05/22/15
Hillary Clinton / Elizabeth Warren

The Council Has Spoken!! Our Watcher’s Council Results – 05/22/15

The Watcher’s Council


Obama saves the Republic…


Anti-Stephanopoulos Artwork Posted Near ABC News Headquarters in Manhattan

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

I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. – James Madison

We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution. – Abraham Lincoln

Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

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This week’s winning essay, Bookworm Room’sA phenomenal talk about the Constitution and how to make it meaningful to America’s young people, is a fascinating account of a presentation she attended on the Constitution, one she feels would be of great value to young citizens who are being indoctrinated by public education rather that educated. Here’s a slice:

I had the great pleasure today of attending a phenomenal talk by Prof. David Bobb, president of the Bill of Rights Institute. BRI uses original source documents to help teachers ans students understand America’s founding document and to see how it’s still relevant today. Its ultimate goal is to bring to an end our nation’s intellectual disengagement from the Constitution and to lead young people to “think the vote,” which is mindful, informed approach to elections, rather than to “rock the vote,” a mindless, drone-like approach to important issues that profoundly affect America’s young people.

Prof. Bobb could not be a better spokesman for his organization. To begin with, his bio is impressive:

David earned his Ph.D. in political science from Boston College, where he was the recipient of fellowships from the Pew, Earhart, and Bradley Foundation, as well as the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.

[snip]

David joined the Bill of Rights Institute in December 2013. Previously he was the founding director of two national centers for Hillsdale College, the Washington, D.C.-based Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship, and the Hoogland Center for Teacher Excellence, a civic education program. From 2001 to 2013 he also was lecturer in politics at Hillsdale College, where he taught courses in American politics and public policy.

David is the author of Humility: An Unlikely Biography of America’s Greatest Virtue (Thomas Nelson, 2013) and a contributing editor to The U.S. Constitution: A Reader (Hillsdale College Press, 2012). He has written articles and reviews for the Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Washington Times, Boston Herald, and the Claremont Review of Books, among other publications. He has spoken widely to audiences in twenty-five states on topics including education reform, civic engagement, and the American Constitution.

In other words, Prof. Bobb knows his stuff and he is a natural communicator and teacher. His speaking style, something that always matters to me, is the essence of clarity. No fudging, no obfuscation, no blathering. Frankly, it was a challenge to take notes, because Prof. Bobb had no spare words or sentences in his speech. Every sentence was interesting and to the point. Since I don’t do shorthand, of necessity I had to condense some ideas and I know that I missed others. This means that, to the extent there are any errors in this post, they are definitely mine, not Prof. Bobb’s. With that warning, here goes:

If I were a more detail-oriented person, I would undoubtedly have noticed long ago that, on our one dollar bill, under the pyramid, there is a Latin inscription stating “novus ordo seclorum.“

And if I were a more curious person, I would have gone online to translate that phrase. For those who, like me, don’t remember their Latin and or who aren’t too curious about our dollar bill, the phrase means “New Order Of The Ages.” It is the Founders’ announcement to the world and to posterity that they were embarking upon a grand governmental experiment, one that had never been tried before. In the Federalist papers, Alexander Hamilton noted that Americans were about to take a step no other people had taken before:

” It has been frequently remarked that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force.”

Back in the day, then, the Founders, with a great deal of trepidation, were about to embark upon a planned government, one that would vest the maximum amount of power in the people and that, at the governmental level, would guard against the possibility of tyranny. After all, only a few years before, they had declared themselves free to part ways with England because, in their eyes, George III had become a tyrant by taking upon himself the powers of the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary. They understood that human frailty is such that no one person should ever hold that much power over others.

The unique aspect of the new Constitution was the notion — the product of one hundred years of Enlightenment thinking (powered by an increasingly humanist Christianity) — that each person comes into the world with certain rights vested in him (or her). These are not gifts from the government that the government can then take a way. Instead, when a government infringes on these inherent rights, it’s the people who have the power to destroy the government and initiate a better one — and our Constitution was intended to define that better government.

The most exceptional thing about the Constitution — which is a contract between government and the American people — is the notion of separation of powers. England, of course, led the way with that idea, wresting from the King certain powers reserved for Parliament. This was a notion that was first institutionalized in the Magna Carta; was then tested under Charles I (who lost his head for picking “King power,” rather than “People power” when asked the question “who’s in charge here?”); and was re-tested under George III, who kept his head but lost America because he too thought that he could vest in himself the full powers of government.

The Articles of Confederation, the governing document that preceded the Constitution, did not have a tripartite approach to power. It created an executive office, but had no judiciary or legislature and, significantly, it did not give the executive office the power to tax. The office had, on the one hand, too much power and, on the other hand, no way to put all that power into effect. The Constitution would do better.

At this point in his talk, in light of the upcoming 2016 election, Prof. Bobb narrowed his his focus to the executive office. He noted that, although Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, the intellectual powerhouses behind the Constitution, devoutly believed in diffuse power as a bulwark against tyranny, they also understood that, to the extent they vested power in a specific institution, that power had to be meaningful. To that end, they didn’t try to create a weak executive by splitting that power among different individuals or groups.

It was Hamilton who envisioned as president an individual who, while hedged about with constitutional safeguards, could act with “decision, activity, secrecy, and dispatch.” After all, in times of national emergency, one can’t have a committee laboriously working its way to a tame and untimely bureaucratic response.

While the president could be active, decisive, and secretive, he still had to have limitations — and control over these limitations had to be placed in an organization equally invested in protecting and advancing its power. Or, as James Madison said, “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition.” The Constitution decided that three entities, each jealously protecting its power, would ensure that no single part of that trio would be able to aggregate too much power, the inevitable path to tyranny.

More at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was The Baron at Gates of Vienna with a piece that resonates a great deal right now, Playing Nice submitted by Joshuapundit.

The Baron looks at western society’s surprising tendency to whitewash Islamist terrorism, deliberately distancing it from its obvious religious inspiration and even blaming the victims on many occasions for the ensuing atrocities. I think he’s on to something here when he talks about a certain very prevalent mindset as the cause of this dysfunction.

Well, that, and the billions of petro dollars from certain countries in the Middle East to universities, to various think tanks and lobbyists registered and unregistered, and especially to politicians on both sides of the aisle.

Do read it.

Here are this week’s full results. Only Ask Marion and The Right Planet were unable to vote this week, but neither was 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?

05/20/15
George Stephanopoulos

Watcher’s Council Nominations – No Strings Attached Edition

The Watcher’s Council

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Phony, corrupt little meat puppet…

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 continues his successful march to become the Guru of Virginia political bloggers with a radio interview May 16th with John Fredericks, the biggest talk show host in the state.

This week, The Pirate’s Cove and Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion 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!

05/19/15
Jeffrey Sachs

Liberal Academic Says America’s Founding Document Outmoded

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

Top Vatican adviser Jeffrey Sachs says that when Pope Francis visits the United States in September, he will directly challenge the “American idea” of God-given rights embodied in the Declaration of Independence.

Sachs, a special advisor to the United Nations and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, is a media superstar who can always be counted on to pontificate endlessly on such topics as income inequality and global health. This time, writing in a Catholic publication, he may have gone off his rocker, revealing the real global game plan.

The United States, Sachs writes in the Jesuit publication, America, is “a society in thrall” to the idea of unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But the “urgent core of Francis’ message” will be to challenge this “American idea” by “proclaiming that the path to happiness lies not solely or mainly through the defense of rights but through the exercise of virtues, most notably justice and charity.”

In these extraordinary comments, which constitute a frontal assault on the American idea of freedom and national sovereignty, Sachs has made it clear that he hopes to enlist the Vatican in a global campaign to increase the power of global or foreign-dominated organizations and movements.

Sachs takes aim at the phrase, which comes from America’s founding document, the United States Declaration of Independence, that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

These rights sound good, Sachs writes, but they’re not enough to guarantee the outcome the global elites have devised for us. Global government, he suggests, must make us live our lives according to international standards of development.

“In the United States,” Sachs writes, “we learn that the route to happiness lies in the rights of the individual. By throwing off the yoke of King George III, by unleashing the individual pursuit of happiness, early Americans believed they would achieve that happiness. Most important, they believed that they would find happiness as individuals, each endowed by the creator with individual rights.”

While he says there is some “grandeur in this idea,” such rights “are only part of the story, only one facet of our humanity.”

The Sachs view is that global organizations such as the U.N. must dictate the course of nations and individual rights must be sacrificed for the greater good. One aspect of this unfolding plan, as outlined in the Sachs book, The End of Poverty, involves extracting billions of dollars from the American people through global taxes.

“We will need, in the end, to put real resources in support of our hopes,” he wrote. “A global tax on carbon-emitting fossil fuels might be the way to begin. Even a very small tax, less than that which is needed to correct humanity’s climate-deforming overuse of fossil fuels, would finance a greatly enhanced supply of global public goods.” Sachs has estimated the price tag for the U.S. at $845 billion.

In preparation for this direct assault on our rights, the American nation-state, and our founding document, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon told a Catholic Caritas International conference in Rome on May 12 that climate change is “the defining challenge of our time,” and that the solution lies in recognizing that “ humankind is part of nature, not separate or above.”

The pope’s expected encyclical on climate change is supposed to help mobilize the governments of the world in this crusade.

But a prestigious group of scholars, churchmen, scientists, economists and policy experts has issued a detailed rebuttal, entitled, “An Open Letter to Pope Francis on Climate Change,” pointing out that the Bible tells man to have dominion over the earth.

“Good climate policy must recognize human exceptionalism, the God-given call for human persons to ‘have dominion’ in the natural world (Genesis 1:28), and the need to protect the poor from harm, including actions that hinder their ascent out of poverty,” the letter to Pope Francis states.

Released by a group called the Cornwall Alliance, the letter urges the Vatican to consider the evidence that climate change is largely natural, that the human contribution is comparatively small and not dangerous, and that attempting to mitigate the human contribution by reducing CO2 emissions “would cause more harm than good, especially to the world’s poor.”

The Heartland Institute held a news conference on April 27 at the Hotel Columbus in Rome, to warn the Vatican against embracing the globalist agenda of the climate change movement. The group is hosting the 10th International Conference on Climate Change in Washington, D.C. on June 11-12.

However, it appears as if the Vatican has been captured by the globalist forces associated with Sachs and the United Nations.

Voice of the Family, a group representing pro-life and pro-family Catholic organizations from around the world, has taken issue not only with the Vatican’s involvement with Sachs but with Ban Ki Moon, describing the two as “noted advocates of abortion who operate at the highest levels of the United Nations.” Sachs has been described as “arguably the world’s foremost proponent of population control,” including abortion.

Voice of the Family charges that environmental issues such as climate change have become “an umbrella to cover a wide spectrum of attacks on human life and the family.”

Although Sachs likes to claim he was an adviser to Pope John Paul II, the noted anti-communist and pro-life pontiff, Sachs simply served as a member of a group of economists invited to confer with the Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace in advance of the release of a papal document.

In fact, Pope John Paul II had worked closely with the Reagan administration in opposition to communism and the global population control movement. He once complained that a U.N. conference on population issues was designed to “destroy the family” and was the “snare of the devil.”

Pope Francis, however, seems to have embraced the very movements opposed by John Paul II.

Sachs, who has emerged as a very influential Vatican adviser, recently tweeted that he was “thrilled” to be at the Vatican “discussing moral dimensions of climate change and sustainable development.” The occasion was a Vatican workshop on global warming on April 28, 2015, sponsored by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences of the Roman Catholic Church. Sachs was a featured speaker.

The plan going forward involves the launching of what are called “Sustainable Development Goals,” as envisioned by a Sustainable Development Solutions Network run by none other than Jeffrey Sachs.

“The Network has proposed draft Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which contain provisions that are radically antagonistic to the right to life from conception to natural death, to the rights and dignity of the family and to the rights of parents as the primary educators of their children,” states the group Voice of the Family.

In July, a Financing for Development conference will be held, in order to develop various global tax proposals, followed by a conference in Paris in December to complete a new climate change agreement.

Before that December conference, however, Sachs says the pope will call on the world at the United Nations to join the crusade for a New World Order.

Sachs says, “Pope Francis will come to the United States and the United Nations in New York on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, and at the moment when the world’s 193 governments are resolved to take a step in solidarity toward a better world. On Sept. 25, Pope Francis will speak to the world leaders—most likely the largest number of assembled heads of state and government in history—as these leaders deliberate to adopt new Sustainable Development Goals for the coming generation. These goals will be a new worldwide commitment to build a world that aims to harmonize the pursuit of economic prosperity with the commitments to social inclusion and environmental sustainability.”

Rather than emphasize the absolute need for safeguarding individual rights in the face of government overreach and power, Sachs writes that the Gospel teachings of humility, love and justice, “like the teachings of Aristotle, Buddha and Confucius,” can take us on a “path to happiness through compassion” and “become our guideposts back to safety.”

Writing elsewhere in the new issue of America, Christiana Z. Peppard, an assistant professor of theology, science and ethics at Fordham University, writes about the “planetary pope,” saying, “What is really at stake in the collective response to the pope’s encyclical is not, ultimately, whether our treasured notions of theology, science, reality or development can accommodate moral imperatives. The real question is whether we are brave enough and willing to try.”

The plan is quite simple: world government through global taxes, with a religious face to bring it about.

05/18/15
George Washington

Forum: Who Are Your Three Favorite Heroes In American History? Why?

The Watcher’s Council

Every week on Monday morning, the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum with short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture or daily living. This week’s question: Who Are Your Three Favorite Heroes In American History? Why?

Wolf Howling: The first great American hero is our deity, God. Rev. Jonathan Mayhew was the first, in 1750, to argue that the source of our British rights was God and to articulate a doctrine that can be summed up in the phrase “resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.” His writings spread throughout the colonies and were adopted in various forms by most of the “dissenting” religions. When, in 1775, Boston royalist Peter Oliver wrote of the causes of the Revolution, he placed the blame squarely on the “Black [robed] Regiment” of clergyman who so roused the colonists in righteous defiance against the British. It is fair to say that the dissenting clergy, from Georgia to Massachusetts, played an indispensable role in driving the Revolution. To paraphrase one Hessian soldier, this was not an American Revolution, it was a Presbyterian Revolution.

As late as January, 1776, it was not clear what we intended by our fight with the British. Most colonists still wanted no more than an adjustment of our relationship with Great Britain, not an independent nation. Yet in January, 1776, Thomas Paine published Common Sense, the best selling book our nation has ever seen on a per capita basis but for the Bible. In it, Paine used largely biblical arguments against the divine right of Kings to rule. His arguments electrified the nation, and set us almost immediately on the path that ended less than six months later in the Declaration of Independence.

And then there were at least two “acts of God” during the Revolution that were so fortuitous and unusual as ought to leave in the most hardened atheist with a bit of uneasiness. The first was at The Battle of Long Island. The British had decimated our forces and had surrounded Washington and his 9,000 men. Had the British completed their attack, the Revolution would likely have ended there. Washington ordered a night withdrawal by boat. That night, a very unusual fog descended on the area, one so dense that soldiers said they couldn’t see further than 6 feet to their front. The fog allowed the withdraw to continue through night to the dawn and after, until all 9,000 soldiers had crossed to safety.

The second “act of God” occurred as the British, in June 1776, attempted to capture the wealthiest port city in the colonies, Charleston, S.C. Had Britain succeeded, the whole nature of the Revolution would have changed. The centerpiece of the colonist’s defense of Charleston was a half built fort on Sullivan’s Island that the British expected to easily defeat with an infantry attack across the ford separating Isle of Palms from Sullivan’s Island, a ford at low tide that virtually never exceeded three feet. Yet in June, 1776, a highly unusual wind pattern developed and, even at low tide, the water at the ford was over 7 feet deep. With the British infantry stopped cold, the fort survived the most devastating bombardment of the war even while the colonists wreaked destruction on the British ships, saving Charleston from occupation for a critical three years.

And then, of course, it was this view of God as the source of our rights that animated our Founders. Our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are not bestowed by man. They are natural rights that come from God. The first and most important hero of our nation must be God.

The second most important person in American history is George Washington. People who study the Revolution call him the “indispensable man,” and that he was. He took charge of an army of amateurs and led them against the world’s superpower of the era. He was in an impossible situation against impossible odds.

Washington was never a great military commander. He was outfoxed all too often on the battlefield. Indeed, by December 1776, he had been beaten so badly over the preceding six months that everyone on both sides thought the Revolution was over but for the signing of surrender documents. Yet Washington, a man whose persistence and refusal to surrender was inhuman, on Dec. 25, 1776, led a beaten force of 2,500 across the Delaware River in horrendous conditions. The next morning, his soldiers surprised the best light infantry forces in America, the Hessians at Trenton, and won a victory so stunning that it literally saved the Revolution.

And while Washington’s command of the Continental Army over the next seven years was critically important, it was his actions at and after the end of the war that proved of importance equal to his victory at Trenton. The history of revolutions was equally a history of successful military commanders taking power as dictator or King, from Caesar to Cromwell. But not with George Washington, who not merely voluntarily relinquished all power at the end of the war, but put an end to a revolt of officers who had not been paid.

Then it was Washington, called out of retirement, who lent his credibility to the Constitutional Convention that resulted in the drafting of our Constitution and Bill of Rights. And while all knew that Washington would be elected President – he was elected to two terms with 100% of the electoral college votes – Washington easily could have chosen to be President for life. But instead, he opted to go back into retirement after two terms. Washington was a hero and perhaps the single man indispensable to the creation of our nation.

The third choice for American hero is harder. There are so many who could legitimately take this position. Let me just give it to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The history of America’s treatment of blacks is indeed a mark on this nation. Even after the end of slavery and the enshrinement of equal rights in our Constitution at the end of the Civil War, racism and unequal treatment were still rampant in this nation. Rev. King was born in 1929, and while he did not start the Civil Rights movement, he became its most important voice. He shamed white America with their failure to live up to the promise of this nation, enshrined in our first Founding document, The Declaration of Independence, that “all men are created equal.” Dr. King brought a moral message that our nation could not ignore, and he pushed it relentlessly, at great danger to himself, and he did so with non-violence. His speech in 1963 in Washington D.C., now known as the “I Have A Dream” speech, is perhaps the most recognizable speech in our nation’s history, and rightly so. He finished the speech with a stirring call for an America where people are judged “not… by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

In our unique nation, Rev. King’s call for equality was not only a moral clarion call, but a necessity if we are to survive as a melting pot. Since Rev. King’s death, the movement he started has been wholly bastardized by the left for their own ends. That does not in any way detract from Rev. King’s message, indeed, it only increases the need for us fulfill his vision.

Don Surber: Washington, Lincoln and King. Put lives on the line for a greater purpose. Four bulletholes in GW’s coat when he retired from the Revolution and he was only in battle for 3 years.
Meanwhile none of them are in my book. Maybe I am doing this wrong.

(Obligatory Book Plug — you do this when you author) https://www.createspace.com/5407939

Bookworm Room: My three favorite heroes in American history are George Washington, James Madison, and, and… I can’t think of a third hero.

As far as I’m concerned, George Washington was the essential man.  It wasn’t just that he proved, after a very steep learning curve, to be a brilliant general improvising guerrilla warfare as he went along, although that steep learning curve certainly deserves recognition.  Many wars, and many more men, have been lost because generals were incapable of learning from their failures.  And it wasn’t just because he was a person of such rectitude that all parties, north and south, knew that they could rely on and trust him, although that is a rare quality in either the military or political world.

What made General Washington the essential man in my eyes is that he was averse to power.  Offered a kingship or an indefinite consulship, his primary goal was to get out of office and go home.  While in office, his learning curve and integrity meant that he carried out his duties in this brand new role to the best of his abilities.  But the most important thing he did was to leave office.

Around the world and throughout history, too many other people would have become invested in even the fairly limited power granted an American president (as opposed to a European monarch), but Washington didn’t. Instead, he began a tradition that lasted until FDR of staying no more than eight years in office.  Moreover, this tradition was so powerful that, after FDR died following his third reelection, the American people passed a constitutional amendment to preserve Washington’s most important legacy:  time-limited executive power.

If Washington’s was the essential personality, than James Madison had the essential brain.  It is a rare man who understands the interaction between human nature and political power, and who seeks to craft a political system that optimizes man’s nature — even his basest nature — in order to control man’s access to unlimited power.  I understand that, in the beginning, Alexander Hamilton was his partner in crafting this exquisite balance of power, but Madison, by virtue of avoiding such rash things as duels, managed to last long enough to become president, thereby cementing his reputation as a great political philosopher, long after Hamilton became something of a footnote.

As for the third essential person? Certainly there have been a great many important people in American history, whether politicians, civilians, or military personnel, but I don’t consider any of them essential in the way that I do Washington and Madison.

Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason: Growing up outside of Philadelphia and near Valley Forge, of course Benjamin Franklin makes my list of favorite heroes in American history. He is known as “The First American” for his support of the establishment of the United States of America. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, he only went to school until 10 years of age, after which he became an apprentice printer to his brother James. At 17 he ran away to Philadelphia. He was a true autodidact; a voracious reader; and inventor of bifocal glasses, the lightening rod, and Franklin stove, among many others. He helped found the University of Pennsylvania. Franklin was the first United States Postmaster General. He was also the first president of the Pennsylvania Abolitionist Society. He was also the only Founding Father to sign all four founding documents: the Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Alliance with France, the Treaty of Paris, and the United States Constitution.

Another hero in American history came from my hometown, Trappe, Pennsylvania. The son of Henry Muhlenberg, minister of the first Lutheran church in the Colonies, John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg was also a Lutheran minister and member of what later became known as the Black Robe Regiment, a group of clergymen who rallied the people to take up arms against the King of England. On January 21, 1776, while delivering a sermon before his congregation in Virginia, he quoted text from the third chapter of Ecclesiastes, which starts with “To everything there is a season…”; and after reading the eighth verse, “a time of war, and a time of peace,” he declared, “And this is the time of war,” and removed his robe to reveal his Colonel’s uniform. He later became a U. S. Senator from Pennsylvania.

Finally, my favorite American hero of all would be Thomas Jefferson – He had me at sacred and undeniable.

JoshuaPundit: How to choose just three out of a pantheon of great and heroic Americans? Tough indeed. Obviously, the men whose likenesses are carved on Mount Rushmore have to have a claim on every patriot’s heart, and I expect that many of my comrades here would choose George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

George Washington, like all of the Founders was willing to risk his life, fortune and sacred honor in the cause of liberty. That was no small stake to risk, especially for a prosperous, wealthy Virginia landowner.

He had never really had much actual experience in military command, and it showed. But he never gave up, and more importantly he never allowed any of those with him to give up. There’s a famous story about him confronting his disgruntled, hungry and unpaid officers when things looked blackest to read them orders. As he was fumbling for his spectacles, he said, “Please forgive the delay, gentlemen. Not only my health but even my eyesight is a casualty for the freedom of our beloved country.”

As his officers realized how much he had sacrificed, many of them broke down weeping, but they also found their resolve; if General Washington could keep going, so could they.

After the victory, he became the model for future presidents, and a man universally respected by all, which molded 13 very diverse colonies into a nation. If you look at other countries whom have achieved independence in history and note how many of them have fallen quickly into corruption and despotism, you realize what a special man George Washington was.

While Lincoln behaved with fortitude and deserves great credit for his leadership, I’m going to pick someone else from the era, without whom Lincoln’s efforts would likely have been in vain.

Joshua Chamberlain was a seminary student who decided not to join the ministry and became a Maine college professor at Bowdoin college. When the Civil War came, he enlisted in 1862 and received a commission as a Lieutenant Colonel in the 20th Maine. In spite of having no military experience whatsoever, he learned quickly and became a well regarded officer, being promoted to Colonel.

Chamberlain’s appointment with destiny came in the Battle of Gettysburg on the second day, when he and the 20th were assigned to hold the southern slopes of Little Round Top, the extreme left flank of the Union position and a key post, since losing it would have allowed the Confederate Armies to roll up the Union defensive positions and break the line, winning the battle.

Chamberlain’s men held out against repeated attacks by superior forces, and suffered so many casualties their battle line almost doubled back against itself. Finally, they had almost no ammunition left. Colonel Chamberlain didn’t hesitate; he ordered his men to fix bayonets and led a charge downhill from his left to ‘sweep the Rebs off the hill.’ Amazingly it worked, one of the chanciest and most surprising maneuvers in the entire war. And with Little Roundtop saved, the Union was able to dig in and consolidate their positions, repulse Pickett’s Charge the next day and win the decisive battle of the war. Joshua Chamberlain received the Medal of Honor for his heroism at Gettysburg. And he likely saved the Union as well. He was wounded six times, but he survived and finished the war as a Brevet Major General.

It was General Joshua Chamberlain whom was given the honor of commanding the Union troops at the surrender ceremony at Appomattox. True his character, he ordered his men to refrain from any cheering or demonstrations as the defeated confederates marched by, and to present arms and stand silently at attention in respect for their defeated enemy.

He later became Maine’s governor and president of Bowdoin. At the age of 70, he tried to volunteer for service in the Spanish-American War, and called being rejected ‘one of the greatest disappointments in my life.’

My third hero? Ronaldus Magnus of course. Elected president of a divided nation with a broken economy, in retreat from its foes worldwide and with a people who were wondering if America’s greatness was at an end, Ronald Wilson Reagan took charge and dived in with a message of hope and patriotism that inspired America. In spite of opposition from a Democrat-dominated congress, he pushed through tax cuts and reforms that restored America’s prosperity and its faith in itself. He was unafraid to call the Soviet Union exactly what it was, an evil empire and in spite of everything the foreign policy establishment said, he never had any doubts that it needed to be defeated. So he set the course successfully to do exactly that.

When the Iranians tried to shut down the Persian Gulf, he sent American forces in to sink most of their navy and had the Marines take and occupy Kharg Island, where the terminus of all Iran’s oil pipelines were located and held it for awhile to give the Iranians a message. They never challenged America again while Reagan was president…they knew better.

When Castro tried to take over Grenada and hold Americans hostage, he gave the order to drive them out and rescue our citizens. And he effectively ended Castro and the Soviet’s dream of subverting Central and South America.

Derided by the elites and Leftists in America, Ronald Reagan enjoyed massive support from his fellow Americans. His spirit, his eloquence, his leadership and yes, his superb sense of humor inspired the country. No president is perfect, being human. But President Reagan took us back from the brink. If I were president, I’d find some room on Mount Rushmore for him.

Well, there you have it!

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?

05/15/15
Obama's Middle East Summit

The Council Has Spoken!! Our Watcher’s Council Results – 05/15/15

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.

If men could learn from history, what lessons it might teach us! But passion and party blind our eyes, and the light which experience gives us is a lantern on the stern which shines only on the waves behind. – Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Those whom do not remember history are doomed to repeat it. – George Santayana

The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerated the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That in its essence is fascism. – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

https://askmarion.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/right2bplanet.jpg?w=500

This week’s winning essay, The Right Planet’s Which ‘Ism’ Will We Choose?, is about creeping totalitarianism, with a comparison with how its taken over in the past to events today. Here’s a slice:

Godwin’s Law … it goes a little something like this:

“… [I]f an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Hitler or Nazism….”

Undoubtedly, there is a certain amount of truth in Godwin’s adage. Since World War II, there probably has not been a U.S. president who hasn’t been directly compared to Adolf Hitler, at some point or another. As a matter of fact, it didn’t take me very long to dig up Hitler memes and analogies for a number of U.S. president via a Google search.

Often times such direct comparisons of U.S. presidents to Hitler are grossly hyperbolic at best, and utterly unconscionable at worst. Despite the fact how one may feel about current and past presidents, equating them on the same level with one of the worst monsters in human history does indeed minimize the terrible suffering of those who fell under the tyrannical and brutal reign of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.

Adolf Hitler and his henchmen have come to represent the epitome of evil, and rightly so. Nazism has become the benchmark used to measure all things evil. The question for me is not whether a current president is on equal par with Adolf Hitler. I don’t happen to believe any U.S. president, present or past, is as guilty of murderous and ruthless fanaticism as Adolf Hitler—on that point, let me be clear. My point is that Hitler and his notorious Third Reich provides the ultimate yardstick by which we can measure how far a government or nation is marching down the road toward total state control and merciless dictatorship. The mere act of using the Nazis as a measuring stick is not equating the thing being measured as being necessarily one and the same. Instead, the question for me is whether the U.S.A. is moving away from fascism or toward it. If we examine the rise and fall of Hitler’s Third Reich from a historical perspective, how does it compare to what we see going on today? This is a valid exercise—and a necessary one, in my opinion.

Perhaps someone who experienced the oppression and horrors of Nazism is better able to illustrate my points. I’ll just throw in a few of modern-day examples for consideration as well.

Kitty Werthmann, 87, survived World War II. She was an Austrian citizen and lived under Nazi rule throughout the war. A few years back she spoke to an American audience about her experiences during the war, and how the current political climate in this country greatly concerns her. She strongly feels the need to warn Americans about the horrors of socialism.

In her opening comments (see video above), Kitty Werthmann points out how Western media often times portrays Hitler’s annexation of Austria with Germany in 1938 (Anschluss) as an armed invasion, replete with troops and tanks. Without a doubt, German troops did indeed move into Austria at the time. But what is often overlooked, according to Werthmann, is the fact that the Austrian people overwhelmingly elected Adolf Hitler by ninety-eight percent of the vote—by means of the ballot box. How could this happen? What would lead Austria—a predominately Christian nation—to elect a monster like Adolf Hitler?

In the late 30s, Austria was in a very deep depression, with thirty percent unemployment, and twenty-five percent inflation. Austrian banks were charging twenty-five percent interest on loans. Businesses and farmers were going broke. Austrians could not afford to pay their taxes. Unions were calling for strikes; and factories were being closed down. Worse yet, the financial chaos was leading to riots in the cities. Entire blocks were burned down. Austrian police were ill-equipped to stop the ongoing destruction, according to Kitty Werthmann.

As Austria descended into despair, the Austrian people looked to their neighbor in the north, Germany, and saw full employment and a high-standard of living. As Kitty Werthmann puts it (emphasis added), “Hitler did not act like a monster; he did not speak like a monster; he spoke like an American politician.”

The Austrian people petitioned their government for a plebiscite (an election) to merge Nazi Germany with Austria. Besides—despite what Barack Obama might believe (cf. sarcasm)—the Austrians didn’t speak “Austrian”; they spoke German. The Austrians and Germans had a common heritage.

What is particularly chilling about Kitty Werthmann’s recollections, are the disturbing similarities of the policies implemented by the Nazis in Austria to the current policies and initiatives being instituted and promoted right here in the United States today.

For example, one of the first policies implemented by the Nazis in Austria was a National I.D. Austrians could not board a train or bus without showing their National I.D. card.

Following 9/11, the U.S. federal government “began to look at ways to increase security surrounding state identification cards and driver’s licenses,” allegedly “in an attempt to prevent further terrorism and/or unlawful entry into and out of the country.”

More at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Mark Steyn’s pungent comments on the Garland, Texas terrorist attack and the reaction to it in certain quarters in Stay Quiet and You’ll Be Okay”, submitted by The Noisy Room. It’s Mark Steyn at his best.

Here are this week’s full results. Both Ask Marion and The Independent Sentinel were unable to vote this week, but neither was affected by the usual 2/3 voe 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?

05/13/15
Islamist Confusion

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Islamist Confusion Edition

The Watcher’s Council

71 Virgins.

Graphic courtesy of the awesome Chris Muir at Day by Day.

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:

Just a reminder… Don Surber’s new book “Exceptional Americans” is available at Create Space or Amazon and is a great read, take it from me.

This week, The Gates Of Vienna, Simply Jews, Fausta’s Blog and SooperMexican 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!

05/8/15
Draw Mohammad

The Council Has Spoken!! Our Watcher’s Council Results – 05/08/15

The Watcher’s Council


#IStandWithPamelaGeller – iOTWReport.com

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

One of the problems with defending free speech is you often have to defend people that you find to be outrageous and unpleasant and disgusting. – Salman Rushdie

My belief is that art should not be comforting; for comfort, we have mass entertainment and one another. Art should provoke, disturb, arouse our emotions, expand our sympathies in directions we may not anticipate and may not even wish. – Joyce Carol Oates

Those who claim to be hurt by words must be led to expect nothing as compensation. Otherwise, once they learn they can get something by claiming to be hurt, they will go into the business of being offended. – Jonathan Rauch

https://askmarion.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/right2bplanet.jpg?w=500

This week’s winning essay, The Right Planet’s, Garland and the Moral Equivalency Penchant, is his examination of the recent terrorist attack in Garland and what the divide in the reaction reveals about our present attitudes on free speech and freedom of expression… especially when it comes to Islam. Here’s a slice:

Two Muslim terrorists were killed after firing on a security guard outside a Draw Mohammad Contest in Garland, Texas, on Sunday. NBC News reported the two assailants were roommates from Phoenix, according to Buzzfeed News.

The attackers have been identified as Elton Simpson, 30, and his roommate, 34-year-old Nadir Hamid Soofi. Simpson had been under investigation by the FBI for the past 10 years.

Like clockwork a number of Muslims and liberals, et al., saved their moral outrage for the those who hosted and attended the Muhammad Art Exhibit, yet not so much the two unhinged individuals who attempted to indiscriminately murder people because they were “offended.”

Pamela Geller, who headlined the “art exhibit” in Garland, addressed the whole moral equivocation argument we so often hear from liberals and Muslims in an interview CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, who suggested offensive anti-Islamist speech should not be allowed in modern-day Western society.

Like clockwork a number of Muslims and liberals, et al., saved their moral outrage for the those who hosted and attended the Muhammad Art Exhibit, yet not so much the two unhinged individuals who attempted to indiscriminately murder people because they were “offended.”

Pamela Geller, who headlined the “art exhibit” in Garland, addressed the whole moral equivocation argument we so often hear from liberals and Muslims in an interview CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, who suggested offensive anti-Islamist speech should not be allowed in modern-day Western society.

Garland-Rukmini-Tweet

Some have compared this sort of moral equivocation, as evidenced in the Tweet above by a NYT reporter, to a woman who dresses provocatively and is subsequently raped: “Well, she had it coming.” And there is no shortage of similar examples of this sort of nonsense and equivocation (see here).

060206_wp_london_protest_hmed9p.hmedium

I’m sure we all have been offended by something in our lives, maybe even greatly offended. I can think of few art exhibits, movies, concerts, and the like, I’ve attended that were so far over the top I simply walked out. Yes, I was offended. But I didn’t come back with a gun and start blowing people away because I was greatly offended. As much as I have found some things offensive, people have a right to be offensive, as long as it doesn’t infringe on the unalienable rights of others or cause them grievous harm.

For example, some gay pride parades, and similar events, are often times intentionally provocative. If you have children, you may not want them exposed to such blatant over-the-top sexuality and nudity. But, once again, obviously it does not give anyone the right to kill the people participating in such events because one might be disgusted or outraged. Think about it: if two people shot up a gay pride parade, would your initial response be to question the “common sense” of the parade?

More at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Michelle Malkin’s Debunking Obama’s Bilious Baltimore Babble, submitted by Don Surber. It’s a superb skewering that shows no mercy to our president’s usual attempt to excuse the inexcusable.

Here are this week’s full results. Ask Marion and The Independent Sentinel were unable to vote this week, but neither was 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?

05/7/15
George Washington

National Day of Prayer, May 7, 2015

By: Arlen Williams
Gulag Bound

washingtonpraying

The free and independent United States of America is becoming lost.

Today, it is being intentionally destroyed and we, enslaved by a few, even by some Americans.

What better day to pray for salvation than this day?

National Day of Prayer

05/6/15
Special Kind of Stupid

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Varmint Hunting In Texas Edition

The Watcher’s Council

http://i0.wp.com/afflictor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/prescott-posse_yavapai-county-sheriff-bucky-oneill.jpg?resize=500%2C400

http://i2.wp.com/ww3.hdnux.com/photos/17/04/73/3952338/3/rawImage.jpg?resize=500%2C330

Message to Jihadis… don’t mess with Texas. As lots of other scum before you have found out, it doesn’t end well.

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:

This week, The Pirate’s Cove, Blazing Cat Fur, Maggie’s Notebook and Wolf Howling 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 Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that! And don’t forget to tune in Friday for the results!