Fulton Lewis, Lecturer, Journalist, Consultant

   








Commentary on Current Issues


OBAMA GETS AN "F" ON FOREIGN POLICY!

HE "FIDDLES" WHILE THE WORLD "BURNS"

(March 30, 201!)

During the 2008 presidential campaign, serious questions were raised about whether Barrack Obama had the experience to be at the helm of our nation's ship of state -- particularly during international crises that were almost certain to develop during his term in the White House. Even Hillary Clinton, his chief competitor for the Democrat presidential nomination, asked whether he could handle that red telephone if it rang at 3:00am with news of a major problem abroad.

The verdict is in! The phone has rung several times during February and March, 2011. Tunisia rebels on the line -- brnnnng, brnnnng. No answer! In late February, anti-government demonstrators took to the streets in Iran and were totally ignored by Obama. The same happened regarding rebellions in Yemen, and Bahrain. Then, it was the Egyptian rebels calling -- brnnnng, brnnng. Obama answers but couldn't come up with a policy to handle the problem. In the early days of anti-Mubarak protests, the Obama Administration actually took a position of supporting the Egyptian dictator. Ten days later, the official Obama position was one of "neutrality" and then -- only after it became apparent that the Egyptian military would no longer support Mubarek and his days were numbered -- the U.S. policy became one of strong support for the revolutionaries. Who were the rebels? Were they being led by the Muslim Brotherhood ... and, if so, did that mean that Egypt might end up in Al Quaida's camp? Nobody in the Administration could answer that question except for Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. He testified before a congressional committee that the Brotherhood was "largely secular" and has "pursued social ends" and a "betterment of the political order," and downplayed its religious underpinnings. His assessment was that the group was kind of like our Boy Scouts ... and we had no reason for concern. Clapper had his clapper shut by his superiors the next day but still there was no statement defining what the next govenrment of Egypt would be.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/02/10/administration-corrects-dni-clapper-claim-muslim-brotherhood-secular/#ixzz1I7HWEkaI
The bottom line: the Obama Administration was in a state of total disarray!

Then came Libya. Rebels risk their lives to take on one of the world's most brutal dictators, Muammar el-Qaddafi. To have even a slim chance of success, they must have protection from the government's air power and so Obama gets the call. Brnnnng, brnnnng. No answer! The rebels make progress on the ground but they stirred up a wasp nest and Qaddafi responds with a huge retalliation utilizing his air force and heavy tanks. Finally, the White House answers the phone as it appears that the revolution will not only be supressed but its participants and sympathizers are on the verge of anihilation. Instead of taking action, however, Obama essentially transfers the call to Secretary of State Clinton who in turn forwards it on to U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice.

Prompt action by the U.S. in establishing a No-Fly Zone in Libya would have given the rebels what might be called "a fighting chance" but with each day of U.N. debate and back-and-forth "diplomacy", their prospects of success got increaingly slim. After 10 days, the U.N. finally gave Obama "permission" to establish a No-Fly-Zone (how pathetic that this Administration cannot take the initiative but has to wait for the U.N. to give its okay), U.S. planes and missiles hit Qadaffi's anti-aircraft facilities, devistated his air force, and did serious damage to his ground artillery. By that time, though, even with no air force and with a battered heavy armor ground force, Qaddafi still dominates the battlefields. Rebel casualties have been high. Fuel supplies were low. Weaponry was inadequate.

The "coalition" that Obama claims he put together quickly fell apart. The Arab League lost interest as soon as the allied forces started talking about who would send air support -- and, most importantly, who was going to share in paying the bill for the operation. Keep in miond that most of the Arab League's air power came as a gift from the U.S. and its members have been consistently gouging us on oil prices. But when the check for the effort in Libya was put on the table, they excused themselves and went to the men's room! In his speech to the nation in which he was supposed to explain the extent of U.S. involvement in the Libyan exercise, the reasons for it, and its goals, Obama did NONE of those! Are we there to get rid of Qaddafi? He didn't say. Who are we supporting? He didn't say. Is it possible that the "cure" to the Libyan problem might end up being worse than the problem itself (e.g. - we end up with an Al Qaeda regime replacing Qaddafi)? Obama didn't say. In a brief address in which he used the word "I" on thirty-seven occasions, and "me" on forty-two occasions, there was little more "meat" than Obama's repeated contention that he had gotten us into what he terms a "kinetic" military operation for humanitarian reasons. That's a new one! What on earth is a "kinetic" operations? Political analysts are scratching their heads trying to figure that out.

Obama announced that the U.S. involvement would end in two days and that operations in Libya would be taken over by NATO. He failed to note that the U.S. directs AND funds NATO so now this "kinetic" operation would be run via proxy!

It was Harry Truman who broke with the tradition of calling a "war" a "war". He termed U.S. involvement in Korea a "police action". It claimed nearly 40,000 American lives and, technically, is still not over! But refraining from calling it a "war" meant he didn't have to get the approval of Congress as required by the U.S. Constitution. At least Obama's predecessor DID go to Capitol Hill to brief the Congress on both Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush got strong votes of approval from Congress on both operations.

Obama has set a new and, in my opinion, extremely dangerous precedent by NOT getting congressional approval for the "kinetic" operation in Libya. Administration officials have argued that having United Nations approval is sufficient. Think of that! Quietly but deliberately, Obama has taken us one more significant step toward his ultra-left, one-world ideology by letting the U.N. decide when Americans will or will not get involved in a conflict -- with the U.S. Congress sitting on the sidelines, not even briefed on the situation.

IF we have become involved in Libya for humanitarian reasons, our entry was late and, as a consequence, it may be impossible to protect the Libyan people from Qaddafi's brutality without getting more deeply involved in the conflict there ... supplying the rebels with military equipment and perhaps even on-the-ground "advisors". That, as you recall, was how we got involved in both Iraq and Afghanistan. And the next question, obviously, is what about those other parts of the world where brutal dictatorial rulers are now trying suppress their own democratic revolts by mass killings of civilians. How can Obama justify turning his head and ignoring the pleas for help from freedom-fighters in Syria and Iran?

It has become painfully obvious that Obama is way, way over his head in the position he holds. He does not understand the international situation. He is extremely naive in thinking that the U.N. can operate as an effective instrument to achieve peace and democracy. He is trying to steer a course which does not include "regime change" or "nation building" (those became dirty words that Obama, Biden and co. threw at Bush) but is quickly learning that those are sometimes necessary ... and trying to disquise our involvement as "kinetic" doesn't work.

It is little wonder that Obama's popularity rating among U.S. votes have plummeted in the wake of his first major involvement in a new international crisis. He has put on display his total incompetence which was one of the top concerns nearly three years ago when he was running for the presidency.

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THE ARIZONA CASE - AND THE PROBLEM OF "ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS"

Liberals are adamantly opposing Arizona’s attempts to enforce controls of illegal immigration that the Obama regime seems either unwilling or unable to enforce. They have suddenly discovered the U.S. Constitution after decades of neglect and fallen in love with its Supremacy Clause. (They go so far as to contend that the recently enacted Arizona law angers Mexico and thus is an illegal interference with the federal government’s right to establish foreign policy. That contention is so ridiculous it doesn’t deserve rebuttal.)

Let’s subject their rationale to the old reliable “shoe on the other foot” test.

It is 2012 and American voters have reacted so strongly against the extreme leftist Obama regime that they elect a new president who would make the old George Wallace look like a civil rights activist. He knows what the anti-discrimination federal laws provide but he arbitrarily decides not to enforce them. Business owners are now free to have “Whites Only” policies without fear of federal interference. Americans can once again discriminate on whatever basis they choose: race, creed, color, sex, sexual preferences, national origin, etc. Parts of the nation start to resemble the “Old South”.

Should this occur, I can guarantee you that many states (particularly those in New England) would enact their own laws to do what the federal government was no longer willing to do: enforce the federal anti-discrimination laws which the Congress had enacted. And I assure you that liberals would rush to the defense of such actions by warmly embracing the States’ Rights provisions of the 10th Amendment and declaring the Supremacy Clause inapplicable.

This kind of “pick-which-provision-of-the-Constitution-you-like-today” approach is typical of America’s political left but its inability to be consistent invalidates its arguments in this matter  (as in many others).

It seems clear that the Obama regime's decision to take a hands-off approach to the problem of illegal immigration is politically motivated -- the objective being a plot to increase its standing with the hispanic voting community. Its attitude and policies have shown little political gains thus far, but have stirred up a nationwide rebellion! To the average American, "illegal" means "illegal" and the laws should be enforced. It is an indisputable fact that a significant number of the “illegals” have created chaos by violating additional laws after they arrived (drugs, kidnapping, arson, gangs, murder, and more). The Arizona state government should be applauded for stepping in where the Obama regime has failed. It not only has a right, but an obligation to protect its citizens.

As for foreign policy, it is absurd for Obama to take any credit at all for the any positive results of the US war effort in Iraq since he opposed every move the Bush Administration took there -- including, most importantly, the "surge" requested by Gen. Petraeus which was quite decisive. Time will show, I fear, that Obama's withdrawal of essentially all American combat forces was very premature and, as so many of us predicted, the al Quaeda forces (which have now taken a leadership role in trouble-making) were simply waiting for the Obama-promised end of our war effort as the starting gun for their own efforts to disrupt (and takeover) the Iraqui government.

Now, Obama has his own war to contend with: Afghanistan. As the Russians learned in the 1980's, it is difficult if not impossible to succeed in combat in that nation with anything less than a full commitment -- something Obama is unwilling to make. Playing tag with the Taliban and al Quaeda won't work. Neither will "negotiations". Those are the only two strategies that seem to be in Obama's "war chest" and, again, he thinks that promises of US troop withdrawals will tame our enemies there.

As with Iraq, Obama is between a rock and a hard place in Afghanistan. Taking the steps necessary to actually win the war there would not be acceptable to the more vocal extreme leftists who have banked his rise to power. A defeat of our forces -- or even increased casualty figures -- will not sit well with the American people. He'll have trouble keeping both sides happy.

(September 6, 2010)

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(The following article was written on Obama's Inauguration Day. I have left it posted because essentially all of my predictions have dome true. What I didn't anticipate was that the Obama/Pelosi/Reid regime would press forward -- as quickly and as boldly as they have -- with an extremely radical Socialist agenda. They have done so at their own jeopardy because they have awakened, alarmed and angered a huge segment of the American people who do not favor the huge spending, incurment of debt, and increase of federal power which they have witnessed. Add to that the fact that Obama's economic policies have been a dismal failure and -- with luck -- it may be that the Obama Socialist locomotive has been derailed by its own engineer!)

NOW PITCHING: BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA

As the presidential campaign dragged on, it became inevitable that a younger, extremely eloquent Barack Hussein Obama -- funded with a campaign chest which had no bottom -- would defeat a nice but painfully unexciting Sen. John McCain to become the 44th President. I join those conservatives who wish Obama well. We are Americans first and conservative Republicans second. We want to see our nation survive and thrive more than we are concerned about the future of our party. That, in itself, is a dramatic contrast to the attitude of the Democrats during the Bush Administration. Those eight years, starting with Bush's inauguration on January 20, 2001, were marked with a relentless barrage of partisan attacks the obvious intent of which was to make it difficult if not impossible for Bush to succeed. At times, I wondered if some Democrats weren't almost hoping for his Administration to suffer defeat in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- perhaps going so far as to smile quietly when the names of battlefield casualties flashed on the screen of ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" each Sunday morning. I hope I'm wrong, but my suspicions have been reinforced time and again with outrageous comments like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's "I believe ... that this war is lost, and this surge is not accomplishing anything" on April 17, 2008. That seemed to be wishful thinking on Reid's part. Thank God, it never came true. We can add to the list of outrages Hillary Clinton's cutely worded charge during the testimony of Gen. David Petraus that he was a liar: "I think that the reports that you provide to us really require the willing suspension of disbelief." That was timed perfectly to coincide with full-page newspaper ads that were published around the nation by MoveOn.org entitled "General Betray-Us." The liberal U.S. media gladly cooperated in the character assassination of our 43rd president by distorting the record and whenever possible accentuating the negative, and eliminating the positive (to paraphrase an old song).

Obama clearly won the November election with a landslide Electoral College majority of 365 to McCain's 173. That hardly reflects the fact that he captured only 53% of the record-breaking 127 million Americans who voted. Lest we forget, 58,343,671 voters did NOT support Obama. Under our system, they must now recognize that he will be in their White House for the next four years and it is likely that they, like I, wish him well for the sake of our country.

So where is our new President likely to encounter trouble? The Republican opposition? I certainly don't expect the kind of bitterly obstructive partisan actions that Bush 44 received from the Democrats, but perhaps (and hopefully) there will be some struggles if and when Obama's actions threaten our national security or the fundamental principles of our political/economic system. In the meantime, we'll just be happy that Barack has finally decided to put an American flag pin in his lapel. What about the religious fundamentalists? By and large, they will give him a, let's call it, "grace period" and try to accept that someone named "Hussein" is our leader. The old-time racists (and there still are a few)? They have suffered so many setbacks to their hatred over the last 50 years that having a "nigger" in the White House will probably be just another bitter pill that they will have to live with. So, with this in mind, will Obama get a free ride? Hardly!

Ironically, his biggest problems will come from his friends and supporters -- not the "loyal opposition." As an example, I wonder about the young (late teens or early twenties) black girl who was interviewed by a television reporter as she left an Obama campaign rally in Los Angeles. With tears streaming down her cheeks, she sobbed: "I won't have to ever pay for my gasoline again." Well, if she pulled into a 7-11 on January 22 and told the attendant to send the bill to President Obama, I suspect she was in for a surprise, a moment of truth, and a huge disappointment. "No, Virginia. There is NOT that Santa Claus." She is one of millions who truly believe that Obama promised them the good life free of any worries about the costs of housing, food, transportation and health care. They were led to expect a life where these benefits would be mandatory, but working to achieve them would be voluntary. What will their reaction be when they discover that their new President, whom they thought was one of them, is instead just another one of those captives of the old Washington Beltway. They are just the newest victims of the same old political rhetoric. Their voices and needs will not get the attention that will be given to the big campaign donors, or those Inauguration attendees who paid tens of thousands of dollars for tickets to be "close" to the President. They must also learn that there is, as Obama surely knew when he made his promises, a well entrenched bureaucracy through which his lofty ideas and programs must be funneled. What comes out is likely to bear little resemblance to what went in even though the funnel is managed at both ends by Democrats. Those politicians in the House and Senate made their own campaign promises and will manipulate however they can to get those fulfilled. The old "pork barrel" will keep on rolling and Obama's sweet talk about "transparency," "reform", and "change" won't derail it. That's just the way it works in Washington and Obama has so many outstanding IOU's already that he won't be able to change it. All of that is likely to be way above the heads of those in the "hood", sometimes known as "ghettoes", who trusted that the man -- so experienced as a "community organizer" -- could bring home the bread. How will they react when they get nothing but a few crumbs because there just wasn't enough "bread" to fund all of those promises? They won’t be happy.

What I'm really anxious to see is how the radical minority leaders are going to handle all of this "change." In the past, they have blamed all problems and failures of their communities on "racism." One of their loudest spokesmen (and Obama's former pastor) Jeremiah Wright shouted "God DAMN America", and I suspect Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton et. al quietly muttered "Amen" for they had uttered similar attacks themselves. Can they still blame everything on "racism" now that an African-American is at the helm of our Ship of State? Perhaps the best thing to come from the election of 2008 is that America has now formally shut the door to "racism" as a legitimate excuse for laziness, ineptitude, lack of ambition and failure.

Will the extreme left anti-war activists be happy with Obama's certain conclusion that the Bush/Petreaus strategy in Iraq was wise and that the troops will have to remain until Iraq can safely assume responsibility for its own security? And, don't think for a minute that the focus of their attention will not soon be switched over to Afghanistan -- where Obama has made essentially the same pledges of support that Bush made to Iraq and Afghanistan including even the commitment of a 30,000 U.S. troop “surge” to help turn the tide of the war there. Soon, we'll begin to see the names of the casualties on Sunday morning television, the anti-war crowd will start talking about how much money is being spent on the "senseless" war, Harry Reid will declare that this war too is "lost", Teddy Kennedy will call it "immoral", someone in Congress will charge that we are deliberately bombing innocent women and children, the word “quagmire” will creep back into the headlines, and Obama will be plagued with the same pressures that confronted Johnson, Nixon and Bush. Our new President will soon learn that these elements of our society were his supporters only for as long as he subscribed en toto to their strict anti-war code which prohibits our nation from succeeding in any military conflict, anywhere, for any cause or reason. If he proceeds with the war in Afghanistan as he has promised, he will be -- as Bush was -- the subject of relentless ridicule and attack.

Finally, what about the press? Obama is the liberal media's hero but there may be one overriding factor. The news organizations and their reporters are always in search of a "scoop". Don't think for a minute that the Obama Administration will escape the same "I don't give a damn who it is" attitude that unveiled "Deep Throat" (and toppled Nixon) or Monica (which resulted in the impeachment of Clinton). That hungry media leopard is not going to change its spots and abandon the hunt just because its man is in the White House. It is more likely that the 21-gun salute after Obama's oath of office on January 20th was for the media a "starting gun" in its race for stories that could rip the new President and/or his Administration apart. No matter how biased the media gets, it still is a highly competitive industry that has no hesitancy to abandon friendships or loyalties when these are in the way of a good, juicy story. In what has become a sad but true national tradition of destroying our Presidents, the media has led the way. I seriously doubt that Obama will escape from that. Soon, Michelle and the rest of us will see Obama's hair turn grey and new lines appear on his face long before their time just like his predecessors.

I remember my father saying frequently: "God, please defend me from my friends." He felt he could handle any enemies that he was facing, but it was far more difficult to deal with those who professed to be his allies and supporters who were behind him. My advice to President Obama is to utter that same prayer. I say that, Mr. President, because I truly do love my country -- and, because of that, I truly do wish you well.

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ANOTHER GORE MIRACLE: TURNING THE GULF OF MEXICO GREEN

         On his presidential campaign trail late in 1999 and in serious need of at least some farm votes, Al Gore boasted to a Midwest audience that it was he who had cast a tie-breaking vote in 1994 against a proposal by New Jersey Democrat Sen. Bill Bradley which would have cut tax incentives for ethanol fuel. “It’s well known that I’ve always supported ethanol. And I have not ducked when votes for … agricultural interests were on the floor.”

         Ethanol has been a major part of Gore’s “Green” campaign to save the environment. By switching over to E85 (85% ethanol/15% gasoline) in our vehicles, we would supposedly consume less fossil energy while simultaneously reducing those damaging greenhouse gases that are causing everything from global warming to respiratory ailments, not to mention nasty smog. President Bush and many bi-partisan members of congress also bought into the idea, although ethanol was on the bottom of a long list of his 2005 Energy Policy ideas that included some effective steps like hydrogen fuels, tax incentives on hybrid vehicles, and encouraging automakers to produce more clean diesel cars and trucks.

         Now, we discover that, thanks to increased ethanol production, something else is turning “Green” – the Gulf of Mexico. A huge 8,543-square-mile dead zone, roughly the size of New Jersey, is growing off the coast of Mississippi and Louisiana. This contamination, officially called Hypoxia (“low oxygen”), is the result of a huge algae growth, fueled by nutrients flushed from the farmlands in the Midwest watershed. These feed enormous soupy green algae blooms that suck oxygen from the water, suffocating any fish, shrimp or mollusks that become trapped in that area. As the algae die, the mass of cells sink to the seafloor, bacteria break down the organic matter consuming most of the oxygen at that level which, in turn, suffocates sea stars, corals, snails and other shellfish.

         What has caused this sudden ecological catastrophe? The culprit is believed to be the sharp increase in ethanol production in the Midwest – 19% more corn in 2007 than in 2006.

         Being the skeptic that I am, I asked Kelly Wilson, a good friend and the best researcher I know, to dig up the statistical data on ethanol. The results confirmed my suspicions that ethanol is doing more harm than good.

         At present, 6 million of the approximately 250 million vehicles in the United States are E85 Flex-fuel designed and 50% of those are in commercial or government fleets. A gallon of E85 has only 72% of the energy available to a gallon of gasoline. So, a V6 Chevy Impala which the EPA rates at 21mpg city and 31mpg highway will get only 16mpg city and 23 mpg highway on E85. (The power and drivability is almost the same.) You consume more gallons to go the same number of miles you used to get on gasoline. And, of course, E85 nationwide averages about 25 cents per gallon more than gasoline even though it returns 20 to 30% less fuel economy.

         But, we’re saving fossil fuels, you say? Less petroleum and less dependency of foreign oil imports? Well, the picture is not quite that pretty. It takes 1 acre of corn to produce 300 to 330 gallons of ethanol fuel. (To replace the 200 billion gallons of petroleum products we now consume yearly, we would need to commit 675 million acres of our farmland to its production. That would be 71% of all available farmland in which case we would have to start importing our food products.)

         Keep in mind that corn doesn’t grow itself and ethanol doesn’t appear magically when the corn is harvested. It takes 4,000 gallons of fresh water per acre per day to replace evaporation in a cornfield. The crop will require 129.9 pounds of nitrogen and 55.5 pounds of phosphorus fertilizer per acre. It requires petroleum products to pump, produce and deliver these. In addition, fields must be ploughed and cultivated, and crops must be harvested – all by petroleum-driven farm equipment. That requires 6.85 gallons of diesel fuel and 3.4 gallons of gasoline per acre. And to finish the distillation process after harvest requires 3.42 gallons of LPG and 33.49 kWh of electricity per acre.

         All in all, it takes 1.597 gallons of diesel and gasoline used in the corn crop growth, harvesting, shipping of corn to ethanol production, and distribution of ethanol to the consumer for every 1 gallon of ethanol that is produced. And, again, that 1 gallon of ethanol is going to be 20-30% less efficient than the gallon of gasoline it is replacing.

         Most of the new ethanol production plants (called dry mill operations) are now being built to use coal as their primary source of power, mostly because the natural gas that was initially used has become so expensive. The coal-fired plants produce twice the emissions and essentially cancel out the global warming benefits of the use of ethanol fuel in vehicles. Putting more E85 vehicles on the road will actually increase greenhouse gases, smog, respiratory ailments, etc.

         And, it is the sharp increase in nutrient runoff which is magnifying the green “Dead Zone” in the Gulf.

         Al Gore, I apologize for all of these facts. Just look at them as another “Inconvenient Truth.”

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