On Bad Air and Bad Hair

Ross Mackenzie

4/17/2008 11:43:29 AM - Ross Mackenzie

Brief comments on items currently in the news . . .

If you believe President Bush’s severest critics, he lied about his reasons for going into Iraq — notably that Saddam Hussein had any involvement with either terrorism or al-Qaida. Now “Saddam and Terrorism,” a report based on the study of 600,000 captured items from Saddam’s regime, shows unequivocally that Saddam had close ties to al-Qaida and was up to his keister in promoting terror.

Switch to Iran. The president said recently: “(Iran’s leaders) have declared they want to have a nuclear weapon to destroy people — some in the Middle East. That’s unacceptable to the United States, and it’s unacceptable to the world.” Whereupon Bush’s critics went off — insisting Bush is lying yet again because Iran’s leaders stress they want uranium enrichment for solely peaceful purposes. But Bush likely is right in this, too. Iran has just announced a tripling of its uranium-enriching centrifuges — from 3,000, with an ultimate goal of 54,000. Funny thing, but without enriched uranium, a nuclear weapon cannot be built.

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The head of the International Olympic Committee has condemned Olympic torch protests of the Communist Chinese regime’s repression in Tibet. Further, he has said the IOC will punish any athletes participating in such protests — or even displaying their feelings.

So kindly consider air pollution in Beijing, where the Olympics will open come August: Boasting some of the planet’s filthiest air, Beijing has particulate matter, carbon monoxide, and sulfur and nitrogen dioxide readings often five times World Health Organization safety levels. Even the IOC has announced it will delay endurance events lasting more than an hour if it deems pollution levels too high. Question: Will the IOC hammer athletes who make their sentiments known about Chinese air pollution that could diminish their performance and harm their health?

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Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama say that despite this recession they want to lift the Bush tax cuts. That puts them right over there with Herbert Hoover, who reversed Calvin Coolidge’s tax cuts — thereby turning the recession of the hour into . . . the Depression.

Speaking of Bill’s fair and fading wife Hillary, at a Big Labor gathering in Philadelphia the other day — responding to appeals that she exit the Democratic presidential nomination race — she invoked the town’s fictional boxing hero: “Could you imagine if Rocky Balboa had gotten halfway up those art museum steps and said, ‘Well, I guess that’s about far enough’? Let me tell you something. When it comes to finishing the fight, Rocky and I have a lot in common. I never quit. I never give up.” Bad choice: Rocky lost, and three months ago the actor who played “Rocky” — Sylvester Stallone — endorsed John McCain.

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McCain was one of the few senators making sense during this month’s Senate appearance of Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker. Said McCain: “American (troops) continue to risk everything, (BEGIN ITALICS) everything, (END ITALICS) to accomplish their mission on our behalf. With the untold costs of their failure, and the benefits offered by success, the Congress must not choose to lose.”

A recent McCain ad termed him “the American president Americans have been waiting for” — likely an allusion to Obama’s line, “We are the ones we have been waiting for.” Bloggers went to work debating whether in the ad’s context “American” is merely a harmless patriotic modifier — or, ridiculously, somehow a dark subliminal suggestion that Obama is unpatriotic and hence un-American.

Obama continued to reveal the liberalism that drives him with his elitist statement that small-town Pennsylvanians are so embittered by the federal government’s failure to help them that “they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them . . . as a way to explain their frustrations.” How long will it be before Obama pronounces that anyone opposing his candidacy who dares to discuss his record (the votes he has cast, the things he has said) is — you know — going negative?

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Contrary to the wishes of the State Department, Jimmy Carter — on his way to meet with the exiled Khalid Meshal, head of terrorist group Hamas — laid a wreath at the tomb of terrorist icon Yasser Arafat. It’s all of a piece with the Carter method: Against the wishes of various administrations, Carter has gone to, e.g., North Korea, Cuba and Nicaragua. Because Barack Obama repeatedly postulates a need to meet with our meanest self-declared enemies, maybe Nobelist Carter is prepping to become a President Obama’s secretary of state.

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Finally, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In refusing to call a vote on President Bush’s proposed pact expanding free trade with Colombia — our best friend south of the border — she at least has reaffirmed the protectionism infusing today’s Democratic Party. She also may have implicitly aligned herself and her party with the Leninist guerrillas trying to overthrow the Colombian regime — something not necessarily out of character for Ms. Pelosi.

On a bad-hair day in 2001, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Communist unionist Harry Bridges, she effused in the Congressional Record that Bridges, “beloved by the workers of this nation,” was “arguably the most significant labor leader of the 20th Century.” Nearly a decade earlier (yet somehow unknown to Ms. Pelosi?), Comrade Bridges had been disclosed as a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the United States.