- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Higher prices

“Political Animal” Kevin Drum advises Sen. Barack Obama not to pander on the issue of energy and doesn’t think advocating higher energy prices would be “political suicide” even in an era of $4-per-gallon gasoline.

“The public is [angry], this storyline goes, and it doesn’t want airy wonkery. It just wants lower gas prices,” Mr. Drum sums up conventional wisdom as saying.

“But here’s an alternative suggestion: go the full monty in the other direction. Make a major speech in the ‘no easy solutions’ vein and attack [Sen. John] McCain for panicking and pandering. The basic pitch would be this: in the long term gasoline prices are going to go up no matter what we do. But this can happen in one of two ways.

“First, it can happen by simply doing nothing and allowing demand to increase - as it will after the initial shock of $4 gas wears off and people go back to their old driving habits. This will lead to higher wellhead prices for oil, and the beneficiaries will be OPEC and big multinational oil companies.

“Second, it can happen via a concerted effort to raise the price of energy via a cap-and-trade plan. This will reduce demand and lead to stabilized oil prices. The net price of oil will still go up thanks to the cost of auctioning off emission permits, but the additional money goes into American coffers, where it can be used to improve mass transit; fund clean energy research; reduce the impact on the poor; and help offset other taxes.”

July 4 care

Several leading conservative blogs are teaming up for “From the Frontlines,” an eight-hour Internet fundraiser to send care packages to U.S. troops overseas, in time for Independence Day. The organizers hope to raise $500,000 for what they expect to be the biggest care package shipment in history.

The eight-hour “Web-A-Ton” runs from 4 p.m. to midnight EDT on Thursday, co-hosted by Melanie Morgan of Move America Forward and Michelle Malkin of Hot Air. The other principal sponsor is UStream.tv, and people can watch the webcast or get more details at any of those three sites.

The program includes live interviews with U.S. service members. Such conservative luminaries as Rush Limbaugh, Nancy Reagan, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham and Oliver North will contribute.

Nuremburg 2?

The treatment of prisoners in the war on terrorism has produced the expected rhetoric over “torture” and “war crimes.” But an article on the New Republic says it may become the stuff of Nuremburg-like trials of U.S. officials.

New York lawyer Scott Horton wrote that “the Bush administration officials who pushed torture will need to be careful about their travel plans” - he specifies William J. Haynes, Douglas Feith, John Yoo, Jay Bybee, Alberto Gonzales and David Addington - and called it “reasonably likely” that some European nation will claim “universal jurisdiction” over war crimes and try Bush administration officials.

Mr. Horton writes that Philippe Sands’ new book, “The Torture Team,” “contains an interview with an investigating magistrate in a European nation [who] … makes clear that he is already assembling a case, and is focused on American policymakers.”

Mr. Horton himself added that “in the past two years, I have spoken with two investigating magistrates in two different European nations, both pro-Iraq war NATO allies. Both were assembling war crimes charges against a small group of Bush administration officials.”

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