting at 9:15 am EST, I’ll be having a discussion with Virgin Group founder Richard Branson on his new campaign to decriminalize drug possession and to generally knock out the rationale of the so-called Global War on Drugs. Also joining us will be Drug Policy Alliance Executive Director Ethan Nadelmann who will forever be remembered for the zinger line to Bill Maher: “Pot is the new gay.” Feel free to join us — starting in less than an…

How Would You Fix the Economy? Major Conference Today

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Today, more than 800 people will attend “The US Economy Summit” organized by The Atlantic and presented at the Capital Hilton Hotel. The entire program (here is pdf of schedule) will stream live here on this blog as well as the Atlantic Live site — and will air in full, live, on C-Span and also be featured in certain segments on Bloomberg TV and CNBC. The program features a full 360 degree view of the economy policy debate from major,…

Bob Graham & Bob Kerrey on a Saudi Link to 9/11

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Former Senator and compulsive diarist Bob Graham along with former Senator Bob Kerrey (who has just announced his plans to run in Nebraska for the Senate again) have said that they think that the Saudi government may have been involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. From a report in the New York Times that ran last week: Now, in sworn statements that seem likely to reignite the debate, two former senators who were privy to top secret information on the…

Note to Obama: Puffery and Pandering on Israel & Iran are Not Strategy

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My Atlantic colleague Jeffrey Goldberg just scored an extensive interview with President Obama in which Obama says to Iran and Israel, “As President of the United States, I don’t bluff.” Goldberg’s preamble is important and must-read, but the interview itself is vital and gives one a good sense of both Obama’s strategic strengths and weaknesses. The decision of the White House to talk to Goldberg reflects their desire to speak to what Obama defined in the interview as “the Israeli…

Dr. Strangelove Approach to Counter Insurgency and Pentagon Marching Bands?

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Admittedly, this is a little Dr. Strangelovish — but was very intrigued by this video clip a reader sent of “Robot Quadrotors Performing James Bond Theme.” The reader who sent me this wrote to me that this might have been an alternative way to do   (expensive as high tech approach, but cheap in terms of lives sacrificed).   He writes: Imagine militarized versions of this flying around in the COIN zone, with not only the capacity to observe, but to…