07/23/14

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Standing With Israel Edition

The Watcher’s Council

http://oneway2day.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/bho-stands-with-israel-leans-to-pa-toon.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!!

* Bookworm over at Bookworm Room scored with this wonderful poster featured at American Thinker:

Main Image

This week, The MidKnight Review, Seraphic Secret, The Pirate’s Cove and Blazing Cat Fur 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 (which 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 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 Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that!

07/22/14

As Russia’s Isolation Grows, Oil Companies Caught in Middle

The confrontation between Russia and the West took a turn for the worse with the downing of a Malaysian airliner on July 17, and that could spell trouble for several major oil companies operating in Russia.

Just one day earlier, U.S. President Barack Obama slapped sanctions on Russia over its ongoing role in the destabilization of Ukraine. The sanctions prohibited American banks from issuing loans with a maturity of over 90 days to four key Russian companies – Rosneft, Novatek, Gazprombank, and VEB.

“Because Russia has failed to meet the basic standards of international conduct, we are acting today to open Russia’s financial services and energy sectors to sanctions,” U.S. Treasury Official David S. Cohen said in a press release describing the agency’s actions.

The sanctions tightened the economic noose on the Russian economy by targeting companies in Russia’s energy sector. Up until now, western sanctions largely targeted individuals in the Russian elite, freezing their assets or issuing bans on American companies from doing business with them. But with oil and gas accounting for over 50 percent of revenues for the Russian state, if Obama wanted sanctions to have any bite, he had to escalate the campaign by going after Russia’s energy sector.

Until the July 16 announcement, the major western oil companies operating in Russia shrugged off their effects. Companies like BP, ExxonMobil, and Royal Dutch Shell defied White House pressure to avoid doing business with Russia.

They made a big bet on the likelihood that their billion-dollar projects would not be affected by the deteriorating relationship between Russia and the West.

But the markets took the latest round of sanctions much more seriously than their previous iterations. Rosneft saw its share price decline by 6.2 percent the day of the announcement, and Novatek was off 11.5 percent.

And western companies were not safe either. BP lost $4.4 billion in its market value on July 17. BP owns a 19.8 percent share of Rosneft, Russia’s state-owned oil company that was singled out by Obama’s sanctions. Nearly one-third of BP’s global oil production – or 1 million barrels per day – comes from its investment in Rosneft.

ExxonMobil also has massive business plans with Rosneft. The two companies are drilling a $300 million well in Siberia, and next month they plan on drilling a $700 million well in the Russian Arctic, the country’s most expensive in history. ExxonMobil and Rosneft have also agreed to jointly develop an LNG export terminal on Russia’s Pacific coast. The Houston-based ExxonMobil has thus far maintained that the projects will be unaffected by sanctions, but that has been thrown into doubt after the U.S. Treasury Department’s latest move.

On July 18, Zacks.com, a market research firm, warned investors
Russian President Vladimir Putin scoffed at the sanctions, saying that they will merely hurt American energy companies. “This means that U.S. companies willing to work in Russia will lose their competitiveness next to other global energy companies,” Putin said. “So, do they not want it to work here? They are causing damage to their major energy companies.”

With financing likely to be increasingly hard to come by for Russia’s major oil and gas companies, several of them are looking east for access to lending. As The New York Times notes, Russian energy companies are becoming more dependent on Chinese finance to pay for their capital-intensive projects. Partly, this is due to China looking for more Russian energy, but it is also because Russia sees the door slowly closing on access to western banks.

The rift between Russia and the West is bound to worsen after in the aftermath of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 being shot down by a surface-to-air missile in pro-Russian rebel territory. And the cumulative effect of recent sanctions could be minor compared to what may be coming. The U.S. could issue far-reaching sanctions, and the incident could help European Union leaders overcome their hesitation over inflicting damage on the Russian economy.

The international community has called for a full investigation, but right now, all roads appear to be leading to Moscow. Perhaps fearing the fallout from the incident, Putin called for a cease fire in Ukraine.

Swept up in the international crisis are the major oil companies – BP and ExxonMobil – who fear their bottom line taking a big hit from Russia’s growing isolation.

Source: http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/As-Russias-Isolation-Grows-Oil-Companies-Caught-in-Middle.html

By Nicholas Cunningham of Oilprice.com

07/19/14

Victim: The Construction Worker

By: Tamyra Murray
Victims of Illegal Immigration – A Collection of Essays
Hat Tip: Dick Manasseri

It is said that illegal aliens migrate to the U.S. to do the jobs Americans refuse to do. This is the type of statement I hear from ill-informed Americans and pro-illegal groups. I know from first-hand experience that this statement is a lie and that illegal aliens steal middle class jobs – jobs that would, could, and should be filled by Americans.

I worked hard in the construction industry to support my kids – ten years of sweat to acquire the skills and five years to start my own construction company. I thought I had really made it big when I was invited to bid on a half-million dollar project.

After submitting my bid for that project, I was contacted by the general contractor who informed me that they wanted me to execute the work, but that they had received a much lower bid than mine, and wanted to know if I could match it. I was in disbelief when I heard the bid I was competing against. I told the general contractor the only way the other company could do the job at that price was to use illegal labor. His reaction was to laugh and say, “Well if you pay your men $3 an hour, you can do the job too.”

I could have worked 15 men on that job for two months, and, in turn, they could have paid their mortgages and car payments and put food on their tables. Instead, another company did the job and used illegals, who then sent their money back to Mexico. How do I know they were from Mexico? Because the subcontractor that used them bragged about it. He bragged that he picked them up from the border and that he let them live in his pole barn loft to avoid paying them for housing.

Construction jobs such as plastering, masonry, cement, drywall, painting and even now carpentry, are being stolen by illegal aliens. Contractors use illegals because they can pay them less, and they don’t have to worry about paying taxes, unemployment insurance, and social security. Illegals have driven down wages because contractors are so accustomed to getting the low prices on labor. We all, then, have to lower our wages to be able to compete. When folks lose their jobs and are unable to pay their bills or taxes, it affects everyone.

Tamyra Murray is active with the Frankenmuth Tea Party of Michigan.

07/19/14

Globalism Through Regionalism | Michael Shaw

By: Brent Parrish
The Right Planet

Regionalism is communism.

Via Charlotte Iserbyt’s The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America (p. 134), my emphasis:

THE DAILY WORLD OF NOVEMBER 8, 1975 CARRIED A VERY INTERESTING ARTICLE ENTITLED “Planning Is Socialism’s Trademark” by Morris Zeitlin. The Daily World (newspaper of the Communist Party USA) was formerly known as The Daily Worker and was founded in 1924. The importance of this article lies in its blatant admission that [regionalism], which is gradually becoming the accepted method of unelected governance in the United States (unelected councils and task forces, participatory democracy, public-private partnerships, etc.) is the form of government used in democratic socialist and communist countries. The following are excerpts from this article:

Cities in industrially advanced countries develop complex economic, social and political interaction. In this process, major cities tend to consolidate neighboring smaller cities and settlements into metropolitan regions. Rationally, metropolitan regions should constitute governmental units having comprehensive planning and administrative powers within their boundaries.

In our country (the United States), rival capitalist groups, jealously guarding their special prerogatives, have rigidly maintained the traditional boundaries of states and counties while national economic and social development has created metropolitan regions that overlap those boundaries. We have no regional government and no comprehensive regional planning to speak of. Regional government and planning remain concepts our urban scholars and planners have long advocated in vain….

In socialist countries, metropolitan regions enjoy metropolitan regional government and comprehensive planning. Of the many regions on the vast territory of the Soviet Union, the Moscow Region commands special attention, for it has been, since the 1917 Revolution, the country’s economic and political center.

The economic and functional efficiencies and the social benefits that comprehensive national, regional and city planning make possible in socialist society explain the Soviet Union’s enormous and rapid economic and social progress. Conversely, our profit-oriented ruling capitalist class makes comprehensive social and economic planning impossible, causing waste and chaos and dragging the entire nation into misery and suffering as its rule deteriorates and declines.

The push to consolidate school districts is a prime example of regionalism. For example, one New York school district comprises some 1,700 schools. So much for local control of schools by parents and teachers. It amounts to an educational collective, custom-made for total federal control.

On a broader and more disturbing scale, the collusion of nations like Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) is a global form of regionalism that is aligning itself against the U.S. dollar.

We’ve already seen the result of regionalism in the creation of the European Union (EU). The EU’s governmental system more resembles the model set forth in Plato’s Republic, whereby an elite cadre of “philosopher-kings” rule the masses, and the notion of national sovereignty is wiped out, i.e. globalism.

There has long been talk of a North American Union (NAU)—the merger of Canada, United States and Mexico.

By the way, I hear Barack Obama is a big fan of “regionalism.”

07/18/14

The Council Has Spoken!! This Weeks’ Watcher’s Council Results – 07/18/14

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.

This week’s winning entry, Joshuapundit’s Israel’s New Challenge: Defeating The Third Intifada is a slightly different take on the current war between Israel and Hamas, and especially that it is no accident. Here’s a slice:

Israel once again finds itself fighting in Gaza.

The reason’s fairly simple. The lust for Jewish blood among a substantial number of the Arabs who identify themselves as Palestinians is simply their strongest impulse, their raison d’être. There is no peace, because one side simply wants the other dead.

There is not a single Israeli civilian or soldier in Gaza today, not since Israel removed the 8,000 Jewish residents who had lived there over 30 years from their homes and gave it to the Arabs who call themselves Palestinians as a sacrifice ‘for peace.’

The Palestinians could have built whatever kind of society they wanted in Gaza. But even before Hamas took over, Gaza’s main export to Israel was terrorism. Israel, with Egypt’s assistance, maintained a blockade on Gaza to curtail the import of heavy weapons, usually emanating from Iran that saved Israeli lives, but cost Israel deeply when it came to the ‘international community’, who always seem to have special rules when it comes to Israel defending itself. The carnage emanating from Gaza has slowed at times, but literally thousands of rockets, mortar shells and terrorist strikes have emanated from Gaza, and they’ve never ended. Israelis became used to running for shelter, especially in the south:

This latest onslaught saw over 100 rockets in 24 hours rained down on Israel, and with Hamas rejecting offers from Israel of ‘quiet for quiet’, that’s where we stand now. The Israelis have carried out a number of decisive strikes and have called up 42,000 reserves, while Hamas has launched missiles at central Israel, at Jerusalem, and at Tel Aviv, a step they had to know was going to provoke an Israeli ground response.

So what’s the story behind the story? Why is Hamas going for broke now, and what does it mean? Whether Israel realizes it or not, they are facing the Third Intifada, although how it unfolds is still developing. Of course, it doesn’t look like previous intifadas because circumstances and tactics have changed. But the end goal is the same. And the chief strategist isn’t Hamas, but Mahmoud Abbas.

Hamas has been isolated by Israel and the new Egyptian government of al-Sisi, who has declared Hamas’ parent movement the Muslim Brotherhood an illegal terrorist organization. Weapons coming in from Iran have slowed considerably, and money is tight. A sign of this was the attempt by Hamas ally Robert Serry, the supposedly neutral UN Mideast envoy to illegally funnel $20 million to Hamas in Gaza from Qatar.

The current Hamas and Fatah unity government agreement came about, mostly on Abbas’ terms, because of Hamas’ sharply reduced fortunes, while Abbas has the UN, the Obama Administration and the EU funding and backing him, even with Hamas now on his team. According to my sources, part of the negotiations also involved joint efforts towards the goal both Hamas and Fatah agree on, the destruction of Israel.


The Israelis, already outraged at the unity agreement and the West’s apparent willingness to fund a murderous terrorist group like Hamas were further energized by the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens by Hamas operatives, whose mutilated bodies were found shoved into a hole near Hebron. In response, the Israelis began to obliterate the Hamas infrastructure in Judea and Samaria.

But then, the subsequent murder of Arab teen Mohammed Abu Kheidr by what appear to be a trio of Jewish football hooligans suddenly presented Hamas and Fatah with a golden opportunity. It was used as a signal to launch what had already been planned. Vast riots, violence and destruction took place throughout Israel egged on by Fatah while Hamas stepped up its rocket and mortar attacks.

Hamas also had plans to join Fatah in the ground attack on Israel itself. They had a huge tunnel dug from Rafah under Israel’s border fence for a massive planned assault on Israeli communities in the south, and tried an amphibious attack on Israel’s coast. Both attacks were repulsed with heavy losses. Meanwhile, Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system and the IDF’s air strikes on Hamas’ infrastructure were even more effective than Hamas had planned on and that Israel had hoped.

Israel’s ‘peace partner’ Mahmoud Abbas has also been doing his part. Fatah has several hundred militiamen in Gaza, including members of the Palestinian Authority security forces who have their salaries paid by Western governments. They have eagerly joined in firing rockets at Israel’s civilians. Abbas has done nothing to stop them.

Abbas has several huge assets his old boss Yasser Arafat could only have dreamed about, and they’re key to understanding what’s being planned. First and foremost, in Barack Hussein Obama, Abbas has a president in the White House who loathes Israel and who sees himself as Palestine’s community organizer.

More at the link about Abbas’ strategy and how Israel can defeat it.

In our non-Council category, the winner was long tome Council favorite Daniel Greenfield, AKA Sultan Knish with A Game Changer In Gaza submitted by The Independent Sentinel. Knish writes with his usual clarity and common sense about the choices Israel faces in dealing with Palestinian terrorism.

Here are this week’s full results:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! Don’t forget to tune in on Monday AM for this week’s Watcher’s Forum, as the Council and their invited guests take apart one of the provocative issues of the day and weigh in… don’t you dare miss it. And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that!

07/18/14

Victims: The Illegal Aliens

By: Mark Lyons
Victims of Illegal Immigration – A Collection of Essays
Hat Tip: Dick Manasseri

Big rig driver Tyrone Williams, a Jamaican immigrant from Schenectady, New York, was hauling his temperature-controlled semi-trailer from Harlingen, Texas to Houston, a 330-mile run. He was being paid $7500 for the short trip – quite a substantial day’s pay, considering most truckers would be happy to make $500 for that run. His cargo: illegal aliens – at least 74 of them from Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, and the Dominican Republic.

In the hands of this ‘paid professional,’ the criminal aliens (each of whom had paid about $1800 for the cross-border experience) were being transported from a ‘safe house’ to vehicles that would carry them to their destinations in the U.S. Instead, the brief trip turned into our nation’s deadliest human smuggling attempt.

According to court and media documents, Williams failed to turn on the trailer’s air conditioning unit. As the temperatures inside the trailer soared, the ‘cargo’ kicked holes in the walls, clawed at the insulation, and screamed for help. When Williams became aware of the dire situation, he pulled over, then opened, unlocked, and abandoned the trailer and its contents near Victoria, Texas.

Unfortunately for 19 of the folks inside the death box, it was too late. Seventeen were found deceased in the trailer, and two more died later – from dehydration, hyperthermia, and suffocation. This was one human trafficking operation gone extremely awry.

Fourteen people were charged in the subsequent indictment and trial, including Williams, who is now serving life sentences in prison for murder. All of the victims had Hispanic surnames, as did all of the other defendants in the smuggling ring.

When discussing the victims of illegal immigration, the aliens themselves are sometimes overlooked. All-too-often, however, these border-crossers are put in jeopardy by their own actions and by those that run the human trafficking enterprises. Crossing deserts without adequate food, water, and shelter can be dangerous; wild animals and inhospitable topography pose real problems; and heartless, greedy profiteers and coyotes put their ‘clients’ at great risk. In the Tyrone Williams case, 19 of them paid the ultimate price to come to the United States – their very lives.

Mark Lyons is an over-the-road trucker who lives in Kentucky.

07/18/14

America’s Enemies Ally to Sink the Dollar

By: Trevor Loudon
New Zeal

According to Venezuela’s Marxist president Maduro, the Brics summit will change the world order.

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Four Marxist ruled states (Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa) together with heavily communist infiltrated India, are working together on a plan which could destroy the US dollar and sink the economy.

From the British communist paper Morning Star:

Decisions taken at the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (Brics) summit will change the course of the 21st century, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said July 16.

“Brics have made very important decisions to change the political and economic world order,” he told his weekly TV programme.

The bloc has “decided to create a development bank with $100 billion (£58bn) as starting capital and a commercial and financial system among its members to use local currencies instead of U.S. dollars.”

It would have a reserve currency pool worth over another $100 billion.

Both initiatives will counter the influence of imperialist lending institutions and the dollar.

The Brics leaders ended their two-day summit in the Brazilian city of Fortaleza with the announcement that the planned bank would be headquartered in the Chinese financial hub of Shanghai.

The New Development Bank will have an African regional branch in South Africa and other nations will be able to participate eventually.

President Maduro is among regional presidents from the Union of South American Nations and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States taking part in talks with Brics leaders to deepen co-operation between these blocs.

“Our foreign policy is well advanced,” said Mr. Maduro.

“It’s at the centre of all world events to continue deepening our alliance with Brics.”

The Venezuelan president will host Chinese President Xi Jinping in Caracas later this week, before Mr. Xi leaves for Cuba and Argentina.

Mr. Xi supports a China-Latin America forum to further expand bilateral trade that has already reached $262bn (£153bn) in the past year.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who began his Latin American tour with a visit to Cuba at the weekend, will be pleased to have shown that his country’s recent exclusion from the G8 group of industrialised nations does not signify international isolation.

If this move succeeds, US interest rates will rise dramatically. If the US economy is still led by socialists when this occurs, disastrous economic collapse will be almost inevitable.

This is economic warfare at the highest level.