Sergeant Hagel Still: Talking with the Secretary of Defense

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Recently, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel sent a 904-page book to Egyptian Army Commander-in-Chief Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, with whom he has had over twenty conversations since assuming his Pentagon role.  The book, Washington: A Life, won for its author Ron Chernow the Pulitzer Prize

US-Iran Initiative: Big Consequences if it Fails

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My quote in today’s Financial Times article by Geoff Dyer on the latest in US-Iran relations: It is not getting carried away to say this is an extraordinary moment because rapprochement with Iran would be the biggest positive shift in global affairs since the end of the Cold War and the normalisation of relations with…

When Everyone Knew the Horror of Chemical Weapons

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In these times, it may be useful to some to go back and read the poems of Rupert Brooke, Ezra Pound, Wilfred Owen and others who captured and froze in time the horrors of chemical weapons in the world’s first great war. Wilfred Owen died in November 1918, the last week of World War I….

Hindery Report on Real Unemployment

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For those interested in following the “real unemployment” rate, which businessman Leo Hindery and others have been promoting as a better measure of unemployment than the more limited data on official unemployment which the government and media tend to prioritize, I attach his letter: In July 2013, the number of Real Unemployed Persons decreased by…

Norquist & Emanuel on Immigration Debate

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(click on right corner above to expand to full screen) It is a really, really bizarre time in American politics when on one side of a debate — in this case, the immigration policy debate — stand folks like the anti-tax scourge of Democrats Grover Norquist, Chicago Mayor and most likely presidential Democratic Party aspirant…

What is the Menendez Plan on Syria?

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Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez takes on Washington Post veteran reporter Walter Pincus this morning with a Syria-related letter to the editor in this morning’s paper. Menendez writes “his wrongheaded commentary fell into an oversimplified story line that Congress is broken.

Gays, Guns, and Doing the Right Thing

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Senator Joe Manchin and Margaret Carlson at New York IDEAS 2013 on FORA.tv Joe Manchin, soon to become the senior Senator of West Virginia after Jay Rockefeller‘s retirement, was interviewed by Bloomberg’s Margaret Carlson about his efforts to close gun show loopholes and push broader background checks on gun purchasers.