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Flotsam and Jetsam

Sen. Kit Bond calls release of the interrogation memos a “stab in the back.” And he adds that “if Speaker Pelosi and Jay Rockefeller thought they were excessive, or should not have been done, they should have said something then. There was plenty of opportunity to do it, and they didn’t. That’s why we have continuing ongoing oversight by Congress.”

Lots more tea parties scheduled for July 4. At a clip of $65 billion of new debt for each of the First 100 days there will be plenty to talk about.

Robert J. Samuelson isn’t buy the environmentalists’ promise of a cost-free solution to greenhouse gas restriction: “The selling of the green economy involves much economic make-believe. Environmentalists not only maximize the dangers of global warming — from rising sea levels to advancing tropical diseases — they also minimize the costs of dealing with it. Actually, no one involved in this debate really knows what the consequences or costs might be. All are inferred from models of uncertain reliability. Great schemes of economic and social engineering are proposed on shaky foundations of knowledge. Candor and common sense are in scarce supply.”

I’m not sure which is more compelling in this interview: Liz Cheney’s calm defense of the enhanced interrogation tactics or the degree to which Nora O’Donnell is both ill-informed as to the underlying facts and emotionally invested in her position. If she is going to so obviously discard her “impartial reporter” role she’d do well to brush up on the primary source material.

Larry Summers is madly trying to lower expectations, calling for a “long road” to recovery. So what exactly did the stimulus plan get us?

The mainstream media discovers the Obama tax policies are going to whack small businesses.

The Congressional Black Caucus is steamed that Obama is backtracking on his position involving ongoing discrimination litigation by African-American farmers against the Agriculture Department. They are right that Obama has flip-flopped, but he is right to do so. A while back I looked into just how frivolous this litigation is.

Too bad this didn’t come up during Ahmadinejad’s appearance on This Week: “An Iranian vessel en route to Sudan in order to deliver weapons to Hamas in the Gaza Strip was attacked by an Israeli or American ship and destroyed, according to a report Sunday in the Egyptian weekly Al-Usbua.” Nor did the story about shipment of enriched uranium to North Korea come up. Or the shipment of IEDs into Iraq to kill Americans. Or Iran’s support of Hamas and Hezbollah. Or the treatment of gays in Iran.

Here is an interesting account of George Stephanopoulos’ efforts to gain access to Roxana Saberi. Saberi is now on a hunger strike. And Iran’s Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, who agreed to represent her, was denied access to Saberi on Sunday.

An unexpected and positive development: “Democrats in Congress are joining Republicans in calling for tough new sanctions on Iran and warning the Obama administration that its policy of engagement shouldn’t last too long before turning to harsher steps aimed at halting Tehran’s nuclear program.” Perhaps the rest of his party is not so certain that Obama’s charms alone will affect Iran’s behavior.

Also unexpected and positive: the Washington Post editors present a compelling argument against a “public option” in healthcare reform. Read the whole thing.

A case study in governmental abuse of power: “The cavalier use of brute government force has become routine, but the emerging story of how Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke forced CEO Ken Lewis to blow up Bank of America is still shocking. It’s a case study in the ways that panicky regulators have so often botched the bailout and made the financial crisis worse.”

While opposing “harsh interrogation techniques” Michael Gerson nevertheless asks: “Historically, did America ever give such exhaustive consideration to the consequences of its actions in safeguarding the homeland? To the rights of children incinerated during the firebombing of Dresden? To the long-term mental and physical health of the elderly of Hiroshima? Even the most questionable techniques employed in the war on terror bear no comparison to methods common in past American wars.”



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