01/27/15
The Russian Bear

Oil Prices Changing The Face Of Global Geopolitics

In a documentary that aired recently on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s popular The Fifth Estate program, an allegory of Vladimir Putin was presented. The wily Russian president was described growing up in a shabby St. Petersburg apartment, where he would often corner rats.

Now, punished by low oil prices and Western sanctions against Russian incursions in Ukraine/ Crimea, Putin is himself the cornered rat. Many wonder, and fear, what he will do if conditions in Russia become increasingly desperate.

In the last six months oil prices have plunged over 50 percent and the Russian economy is hurting. The country now faces slowing economic growth, a depressed ruble, and runaway inflation estimated to be up to 150 percent on basic foodstuffs.

The Kremlin is counting on austerity cuts to help balance its budget, which has revenues coming in at $45 billion lower than earlier projections. The exception, significantly, is defense. With the military exempted from the austerity plan, it begs the question of whether Putin will “play the nationalist card,” such as he did in Crimea, in an effort to strengthen greater Russia during a period of economic weakness.

Georgia On His Mind

We are already seeing this to be the case. As Oilprice.com reported on Tuesday, Putin is set to absorb South Ossetia – Georgia’s breakaway republic that declared itself independent in 1990. Under an agreement “intended to legalize South Ossetia’s integration with Russia,” Russia would invest 2.8 million rubles (US$50 million) to “fund the socio-economic development of South Ossetia,” according to Agenda.GE, a Tbilisi-based news site.

The situation is analogous to Crimea because, like Crimea, South Ossetia contains a significant Russian-speaking population with ties to the Motherland.

If Putin succeeds in annexing the tiny province, it will be a real poke in the eye to the United States, which provoked Russia in the early 1990s by promoting construction of a pipeline between the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Georgia. The BTC pipeline moves oil from Baku in Azerbaijan to Tbilisi in Georgia and then onward to Ceyhan on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.

BTC started operating in 2006. Then, two years later, Putin built his own pipeline to cut out Georgia. The South Ossetia pipeline run by Gazprom stretches 75 kilometers from South Ossetia to Russia.

The current move on South Ossetia is a way for Russia to assert its energy independence in the face of Western sanctions and low oil prices.

It comes as Russia announced plans to divert all of its natural gas crossing Ukraine to a route via Turkey. As Bloomberg reported last week, Gazprom will send 63 billion cubic meters through a proposed link under the Black Sea to Turkey – after the earlier South Stream pipeline, a $45-billion project that would have crossed Bulgaria, was scrapped by Russia amid opposition from the European Union. By sending the gas to Turkey and on to Europe via Greece, Gazprom is in effect sending Europe an ultimatum: build pipelines to European markets, or we will sell the gas to other customers.

According to one observer, the proposed land grab in South Ossetia combined with the snub to Europe by shifting its gas to Turkey and bypassing Ukraine, is a classic Putin power play:

“Russia is preparing to absorb a province of neighboring Georgia, and delivering an ultimatum to Europe that it could lose much of the Russian gas on which it relies,” Steve LeVine writes in Quartz. “Putin has argued that the west is simply intent on ousting him and weakening Russia… Faced with these perceived attempts to undercut him and his country, Putin suggests that he has no choice but to pull around the wagons and stick it out. This could go on a long time.”

Iran: Falling Oil Prices Spur Peace Dividend

Some have speculated that the oil price crash was orchestrated by the Saudis, possibly in collusion with the United States and other Gulf states, to punish Iran, its main political and religious rival in the Middle East.

Whether or not that is true, there is no denying the effects of a low oil price on Iran’s economy. “Iran is already missing tens of billions of dollars in oil revenue due to Western sanctions and years of economic mismanagement under former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,” Bloomberg reported on Jan. 7. Like Russia, Iran is looking at spending cuts in next year’s budget, which is based on an overly-optimistic $72 a barrel crude oil price.

However, unlike Russia, which is “circling the wagons” and pulling further away from the West currently, the oil price drop could actually lead to more of a détente between Iran and Western countries. In a speech on Jan. 4, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran’s economy “cannot develop in isolation from the rest of the world,” while at the same time, Iran’s foreign minister was negotiating a nuclear deal that could see the lifting of UN sanctions, the Washington Post observed.

Then there is the cooperation between the West and Iran over the terrorist group ISIS. The National Post’s J.L. Granatsein wrote in a column on Tuesday that Iran has deployed substantial numbers of its Revolutionary Guard elite Al Qods brigade into Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS, along with Western allies including the US, Britain, France and Canada. This is despite Iran’s support for Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria’s president Assad.

“Politics makes strange bedfellows indeed, but not much can be stranger than this. Led by the Americans, hitherto the Great Satan to the Iranian leaders, the ties between the West and Iran are becoming tighter, each side reacting to the horrors of Islamist fundamentalism throughout the region,” Granatsein writes. “The Iranians have been hurt by sanctions, and they are being wracked even more by the falling price of oil. Easing curbs on trade and Iranian banks may mitigate the effects of the oil price collapse.”

Venezuela Bracing For The Worst

The other major loser in the oil price collapse, Venezuela, may not see such a positive outcome. Wracked by decades of economic mismanagement by Hugo Chávez, the South American oil producer was already struggling to pay its debts when new president Nicolás Maduro came to power.

Now, with inflation running at 60 percent and lines forming outside state grocery stores for food and other basic supplies, Maduro faces the specter of serious social unrest if conditions do not improve. The country has some of the world’s cheapest gasoline prices, but Maduro has refused to end fuel subsidies, fearing, no doubt, a repeat of widespread riots in 1989 that left hundreds dead after gasoline prices were allowed to rise.

Venezuela is even more dependent than Russia on the price of oil, earning some 96 percent of its foreign currency from oil sales, putting Maduro in the untenable position of either borrowing more, despite crushing debts, or slashing spending:

“With only $20 billion left in its reserves, and $50 billion in debt to China alone, Venezuela appears headed toward a choice between abandoning its oil giveaways and defaulting on its debts, or starving its own population to the point of revolt,” according to the Washington Post.

Source: http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Crushing-The-U.S.-Energy-Export-Dream.html

By Andrew Topf for Oilprice.com

01/23/15
Obama - Just Resign Already

The Council Has Spoken!! Watcher’s Council Results – 01/23/15

The Watcher’s Council

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/62/C.sf.,_castelli,_carmine_gentile,_ovale_con_allegoria_dell%27accademia_degli_illuminati,_1730-1750.JPG

The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match-up.

I came from the United States of America to stand for freedom, with all free people, against the forces of oppression and darkness which you are representing. … You are fighting for the most radically intolerant and hateful ideology on the planet. … You are already subjugated! You are already their useful idiots. You are already their tools. – Robert Spencer, speaking to a Left wing audience in Europe, June 2, 2011.

Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran… should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth. – CAIR Co-Founder Omar Ahmad

The ideological descendents of the communist/progressive Left that spent its capital hoping the West would lose the Cold War to the Soviet Union are today’s leftist core. Based on their hatred for the United States, the Left has forged a symbiotic relationship with radical Islam, whose hatred for America equals theirs. Both make it clear that they consider Western civilization evil and unworthy of preservation. – Ben R. Furman, Former FBI Counterterrorism Chief

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/--bd_Q_iBJfY/TsYx44QOX9I/AAAAAAAAAm8/QonbRkHSjmw/s400/Noisy%2Broom%2B2.jpg

This week’s winning essay, The Noisy Room’sAn American Intifada – Communists and Radical Islamists Join Forces, is a scintillating piece that concerns something only the most blind refuse to see, the alliance between the Red and the Green, between the radical Left and Islam. Here’s a slice:

Trevor Loudon wrote an article that each and every one of us should read and take note of: Intifada USA? American Radicals Build Ties to “Palestinian” Revolutionaries. I agree completely with Trevor when he says that 2015 could usher in chaos, unrest and violence as we have not seen in our lifetime. The Communists are now joining hands in America with the Radical Islamists, forming an American Intifada – an uprising, resistance, revolt. They are using racism as the building blocks and their hate for America as the glue to forward massive havoc and violence in our streets.

The riots in Ferguson and New York were just the warm up act for these thugs. They are looking to create what they think is an American Spring, which will push every radical and Communist ideal there is out there. It will scream racism, go after the police and alphabet agencies, cry social and environmental injustice, push demands for Islamic acceptance and Shariah law – and in the mix will be the ever-present Jew-hatred which is the kindling for their hatred. In this twisted case, the enemy of my enemy is my ally. For the short term anyway.

Taking the lead are primarily Black and Latino revolutionaries who claim to represent the movements for “black lives” and racial justice, who took a jaunt to Palestine to show solidarity against – you guessed it – Israel. Meet the Dream Defenders Palestine Delegation:

Representatives at the forefront of the movements for Black lives and racial justice took a historic trip to Palestine in early January to connect with activists living under Israeli occupation.

Black journalists, artists and organizers representing Ferguson, Black Lives Matter, Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100) and more have joined the Dream Defenders for a 10-day trip to the occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel.

The trip comes after a year of highly-publicized repression in Ferguson, the Gaza Strip and West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as well as solidarity between these places.

Ahmad Abuznaid, Dream Defenders’ legal and policy director and a co-organizer of the delegation, said that the goal of the trip was to make connections.

“The goals were primarily to allow for the group members to experience and see first-hand the occupation, ethnic cleansing and brutality Israel has levied against Palestinians, but also to build real relationships with those on the ground leading the fight for liberation,” wrote Abuznaid.

“In the spirit of Malcolm X, Angela Davis, Stokely Carmichael and many others, we thought the connections between the African American leadership of the movement in the U.S. and those on the ground in Palestine needed to be reestablished and fortified.”

Abuznaid said the trip represented a chance to bring the power of Black organizing to Palestine.

“As a Palestinian who has learned a great deal about struggle, movement, militancy and liberation from African Americans in the U.S., I dreamt of the day where I could bring that power back to my people in Palestine. This trip is a part of that process.”

[…]

For Steven Pargett, communications director for Dream Defenders, visiting the Dheisheh Refugee Camp outside of Bethlehem made these connections clearer: “A camp doesn’t have to have a fence with barbed wire all around it in order to be a place where displaced people are struggling to survive.”

Pargett said that Black people in the United States are also displaced refugees.

“Our refugee camps are lower income communities and project buildings all around the country that many would not be living in had we not been taken into slavery generations ago. Rather than having the Israeli Defense occupation in our hoods, we have the occupation of police officers who often prove to have little regard for our lives, being that they are not from these communities,” Pargett wrote.

Hip-hop was a unifying force for the delegation, Pargett said, commenting that Palestinians have been inspired by hip-hop in the U.S. and use it as a tool to amplify their own voices.

St. Louis-based rapper and activist Tef Poe said his experience in the camps connecting through hip-hop was the best day of his life.

“A refugee camp with a bunch of people fighting for their lives and using hip hop to lift their spirits and spark the minds of the children and break down gender barriers between young girls and boys,” Tef posted to Facebook. “I spent a day with these ppl .. Most amazing day of my life. Thanks be to the Most, the struggle is beautiful.”

This trip is another chapter in the recent history of Black-Palestinian solidarity. In November, a group of 10 Palestinian student activists visited Ferguson and St. Louis, meeting with people organizing in the streets.

A month later, upon their return, the students hosted a series of events at their university in the West Bank to raise awareness with the Black struggle and stand in solidarity. Dream Defenders unanimously passed a resolution to support the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement in this interval.

[…]

Moving forward, delegates expressed a desire for Black and American action in support of Palestine.

“I believe the Black Lives Matter movement can benefit greatly by learning about struggles outside of the U.S., but particularly the Palestinian struggle,” said Patrisse Cullors. “I want this trip to be an example for how Black folks and Arab communities can be in better solidarity with one another.”

Cherrell Brown sees joint action as a way to global freedom.

“I want us to take back things we can do in the now, as Americans, to raise awareness and action around Palestinian liberation. I want us to reimagine what society could and will look like when we’ve dismantled this white-supremacist patriarchal and capitalist society. I want us to do it together. I want to bring back these conversations and stories in hopes that it will help add to this global struggle to get free.”

The full list of delegates includes five Dream Defenders (Phillip Agnew, Ciara Taylor, Steven Pargett, Sherika Shaw, Ahmad Abuznaid), Tef Poe and Tara Thompson (Ferguson/Hands Up United), journalist Marc Lamont Hill, Cherrell Brown and Carmen Perez (Justice League NYC), Charlene Carruthers (Black Youth Project), poet and artist Aja Monet, Patrisse Cullors (Black Lives Matter), and Maytha Alhassen, a USC PhD student. Catch up with the delegation and follow their last few days using #DDPalestine on Twitter and Instagram.

Gee, that’s a who’s who of racists, social justice agitators and Communists. Just look how chummy and united they have all become. I know you will be really, really shocked to learn that the Tides Foundation is funding this. And who is behind the Tides Foundation? Why, that old spider George Soros who hates Jews, America and freedom in general. You know, the guy who gave $33 million to the activists who took part in Ferguson and other venues of violence.

This is all part of a movement that has been gathering steam for a while now and it is thoroughly anti-Israel. Guess who is in the thick of it? Dr. Marc Lamont Hill of HuffPost Live, BET News and CNN. Watch it Marc, your antisemitism is showing and badly. Our comrade Hill also spouted revolutionary rhetoric to promote the Dream Defenders. Ferguson, Eric Garner and #BlackLivesMatter protests have become the calling card for the new face of the Occupy Movement. You are witnessing the rise of the Islamo-Communist Axis in America.

More at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Victor Davis HansonMuslims And Islamists submitted by Joshuapundit. I’m a huge fan of VDH, even when I disagree with him. In this particular case, I think he is spot on and all I’ll say is that what he wrote here deserves your utmost attention.

Here are this week’s full results:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum and every Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks’ nominees for Weasel of the Week!

And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council and the results are posted on Friday morning.

It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere and you won’t want to miss it… or any of the other fantabulous Watcher’s Council content.

And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that, y’know?

01/23/15
Obama's Political Prospects

Obama’s ‘rosy scenario’ and the man that could fill his boots

Watchdog.org

Shutterstock Image

Shutterstock Image PROSPECTS NOT SO ‘ROSY': A potential contender for the 2016 presidential race uses the same rhetoric and has produced similar policy results as President Obama.

By James Simpson | Watchdog Arena

Following his State of the Union addresses, former President Ronald Reagan was routinely chided by the national press regarding his “rosy scenarios” projected for the economy and the federal budget. But at that time, our nation was experiencing an unprecedented economic boom and most of Reagan’s “rosy scenarios” were being realized. In contrast, Tuesday night, President Obama laid out a “rosy scenario” for the economy that was built on a bed of flagrant inaccuracies.

One cannot chalk this up to ignorance. Evidence of economic malaise is everywhere. The labor force participation rate is at its lowest since 1978. The unemployment rate has declined at least in part because so many people have given up looking for work that they are no longer counted in official unemployment statistics. Many more have been forced into part-time positions as employers seek to avoid heavy Obamacare costs.

Furthermore, marginal improvements in the economy have been fueled by the domestic oil boom, which Obama has fought tooth and nail. But food stamp utilization is perhaps the most blatant illustration of our still-sclerotic economy.

Now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program(“SNAP”), in 2014, fully 46.5 million Americans were enrolled at a cost of $73.8 billion. For each of President Obama’s six full years in office, food stamp use has been higher than at any time in history—almost double its highest previous rates—and more people have been added to the rolls than during any other presidency.

Food stamp usage declined last year for the first time since Obama was elected, a meager 2 percent. The number of people on food stamps, however, remains over 18 million higher than during President Bush’s highest year, and 19.5 million higher than the previous record set in 1993. (See chart below).

SNAPgraph

These indicators are not the sign of an economic recovery; but rather an indication that the American economy has moved into a new normal—one of chronically high unemployment and welfare utilization.

Everything in Obama’s SOTU address promised more of the same. Obama said it was time to “turn the page.” As Dave Greenfield at Front Page Magazine quipped, “When everything on the last page looks so bad, then it’s time to turn the page…”

Despite his penchant for prevarication, Obama has his disciples. Like Obama, outgoing Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who has set his sights on higher office, has built his reputation on fiction. When former Republican Gov. Bob Ehrlich left office in 2006, Maryland’s state budget stood at $25.8 billion. O’Malley claims he cut the budget to the bone, but in his eight years in office, it grew to $37.3 billion, an increase of 45 percent.

While claiming to champion “green” environmental policies, O’Malley repeatedly raided trust funds earmarked for Chesapeake Bay cleanup to the tune of at least $135 million since 2009. He doubled Maryland’s infamous “flush tax” to refill the fund, raided it again, and passed the uniformly unpopular “rain tax.” He also raided the highway trust fund repeatedly to the tune of $868 million between 2009 and 2011 alone, despite receiving $771 million in stimulus funds for infrastructure projects. When this wasn’t enough, he repaid trust funds by issuing new bonds. Maryland’s current structural budget deficit stands at $1.2 billion.

Despite the fact that Maryland floats on federal dollars more than any other state, between 2004 and 2012, Maryland’s food stamp utilization grew 162 percent– a rate exceeded by only three other states (See FGA SNAP document). Over 13 percent of Maryland’s population is currently using food stamps. In 2010, the depth of the recession, only 9.7 percent of Marylanders used food stamps. Most of this can likely be credited to Governor O’Malley’s sanctuary state policies.

Larry Hogan is the newly-elected governor of Maryland, only the third Republican elected to that position since 1960. Hogan has identified the cost of O’Malley policies. “Under O’Malley and [Lt. Gov. Anthony] Brown, Maryland has lost 8,000 businesses and unemployment has nearly doubled,” he said. “In fact, 26 percent of our manufacturing base, and with it 25,000 jobs, has disappeared. Today, Maryland is dead last in the nation in manufacturing.” In his inaugural address delivered on Wednesday, Hogan said, “Together, let’s make Maryland a place that we can all be proud of again.” He has his work cut out for him.

This article was written by contributors of Watchdog Arena, Franklin Center’s network of writers, bloggers, and citizen journalists.

01/23/15
Barack Obama

Mendacity is Still the State of the Union

By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media

Following last year’s State of the Union address by President Barack Obama, I titled my column “The State of the Union is Mendacity.” It is quite remarkable how little within it would need to be changed to have it apply to this week’s State of the Union. From the recovering economy, to negotiations with Iran, to the containment and defeat of “violent extremism,” to equal pay for women and the need to combat climate change, to a call for a minimum wage hike—there is little difference between the laundry lists presented by President Obama in 2014 and 2015.

But there is a major difference in the political climate.

“The most important omission [in the President’s State of the Union] was the fact that there were 83 fewer Democrats in the chamber this year than the first time he gave a State of the Union speech and dozens less than the number of his fellow party members that were there last year,” writes Jonathan S. Tobin for Commentary magazine. “The historic rejection of both the president’s party and his policies in last November’s midterm elections was treated in the speech as if it had never happened.”

Instead, America was treated to a laundry list of liberal agenda items, right after President Obama first said he would “focus less on a checklist of proposals, and focus more on the values at stake in the choices before us.”

“When we looked at what Obama actually proposed, all we found was a musty laundry list of liberal programs, most of which already got huge boosts in spending and failed to deliver on their promises,” comments Investors Business Daily.

Yet President Obama’s worn-out list was greeted with praise from the mainstream media. NBC Today Show co-host Savannah Guthrie cheered Obama as “displaying renewed swagger in his sixth address to the nation as he outlined a vision for the final two years of his presidency.”

The New York Times said that “It was hardly surprising that a president who expects so little from Congress devoted some of his speech to celebrating the things that he has accomplished against considerable odds.”

“In fact, he seemed so confident you would have thought he had just won another election,” asserted Jonathan Karl of ABC News.

President Obama’s comment that he has “no more campaigns to run” was greeted with applause and laughter, to which he retorted, “I know because I won both of them.”

Rather than pointing to how the 2014 election could be seen as a referendum on President Obama’s failed policies, Matt Lauer, co-host of NBC’s Today Show, asked Vice President Joe Biden whether he saw “that as a moment of disrespect? Was it a symptom of the very pettiness that the President was referring to?” He also salivated over a potential 2016 Biden presidential bid, asking, “You’re known as a guy who can work a room. Boy, are you good at that. Do you think you could work that room, Vice President Biden?” Lauer didn’t ask a single question challenging any of Obama’s claims or assertions from the night before.

While the mainstream media cheer, others have a more critical view of what Tobin calls Obama’s credibility gap “that is as wide as the Grand Canyon.”

“What Obama has delivered is not an address, but a black hole of lies in which each lie clusters next to a dozen more until it is impossible to see the light,” writes Daniel Greenfield. For example, “Obama insists on taking credit for an energy revolution that he battled every step of the way and continues to fight with his Keystone veto threat,” writes Greenfield. “Instead of admitting that fracking and cheap Saudi oil made the difference, he went on touting his solar and wind boondoggles that have cost a fortune.”

President Obama also touted such green energy “successes” in his 2014 address.

“Obama also claims to have beaten Putin,” writes Greenfield. “There’s only one minor problem with that. In the real world, Russia still controls Crimea. While in the unreal world, Obama controls CNN.”

And The Washington Post editorial board concluded the day after President Obama’s State of the Union, that there is a “pervasive disconnect in Western thinking about the regime of Vladimir Putin”—and that “Russian forces, after several weeks of relative calm” had just “launched a new offensive in eastern Ukraine.”

President Obama also asserted in his speech that “we’ve halted the progress of the nuclear program” in Iran and “reduced its stockpile of nuclear material.” He then threatened to veto any sanctions bill “that threatens to undo this progress.” He is referring to a likely bipartisan bill calling for additional sanctions if negotiations with Iran fall apart. The idea is to incentivize Iran to make a deal wherein it agrees to end its nuclear weapons capability, but President Obama says that if Congress were to pass such a bill, “the risks and likelihood this ends up at some point a military confrontation is heightened.”

“The more I hear from the administration and its quotes, the more it sounds like talking points that come straight out of Tehran,” said Democratic Senator Robert Menendez (NJ) the day after the President’s speech.

The Washington Post’s Fact Checker column took a look at the claims by the President of having “halted the progress of the nuclear program” and of having “reduced its stockpile of nuclear material,” and gave those claims three Pinocchios, meaning, “Significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions.”

Regarding the President’s refusal to refer to “Islamic” terrorism or extremism, another Democrat took exception. She is Rep. Tulsi Gabbard who is and has been in the Army National Guard for more than a decade. She served a one-year combat tour of duty in Iraq starting in 2004, and a second tour in the Middle East a few years later. Gabbard is the first American Samoan and the first Hindu to serve in the U.S. Congress—now in her second term—representing a district in Hawaii. Gabbard was on Neil Cavuto’s show on the Fox News Channel, and told Cavuto:

Terminology in the use of this specific term is important…last night the President came and talked to Congress about coming to request an authorization to use military force. By his not using this term, Islamic extremism, and clearly identifying our enemy, it raised a whole host of questions in exactly what congress will be authorizing. Who will we be targeting? Who is our enemy? And unless you understand who your enemy is, unless you clearly identify your enemy, then you cannot come up with a very effective strategy to defeat that enemy. So this is what’s giving me great concern as we look specifically at this authorization, but also as we look at this overall issue of how do we defeat this threat of Islamic extremism that’s not just occurring in the Middle East, that isn’t just about this one group called ISIS, or another group called al Qaeda. It’s a much larger war, really, that is as much an ideological war as it is a military war.

Amidst the dangerously conciliatory stance that the President has adopted toward Iran, and the weak military effort to “degrade and defeat ISIL,” the media should praise Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) for inviting Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress about the growing Iranian threat. Instead, Politico criticizes that “the Speaker didn’t consult with the administration before inviting Netanyahu to address Congress,” and the Speaker is “setting up his most dramatic foreign policy confrontation with President Barack Obama to date.” The speech is scheduled for March 3rd.

Not only is Congress a co-equal branch of government, with the ability to invite whomever they want, but President Obama made the highlight of his last State of the Union executive action—and going around Congress when they won’t comply with his agenda.

“He expects us to stand idly by and do nothing while he cuts a bad deal with Iran. Two words: ‘Hell no!’ … We’re going to do no such thing,” said Speaker Boehner.

The Speaker’s move is a show of support for Israel, and the Western leader who, more than any other, faces the daily threat of Islamic jihadist terrorism, and the very real threat of an Iranian regime that has explicitly stated on numerous occasions their plans to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.

The White House has already announced that the President won’t be meeting with Netanyahu on that trip, saying that it’s too close to Israel’s election, also slated for March. It will be interesting to see what, if any, pressure the Obama administration puts on Netanyahu to cancel his planned address. Speaker Boehner is betting that Netanyahu has more credibility in this country on Iran and Islamic jihadi terrorism than President Obama does. And there is probably no one who can better speak to these matters with such authority and eloquence.

It should certainly make for a better speech than this year’s policy prescriptions recycled from last year, even if the media were determined to shower President Obama with undeserved, fawning praise for simply showing up.

01/22/15
Ted Cruz / Mark Levin

Ted Cruz and Mark Levin • State of the Union • Hannity

01/21/15
Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz Reacts to Obama’s State of the Union

Hat Tip: BB

The President’s Address of Lies

[UPDATED VIDEO] Ted Cruz Wins SOTU Postgame with ‘More Cowbell! More Cowbell!’

80 minutes of State of the Union distilled into 5

Trey Gowdy Slams Obama After State Of The Union

America is in grave danger, and Christian leaders & lay people must speak out. When a nation murders 57 million babies & ignores gathering storm of Radical Islam, the state of the union is not “strong.” Analysis.

NOW it makes more sense: John Stossel translates Obama’s #SOTU speech

Hasselbeck to Jarrett: Why Didn’t Obama Mention Al Qaeda, Radical Islam?

01/21/15
SOTU Denial

Watcher’s Council Nominations: When The Going Gets Weird, The Weird Turn Pro Edition

The Watcher’s Council

Unbelievable. Simply unbelievable.

Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday morning.

Council News:

The Council In Action!!

*Virginia Right’s Tom White continues to ascend! This week, an original song of his was featured on John Stossel’s FOX show. It starts about 5 minutes into this segment:

*This week, Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion, Seraphic Secret, The Pirate’s Cove and The Gates Of Vienna earned honorable mention status with some great articles.

You can, too! Want to see your work appear on the Watcher’s Council homepage in our weekly contest listing? Didn’t get nominated by a Council member? No worries.

To bring something to my attention, simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title and a link to the piece you want considered along with an e-mail address (mandatory, but of course your e-mail address won’t be published) in the comments section no later than Monday 6 PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category. Then return the favor by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for the week when it comes out on Wednesday morning.

Simple, no?

It’s a great way of exposing your best work to Watcher’s Council readers and Council members while grabbing the increased traffic and notoriety. And how good is that, eh?

So, let’s see what we have for you this week…

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Enjoy! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that! And don’t forget to tune in Friday for the results!

01/18/15
Obama Mask

A New Year: Why Mr President, Why?

By: Lloyd Marcus

Happy New Year my fellow Americans. Getting my butt back into the gym is my New Year Resolution. I saw a guy I thought was around my age who looked fantastic, very muscular. He said he was 57; his secret was protein and creatine supplements.

As I begin 2015, another year into the battle to save my country, I observe the daily news thinking, “Same old, same old.” President Obama continues to, in essence, give congress and American voters the finger; arrogantly governing unilaterally against the best interest, the will and protection of the American people.

My dear friend Victoria Jackson, former star of SNL has been deemed a nut case for calling Obama a Muslim and a communist. http://bit.ly/1C5Obta While I can not confirm whether or not Vickie and other pundits are correct in their assessment, clearly Obama is on a different page than those of us who love freedom and America.

The question which continues to nag millions of Americans is why does this man do what he does? Why Mr President, why?

Why did you bring Ebola to America? http://bit.ly/1wYJU7O Why do you refuse to place a travel ban into America from Ebola riddled countries? http://bit.ly/1xnXGQ9

After abdicating your responsibility to enforce immigration law, why did you sued Arizona for enforcing immigration law; leaving Arizonians open to attacks from immigration smugglers and violent Mexican drug cartels? http://reut.rs/1AP7Mi4

Why do you block border patrol officers from doing their job? http://bit.ly/1lPVv6J Why did you dis American voters by granting executive amnesty to five million illegals? http://fxn.ws/1r2B5aj

Why are you planning to give illegals social security numbers, opening the floodgates for them to claim any number of credits; rewarding them for entering our country illegally with checks written by American taxpayers? http://bit.ly/1C5VWzo

You once admitted that an influx of illegal immigrants will harm “the wages of blue-collar Americans” and “put strains on an already overburdened safety net.” http://bit.ly/1uCOrPF Why then would you implement an open border policy guaranteed to attract the poor from around the world; encouraging them to break our immigration laws and receive taxpayer funded handouts? http://yhoo.it/1508ZI6

Why have you forced schools across America to take in illegal students carrying various diseases? http://bit.ly/1BZD33i

Why did you refuse to call the shooting at Ft Hood a “terrorist attack” which blocked the victims and their families from receiving their entitled combat benefits? http://bit.ly/14UDTlK Why did you run to read the Boston bomber his Miranda rights which blocked interrogators from questioning him about other planned attacks on Americans? http://bit.ly/14yvFyB

Why did you join Al “scumbag” Sharpton and other race profiteers in furthering their insidious divisive hate-generating lie that America’s police target and murder blacks? http://bit.ly/1AZJOmS

Why did you lie to the American people on at least 29 occasions that if they like their health-care plan and their doctor they could keep them? http://bit.ly/1DXzBpn

Why did you attempt to bully the beautiful ministry of Little Sisters of the Poor, a 100 year old order of nuns to violate their faith by forcing them to sign a form supporting abortion services? http://bit.ly/1AOMv83

Why does your Obama care continue to cause millions to lose health care plans they like and Cancer patients losing their doctors credited with saving their lives? http://bit.ly/1BZBNwW

Why did you deny additional security requests at our consulate in Benghazi which lead to the death of U.S. Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans during a 9/11/2012 terrorist attack? http://bit.ly/14V4X4g Why did you order the Benghazi Annex security team to “stand down” rather than attempt to rescue our Ambassador? http://bit.ly/1DFlFTs

Why were military assets not deplored to defend our Benghazi consulate and save our Ambassador? http://tws.io/17GYomR

Why did you send Susan Rice on five national TV shows to knowingly lie to the American people, telling them that the Benghazi attack was caused by an anti-Muslim youtube video that was seen by hardly anyone? http://bit.ly/SbNnmb Why do you persist in claiming that the war on terror is over despite glaring worldwide evidence proving otherwise? http://fxn.ws/1IJB1Vk

Why did you choose to pass on attending the historic Paris, France rally in which 40 nations came together against Islamic extremism? http://bit.ly/1BZwxcQ Why do you refuse to admit that we are at war with radical Islam?

Why did you release five lethal Taliban terrorist leaders and continue to release other terrorists certain to reenter the battlefield to kill more Americans? http://bit.ly/S8lElp

Why did you demand that the name of Jesus be covered up on a stage before you spoke? And yet, you passionately defend Islam. http://lat.ms/14y9Ije Why did you offer a new asylum decree favoring Muslims over Christians? http://bit.ly/1hiVCmU

Why have you forcefully burdened our military with social engineering policies which critics say will undermine good order and discipline for decades? http://bit.ly/1DZIyOP

Why have you launched a war on coal estimated to cost nearly a quarter-million jobs per year and force plants across America to close? http://bit.ly/1yhWZfa

Why do you vow to Veto the Keystone XL oil pipeline bill which will further energy independence and create jobs for thousands of Americans? http://bit.ly/1AAIC98

Folks, cited in this article is only the tip of the iceberg of Obama’s war on America as founded: his attacks on traditional Americanism and Christian values – his unseemly attempts to divide us along racial lines to silence opposition to his overreaches – his thuggish use of government agencies to bully and intimidate Americans into submission http://bit.ly/1KKx9XS – his encouraging the sin of covetousness/class envy to divide Americans along economic lines – his attempts to addict as many Americans as possible to government dependency and his relentless efforts to diminish the worldwide influence of the United States of America.

Who are you Mr President? Why are you always on the wrong side of what is best for America and her people? What is your ultimate goal?

Many of us are scratching our heads, asking;…why Mr President, why?

Lloyd Marcus, The Unhyphenated American
Chairman, Conservative Campaign Committee