Karzai Declared Winner. Abdullah Abdullah withdraws from runoff amid concerns about systemic fraud in election system — and Karzai is declared winner. Intrade never had much doubt in the outcome.
Clinton Schedules Then Retracts Meeting with Japan Foreign Minister Okada. Could still happen — but what a big change when Hillary Clinton’s first overseas visit was to Tokyo and Barack Obama’s first official foreign head of government was Japan Prime Minister Taro Aso. American and Japanese authorities are still bickering over a relocation deal for Futenma Air Station on Okinawa. Someone should remind Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the reshuffled security arrangements between the US and Japan were triggered by the brutal rape of a 12-year old girl by three American servicemen.
Hillary Clinton Sides with Netanyahu on Settlements. In the marketplace of human emotion, Palestinian and Arab Muslim hopes skyrocketed after President Obama’s stirring Cairo speech, his appointment of the seemingly fair minded and tough Middle East envoy George Mitchell, and his tough call for an end to illegal Israeli settlement expansion. But now “natural growth” in the territories and structural expansion and destruction of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem have Hillary Clinton’s stamp of approval. Humiliation is pretty much part of being a Palestinian it seems.
Honduras Sues Brazil in World Court. The defacto, coup-installed Honduras president Roberto Micheletti has taken Brazil to court for allowing ousted Honduras President Manuel Zelaya to sleep on its couch in its Tegucigalpa embassy.
The Valerie Plame-Joe Wilson Movie Fair Game Test Screened. Sean Penn not only has a brilliant Harvey Milk and Huey Long in him. Apparently, in the new film “Fair Game” about the Valerie Plame-Joe Wilson encounter with the Cheney-Libby-Rove cabal, Sean Penn brilliantly captures Joe Wilson — and Naomi Watts gets high scores as Valerie Plame. The film is in discreet test screenings around the country.
Corona Coming Attractions‘ inside man saw the screen test and writes:
“Fair Game is really a tremendous, thought provoking film. It’s based on the same titled memoir by former CIA Agent Valerie Plame, who of course worked for the agency as an undercover spy until her husband wrote an op-ed piece declaring that the Bush White House lied about Sadaam Hussein’s efforts to buy yellow-cake uranium from Niger. Naomi Watts plays Plame (and as shown at the ending, really looks a lot like her), and plays her wonderfully. The story is set up through a sequence at the beginning showing her in action in the field, and in the CIA headquarters being completely dedicated to her job. She loves what she does for her country even at the price the travel and the secrecy puts on her family life.
“She’s married to former Ambassador Joe Wilson, played by Sean Penn in what very easily could (and should) be his next Oscar nomination. Wilson is a man in turmoil almost from his opening scene, dining with friends who think they know everything about the world. They don’t, Wilson doesn’t, but he certainly knows more about the Iraq situation than they do and is glad to tell anybody about it who will listen. His expertise gets him looked at (through no suggestion of his wife) and requested of by the CIA to take a trip to Niger to investigate reports that Hussein was looking to buy uranium from that country, which Wilson was a leading expert on. He agreed, made the trip, found that there was no possible way that a purchase of yellowcake was made, and reported that back to the government. The administration, as we now know, chose to ignore this report, and used the incorrect intelligence as a key basis in its case for war.
“This destroys Wilson, who starts to speak up in the press, and the leak of his wife’s identity was made. We’re led to believe that the order of the leak was made by Karl Rove to Scooter Libby (played by a hilariously serious David Andrews), and the rest is history. Plame’s career is destroyed, her marriage (and life) nearly go along with it, and a major investigation into corruption in the Bush White House is launched, ultimately leading to the fall of Libby.
“The film clocked in at roughly 1:50, and paced tremendously well. There was a side-plot they spent a bit too much time on involving an Iraqi family and Plame’s valiant efforts to save them from the invasion, but that was really the only downfall of the film. Watts is excellent, at least as good as she was in Eastern Promises, and Penn is as good here as I’ve seen him. It’s directed by Doug Liman who did an excellent job of it, and I believe he also served as DP, so kudos to him as I often forgot the camera was even rolling. Truly a wonderful human drama with political suspense that should interest anybody no matter how they vote. 9/10.”
~~ Steve Clemons, proprietor of the Washington Note, will be backstage at the Bruce Springsteen concert tonight at the DC Verizon Center.
~~ Dennis Ross, tasked to be the Iran engagement envoy for the President and Secretary of State Clinton, has been lurking quietly behind the scenes moving from the Department of State to the National Security Council — and “amassing power” according to one source. Another well placed source reports: “Dennis is back.” Depending on how one looks at the Middle East peace process and the prospect of Nixon-like strategic leaps in world affairs, Dennis Ross could be bane or boon.
— Steve Clemons