29 Apr 2009


All Posts, Potpourri No Comments

* During the debate over cap and trade, there was a lot of gnashing of teeth–including a “worst person in the world” designation from our national moralist–about the Republicans’ use of an MIT study to say the average American household would pay $3100 per year, once the program really kicked in. The MIT professor said that was crazy, and you can guess what ensued. I was the lead author in this American Energy Alliance piece explaining the controversy. (And yes, some other members of the team jazzed it up for Beltwayese.)

* I meant to blog this a few days ago when it ran… The WSJ had a great editorial showing just how underhanded Paulson and Bernanke were with Bank of America.

* If you are interested in the torture debate, here’s Glenn Greenwald teeing off on David Broder. Sometimes GG is a bit shrill for my taste, but when he’s in the zone he really hits it out of the park. (Or if you prefer, “he’s on fire.”) I think GG missed two of the most outrageous elements of Broder’s piece however, which I put in bold in the excerpt below:

Obama is being blamed by some for unleashing the furies with his decision to override the objections of past and current national intelligence officials and release four highly sensitive memos detailing the methods used on some “high-value” detainees.

Again, he was right to do so, because these policies were carried out in the name of the American people, and it is only just that we the people confront what we did. Squeamishness is not justified in this case.

But having vowed to end the practices, Obama should use all the influence of his office to stop the retroactive search for scapegoats.

This is not another Sept. 11 situation, when nearly 3,000 Americans were killed. We had to investigate the flawed performances and gaps in the system and make the necessary repairs to reduce the chances of a deadly repetition.

First of all, since when does something become “what we did” just because the people doing it claimed to be acting “in the name of the American people”? If you want to say, “The American people re-elected George Bush, knowing full well what his policies entailed, and so it’s a bit self-serving to now indignantly claim to be shocked! shocked! by it all,” then OK that would be a decent argument. But that’s not what Broder is arguing above. He smoothly flows from “done in our name” to “what we did.” Huh?

Second of all, look at the sheer monstrosity of the second part in bold. Broder doesn’t spell it out, but what he’s saying is, “After 9/11, we needed a commission because those were some serious mistakes–American people died, for heaven’s sake. But this stuff with the torture, well, it was just a bunch of Arabs getting tortured, so no big deal. If it happens again, well, we’ll all have to feel bad again for a few months.”

That sounds eerily similar to the infamous dialog that got Huckleberry Finn banned from some schools.

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