03/27/15
Barack Obama - Bowe Bergdahl

The Council Has Spoken!! Watcher’s Council Results – 03/27/15

The Watcher’s Council

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

Too much of what is called ‘education’ is little more than an expensive isolation from reality. – Thomas Sowell

Academia is to knowledge what prostitution is to love; close enough on the surface but, to the nonsucker, not exactly the same thing. – Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Without education, we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously. – GK Chesterson

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-1ndmEdQX3AM/Tv04FWJ3kTI/AAAAAAAAAzg/P-WNaJRST6Q/s400/Bookworm%2B3.jpg

This week’s winning essay, Bookworm Room’sWhen it comes to campus fascism, revolutions always eat their own is a tour de force on how radicalism is taking 0ver America’s college campuses. Here’s a slice:

One of the truisms I grew up hearing is that “revolutions always eat their own.” I have understood this to mean that, in any revolutionary movement, the second generation, having been marinated longer in the revolutionary brine, is more extreme than the first generation and invariably purges that first generation. Both the French and the Russian revolutions prove this point.

We in America have had a revolution too. It’s been a very slow-moving revolution of the kind that the British used to call a Fabian Revolution. It involves advancing revolutionary goals, not through violence, but through slow, reformist means. As Ferguson shows, the violence then comes after the revolution. Indeed, Ferguson is one of the best manifestations of that revolution.

The other obvious manifestation is the American college campus. On campuses throughout America, a Nanny state fascism is the norm. That didn’t happen overnight. It happened through Fabian gradualism, with hard-Left revolutionary principles being slowly introduced in the classrooms (increasingly open, aggressive Marxist teaching), in the administrative buildings (read Heather MacDonald’s Multiculti U for the best discussion about the hard Left Fabianism in college administration), and in the dorms (which had a slow Progression away from same-sex dorms, same-sex floors, same-sex bathrooms, and same-sex rooms, which a completely unsurprisingly commensurate uptick in rape claims).

One of the biggest slow-mo revolutions in academia was the whole concept of trigger warnings. When the idea got started, nobody said that trigger warnings were going to be censorship. Instead, they were sold as good manners and sensitivity. It’s kind and polite to warn people who might have delicate sensibilities that you’re going to talk about something shocking, such as mass murder, or blood, or something else most people agree is disgusting or revolting. It turned out, though, that at the average college campus an amazing number of kids have heightened sensibilities. More interestingly, it also happened that, thanks to the Leftism in which America’s young have been pickled since preschool, the things that they just can’t bear to hear without horrific mental suffering are facts and ideas that run counter to their Leftist ideology.

One of the biggest slow-mo revolutions in academia was the whole concept of trigger warnings. When the idea got started, nobody said that trigger warnings were going to be censorship. Instead, they were sold as good manners and sensitivity. It’s kind and polite to warn people who might have delicate sensibilities that you’re going to talk about something shocking, such as mass murder, or blood, or something else most people agree is disgusting or revolting. It turned out, though, that at the average college campus an amazing number of kids have heightened sensibilities. More interestingly, it also happened that, thanks to the Leftism in which America’s young have been pickled since preschool, the things that they just can’t bear to hear without horrific mental suffering are facts and ideas that run counter to their Leftist ideology.

Over the last few months, however, something interesting has happened: The Fabian revolution’s Founders are getting disgusted with their progeny’s extremism. It began when Jonathan Chait questioned the stifling effects of the new orthodoxy. In his article challenging the orthodoxy, he still oozed contempt for conservatives having a say in things, but he was definitely perturbed by modern young people’s inability to tolerate any opposing opinions, ideas, or facts. I wonder if Chait was surprised by the subsequent Leftist demand that he be silenced.

The next salvo from old revolutionaries against new happened when Laura Kipnes wrote about the sexual paranoia that is the norm in academia. Kipnes too was excoriated. Michelle Goldberg, writing at the hard-Left Nation, describes the attack on Kipnes and, as part of the same article, also suggests that the revolution has gone too far.

One week later, Judith Shulevitz got an opinion piece published in the New York Times entitled “In College and Hiding From Scary Ideas.” She too is shocked to see that sensitivity has morphed into censorship. (Jonah Goldberg, author of the informative and prescient Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change, would not have been shocked at all. He explained in his book how the next revolution was being ushered in, not with guns, but with stifling nanny statism.)

I certainly appreciate the effort these old revolutionaries are making to stem the flood waters they first let loose. I doubt they’ll be successful, though. I see them as this revolution’s Robespierres. He, of course, ended up on the same guillotine to which he had so mercilessly consigned others.

More at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was James Simpson with a superb article in Accuracy in Media, Obama Accused of Obstructing Battle against Boko Haram to Promote Axelrod’s Nigerian Muslim Client submitted by Nice Deb.

Apparently Israel’s election isn’t the only one this president is trying to subvert. Read about his deliberate schemes to do his best to oust another friend of the West in Nigeria and replace him with a Muslim with ties to Islamists, including Boko Haram.

Here are this week’s full results. Only Ask Marion was unable to vote this week, but was not subject to the normal 2/3 penalty for not voting:

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 week’s 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?

03/27/15
VA

CNN Shines a Light on Ongoing VA Scandal

By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media

While the Obama administration may have rearranged the deck chairs on the Titanic, in this case the Department of Veterans Affairs, it is still a sinking disaster. On March 13 President Barack Obama traveled to the Phoenix VA medical center, which CNN’s Anderson Cooper called “ground zero in the scandal, a place where as we reported, at least 40 veterans died while waiting for appointments.” “You know, some things have changed, no doubt about it,” said Cooper on his show. “There has been progress.”

After Eric Shinseki resigned last year in the midst of the VA scandal, the administration appointed Bob McDonald to take his place. But it is hard to argue that the situation has gotten better for our veterans. It seems to have gotten worse—or, at the very least, the worst abuses are now coming to light.

The media’s claim that there has been progress toward solving the maltreatment of veterans only serves to bolster the administration’s reputation at the expense of our former soldiers’ ongoing neglect and suffering.

Indeed, the CNN broadcast was dedicated to exposing the fact that, as correspondent Drew Griffin reported, “Thousands of patients at the greater Los Angeles Veterans Medical Centers have been waiting more than three months just for an appointment.”

Cooper ran tape of Representative Dan Benishek (R-MI) asking Dr. Sky MacDougall how long the average wait time for a new patient is at the Greater Los Angeles Medical Center. Dr. MacDougall replied that “The average wait time for a new patient right now is about four days.”

Griffin then said, “That statement is simply not true. According to these VA documents, and a half dozen doctors and administrators within the hospital who spoke to CNN, the average wait time is 10 times greater. It’s not four days. It’s 44 days. The delays are even taking place at the Los Angeles Clinic for Mental Health where documents show more than 300 veterans seeking mental health care have been waiting 30, 60, even 90 days.”

Griffin pointed out that Dr. MacDougall told Congress that the average wait time for mental health patients was also just four days. But, he added, “Again, according to VA documents and a half dozen sources interviewed by CNN, that is not true…as of March 1st new mental health patients in Los Angeles are waiting an average of 36 days just to get an appointment.”

“You know…we tried to get an explanation,” said Griffin. “They simply will not talk to us. They won’t explain their numbers to us.” Congressional investigators are now looking into this report.

Some in the media are taking note of the ongoing VA scandal. But, as with FEMA’s scandal, and even this recent CNN report, the media act as if the Obama administration’s leadership has nothing to do with the ongoing corruption and mismanagement. Yet CNN does deserve credit for exposing the incompetence and dishonesty within the system.

The President admitted the same day as this show aired that there were deficits with the way the VA is being run, but asserted that this was a case of bad apples and systems run awry. “…because just the fact that there have been a few bad apples, mistakes that have been made, systems that aren’t designed to get the job done, I don’t want that to detract from the outstanding work of a lot of people inside this organization,” he said.

It’s easy to blame bad apples and broken systems, just as the President blamed a few Cincinnati IRS workers for the IRS scandal. But as the VA scandal drags on, some in the media should start to at least suspect widespread corruption and mismanagement at the very top levels—despite their ongoing efforts to keep any scandal, of any size, from tarnishing Obama’s legacy.

News regarding the mismanagement of VA facilities has surfaced each month in 2015. In some cases these reports expose how the corruption is still costing veterans’ lives.

“Doctors at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in Tomah hand out so many narcotic painkillers that some veterans have taken to calling the place ‘Candy Land,’” reported Aaron Glantz of The Center for Investigative Reporting for the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel in January. “They call the hospital’s chief of staff, psychiatrist David Houlihan, the ‘Candy Man.’” Patients would sometimes lose their narcotics five times and still request refills, alleged the hospital’s former chief pharmacist, who left in 2013, according to Glantz.

Houlihan “was disciplined by the Iowa Board of Medicine for being ‘inappropriately engaged in a social relationship with a patient,’ hiring a current or former patient and bringing a patient’s medicine home with him,” and, according to Glantz, “downplayed” the discipline in an interview as part of a “contentious” divorce.

After this became news, Houlihan was placed on administrative leave and “the VA, the VA Office of the Inspector General and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration have launched separate probes into allegations against the hospital,” according to the Associated Press.

In other words, the VA is spending its time putting out fires across the country as they emerge.

But Glantz’s January reporting actually alleged a bigger problem: “runaway opiate prescription practices throughout the VA health care system.”

And in Colorado, Denver VA Medical Center Director Lynette Roff retired on March 1. News reports had revealed that her facility had a secret list of veterans waiting for appointments at a sleep clinic back in 2012.

“Veterans on the sleep lab list were waiting for overnight testing of sleep disorders, including potentially deadly sleep apnea,” reported Melissa Blasius for 9News last month. “Roff says her employees did the right thing in 2012, transferring veterans’ sleep lab appointment requests to the VA’s official Electronic Wait List,” she reports.

Roff pointed to an internal investigation as proof that there were no ongoing secret lists at the Denver VA and blamed a “fragmented process” for the original practice.

Yet Roff gave her staff the following warning: “Once you talk to the media, you are on your own …The VA does not support you, and you are not representing the organization. The only thing you are representing is yourself, and then, once you are in hot water, nobody will help you.”

What, exactly, did she want kept from the public?

Widespread failures across states and throughout the VA system demonstrate that the administration is failing to fulfill its basic obligation to provide adequate care for those who sacrificed everything to go to war so that other American citizens don’t have to. Disrespect for their resulting conditions is disrespect for their great sacrifice.

But the debacle in Colorado extends beyond Roff’s mismanagement, or secret waiting lists, or individual patients. It runs bigger.

“The VA’s aging Denver hospital is due to be replaced by a state-of-the-art medical center in Aurora,” reported The Denver Post in February. The Washington Post reports this month that the VA originally estimated the cost of the hospital to be $328 million.

Now the VA is asking for a project “by far the most expensive in VA history,” according to Emily Wax-Thibodeaux of the Post—with a new estimated price tag of $1.73 billion for just one facility.

“The hospital is one of four VA medical center projects—including sites in Las Vegas, Orlando and New Orleans—that were listed as behind schedule and over budget, with a total cost increase of $1.5 billion and an average increase of $366 million, according to a Government Accountability Office report in 2013,” she reported on March 18.

Last week, Congressman Jeff Miller (R-FL), chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, called for the firing of two leaders involved in this VA project. “There is no way around it: in order for VA reform to succeed, those who caused the department’s massive scandal must be purged from the payroll. If that doesn’t happen, it will only be a matter of time before we’re talking about the next VA scandal,” asserted Rep. Miller on March 13.

All of this makes the latest unwanted attention seem like chump change. It was revealed this week that Diana Rubens is being paid $288,000 in “relocation payments” to move 140 miles from Washington, DC to Philadelphia, where she will head up the VA regional benefits office, which, as Chuck Ross wrote for The Daily Caller, is one of many benefits offices around the country “currently being investigated over benefits claims.” Last year Rubens was paid $181,000. Chairman Miller said that “For VA to pay such an outrageous amount in relocation expenses at a time when the department is continually telling Congress and taxpayers it needs more money raises questions about VA’s commitment to fiscal responsibility, transparency and true reform.”

The VA scandal never really resolved itself, even if the media spotlight conveniently moved on. This issue is clearly a pressing one for both Congress and the administration, and deserves more coverage than the occasional news report by a mainstream media more interested in safeguarding Obama’s legacy than holding our leaders accountable.

03/25/15
David Axelrod and Barack Obama

Obama Accused of Obstructing Battle against Boko Haram to Promote Axelrod’s Nigerian Muslim Client

By: James Simpson
Accuracy in Media

Exclusive to Accuracy in Media 

When the notorious Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, kidnapped 278 school girls from the town of Chibok in northeastern Nigeria last year, Michelle Obama began a Twitter hashtag campaign, #BringBackOurGirls. But behind the scenes, the Obama administration was undermining Nigeria’s efforts to take the battle to the terrorists. Obama refused to sell Nigeria arms and supplies critical to the fight, and stepped in to block other Western allies from doing so. The administration also denied Nigeria intelligence on Boko Haram from drones operating in the area. While Boko Haram was kidnapping school girls, the U.S. cut petroleum purchases from Nigeria to zero, plunging the nation’s economy into turmoil and raising concerns about its ability to fund its battle against the terrorists. Nigeria responded by cancelling a military training agreement between the two countries.

The Nigerian presidential election is coming up Saturday, March 28, 2015. AKPD, the political consulting group founded by Obama confidante David Axelrod, is assisting Retired Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim presidential candidate from Muslim-dominated northern Nigeria, where Boko Haram was spawned and wields the most influence. Buhari is well-known throughout the country, having led as “Head-of-State” following a military coup in 1983. He was dislodged following another coup in 1985.

Democracy is a recent phenomenon in Nigeria. With the exception of two short periods from its independence in 1960 to 1966, and the second republic from 1979 to 1983, the country was ruled by a string of military dictatorships between 1966 and 1999.

Under the All Progressives Congress (APC) banner, Buhari is putting up a stiff challenge to the sitting president, Dr. Ebele Goodluck Jonathan who hails from Nigeria’s Christian south. Buhari was also the North’s presidential candidate in the last election held in 2011.

Axelrod is credited as the force behind President Obama’s election victories in 2008 and 2012. He served as Obama’s Senior Advisor until 2011. A well-placed Nigerian interviewed for this report who asked to remain unidentified says that influential Nigerians within and outside the government believe Obama deliberately undermined the war effort and sabotaged the Nigerian economy to make President Jonathan appear weak and ineffectual, and thus bolster the electoral prospects for AKPD’s client, Buhari.

The prominent daily Nigerian Tribune cites an activist group, Move on Nigeria, complaining that the U.S. is fueling tension in Nigeria and has “continued to publicly magnify every challenge of the Nigerian government.”

An anti-Buhari Nigerian blogger writing in the Western Post went further:

In the last year, Nigeria sought aid from the White House for many initiatives, including the fight against Boko Haram.

The Obama administration refused to do anything but play [sic] lip service to Nigeria’s requests. However, it used public and private channels to internationally magnify every failure Nigeria’s government experienced.

In the last year, since the involvement of Axelrod’s firm, relations between the two nations have significantly deteriorated, with the US refusing to sell arms to Nigeria, a significant reduction in the purchase of Nigeria’s oil, and the cancellation of a military training agreement between Nigeria and the USA.

In turn, the Buhari-led Nigerian opposition used the U.S. government’s position as validation for their claim that the Nigerian government was a failure.

Nigerian officials seeking to purchase weapons, especially Cobra attack helicopters, were outraged at Obama’s refusal to allow these transactions. Nigeria’s ambassador to the U.S., Professor Adebowale Adefuye, stated publicly that:

The U.S. government has up till today refused to grant Nigeria’s request to purchase lethal equipment that would have brought down the terrorists within a short time on the basis of the allegations that Nigeria’s defence forces have been violating human rights of Boko Haram suspects when captured or arrested.

We find it difficult to understand how and why, in spite of the U.S. presence in Nigeria, with their sophisticated military technology, Boko Haram should be expanding and becoming more deadly.

Another official quoted in the Nigerian newspaper ThisDay, stated:

The U.S. government has frustrated Nigeria all the way in our war against terrorism despite its public statements in support of Nigeria, as it fights the Boko Haram insurgents in the North-east… They want us to fight Boko Haram with our arms tied to our backs.

They have blocked us from procuring the helicopters and would not provide us with intelligence despite the fact that they have several drones and sophisticated aircraft overflying the North-east of Nigeria from bases in Niger and Chad where the Boko Haram fighters and movements are clearly in their sights.

Retired Col. Abubakar Umar, a former military governor, concluded that the Americans “have decided to turn a blind eye to what is happening in Nigeria.”

Former Head-of-State, Retired Gen. Yakubu Gowon publicly stated last November that America is no friend of Nigeria.

After exhausting all avenues, the Nigerian government finally turned to Russia, China and the black market to obtain needed arms, and as a result has gone aggressively on the offensive against Boko Haram, retaking some 40 towns occupied by the group and killing at least 500 terrorists. According to recent accounts, Boko Haram has gone to ground in the northeastern border regions. But whereas the border states of Niger, Chad, Benin and Cameroon formerly took a hands-off approach, they have now joined in the effort to destroy the group, pledging a total of 8,700 troops. Most recently, Boko Haram has been cleared of its northeastern strongholds in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.

U.S. Excuses

The Obama administration has said it is barred from supplying weapons by the so-called Leahy Amendment which forbids foreign states that have committed “gross human rights violations” from receiving military aid. However this did not stop the U.S. from sending Special Forces to Uganda—another country accused of such violations—to assist in capturing Lord Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony. Nor did it prevent Obama from supporting al Qaeda-linked rebel groups in Libya, who later went on to attack the Benghazi mission, and have now joined ISIS. The Syrian “moderates” the administration claimed to back are also allegedly joining with ISIS.

In fact, Obama supported the Islamic radicals who destabilized states throughout the Middle East, including Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, and did little to prevent Iranian-backed Shiites from overthrowing Yemen—a key ally in the War on Terror. And despite claims that the U.S. “does not negotiate with terrorists,” the administration did so in secret with the Taliban for years, most notoriously over the release of Bowe Bergdahl.

The U.S. State Department is currently negotiating a deal that will enable Iran to obtain the bomb, and it just declared that Iran and its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, are not terrorists. The administration even claims Iran has been an ally in the War on Terror! Finally, Axelrod’s client, Buhari, has been accused of human rights abuses during his time as chief-of-state.

To top it off, Secretary of State John Kerry made a mockery of the administration’s pretext by hinting in January meetings with both Jonathan and Buhari that the Obama administration might allow weapon sales after the election. If the U.S. was so concerned about human rights violations, how could a mere election change that? Given the perception that Buhari has Obama’s implicit support, this sends an unmistakable message.

The administration also rationalized its decision to cut purchases of Nigerian oil by claiming that output from domestic oil fracking has reduced America’s dependence on foreign oil. But that begs the question: why have U.S. oil imports from other nations increased at the same time? Nigeria was formerly among America’s top five oil supplying countries, and America its largest customer. Nigeria relies on oil revenues for 70 percent of its budget. America’s decision to look elsewhere has been catastrophic for Nigeria’s economy.

A Deutsche Bank analyst noted that the decline in Nigeria’s oil sales to America “proceeded much faster than for the U.S.’ other major suppliers,” and concluded that singling Nigeria out this way had to be driven by politics.

Nigeria is not the only country where Obama is using oil as a foreign policy weapon. The U.S. has not renewed its 35-year-old agreement with Israel to provide emergency supplies of oil, despite booming U.S. oil production. The agreement expired in November 2014. At the time, the State Department claimed to be working on renewing the agreement, but has yet to do so.

U.S. Media AWOL

There is not a single article mentioning Axelrod’s assistance to Buhari in any U.S. “mainstream” media outlet. Only the Washington Free Beacon ran a story.

A Google search of “New York Times, Nigeria, Axelrod,” found only one Times article titled Nigerian Soldiers Noticeably Absent in Town Taken from Boko Haram. There was no mention of Axelrod or his relationship to Nigeria’s Muslim candidate, Buhari. Rather, it criticized Nigeria’s participation in the recent multi-country effort to remove Boko Haram from its northeastern Nigerian holdouts, quoting Chadian foreign minister, Moussa Faki Mahamat, who said, “The Nigerian Army has not succeeded in facing up to Boko Haram.”

There are however, many flattering articles about Axelrod, like the Times review of his book, Believer.

NBC News reported on the oil issue, quoting Peter Pham, the Atlantic Council’s director of its Africa Program, who characterized it as “a sea change in [Nigeria’s] relations with the United States, a sea change in its geopolitical position in the world.”

NBC also noted Nigerian ambassador Adefuye’s complaint about U.S. refusal to provide weapons to Nigeria, and how both issues impacted Nigeria’s ability to fight Boko Haram—but there was no mention of Axelrod’s assistance to Buhari.

Buhari Connected to Boko Haram?

Boko Haram is a virulently anti-Western Islamist movement. Its name, roughly translated, means “fake education is forbidden,” but in practice the term “fake” refers to Western education. It was founded in 2002 by Mohammed Yusuf, a Salafist preacher who created a school to provide an Islamic alternative to Westernized schools. Over time it became a recruiting tool for Boko Haram fighters. The group envisions creating an Islamic caliphate throughout Africa. Yusuf was killed by police in a 2009 uprising, and was replaced by Abubakar Shekau, who recently pledged the group’s alliance with ISIS. Let’s review just what kind of monsters these Boko Haram terrorists are:

Certain Buhari supporters such as Ango Abdullahi of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), have been accused of tacitly supporting Boko Haram, and Jonathan’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has linked Buhari himself with the terrorists. The alleged connection however, is an open question. In 2013, Buhari protested a government crackdown on the group. In 2012, Boko Haram nominated Buhari as one of six mediators in negotiations with the government over a proposed ceasefire. In 2001, Buhari expressed his desire to see Nigeria ruled by Sharia law, saying:

I will continue to show openly and inside me the total commitment to the Sharia movement that is sweeping all over Nigeria… God willing, we will not stop the agitation for the total implementation of the Sharia in the country.

However, Boko Haram attempted to assassinate Buhari last year in a suicide bomb attack that killed 82. More recently, the group called both him and Jonathan “Infidels.” For his part, Buhari called the group “bigots masquerading as Muslims.” Buhari also ruthlessly suppressed a similar group, the Maitatsine, during his time as military head-of-state. Buhari’s vice-presidential running mate is a Pentecostal pastor from the south. Similarly, Jonathan picked a Muslim from the north as his number two.

But much violence has surrounded Buhari’s past efforts. Nigeria has a practice of alternating northern and southern rule called zoning. In the 2011 election, Jonathan was president, having ascended from the vice presidency in 2010 following the death of President Umaru Yar’Adau, a northerner. Some Northern politicians believed that Buhari should have assumed the presidency in 2011.

Abdullahi and others, at that time, threatened violence if Buhari wasn’t elected. Buhari himself refused to condemn violence. This was universally interpreted as encouragement from Buhari. Within hours of Jonathan’s election—what was believed to be one of Nigeria’s historically fairest—Buhari’s Muslim supporters took to the streets, attacking Jonathan supporters with machetes and knives. Following Jonathan’s inauguration, Boko Haram launched a wave of bombings, killing and wounding dozens. An estimated 800 people died in the post-election violence in the Muslim north.

A prominent Nigerian deputy governor, Tele Ikuru, who recently abandoned the APC to join Jonathan’s PDP, called the APC “a party of rebels, insurgents and anarchists, clothed in the robes of pretence and deceit.”

Embarrassed by the kidnapping and the perceived association between Buhari’s supporters and Boko Haram, AKPD claimed that they discontinued work for Buhari in early 2014. However, The Washington Free Beacon has unearthed emails showing that they continued to quietly aid APC into at least January of this year.

Their campaign appears to have been successful. While Nigerian election polls are conflicting, the most recent one projects Buhari the winner by a wide margin. Not surprisingly, the reasons cited for Jonathan’s unpopularity include the perception that he is weak and ineffectual against Boko Haram, and that the economy is in a sorry state. Nigerians have taken to calling the president “Bad Luck” Jonathan.

Nigeria’s Critical Role and U.S. Policy Failures

Most Americans are unaware of the critical role Nigeria plays in African politics. In addition to being Africa’s largest oil producer, Nigeria is also the continent’s most populous nation, with an estimated 162 million people, and is home to approximately 12.5 percent of the world’s total black population. Additionally, Nigerian Americans are very productive and well represented in the fields of medicine, sports, engineering, and academics. Annual remittances are $21 billion, with America providing the largest proportion. It is ironic at best that America’s so-called “first black president” is alienating such a nation, especially given its powerful influence throughout Africa.

Because of Obama, America is losing allies the world over. Despite his so-called outreach to “the Muslim world,” the few Muslim allies America has are calling him out. For example, observe the unprecedented spectacle of Arabs cheering Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before the U.S. Congress. Columnist Dr. Ahmad Al-Faraj of the Saudi daily newspaper Al-Jazirah, called Obama “the worst president in American history.” The only Muslims Obama seems to like are those who hate America, and he is going out of his way to court them, come what may.

03/25/15
Cartoonist Gary Varvel: White House response to Netanyahu win

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Temper Tantrum Edition

The Watcher’s Council

http://www.gopusa.com/cartoons/files/2015/03/gv500_150319.jpg

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!!

Our own Tom White at VA Right was named one of Newsmax’s top 50 Conservative Blogs for 2015. Congrats, Tom. It’s nice that Newsmax is finally recognizing what we all already knew… Council Akbar!

This week, The Pirates’ Cove, ThePeople’s Cube and Maggie’s Notebook 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 it 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!

03/24/15
FEMA

FEMA and the Science of Extortion

By: T F Stern
The Moral Liberal

FEMA logo

There are several articles on the Internet which put forth the idea that FEMA intends to withhold money from states which don’t sign on to the premise of man made global warming.   They use the updated term, Climate Change; but their religion of man made harm to Mother Earth continues as the foundation of their faith.

Frank Minero’s piece, Sorry Rick Scott, Admit Climate Change Is Real Or Florida Loses $100 + In FEMA Funding, caught my attention as it contained some rather inflammatory language.

“They’ll need to think long and hard on this one. The stakes are high. If they stick with their ignorant, anti-science rhetoric, they stand to lose millions in federal aid.” (emphasis added)

Would someone define ‘anti-science rhetoric’?  Doesn’t Minero mean folks who won’t fall for junk science substituted for real science and the political agenda associated with the Church of Man Made Global Warming?

At one time science was the search for truth regardless of where that path led; but we live in a time when political agendas foretell results and computer generated models validate theories without the need for actual or authentic data, how convenient!

Minero does a touchdown dance at the end zone of his article proving that Climate Change ‘science’ is nothing more than a political hoax.

“Here’s a list of the eighteen offending states: Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, South Dakota and Wyoming. Not surprisingly, most of the anti-science policy comes from red states.

This is great news for the people living in red states. Now petty politics and greed won’t doom them to the absolute worst consequences of climate change.”  (again, emphasis added)

Those who voted for the Democrat/Socialist/Communist (interchangeable) agenda of man made global warming will be rewarded with taxpayer funding  (a politically incorrect term to be replaced with ‘people’)  of FEMA programs.

If, on the other hand, you require proof of this unsettled science, which is nothing more than a shake down scheme to redistribute wealth, then we will use the power of media to ridicule your pathetic attempts to stave off being robbed in order to advance the liberal agenda.

Never mind that actual scientific findings prove the IPCC report as having been considerably flawed, to the extent that it might have been a total fabrication.  Never mind that the World’s top climate scientists confess: Global warming is just [a] Quarter what we thought – and computers got the effects of greenhouse gases wrong.

Coin FlipImagine that, the global warming ‘estimates’ were off by around 75%!  The data fed into computer models used to twist the arms of law makers in order to bring about a United Nations one world government isn’t accurate.  Flipping a coin would give better results; at least that way you’d be right half the time.

If that isn’t enough, Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace recently shot down the Climate Change hoax when he addressed the Senate committee charged with coming up with legislation to combat global warming.

“There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the past 100 years,” he said as he explained, “he left the group when it became more interested in politics than the environment.”

It would appear the anti-science rhetoric being spread around has been by the environmental alarmists.

03/23/15
Ted Cruz

Imagine… Ted Cruz as President

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton
Hat Tip: BB

This morning I heard echoes of Reagan in Senator Ted Cruz’s speech and an historical shiver went down my spine. His announcement from Liberty University was concrete proof that Cruz is undoubtedly one of the most brilliant and gifted speakers ever to grace a political stage. He doesn’t bother using a teleprompter because what he says comes from his heart – it is second nature and honest. He made his presidential announcement in Jerry Falwell’s place – the very lap of the Moral Majority. And much to the Left’s chagrin, he has morals, principles, ethics, faith and a spine. This is a man not afraid to get down on his knees and pray. It’s like throwing garlic in the face of a Marxist vampire. The Left and the Right are terrified of Ted Cruz – he is the people’s choice. And there is not a candidate out there that is more positive, more gifted, more masterful and more charismatic at stating strongly what conservatism truly is.

The long knives came out by the Left and the RINOs even before the announcement. “Moonbeam” Jerry Brown came out calling Ted Cruz, and his wife for that matter, stupid because they don’t believe in global warming. The only subject Jerry Brown is an expert on, is the one of being a moron. Cruz went to Princeton and Harvard. He didn’t have time to dally with the likes of Linda Ronstadt and get high while stuffing money in his pockets and blathering about UFOs with the two brain cells he has left. Then you have those such as Karl Rove, who should just go away. He has done nothing but lose elections and alienate most of America. He hates the Tea Party and can’t stand Ted Cruz. Then you have Ed Rollins of Jeb “Common Core/Amnesty” Bush’s campaign vocally trolling with, “Architect of the government shutdown in 2013,” which will no doubt be the Progressive Right’s mantra during the campaign. These Progressives have no other way to fight someone like Ted Cruz. A man grounded in his Christian faith and love of the Constitution. Alan Dershowitz, who was his law professor at Harvard, said that he’s probably the smartest student he ever had and it is widely said he is a world class debater. I would say he’s arguably the brightest mind in the Senate today.

True conservatives were thrilled to hear Ted Cruz’s announcement for the presidency in 2016. The students at Liberty University gave him several standing ovations. In his fantastic speech, I flashed back to the stirring speeches given by Trevor Loudon and the recipe to save a nation beleaguered by Marxists. Cruz brings something to the table for everyone across the political spectrum. Most importantly, he brings honest hope to a weary nation. I heard the echoes of history and our Founding Fathers in his words. It was refreshing… it was an atmosphere, a feeling, I have not sensed since Ronald Reagan. I truly believe that Ted Cruz is the last best hope this country has. We’re running out of time and fast.

Cruz told some of his personal story in his announcement and it was riveting. How his mother was one of 17 children and grew up to be the first in her family to go to college and become a pioneering computer programmer in the 1950s and 1960s. I was the first to graduate on my side of the family as well from college. My degrees were in Management Information Systems (programming) and Accounting, so I found that very revealing. He spoke of his dad’s struggle in Cuba and his coming to America. He spoke of his father and mother becoming Christians. He covered how his wife grew up baking bread and going into business. Cruz shared how he worked two jobs to put himself through school – so did I. Ted Cruz and his family struggled with the same struggles the rest of us go through. It took years for him to pay off his student loans – he had far more to pay off than I did, but I can relate. This is why Ted Cruz is loved by the Tea Party, by grass roots, by Christians and by America in general… he may be an outlier to the GOP and DC, but he’s one of us and part of the real American family.

Cruz is right… this is our time… this is our fight. To each generation comes a unique time to stand and fight for what you believe in. Ours is now. So many of us under the tyrannical boot heel of the Obama Administration have grown weary; have all but given up. We have waited and prayed for a Reaganesque leader. That leader is Ted Cruz. It is appropriate that Ted Cruz quoted Patrick Henry this morning with “Give me liberty or give me death.” Because that is where we find ourselves now. Either we will turn the tide in this next election, if we make it that far, or the Republic will be lost to us or it will be embroiled in another Civil War.

It’s time to imagine a different reality – one within our reach:

  • Imagine your vote making a difference…
  • Imagine reducing our debt and setting our financial house in order…
  • Imagine no more Obamacare…
  • Imagine unbridled innovation on the Internet for business once more…
  • Imagine the abolition of the IRS and a flat tax…
  • Imagine plentiful jobs for our young graduates…
  • Imagine no more economic stagnation and booming economic growth…
  • Imagine free speech for everyone…
  • Imagine standing for strong second amendment rights…
  • Imagine keeping your emails and phone calls private as they should be…
  • Imagine an energy self-sufficient America…
  • Imagine secure borders and lawful immigration…
  • Imagine a government that believes in the sanctity of life and upholds the sacrament of marriage…
  • Imagine education without Common Core…
  • Imagine educational choice and opportunity for our children…
  • Imagine defeating our enemies within and without…
  • Imagine standing with Israel once more…
  • Imagine Iran never being allowed to get nuclear weapons…
  • Imagine America calling radical Islam out by name and actually fighting terrorists and killing them…
  • Imagine a strong military and a safe America…

This is what Ted Cruz is asking you to imagine. He wants you to envision millions of Americans coming together to restore our country to its glory and to purge our leadership of those that are tearing her down and who are self-serving and corrupt. Our nation stands at a cross-roads as we have so many times throughout our history. I agree with Ted Cruz – God is not finished with America yet. Everything can change in an instant if we will only stand and fight together. It is a time for truth. It is a time for liberty. It is a time to reclaim the Constitution of the United States, just as Ted Cruz stated today. As Constitutional Conservatives, our hour has come. We dare not ignore the call.

Here is Ted Cruz this morning at Liberty University:


Ted Cruz Announces for President 2016

Ted Cruz’s presidential announcement transcript.


Cruz Coalition on Facebook
Cruz Coalition on Twitter

03/20/15
FEMA

FEMA: One More Obama Scandal for the Media to Obscure

By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media

Why is it that the media almost always want to distance President Obama from the various scandals occurring during his presidency? It is as if he has nothing to do with the people he has appointed to run the various federal agencies, and no responsibility for their incompetence or corruption. Here is but the latest example:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is reviewing insurance claims for 144,000 New York and New Jersey victims of Superstorm Sandy. The storm, which was actually Hurricane Sandy, hit the U.S. coast near Atlantic City, New Jersey, on October 29, 2012. This FEMA review was prompted by lawsuits, an ongoing criminal inquiry, and news reporting that exposed the systematic, corrupt low-balling of homeowners by insurance companies working with FEMA. “They [FEMA] probably orchestrated the whole thing,” one victim, Doug Quinn, told CBS News. “A Sandy task force is being formed to evaluate the nation’s flood insurance program,” it reports.

The media would likely have treated this as a front-page scandal under George W. Bush’s leadership.

Relegating this news to page A25, The New York Times, on March 12, reported that insurance and engineering firms “have noted that there is little financial incentive to cheat.” In fact, “the money that is paid out ultimately comes from FEMA, not the insurance companies,” wrote David W. Chen, and the “flood insurance program…penalizes insurers for overpaying claims but not for underpaying them.”

Deborah Ramey and her husband Robert Kaible lost the home they rented out in Long Beach, NY due to Superstorm Sandy’s sand and floodwater damage. Although the house was valued at $205,000, they were offered just $60,000 for it before it was demolished because the insurance company concluded that long-term forces had caused the damage, not the storm.

However, when the insurer “agreed to send an engineer to take another look,” it made the mistake of sending out the same engineer who wrote the original report, according to Catherine Dunn of the International Business Times. That engineer had originally concluded that Superstorm Sandy, not long-term deterioration, was responsible for the destruction.

The engineer, George Hernemar, allowed Kaible to take cell phone photos of portions of his original, undoctored report in order to confront the insurer. In the end, they received just $79,000, demolished the house and sold it at a loss. The couple’s plea for relief from the courts is one of about 2,000 such lawsuits.

Steve Mostyn, who represents the couple, obtained a sample of 250 engineering reports from one such engineering firm, U.S. Forensic, and claims that all but two reports were identical, according to Dunn. Mostyn told “60 Minutes” that he began looking for a common denominator in the reports to understand why nearly all of the engineering companies’ reports were exactly the same. “And in this case, all of those companies are overseen by FEMA…” added CBS correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi. “More than 5 million homeowners living in designated flood zones all around the country are required to buy flood insurance policies backed by FEMA and taxpayer money.”

When “60 Minutes” covered this unfolding debacle earlier this month, it demonstrated the show’s best strengths and greatest weakness. In its damning investigative story about how insurance companies and the government conspired—or at least joined together—to deceive and abuse their clients, CBS also couldn’t help itself. It, like other news organizations, chose to politicize the story by conspicuously leaving out any mention of politics or administration accountability.

Alfonsi, the “60 Minutes” reporter, spoke with FEMA’s Brad Kieserman, the Deputy Associate Administrator for Insurance, who had been on the job for about three weeks at the time he was interviewed. In that time, Kieserman had uncovered fraudulent activity, warning signs reaching back to 2013, and said he referred the issue to the Inspector General. Now, the Times reports, FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program head David Miller has resigned and a top deputy has retired.

The media are apparently not interested in looking any higher than mid-level management for accountability. As with so many other instances, such as the IRS and Veterans Affairs scandals, the media prefer to minimize the fallout for the Obama administration. Both the “60 Minutes” broadcast, and The New York Times fail to mention President Obama, current Department of Homeland Security (which FEMA is under) Secretary Jeh Johnson, former Secretary Janet Napolitano, or the administration in general.

This constitutes a deliberate omission by these news outlets. Such hypocritical reporting also serves to shelter the administration from the type of shellacking meted out to President Bush over Hurricane Katrina.

“So I want to repeat—my message to the federal government: No bureaucracy, no red tape. Get resources where they’re needed as fast as possible, as hard as possible, and for the duration [of Sandy],” said President Obama on October 30, 2012, in the midst of his reelection campaign.

Even National Public Radio is blasting FEMA’s actions toward Sandy victims, reporting this week that “In fact, FEMA’s appeals process almost never works in favor of homeowners. According to interviews with insurance insiders, FEMA’s appeals process is a ‘joke’ and ‘rigged’ in favor of insurance companies.” And just like CBS’s “60 Minutes,” NPR never mentions a word about President Obama, or Jeh Johnson. Instead, it’s just this faceless bureaucracy, FEMA, that is to blame.

FEMA, along with the IRS, Veterans Affairs and the Secret Service, are all agencies run by political appointees of President Obama, but no one in the media seems to want to hold the President or his appointees responsible. Why? They’ve spent nearly eight years covering for him. They’re certainly not going to stop now.

03/20/15
LA Tyranny Marathon

The Council Has Spoken!! Our Watcher’s Council Results – 03/20/15

The Watcher’s Council

Courtesy of 100% Fed Up!:

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

You see, it’s been our misfortune to have the wrong religion. Why didn’t we have the religion of the Japanese, who regard sacrifice for the Fatherland as the highest good? The Mohammedan religion too would have been more compatible to us than Christianity. Why did it have to be Christianity with its meekness and flabbiness? – Adolf Hitler

I studied the Qu’ran a great deal. I came away from that study with the conviction that by and large there have been few religions in the world as deadly to men as that of Muhammad. As far as I can see, it is the principal cause of the decadence so visible today in the Muslim world and, though less absurd than the polytheism of old, its social and political tendencies are in my opinion more to be feared, and I therefore regard it as a form of decadence rather than a form of progress in relation to paganism itself. – Alexis de Tocqueville

All this talk of people who burn the Koran and nothing about the people who reacted in such a stupid way. We are always blaming the victim and not holding them — not most Muslims, but at least a large part of Muslim culture that doesn’t condemn their people… There is one religion in the world that kills you when you disagree with them and they say ‘look, we are a religion of peace and if you disagree we’ll f**king cut your head off, and nobody calls them on it — there are very few people that will call them on it. It’s like if Dad is a violent drunk and beats his kids, you don’t blame the kid because he set Dad off. You blame Dad because he’s a violent drunk. – Bill Maher

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-_nEAkWOufFU/T366WMxCdrI/AAAAAAAABOg/easpV-8FMnM/s400/Joshua_Dali_Sun.jpg

This week’s winning essay, Joshuapundit’s The Chicken Or The Egg?, looks at some elements of Islamic culture and asks: is it Islam that promotes the extreme violence and misogyny associated with Muslim societies? Or is that just part of a tribal society that persists in spite of Islam? Here’s a slice:

Unless you’re in a coma, you’ve probably noticed that a great many of the violent and barbaric acts in our modern world can be attributed to followers of Islam.

In the Islamic world today, aside from homicide bombings, jihad and terrorism directed against dar harb ( the part of the world not ruled by Islam), honor killings, female genital circumcision and other forms of violence against women are commonplace, and homosexuals are routinely brutalized and murdered. Non-Muslims are treated as barely human in much of the Islamic world, if they’re allowed to exist at all. Warfare carried out by Muslims is done with modern tools of the trade provided by the despised infidels, but is a relic of the good ol’ primitive and tribal days. Hostages, beheadings and the deliberate killing of civilians are all fair game, and the language of jihad is essentially the same heady stuff used back in the 7th century against the infidel. And through it all, there remains the miasma of seething violent rage at things like the Danish cartoons that simply doesn’t exist in other religious groups.

The question nobody wants to ask keeps floating to the surface: Is Islam to blame? Or, to put it another way, are the perpetrators simply bad Muslims or are they actually good ones who are simply more in tune with Mohammed’s message than the majority? Does Islam itself promote violence? Or are the acts simply a product of primitive tribal society that persists in spite of Islam?

Actually, this is a trick question. I personally believe that Islam and the primitive tribal culture combined back in the day to sustain each other and can’t be separated by their very nature…even though some valiant attempts have been made in the past, and are being made today.

Let’s look at honor killings, for example. Probably the oldest recorded one is in Genesis 34, when Jacob’s daughter Dinah was seduced (or raped, depending on how you interpret the text) by a man from the town of Shechem( modern day Nablus). Afterwards, Jacob’s sons Simeon and Levi instigated the killing of the town’s men in revenge. But the Torah also tells us how Jacob denounced the killings and actually took the time to bad mouth his sons for the deed from his deathbed. Not only that, but you’ll notice a profound difference from the Islamic way of handling this – the onus of punishment fell on the male, not the female.

his isn’t the only honor killing mentioned in the Bible, but they were never condoned or part of Jewish law, just merely reported.

Islam, on the other hand, not only sanctions honor killings but is quite clear about its position in the matter. Killing or flogging an adulteress or a female that has relations with a non-Muslim male are part of sharia ( Qu’ran: 4:15, for example) – provided an Islamic court orders the punishment rather than an individual male family member going off on his own.

Even at that, Islamic courts today in the Muslim world frequently view male family members taking the law into their own hands fairly leniently. In Jordan, for example, many brutal honor killings have been punished by as little as a three month sentence under Jordanian Public Law 340. Moreover, in the context of Islamic society such murderers are often celebrated and held up as role models. Just as homicide bombers and terrorists who kill infidel civilians often are.

But what if a Muslim feels himself disrespected and lives in say, Britain or New Jersey? If no Islamic courts are available, is it permissible to take the law into one’s own hands? Probably. There’s not much in the way of Islamic rulings or commentary on that particular subject, but the near silence of most Muslim clergy in the West when it comes to denouncing honor killings speaks volumes…one of those little inconvenient truths Western apologists for multiculturalism and Islam constantly run up against when a number of Muslim clerics themselves insist that honor killing, female genital mutilation, and stoning of adulterers are mandated by Islam. And, as you’ve probably guessed by now , that’s one of the unspoken reasons behind the push among many Muslims in the West for sharia courts to handle those messy domestic problems that come up with uppity females from time to time.

Violent death penalties for women caught in adultery is fairly typical of a primitive society, but only Islam continues the practice into the present day. No Christian court has ever condemned a woman to death for adultery. And although the death penalty for adultery is found in the Book of Leviticus, there is no record of such a sentence ever carried out by any Jewish court. The same is true of homosexuality; while both Christianity and Judaism consider it ‘a sin and an abomination’ only Islam clearly mandates the death penalty for such activities and carries it out in our present day.

So why does Islamic society persist in these practices?

Much more at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Daniel Greenfield’sObama’s Treason Is The New Patriotism, submitted by The Noisy Room. Daniel has some very hard hitting things to say about President Obama and a number of his questionable actions… and the tendency by the usual suspects to name anyone whom disagrees with the Regime a ‘traitor.’

Here are this week’s full results. GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD and Rhymes With Right were unable to vote this week, but were not subject to the usual 2/3 vote penalty for not voting:

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 week’s 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?

03/19/15
Jeff Sessions

Senate Budget Committee Adopts Sessions Welfare Reform Amendment 15-8

BACKGROUND:

The U.S. currently administers around 80 welfare and poverty assistance programs across a fractured, disjointed, ineffectual bureaucracy. The costs of these programs add up to $1 trillion a year—about $750 billion federally, plus about $250 billion in state contributions. That means we could give each household in poverty a $30,000 check every year and still spend half of what we spend on these welfare programs each year. Senator Sessions offered an amendment that would establish welfare reform priorities designed to transition workers from dependency to independence—this would be accomplished not by cutting benefits but by prioritizing job placement. Only 1% of welfare funds currently go to job training; Sessions argued that welfare reform legislation should redirect a greater share of those funds towards job training and apprenticeships. Sessions also argued that companies looking for workers should go to the welfare office instead of the immigration office, and that benefits should be consolidated to improve oversight and efficiency.