Abandoning our Iran hostages and other commentary

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Foreign desk: Abandoning Our Iran Hostages

At National Review, Elliott Abrams worries that Team Biden “is planning to do exactly what the Obama administration did just over five years ago: make a deal with Iran that abandons Americans held hostage there.” In 2015, then-Secretary of State John Kerry promised that the mullahs would release the unjustly detained Siamak Namazi as part of the Iran deal, but “that pledge was evidently false, as Siamak has just completed his 2,000th day in prison,” and his 84-year-old father remains under house arrest. The regime “guessed correctly that American talk about doing all we can to get our hostages returned did not include delaying the lifting of US sanctions by one single day.” President Biden’s team is making the same mistake, negotiating sanctions relief for Tehran, even though lifting “the key financial and petroleum sanctions without gaining the release of the American hostages in Iran is in effect to abandon them — again.”

From the left: Big Tech’s Sneak Censorship

Groups seeking to expose malfeasance are “particularly vulnerable in the age of algorithmic moderation, as computers don’t easily distinguish between conspiracy theory and legitimate reporting that runs counter to present accepted narratives,” Matt Taibbi warns at his TK News site. Case in point: The nonprofit watchdog US Right to Know Foundation helped expose a sneaky p.r. move by the EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit that works with the now-infamous Wuhan Institute of Virology. EcoHealth leadership helped “organize a letter in the prominent medical journal The Lancet, denouncing as ‘conspiracy theory’ the idea that COVID-19 might have had laboratory origins but appeared reluctant to have its own involvement made public.” Soon after, USRTK discovered that its Web “traffic went off a cliff . . . dropping nearly 60 percent overnight.” Others to see similar woes include the World Socialist Web Site and TruthDig. All seem to be victims of Google “core algorithm updates.”

From the right: Biden’s New Wall

President Biden is trying to “build a tax wall around America” by “asking foreign governments to not offer better rates” and thus locking individuals and businesses into funding $6 trillion worth of plans to “build back better,” scoffs the Washington Examiner’s Hugo Gurdon. While “right-wing walls are defenses” against illegal migration, left-wing walls like Biden’s are “prisons” for those whose governments “make their own country so unattractive that sensible people want to escape.” Stifling competition is “distinctly un-American,” but that’s ­exactly what Biden is trying to do.

Libertarian: ’60 Minutes” Shameful Spin

Reason’s Robby Soave points out that a much-disputed “60 Minutes” segment on Ron DeSantis — accusing the Florida governor of giving the Publix grocery chain a lucrative vaccine distribution contract in return for a $100,000 donation to his campaign — “doesn’t really stand up to scrutiny.” For starters, “the decision to have Publix coordinate vaccination was not even made by the governor’s office.” And as the governor explained, “it wasn’t true that Publix got the vaccines first.” But CBS reporter Sharyn ­Alfonsi “blatantly ignored the part of the governor’s statement that clashed with her narrative,” cutting his explanation down to “a brief comment that made it sound like he became combative with her for no reason.” The segment is only the latest symptom of the mainstream media’s “weird fixation” on promoting “a false narrative that Florida’s approach to the pandemic has been uniquely bad.”

Science beat: Pandemic Vax Miracles

There is plenty of grim news out there these days, but our pandemic era has also witnessed “remarkable developments and innovations,” cheers Commentary’s Noah Rothman. The genetic technology that made possible the rapid introduction of COVID-19 jabs, for example, has applications that extend “well beyond the current pandemic’s bounds,” including promising vaccines against one of humankind’s oldest and deadliest enemies, malaria. A Phase One clinical trial of a vaccine against HIV-AIDS has likewise showed astonishing progress “against this notoriously evasive contagion.” So wallow in gloom, if you like, but “the future is brighter than the naysayers allow.”

Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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