10/24/14

The Council Has Spoken!! This Weeks’ Watcher’s Council Results – 10/24/14

The Watcher’s Council


In remembrance of the soldier, Corporal Nathan Cirillo, who died in Canada this past week at the hands of a radical Jihadist. We also honor Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers for his bravery in taking down said Jihadist and saving untold lives.

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

Babası oğluna bir bağ bağışlamış, oğul babaya bir salkım üzüm vermemiş (“The Father gave his son a vineyard, the son didn’t give a single bunch of grapes to the father.” – Turkish Proverb

“Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.” – Hermann Hesse

“Alliances are broken from considerations of interest.” – Niccoló Machiavelli, The Discourses, 1517

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ES-rGPcBG_k/T4feezGECbI/AAAAAAAABPc/RkTNEfGXWtE/s400/Razor.jpg

This week’s winner, The Razor’sThe RazorKick Turkey Out Of NATO is a persuasively written essay that embodies the thoughts expressed above… it makes little sense to hold on to an alliance that really isn’t one. Here’s a slice:

Lord Palmerstone once noted that nations do not have permanent allies, only permanent interests. This statement assumes that a nation always acts in its own best interest, and this assumption is the basis for the realist school of international relations. Realists always expect national actors to do what is best for themselves. If an action does not benefit the nation in any particular way, or worse threatens it, then one cannot reasonably expect it to act even though one might think and others might agree that it is the right course of action. In international relations at least according to the realist school, there are no completely altruistic acts by nations or their actors.

I’ve been rooted in the realist school of international relations well before I got my degree in political science, having grown up while Henry Kissinger acted as Nixon’s national security advisor and later secretary of state under him and his successor Gerald Ford.Realists not only expect nations to act in their best interests, but regimes and the organizations constituting them to do the same. In statecraft realists aren’t surprised when regimes do what’s best for them even when it might compromise or damage others, but are willing to act in their own best interest when the opposite party acts in theirs.

Case in point: Turkey. Under the regime of Recep Erdogan for the past 12 years Turkey has been acting in the best interest of Erdogan and his ruling party the AKP. Erdogan is an Islamist in a nation where political Islam had been banned for decades after its re-founding under Kamal Ataturk. While Ataturk and the secularists saw Europe as a useful ally that would strengthen Turkey and their regime in the Middle East, Erdogan has instead positioned Turkey as the next Islamic Caliphate more in line with the Ottoman Empire of the 17th century rather than secular and Democratic Western Europe.

Perhaps the biggest interest Erdogan has besides the desire to remain in power is to avoid empowering the Kurdish minority within Turkey. Unlike the Palestinians, the Kurds have a much longer claim to their land stretching from northern Syria across southeastern Turkey, northern Iraq to Iran. One commonality between Erdogan and his secular predecessors has been the oppression of the Kurds in Turkey and their nationalist aims. The no-fly zone established in northern Iraq after the first Gulf War led to autonomy under Saddam and later the post-Saddam Iraqi government. Iraqi Kurds are as close to independent as Kurds have ever been, and their Syrian, Iranian and Turkish cousins recognize this.

From Erdogan’s perspective the decimation of the Syrian Kurds by the Islamic State (IS) is welcome. It weakens the Kurdish cause by reducing the number of Kurds in the region. Plus the Syrian Kurds were also strong supporters of the PKK, Turkey’s al-Qaida. From the realist perspective Erdogan will not act against IS on behalf of the Kurds unless there is an even greater, more pressing interest to do so.

And that’s the problem. Current American and European leadership is run by idealists not by realists. American and Europeans leaders simply do not understand why Erdogan and to more worrying degree Vladimir Putin act the way they do. To them bombing Kurds in Turkey instead of IS in Syria makes absolutely no sense just as annexing Crimea and dismembering Ukraine. They do not see the world the way Erdogan and Putin do, but realists do. Realists recognize that Putin and Erdogan will only act when the pressure applied to them is real and painful.

For Erdogan that pressure should include Turkey’s rejection from NATO and any possible future admittance to the EU under his regime. If Turkey acts in its own interests, so should the EU and the United States. The truth is that instead of being a beacon of secular Islam as Turkey once was, Turkey under Erdogan has become just another corrupt, Islamic Middle Eastern dictatorship with caliphate dreams. Turkey has condoned the rise of IS as well as backed other terrorist groups such as Hamas. It has kept a tight leash on the American base in Incirlik, preventing it from participating in the second Gulf War and in attacks on IS.

More at the link

In our non-Council category, the winner was Volokh Conspiracy’sCan ministers who make a living by conducting weddings be required to conduct same-sex weddings? submitted by Rhymes with Right. The piece examines the latest bit of bullying by same sex marriage advocates.

Here are this week’s full results. The Right Planet, The Independent Sentinel and Ask Marion were not able to vote this time out. None were affected by 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 weeks’ nominees for Weasel of the Week!

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

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

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

10/22/14

Watcher’s Council Nominations : ‘You Usta be My Girl’ Edition

The Watcher’s Council

http://www.theblaze.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/600x399151.jpg

The president hasn’t been invited to do too much campaigning for his fellow Democrats this year. In fact, they have pretty much treated the idea of him making an appearance on their behalf like the president was suffering from Ebola.

One of the rare exceptions was Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, who’s seeking the governor’s seat in Maryland. He thought it would be a great idea to have the president as a headliner at a campaign event to gin up black turnout. Instead, the largely black crowd in Maryland streamed for the exits while the president was still reading his speech to them off of the teleprompter.

The story was so embarrassing that Facebook actually blocked the link to a Yahoo news story about what happened like this:

And anyone attempting to post the story on their own Facebook account got this message:

This week’s edition gets its title from the variation of the title of an old O’Jay’s tune that was undoubtedly echoing in President Barack Hussein Obama’s head as he watched the crowd walk out on him and remembered happier days. They did usta be his girl (or another word I could think of), after all, but some of them are apparently getting tired of the same old song.

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 MidKnight Review, Changing Wind.Org, Blazing Cat Fur and The Pirate’s Cove 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!

10/17/14

The Council Has Spoken!! Watcher’s Council Results – 10/17/14


Obama declares November 4th a National Day of Quarantine


Grand Opening: AirEbola Airlines


Ebola Not Contagious Until After Nov. 4 Election, Says CDGC

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

“Money doesn’t talk, it screams.” – Bob Dylan

“Alliance – in international politics, the union of two thieves who have their hands so deeply inserted in each other’s pockets that they cannot separately plunder a third.” – Ambrose Bierce, “The Devil’s Dictionary”

“Close alliances with despots are never safe for free states.” – Demosthenes

A great deal of attention is being placed in some circles lately about the funding and support terrorist organizations like Hamas and ISIS are getting from certain nations in the Muslim world. This week’s winner, The Noisy Room’sThe Brookings Institution and Qatar – The Money, Power and Influence Behind Global Terror, addresses the role played by one of these countries in a lucid and informative piece that you definitely need to read. Here’s a slice:

In 2012, when a revised agreement was signed between Brookings and the Qatari government, the Qatar Ministry of Foreign Affairs itself praised the agreement on its website, announcing that “the center will assume its role in reflecting the bright image of Qatar in the international media, especially the American ones.” Brookings officials have also admitted that they have regular meetings with Qatari government officials about the center’s activities and budget. And, no surprise here, the former Qatari prime minister sits on the center’s advisory board.

Former US envoy Martin Indyk, John Kerry’s Middle East peace envoy, in his capacity as Vice President and Director of the Foreign Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, cashed a $14.8 million check from Qatar this past year. The Brookings Institution’s Board is composed of distinguished business executives, academics, former government officials and community leaders — from both sides of the political spectrum. Brookings was involved in recent negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, a definite conflict of interest since Qatar is widely known to fund terror in the West Bank, specifically, Hamas. Known as the preeminent sponsor of terror in the world today with their deep, deep pockets, Qatar has interests, both economic and political, with terrorists on a global scale.

Qatar is a benefactor of the genocidal armies of ISIS, al Qaeda and Boko Haram. They are involved in the trafficking of Taliban heroin through a strategic relationship with the Pakistani National Logistics Cell. Furthermore, the Qatari ruling elite profit from operating a virtual slave state, which has accepted as a fait accompli that 4,000 migrant workers will die constructing soccer stadiums for the 2022 World Cup (to be held in Doha). The ruling Al-Thani family has leveraged its relationships with violent Jihadi groups to prop up Qatar economically and politically; to the detriment of the United States, her allies and world peace. Since the Brookings Institution has a direct economic relationship with Qatar, it indicates they are not a valid, bipartisan think tank… but rather a clearing house for the funding of terror and the rise of the genocidal Islamic State.

Some background on Indyk is in order. Martin Indyk is a notorious Progressive. He was also on the Council of Foreign Relations and was Deputy Research Director for AIPAC. He is known as the framer of the US policy of dual containment which sought to ‘contain’ Iraq and Iran. Indyk was the first United States ambassador to be stripped of a security clearance. He was ambassador to Israel. Indyk was under investigation for improperly handling sensitive material at the time. His clearance was restored a month later, in October 2000, by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

One year after 9/11, the United States government decided to cozy up with Qatar. The Brookings Institution – a large, renowned think tank based in Washington, DC – founded the US-Islamic World Forum (US-IWF) with the nation of Qatar.

From the Brookings website:

The forum was launched in the wake of the September 11th attacks. Its goal was the development of research and outreach programs designed to improve US relations with Muslim states and communities. A particular challenge in that moment of tension and frustration was the virtual absence of dialogue between leaders of the United States and the Muslim world.

The formation of these outreach programs was more akin to an open invitation to bribery, spying and subversion, than improving American relations with Muslim-majority nations.

The New York Times penned an article in September of this year that outlines the influence of foreign governments through the stealth funding of US-based think tanks. The Brookings Institution is not alone by any means; however, their history of powerful connections to the White House and military analysts and brass makes them a shining star in the orbit of Qatar’s heady influence.

Qatari money buys conclusions reached by Brookings scholars in their research – conclusions that are dictated by the financier. In Qatar’s case, one that forwards totalitarian-Sharia law and a global reach for power and control. It is the prostitution of intellectual reason and financed propaganda. These think tanks are not transparent concerning their agreements with foreign governments. They have also not registered with the US government as representatives of a foreign, donor country, which is a violation of federal law. It is widely held that the practice could violate the Foreign Agents Registration Act, the 1938 federal law that sought to combat a Nazi propaganda campaign in the United States. Not for nothing, the Muslim Brotherhood came to maturity at the same time as, and often in direct contact with, the Nazi Party of Germany.

The Brookings Institution is a major recipient of overseas funds, producing policy papers, hosting forums and organizing private briefings for senior United States government officials that typically align with the foreign governments’ agendas. Brookings’ 2014, $14.8 million, four-year donation, from Qatar, will help fund a Brookings affiliate in Qatar, as well as a project regarding United States relations with the Islamic world. Who needs a bloody coup, when you can buy influence? The funding, which amounts to an open bribe, hushes up the criticism of research groups on Qatar and their political dealings and legal/religious systems.

From The New York Times:

“If a member of Congress is using the Brookings reports, they should be aware — they are not getting the full story,” said Saleem Ali, who served as a visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar and who said he had been told during his job interview that he could not take positions critical of the Qatari government in papers. “They may not be getting a false story, but they are not getting the full story.”

Qatar hosts two massive US military bases, which are viewed as central to Qatar’s own national security. They have been especially generous in their giving to American think tanks, attempting to buy influence and sway opinion. A backer of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, Qatar maintains that a Muslim Brotherhood-style political Islam is the Arab world’s best hope for democracy and they seem to have many allies in DC, including Barack Obama, who supported the Qatari-backed efforts in Egypt and Libya.

An anonymous donor at Brookings, with ties to the Turkish government, made a strong statement to a scholar there who made critical statements about Qatar by suspending their support and their money. “It is the self-censorship that really affects us over time,” the scholar said. “But the fund-raising environment is very difficult at the moment, and Brookings keeps growing and it has to support itself.” The Qatari government is the single, biggest foreign donor to Brookings. Of course, the powers-that-be at Brookings claim they have cited strict internal policies that they claim ensure their scholars’ work is “not influenced by the views of our funders,” in Qatar or in Washington. But, as evidenced by numerous insider accounts and bolstered by Brookings’ implicit backing of Qatar’s Arab Spring, big money not only talks, it controls, too.

Mr. Ali, who served as one of the first visiting fellows at the Brookings Doha Center after it opened in 2009, said such a policy, though unwritten, was clear:

“There was a no-go zone when it came to criticizing the Qatari government,” said Mr. Ali, who is now a professor at the University of Queensland in Australia. “It was unsettling for the academics there. But it was the price we had to pay.

In a recent report appearing in the UK-based Telegraph, both Qatar and Kuwait were singled out for openly, and even avidly, aiding fundraising efforts for genocidal Islamic State/ISIS terrorists who are currently engaged in fierce clashes with the Syrian army alongside Israel on the Golan Heights. With Qatar’s open financing of Hamas, their ties to the Brookings Institution are even more suspect. Qatar has also been used as a proxy in Obama’s war in Syria — they are the main sponsor of the Syrian insurgency.

Much more at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was the always fascinating Michael Totten with From Havana to Hanoi, submitted by Joshuapundit. Having returned from Cuba a short while ago, Totten’s next stop was Vietnam, where he compared what he saw in Havana, where socialism is still practiced with Hanoi, which has largely ditched it at least economically and where the ruling order encourages capitalism and entrepreneurial enterprise.

Here are this week’s full results. The Independent Sentinel and Ask Marion 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?

10/15/14

Watcher’s Council Nominations – #Hashtag Edition!

The Watcher’s Council

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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!!

This week, The MidKnight Review, The Pirate’s Cove, The Gates Of Vienna and The Other McCain 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!

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.

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. And every Tuesday morning, we reveal the week’s nominees for Weasel of the Week, with the recipient of the famed Statuette of Shame outed Thursday.

And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that!

10/10/14

The Council Has Spoken!! This Weeks’ Watcher’s Council Results

The Watcher’s Council

http://nicedeb.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/tribal-council12.jpg

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

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” – Rumi

“The very first requirement in a hospital is that it should do the sick no harm.” – Florence Nightingale

“An ant on the move does more than a dozing ox.” – Lao Tzu

This week’s winner, Bookworm Room’s To fight Ebola, we need a Florence Nightingale – although the Marines are good too, examines the Ebola crisis in West Africa and a common sense, effective solution to it. Here’s a slice:

Tonight, we attended a talk with Paul Farmer, Dan Kelly, Raj Panjabi, and a fourth fellow whose name I can’t remember. The topic was Ebola. All four speakers had front-line experience, having spent a great deal of time recently in Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. All of them are affiliated with non-profit organizations that have as their sole purpose bringing long-term and emergency healthcare solutions to third world countries. They are all admirable men and masters of their material.

That’s why it was disappointing that the evening was so horribly dull. Rather than the four of them presenting a coherent analysis covering both Africa and America, they engaged in a repetitive, jargon-filled talk that kept reiterating the key points. The key points were interesting, and probably could have been covered in about fifteen minutes. I wasn’t able to take notes, but here’s what I got:

1. Liberia and Sierra Leone have both suffered tremendously from civil wars that utterly destroyed their infrastructure and left them with virtually no health care. I believe it was Liberia that ended up with around 51 doctors for the entire nation. The American equivalent would have been 8 doctors for all of San Francisco.

2. When the latest Ebola outbreak began in a remote village with an infected two-year old child, there were no systems in place to stop the disease’s spread.

3. Because there are no doctors, no buildings, and no supplies in these forsaken African countries, a few things happen:

a. The mortality rate is 70% to 90%.

b. People view hospitals and medical clinics as death traps, which they are.

c. People therefore avoid hospitals and medical clinics, furthering the disease’s spread.

4. To the extent there are any systems on the ground in Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, they are the NGOs represented at the talk, plus WHO, the CDC, a British government agency, and a few disparate other groups. They are trying to coordinate, but are behind the curve. The local governments are helpless.

5. Money is starting to come in, but little of the money pledged actually makes it to the situation on the ground.

6. If the situation does not approve, we can expect 500,000 to 1.4 million dead in Africa by the end of January 2015.

7. If, however, the money rains down and the existing organizations are able to train health care workers, open clinics, and have medical supplies on hand to treat people, the number of dead may stop at around 70,000.

8. Bringing the current Ebola crisis to heel in Africa, even under the best of circumstances may take 18 to 24 months.

9. A military organization is best suited to imposing structure on these dysfunctional regions. (When I heard this, I thought to myself “So that’s why Obama sent in the Marines.”)

10. Taking a page out of the Borgia book for poisons that can be absorbed through the skin, Ebola can transmit through people’s skin. It’s not enough to keep your hands away from your nose and mouth. If someone’s infected blood, vomit, fecal matter, semen, spit, or sweat just touches you, you can become infected. Even picking up a stained sheet can pass the infection. Additionally, scientists do not know how long the virus will survive on a surface once it’s become dehydrated. The current guess is that Ebola, unlike other viruses, can survive for quite a while away from its original host.

11. The Ebola virus is from the same family as the Marburg virus, which found its way to Germany in the 1960s, killed a few people, and was then quickly contained. That’s good news for Westerners and their medicine.

12. If patients get Western medicine that treats the symptoms — drugs to reduce fever and to control vomiting and diarrhea, proper treatment if the body goes into shock, and blood transfusions — the mortality rate is “only” 25% — which is still high, but is significantly lower than the 70%-90% morality in Africa, where patients get little to no treatment. (See point 3 regarding the disease-spreading negative feedback loop of the high mortality rate.)

13. This is a genuine crisis. If anything, the media is erring by downplaying what’s been happening in Africa, and governments are most certainly responding too slowly to a problem that must be fixed in Africa, rather than just being stopped here (as if that were possible).

In sum, Ebola is a really bad disease, made horribly worse by the complete post-civil war dysfunction and poverty in these three West African nations. With enough money and man power, the disease can be brought to heel. The only problem is getting the money and manpower in place.

Hearing that the problem is one of men and manpower, I immediately thought (as everyone must) of Florence Nightingale. I’m sure all of you remember her story, but I’ll tell it again for my satisfaction. Florence was born in 1820 to a very wealthy, very well-connected, very upper class British family. She was expected to do the ordinary thing: become a “finished” young lady, get married, and have the next generation of wealthy, well-connected, upper class British children. Florence, however, wanted something different. She wanted to be a nurse.

To appreciate just how shocking Florence’s career goal was, imagine your own sweet, young daughter looking up at you and saying “Mother and Father, I want to become a prostitute, and work in the worst slums, with a lot of filthy, disease-ridden people. Oh, and I’m planning to numb myself against the horror of my chosen life with strong drink and opium.” By saying that, your daughter would have described precisely what many nurses were like back in the middle of the 19th century, or at least what upper class people thought they were like.

The hospital in Scutari, circa 1856

The hospital in Scutari, circa 1856

Understandably, Florence’s parents said “No!” and kept saying “No” despite Florence’s certain belief that God himself had called her to the job of nursing. By the time she was 24, Florence ignored her parents and began to study what she could about nursing. She also traveled widely around Europe and the Mediterranean. During her years of work, study, and travel, she met several important men whose wealth and connections would aid her in the coming years.

Much more at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Benjamin Weingarten, writing in The BlazeWhy America’s Foreign Policy Has Failed, From George W. Bush to Barack Obama, and the Antidote submitted by The Noisy Room. The title is pretty self-explanatory.

Here are this week’s full results. Ask Marion, The Independent Sentinel and the Colossus of Rhodey were unable to vote this week. None were effected by the 2/3 vote penalty:

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?

10/8/14

Watcher’s Council Nominations: Obola Edition

The Watcher’s Council

http://barbedwiresatire.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/003c.jpg?w=500&h=353&crop=1

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, Blazing Cat Fur, The Pirate’s Cove and The Other McCain 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!

10/5/14

Straight Talk About An Article V Convention

By Publius Huldah

This speech was presented to Campaign For Liberty – Memphis on March 24, 2014. It exposes some of the false claims made by those pushing for the so-called “convention of states”. 1

https://vimeo.com/107933176

Below are hyperlinks to the exhibits referred to in the speech. Additional resources are also included.

The one page Chart which illustrates our Declaration, Constitution, and federal system is HERE.

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report 2 cited in the speech was dated March 7, 2014. CRS’s revised Report, dated April 11, 2014, is HERE. The Report exposes as false the assurances that the States would be in control of a convention. The Report says:

“First, Article V delegates important and exclusive authority over the amendment process to Congress…” (page 4)

“Second . . . Congress has traditionally laid claim to broad responsibilities in connection with a convention, including . . . (4) determining the number and selection process for its delegates; (5) setting internal convention procedures, including formulae for allocation of votes among the states; . . .” (page 4) 3

“. . . [In previous bills filed in Congress] [a]pportionment of convention delegates among the states was generally set at the formula provided for the electoral college, with each state assigned a number equal to its combined Senate and House delegations. Some bills included the District of Columbia, assigning it three delegates, but others did not include the federal district. . .” (page 37; see also page 41)

“. . . A related question concerns vote allocation in an Article V Convention. Would delegates vote per capita, or would each state cast a single vote, during the convention’s deliberations, and on the final question of proposing amendments?. . .” [then follows a discussion of different views on this undecided issue] (page 41)

“Article V itself is silent on membership in an Article V Convention, so it is arguable that Congress, in summoning a convention to consider amendments, might choose to include the District of Columbia and U.S. territories as either full members at a convention, or possibly as observers. As noted previously, some versions of the Article V Convention procedures bills introduced in the late 20th century did provide for delegates representing the District of Columbia, although not for U.S. territories . . .” (page 42)

Page 40 of the Report shows there doesn’t seem to be any:

“. . . constitutional prohibition against [U.S.] Senators and Representatives serving as delegates to an Article V Convention. . . ”

So! As the CRS Report states on page 27:

“In the final analysis, the question what sort of convention?” is not likely to be resolved unless or until the 34-state threshold has been crossed and a convention assembles.”

Do you see? But by then, it will be too late to stop it. HERE is former US Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger’s letter confirming this. 4

The text of the “parental rights” amendment is HERE. For a discussion showing how Michael Farris’ proposed amendment delegates power over children to the federal and State governments, go HERE and HERE.

To see how six of Mark Levin’s so-called “liberty amendments” do the opposite of what he claims, go HERE.

To see – on one page – proof of the original intents of the “interstate commerce”, “general welfare”, and “necessary and proper” clauses, go HERE.

The proponents of a convention portray the States as victims of federal tyranny. But the Truth is that the States voluntarily surrendered their retained powers, and the natural rights of The People, TO the federal government. And they did it for federal funds. Today, States get from 20% (Alaska) to 45.3% (Mississippi) of their State budgets from the federal government. State governments don’t want to rein in the feds! The people who run your State will do anything to keep their federal funds. HERE is the Pew Report.

Our Framers – those who actually signed the Constitution – NEVER said the purpose of amendments is to rein in the feds if they usurp powers. What they actually said is:

  • the novelty & difficulty of the experiment requires periodical revision (Mr. Gerry at the federal convention on June 5, 1787);
  • amendments remedy defects in the Constitution (Hamilton at the federal convention on Sep. 10, 1787);
  • useful amendments would address the “organization of the government, not … the mass of its powers” (Federalist No. 85, 13th para); and
  • “amendment of errors” & “useful alterations” would be suggested by experience (Federalist No. 43 at 8.)

HERE are the Articles of Confederation. Note that Art. XIII required approval of amendments by every State.

HERE is the Resolution, made by the Continental Congress on February 21, 1787 (p 71-74), to call a convention to be held at Philadelphia:

“…for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”.

HERE is James Madison’s letter of Nov. 2, 1788 to Turberville. Copy it to word processing, make paragraph breaks, & highlight it. Madison NEVER supported the convention method of amending our Constitution.

HERE is Joe Wolverton’s article about the Socialists’ involvement in the push for a convention.

HERE is the Constitution for the Newstates of America. Article XII addresses ratification by a referendum called by the President. Read HERE about the proposed Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. Read them and see what is being planned for you.

HERE is the screen shot of Jordan Sillars’ comment approving the re-writing of our Constitution.

For Q’s & A’s on this issue, go HERE.

Endnotes:

1 There is no such thing as a “convention of states” to propose amendments. The term is a marketing gimmick used by proponents of an Article V convention to manipulate people into believing that the States would control an Article V convention – from start to finish.

Article V, US Constitution, provides two methods for proposing amendments to the Constitution:

  1. Congress proposes amendments and submits them to the States for ratification [the method we used for our existing 27 Amendments]; or
  2. Congress calls a convention for the purpose of proposing amendments [for good reason, we have never used this method].

2 Even though we have never had an Article V convention; Congress has examined procedures for “calling” a convention so as to be ready if the need arises. The CRS Report proves that Congress has historically viewed its powers respecting “calling” a convention as exclusive and extensive.   I thank Robert Brown for bringing the CRS Report to my attention.

3 The position Congress has historically taken in this regard is totally consistent with Article I, Sec. 8, last clause, which delegates to Congress power to make all laws “necessary and proper” to carry out the power vested in Congress at Art. V to “call” the convention.

4 Folks! For the sake of your Posterity, you must understand this: After a convention is convened, the delegates can do whatever they want – including coming up with an entirely new Constitution with its own new method of ratification. Chief Justice Burger wrote in his June 22, 1988 letter to Mrs. Phyllis Schlafly:

“… there is no effective way to limit or muzzle the actions of a Constitutional Convention. The Convention could make its own rules and set its own agenda. Congress might try to limit the Convention to one amendment or to one issue, but there is no way to assure that the Convention would obey. After a Convention is convened, it will be too late to stop the Convention if we don’t like its agenda. The meeting in 1787 ignored the limit placed by the Confederation Congress “for the sole and express purpose. . .”

The federal convention of 1787, which was called by the Continental Congress “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”, should serve as a warning: The delegates to the 1787 convention ignored their instructions from the Continental Congress [and from their States]; ignored Art. XIII of the Articles of Confederation which required the States to obey Congress on matters covered by the Articles, and wrote an entirely NEW Constitution with a NEW method of ratification which required only 9 of the 13 States for ratification. PH

Credits: Many thanks to Devvy Kidd, Blue Tail Gadfly, and M. Craig Elachie, from whom I lifted the very best lines in the speech. PH

10/3/14

The Council Has Spoken – This Weeks’ Watcher’s Council Results – 10/03/14

The Watcher’s Council


In remembrance of the Oklahoma Jihad victims: Traci Johnson (left – stabbed), Colleen Hufford (right – beheaded); Photos courtesy of Facebook and GoFundMe


Obama: We have always been at war with ISIL

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

“We took the liberty to make some inquiries concerning the ground of their pretensions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury, and observed that we considered all mankind as our friends who had done us no wrong, nor had given us any provocation.

The Ambassador [of Tripoli] answered us that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise – (Letter from the commissioners, John Adams; Thomas Jefferson, to John Jay, 28 March 1786)” ― Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson.

“…it is the duty of those who have accepted them [Allah's word and message] to strive unceasingly to convert or at least to subjugate those who have not. This obligation is without limit of time or space. It must continue until the whole world has either accepted the Islamic faith or submitted to the power of the Islamic state” – Bernard Lewis in The Political Language Of Islam, 1988.

…We — with Allah’s help — call on every Muslim who believes in Allah and wishes to be rewarded to comply with Allah’s order to kill the Americans and plunder their money wherever and whenever they find it. We also call on Muslim ulema, leaders, youths, and soldiers to launch the raid on Satan’s U.S. troops and the devil’s supporters allying with them, and to displace those who are behind them so that they may learn a lesson. – Osama bin-Laden, World Islamic Front Statement, 23 February 1998

Thanks to the jihadist beheading ‘workplace violence’ in Oklahoma and other recent events, Islamist terrorism was very much on some Council member’s minds among them Bookworm Room, whom came out with Is it time to dig out the bullets packed in pig grease? (And let’s identify the real Islamophobes.) *UPDATED*, a funny yet right on target essay about the question of whether pork ammo ought to be used against jihadis.

Here’s a slice:

Practically from the moment after September 11, 2001, people started saying that the most effective way to fight Muslims was to lace American ammunition with pork.  Finally, in 2013, an Idaho company came up with pork-laced ammunition for non-military customers:

Jihawg Ammo today announced release of the industry’s first truly defensive ammunition.
Not only does Jihawg guarantee that all of their ammunition meets or exceeds S.A.A.M.I. standards for velocity, penetration, and accuracy, they also coat each projectile with a special ballistic paint infused with pork to make it “Haraam” or unclean to a radical Jihadist.

This makes Jihawg Ammo the only commercially available ammunition with the added deterrent factor of eternal damnation for fundamentalist Islamic Jihadist.

The response was swift: Islamophobia! Ignorant, Islamophobic hicks thought that they could out-think the religion of peace. These bullets were the equivalent of a Muslim-directed genocide. And they were insulting!!

In the remainder of this post, I’ll explain why the military should start using pork-laced weapons (or spread rumors that they’re doing so), as well as explaining why those exposed to pork-laced bullets are the real Islamophobes.

Clearly, the U.S. military will never use pork.

But maybe it should….

At American Thinker, Clarice Feldman directs readers to Louis René Beres’s article for the Gatestone Institute, The Jihadists’ Promise: Power over Death. Boiled down to its essence, the article explains that the Quran holds, and fervent Muslims believe, that this life is but a way-station to the real world, which real world is an afterlife complete with unending, exquisite, and quite carnal, earthly pleasures. In other words, Muslim fanatics don’t have a death cult; they have an (After)Life Cult. Their entire goal is to shuck this mortal coil in such a way as to ensure that they go straight into the arms of those seventy-two virgins (or raisins).

Christians, too, have an afterlife, but (as I understand it), they do not envision it as the carnal pleasures of this life, only on steroids.  It is, instead, a higher form of existence. Moreover, you don’t get there by killing but, instead, by living this life well. Both Christians and Jews (who do not have a specific heaven) believe that, to the extent that God has blessed us with life, we have a moral obligation to cherish and enjoy life as a prerequisite to ascending to a higher level upon our death. The Judeo-Christian culture has, if you will a (This)Life Cult as a necessary prerequisite to an (After)Life Cult.

Much more at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was the one and only Mark Steyn with a piece that may very well become a modern classic, Winning Heads And Minds submitted by The Noisy Room. Umm, let’s just say it a real head’s up and cuts to the heart of the matter.

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

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?

10/1/14

Watcher’s Council Nominations – When Justice Just Is Not Edition

The Watcher’s Council

http://blogs.denverpost.com/opinion-cartoons/files/2014/09/eric-holder-resigns-cartoon-mckee.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!!

The Noisy Room’s Terresa Monroe-Hamilton is now affiliated with a new group, the Stop Qatar Now Coalition along with a number of other journalists, national security experts, publishers and independent researchers. I urge you to drop by, read their report on what amounts to a narco-terrorist enabler and find out what this is all about.

Virginia Right’s Tom White continues to be a major source when it comes to Virginia Politics. This week, he was cited by a local CBS affiliate WTVR in a report on a controversial video being shown to local schoolchildren that essentially blames 9/11 on America… his fine piece this week goes into further details.

This week, The MidKnight Review, The Pirate’s Cove and The Elder Of Ziyon 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!

09/26/14

The Council Has Spoken!! This Weeks’ Watcher’s Council Results

The Watcher’s Council


Truth Revolt — Eric Holder Resigns

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

Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. — Winston Churchill

Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of men who follow and of the man who leads that gains the victory. — George S. Patton

He who wishes to fight must first count the cost. When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men’s weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be dampened. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength. Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain. Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor dampened, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue… In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns. — Sun Tzu, the Art of War

There was a tie this week between The Noisy Room, with The Bear And The Dragon Encircle The Eagle, and Bookworm Room’s Socialized medicine and passive-aggressive genocide. As the official tie breaker (and because her piece is simply fantastic), I award this week’s winning entry to Bookworm’sSocialized medicine and passive-aggressive genocide, which lays bare the evil agenda of the State concerning end of life decisions. It is a tremendous expose on how Progressivism does not care about the individual, it cares about the Collective and the bottom line. Here’s a slice:

China Earthquake

Long ago in China, a boy coming home from school met up with his father, who was carrying on his back a basket holding the boy’s grandfather.

“Oh, father,” asked the boy, “where are you taking Honorable Grandfather?”

The father signaled that the boy should come closer, and then whispered in his ear, “I’m taking grandfather up to the waterfall. If I throw him over the edge suddenly, death will greet him so quickly, it will be painless.”

Aghast, the boy asked, “Why would you do that to Honorable Grandfather?”

“Because I must,” his father whispered back. “Honorable grandfather is too old to help in the field or around the house. Instead, he just sits in the corner, eating our food, drinking our tea, and requiring us to care for his needs. A quick, painless death will be better for everyone.”

The son nodded sagely upon hearing his father’s words. Then, as he turned to continue the walk home, the boy reminded his father of one thing. “Dear father, please make sure to bring the basket back, because I’ll need it for you one day.”

Although I was only around 12 when I first read that story, it resonated with me. Aside from admiring the boy’s cleverness, I was so grateful that I didn’t live in a country in which poor people had to make those kinds of choices. I didn’t realize back then that it would take a mere forty years for my country to creep ever closer to justifying the genocide of the old and the sick. Even more ironically, I didn’t realize that this ugly choice would come about, not because individual poor people could no longer afford to care for their elders, but because our own government has decided that the nation as a whole should no longer care for its old people.

Old people certainly requiring a lot of care. With every passing year, our bodies become more fragile. While we love seeing videos showing very old people doing amazing physical feats, the reality for most people is that the journey to old age is marked by one bodily system after another breaking down. Our skin’s breakdown is the most immediately demoralizing (“I look so old”), but the real damage from aging happens under our skin, as our joints, muscles, and internal organs just stop working very well. Eventually, every cold has the potential for pneumonia; every fall has the potential to end in a broken hip; every chest pain could be a heart attack; and the joint pains that slowed us down in our 50s can render us immobile by our 70s.

Modern medicine, thankfully, can do a lot to ward off some of aging’s worst effects. Putting aside plastic surgery, which heals the spirit not the body, modern medicine offers everything from quick diagnosis and treatment of pneumonia; to hip repairs so effective that the old person can be home in a day or two, rather than confined to a wheelchair or hospital bed for weeks; to an amazing array of heart treatments, whether pills, pacemakers, bypasses, or transplants; and joint fixes that range from pills, to shots, to surgery, to replacement. All of these are the wonders and miracles of the modern age . . . and all of them are very expensive.

Much more at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Angelo Codevilla at The Federalist with Washington’s Ruling Class Is Fooling Itself About The Islamic State, submitted by Joshuapundit. Codevilla bluntly, succinctly and masterfully spells out how our elite ruling class fails at eradicating the enemy — the Islamic State, while stirring up more hatred for America abroad. This cancerous flaw in foreign policy strategy is endemic on both sides of the political aisle. Do read it.

Here are this week’s full results. Only Simply Jews was unable to vote this week, but he was not affected by the 2/3 vote penalty:

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 this 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 Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that!