- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 13, 2009

DOLLAR RETURNS

“The state of the dollar probably hasn’t been a first-tier political issue in the United States since, say, the presidential election of 1896,” James Pethokoukis writes in a blog at Reuters.com.

“Back then, it manifested as whether or not America would stay on the gold standard or switch to a bimetallic one. (The William Jennings Bryan ‘cross of gold’ speech and all that.)

“The aftershocks of the global financial crisis may now be propelling the dollar back to the political forefront. The greenback’s continuing slide makes it a handy metric that neatly encapsulates America’s current economic troubles and possible long-term decline. House Republicans, for instance, have been using the weaker dollar as a weapon in their attacks on the Bernanke-led Federal Reserve,” Mr. Pethokoukis said.

“For more evidence of the dollar’s return to political salience, look no further than the Facebook page of Sarah Palin. The 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee and possible 2012 presidential candidate has shown a knack for identifying hot-button political issues, such as the purported ‘death panels’ she claims to have found in Democratic health care reform plans. In a recent Facebook posting, Palin expressed deep concern over the dollar’s ‘continued viability as an international reserve currency’ in light of huge U.S. budget deficits.”

PROPAGANDISTS

“Before President Obama won his Nobel Peace Prize, the real signal that the Norwegian Nobel committee had become politicized was its 2007 prize to Al Gore, largely for his global warming film ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’ “ John Fund writes at OpinionJournal.com

“For a public figure, Mr. Gore has been strangely reluctant to answer questions or debate the more controversial parts of his work. But over the weekend, he deigned to take a few questions during a meeting of the Society of Environmental Journalists in Madison, Wis.,” Mr. Fund said.

“Irish documentary filmmaker Phelim McAleer was in the line. A former Financial Times journalist, his new film, ‘Not Evil, Just Wrong,’ is a direct refutation of Mr. Gore’s thesis and warns that rushing to judgment in combating climate change would threaten the world’s poor. When his turn came, Mr. McAleer asked Mr. Gore about a court case in Britain in which a parent had objected to ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ being shown to British schoolchildren because it was largely propaganda, not science.

“Mr. Gore swatted away the question by claiming the judge had found in favor of his film. He also briefly addressed one of the objections to his film by scoffing at claims that polar bears weren’t an endangered species. Mr. McAleer tried to follow up by pointing out that polar bear populations were increasing, but his microphone was quickly cut off. Organizers insisted that several other people were waiting with questions and they had to move on.

“In fact, Mr. Gore didn’t answer Mr. McAleer’s question and was wrong on the facts. The British court found that ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ ‘is a political film’ riddled with scientific errors. …

“As for polar bears, Mr. McAleer was correct: Surveys show their numbers are increasing.

“Mr. McAleer, whose film premieres this weekend, says he’s more disappointed in the environmental journalists who give Mr. Gore cover than in the former vice president. Mr. Gore is simply doing what any propagandist with a weak case would do: avoiding serious debate or exchange. To quote the late William F. Buckley, ‘There is a reason that baloney rejects the grinder.’ ”

GLORIOUS DAYS

“Isn’t it great that President Barack Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize?” Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass writes

“He’d been in office only 12 days when the Nobel nominations were due. That’s a mere 288 hours for Obama to have been credentialed as President Peace,” Mr. Kass said.

“It’s not every day that a Chicago politician with City Hall guys running the White House goes and wins the Nobel Prize. So when the news broke last week, a bold decree was read across the land: ‘Henceforth, the 12 glorious days shall be known as Barack’s Golden Almost-Fortnight; or Barack’s Amazing Days of Peace, Harmony and Universal Love!’

“The prize is probably the last thing Obama wanted, since it practically writes skits for ‘Saturday Night Live.’ And to his credit, he was quite modest in accepting the award. …

“The last time a politician from Illinois was nominated, it was former Republican Gov. George Ryan, who was about to stand trial for corruption. Ryan’s Nobel nomination, for clearing Illinois’ Death Row, was understood by anyone with a brain as a vulgar attempt to sway the jury that ultimately convicted him.

“Ryan has won no prizes in federal prison, unless you count the pouches of tuna he must be hoarding, to curry favor with inmates who covet extra protein, guys with those blue Mike Tyson tattoos on their faces.

“Sadly, there were no Nobel laurels for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat facing his own federal corruption trial. He came close with those free [public transportation] rides to seniors, but he must content himself with a gig on TV’s ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ with Donald Trump.”

WALK THE PLANK

Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, “is on board with the job-killing energy tax bill, but there are many Democrats who won’t walk the plank with him on cap and trade,” Jennifer Rubin writes in a blog at CommentaryMagazine.com.

“Unlike health care reform, which might be jammed through with smoke-and-mirror parliamentary tricks, cap and trade will have to get through the U.S. Senate the old-fashioned way - with 60 votes. According to most counts, the votes aren’t there. As Politico points out, ‘Any climate bill still faces steep obstacles in the Senate.’ Not even the usually pro-environmental John McCain supports the climate bill, because it contains nothing to promote the real green energy source - nuclear power,” the blogger said.

“Then what’s the point of all the legislative angst? Well, for starters, liberal senators need to convince the left-wing base of the Democratic Party that they are doing their best to pass a top agenda item and to build momentum for future climate bills. But in the end, it won’t come to the floor unless Democratic leadership can muster 60 votes. Why? Because the Senate leadership won’t want to be embarrassed and because vulnerable Democrats (including Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Harry Reid) won’t want to face a tough vote that will alienate either their own base or independent and conservative voters.

“So Lindsey Graham annoyed conservatives once again - for nothing? Looks that way.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washington times.com.

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