04/23/14

Watcher’s Council Nominations – The Shot Heard ‘Round The World Edition

The Watcher’s Council

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 posts in each category, with the results appearing on Friday morning.

Council News:

The Council In Action!!

This week, The MidKnight Review, Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion, Jewish American Patriots, Gulag Bound 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 (which won’t be published) in the comments section no later than Monday 6 PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category. Then return the favor by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for that week when it comes out Wednesday morning.

Simple, no?

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

So, without further ado, let’s see what we have 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!

04/21/14

Forum: What Are Your Feelings on The GOP House Leadership Saying They Are ‘Hell Bent’ On Passing Immigration Reform This Year?

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: What Are Your Feelings on The GOP House Leadership Saying They Are ‘Hell Bent’ On Passing Immigration Reform This Year?

Liberty’s Spirit: Yes, there needs to be immigration reform. The situation as it exists is untenable. First the government needs to secure the border. We saw with the Bundy ranch development, when the federal government wants to, they are able to amass a huge show of force. It would be nice if they did that to oversee our security. Border states have been asking for help for years to combat the actions of those that traffic in humans and drugs, and not simply during the Obama administration. If it becomes unprofitable for coyotes and others, like the Chinese tongs and East European mafias, that actually smuggle in people through the ports of New York and on the west coast, then we could put a huge dent in human trafficking. It is a big issue here in the Untied States even though no on seems to want to talk about it. The borders are not just porous from those crossing over the Rio Grande. Furthermore, a bigger issue is that the openness of our borders allows for infiltration by terrorists groups. It is believed that our enemies already have sleeper cells throughout the country, which came undetected, including through the Canadian border (people tend to forget our border to the north in this discussion).

There, however, is a big problem once the border is secure: what to do with the myriad of illegal immigrants that are already living in the United States. They do take jobs away from American citizens. They are paid less than Americans, under the table, by these employers who do not file the appropriate taxes on their behalf. Furthermore, the illegals do use our healthcare system, welfare system, educational system and invariably do not pay taxes themselves on what they earn. On top of that, if they happen to have a child born in the United States, these children are entitled to safety net protections. Do we deport American citizens to a country that they know nothing about? Do we deport people who have set up roots in this country or do we create a system for them so that they can become legal? Is it cheaper for this country to just let them stay and create a path to citizenship? Should they be allowed to stay, but not allow them to become citizens (equal protection and civil rights issues with that one, but could be overcome)?

If the government is not going to deport those who came here illegally, then here are some ideas: These people broke American law when they came. Letting them off the hook without paying some recompense to society is inappropriate. I have no issue with doubling the years it takes to become a citizen once they gain a green card. Let it take them 10, not 5 years before they can apply for citizenship (heck make it 15 years, but make it a long waiting period). They should pay a fine, one that is not simply a slap on the wrist. Make it painful. When we don’t pay our taxes on time, the government levies penalties and interests. The government comes after citizens for monies citizens owes, let them go after these illegals. I am not opposed to the idea of the DREAM ACT for those that were brought here by their parents if they were under 14 years of age. However, the idea that going to college could alleviate their obligations to society is a nonstarter (they should not be allowed to earn scholarships or get student loans for school either). The only way to gain legal status for these persons should be through serving in the US armed services. But they also have to be able to meet the standards set by the armed services in education and ability as well. In fact, I have no issue with any illegal wanting to serve in the US armed services if they want to shave off a few years from the (10 year) waiting period.

Lastly, and in some ways most importantly, is dealing with those Americans who hire illegals. There should be jail time for every year taxes were not filed and paid, huge fines levied and community service once they are let out of prison. This should include those individual families who hire illegals for any domestic purpose as well. Not simply corporations. These Americans are not filing appropriate taxes for their illegal alien employees and by doing this they are aggrandizing themselves at the expense of the American people. They are literally stealing from every one of us.

The Noisy Room: This is something I predicted long ago. You have the Progressives on the Left who want a permanent voting majority and the Progressives on the Right supporting crony capitalism and pushing for a permanent slave class for the Chamber of Commerce and their cohorts.

I consider the ‘hell bent’ push from the GOP House leadership as nothing short of an utter betrayal of conservative principles and America in general. All to push a Marxist agenda and line their own pockets. They have to push it this year, because it will never fly under more conservative leadership. We are no longer talking two parties, but in reality a one party system vs. the American people.

Boehner and the current power brokers of the GOP no longer represent the people who elected them — indeed they haven’t for years now — but rather their own influence and wealth, and it’s time for their constituents to un-elect them. Conversely, the party segment upon whom they heap the most abuse, hate and outright lies — the Tea Party and those aligned with it — resonate with the real America, the grass roots taxpayers and represent a restoration of Constitutional principles and the vision of our Founding Fathers.

The GOP “old guard” have morphed into self-declared enemies of America’s everyman — indeed, have created themselves as the enemies within — and it is a matter of greatest urgency that they be unplugged from any ability to influence our economic and civil welfare. They’re promising to permanently poison the political font in this country and that’s simply unacceptable. It’s time to fire the lot of them.

I am reminded of the boardroom scene at the end of The Secret of My Success, where the senior execs tell the corporate raider, Donald Davenport, that they are worried they’ll be replaced: “What we’re concerned about, frankly, is the upper management positions;” to which Davenport responds, “Most of ‘em will have to go. But a handful of ‘em… who have been so helpful… like yourselves, of course… will be stayin’ as long as you like.”

Our government has been taken over by political raiders who now control the narrative, the press and, indeed, the election results. From their behavior, it would seem that our GOP “leadership” has found itself in a boardroom meeting with the Marxist raider who has assured them that, though most of the Republican influence will have to go, “… a handful of ‘em… who have been so helpful… like yourselves, of course… will be stayin’ as long as you like.”

My take? Fire the bastards. Fire them all.

JoshuaPundit: First, I have problems calling this ‘immigration reform.’ What we are talking about here is an illegal migration problem and the failure to enforce our laws. Immigrants are people who have legal permission from a sovereign country to migrate and settle. True immigration reform would involve scrapping the diversity visas and country quotas and doing what Australia, Canada, New Zealand and other developed nations that are prime immigration targets have done – to establish a points system that changes according to the country’s requirements and applies equally to anyone seeking to migrate.

What’s happening here is that Speaker Boehner and the GOP establishment are listening to the consultant class that is pushing the notion of a Hispanic tidal wave that must be pandered to at all costs, a myth I already deconstructed some time ago. Conveniently, the idea of amnesty also appeases certain large donors who want to ensure a continuing supply of cheap labor.

In the end, three things are evident. First, we can continue to support large scale illegal migration, or we can continue to be a welfare state, but we can’t do both. Second, the importation of one select ethnic demographic consisting largely of poorly educated blue collar workers unsuited for a 21st century economy is both racist, unfair and a ultimately a recipe for balkanization and economic disaster. And finally, the security implications of unpoliced and porous borders are unacceptable for any sovereign nation, especially given the realities after 9/11.

Any politician of either party supporting what amounts to amnesty for political purposes is guilty of betraying their oath to the American people and the public trust. There is simply no excuse for it.

GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD: What the heck? As crazy old Uncle Paddy (still in his dotage) implied

“An imminent Republican debate over immigration will play into the hands of the Democratic party. With the widespread unpopularity of Obamacare, Republicans should instead focus on the embattled health-care law ahead of the 2014 midterm election. By pivoting to the issue of immigration, Republicans are walking right into the trap.”

Former Colonel Congress Cat Allen West calls it a U shaped Ambush.

“First of all, at a time when Americans are suffering from high levels of unemployment, they should not be adding illegals into the job market until we can rectify the situation for Americans.

The Democrats will certainly blame the Republicans for exacerbating the jobless situation for Americans and castigate the GOP as the party of big business and corporations who want cheap labor.

“Second, why would Speaker Boehner do anything that feeds more members into the liberal progressive welfare nanny-state? Who does the Speaker believe these new legal-status individuals will support?

“Think we have voter fraud issues now?

“Lastly, why would the GOP want to discourage its base, which enabled them to have a House majority in 2010?

Fair points all – yet it may be a way more smarter tactical play.

The qualifier in SOH’s Heck Bent Stance is something something “44 must first prove he is a trustworthy partner in reform.”

Since 64% of Americans believe 44 is a big fat fibber, The Speaker’s play is a GOP smokescreen designed to knock the immigration sword out of the Dem’s hand in the 2014 mid-terms.

The Independent Sentinel: My initial reaction is to ask how Republicans are any different from Democrats except they are not as good at being Democrats as Democrats are. I remember when they conducted the autopsy after the 2012 election. I thought at the time that use of the word “autopsy” was unfortunate, but they weren’t kidding apparently. They really are dead.

Until the border is secured and people here illegally are actually deported, we shouldn’t be considering immigration reform. We shouldn’t consider any immigration reform that doesn’t include an assimilation component. Do we really want people coming here illegally for entitlements or do we want people who actually buy into our values and want to be real Americans?

Republicans are on a suicide mission if they think they can trust Barack Obama with an immigration reform package. Instead, they should be looking at ways to stop him from refusing to enforce the laws we have.

If Barack Obama wanted to cut down on illegal immigration, he would crack down on people who jump visas or cross our borders illegally. He doesn’t and that should tell us all we need to know.

Bookworm Room: I’m very sorry that it isn’t within my power to fire House leadership. Whether they support amnesty because they are payed to do so (and these payments could come from anyone from George Soros to the Chamber of Commerce) or because they actually believe amnesty will allow them to court Hispanic votes, it’s a terrible, dangerous, very bad idea that will lead to a permanent Democrat majority for decades.

Even though many Hispanics ought to be Republican voters to the extent that their values center on family, hard work, faith, and a belief in life’s sanctity, the Democrat party has bought and paid for them with welfare checks that outweigh all other considerations and by planting in them a sense of victimization that makes them a natural Democrat Party constituency.

The Glittering Eye: Presumably, it means that there are Congressional Republicans who are just desperate to pass an immigration reform bill with an amnesty provision in it. I can’t quite seem to get my mind around that.

IMO a populist immigration reform bill could have been passed years ago, but for its unacceptability to the Democratic Senate leadership. A populist immigration bill would include tighter workplace (and maybe even border) enforcement, some form of the DREAM act, and not a great deal else. All of those have supermajority popular support, but much lower support from both parties in Congress.

Well, there you have it.

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. 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.

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

04/19/14

Glenn Beck and the religion of Conscientious Objectors

By: Nelson Abdullah
Conscience of a Conservative

Conscientious Objectors, the term that first became part of our national vocabulary when it appeared during the Vietnam War as scores of Americans avoided the draft. Today, the two main criteria for classification as a conscientious objector are that the objector must be opposed to war in any form, and the objection must be sincere. Republican governor Mitt Romney, a devout Mormon and a confirmed Bishop in the Church of the Latter-Day Saints, refused all efforts to get him to come out hard against the Muslim Democrat Barack Hussein Obama during the 2012 presidential campaign. Romney was too preoccupied with portraying the Mr. Nice Guy image and miserably failed to attack the one person who was doing the most to destroy America. Today, another Mormon, Glenn Beck, joins those same ranks.

We have all become aware of the stand-off in Nevada where armed agents and hired mercenaries from the Bureau of Land Management raided the cattle ranch privately owned for over 100 years by the Cliven Bundy family and began to confiscate their cattle. The dispute had been ongoing for over 20 years because the BLM claimed the Bundy family owed the government for grazing on federal land. The Bundy family claimed their right to do so predated the ownership of the land since they were there first. It wasn’t until the BLM started to push the Bundy people around that word went out they needed some help. And the help came from across America as armed citizens representing a variety of patriotic groups drove to the Nevada ranch to stand up for Cliven Bundy. When their number grew to over a thousand the government agents decided to reconsider what they were doing and returned the cattle and left. But tyrants like Nevada Democrat Senator Harry Reid called the patriots “domestic terrorists”.


The Lexington Minuteman representing John Parker

What was happening in Nevada was similar to how during the American Revolutionary War. Patriots back then stood up for liberty against tyrants and gave birth to the greatest nation ever created on earth. Patriots who pledged their honor and loyalty and their lives to defend freedom from oppression. Patriots like Thomas Jefferson who wrote: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

It came as no small surprise to read today that another conservative Republican named Glenn Beck has sided with Democrat Harry Reid. Glenn Beck has used his popular forum to attack the people on the Bundy ranch who stood up against the tyrannical government agents. Glenn Beck said the incident was an “insurrection” and a call to “revolution” and compared their stand to the communist backed Occupy Wall Street movement. Glenn Beck said he was “truly frightened” over the support the Oath Keepers, the Militias, the Constitutional Sheriffs and citizens who stood with Bundy. True to the keeping of his Mr. Nice Guy Mormon faith, Glenn Beck said that everyone who stood with the Bundy ranch crowd should “unfriend” him on Facebook, to “unsubscribe” to his newsletter and to “cancel” their subscriptions to his TV program. Just like the other Mr. Nice Guy, Mitt Romney did two years ago when I labeled him a Conscientious Objector because he refused to fight against the wanna-be dictator Barack Hussein Obama. I wonder what these God-fearing men would say about the patriots who gave their lives to help create America; would Glenn Beck label them truly frightening? But of course that nasty thing called the American Revolution took place almost 50 years before the birth of the Mormon religion. What would these Mr. Nice Guys think of the popular phrase: “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.” Maybe if we see a second American Revolution these guys will have already fled to Canada.

This isn’t a condemnation of all Mormons. I am reminded of the fact that Brigham Young University has a large ROTC program. But there is one other fact that must be considered: both Glenn Beck and Mitt Romney never served in our Armed Forces. And neither did Barack Hussein Obama, for that matter. Who can forget the image of Barack Hussein Obama’s infamous crotch salute while the National Anthem was being played. There is a certain patriotic mindset that our veterans hold for the country they served either in peace or in war. It is obvious in the way it shapes attitudes about our history and our love for freedom and liberty and our regard for the Constitution. It also explains why veterans have been accused by the Democrats running our government as being potential domestic terrorists.

And as far as Nevada Democrat Harry Reid goes, there is a very interesting opinion story on Fox News that questions his real motives in denouncing the armed conflict at the Bundy ranch. It is well worth the read. Here a just a few snips.

Why is US Senator Harry Reid so concerned with a local Nevada rancher?

By Wayne Allyn Root
Published April 16, 2014 FoxNews.com

Doesn’t it strike anyone as strange that the U.S. Senate Majority Leader is so obsessed with a small rancher who hasn’t paid grazing fees?

I live in Las Vegas. I live and breath Nevada politics. Something is very wrong. Something smells rotten in the Nevada desert. And Senator Harry Reid’s fingerprints are all over it.

I am of course referring to the Bundy Ranch siege. This was a dispute between a Nevada ranching family with rights to the land in question for 140 years and the BLM (Bureau of Land Management).

There are other questions raised about Reid’s involvement. Why did this assault become the #1 priority of government only days after a senior political advisor to Nevada Senator Harry Reid took over BLM? Coincidence?

Government appeared completely uninterested in backing down for days on end…and completely unconcerned with instigating a deadly confrontation like Waco or Ruby Ridge. Then suddenly Senator Reid’s involvement was brought up by conservative web sites across the Internet. INSTANTLY, out of the blue, within hours of Reid’s name being attached to the raid, the BLM decided to back down, pack up and walk away. Don’t you think that this timing was a tad too coincidental?

It has been pointed out by journalists intent on covering for Reid that a $5 billion Chinese solar project backed by Reid was recently shelved. But what they forgot to mention is Reid’s involvement in multiple solar and wind projects across the Nevada desert. Only days ago, Senator Reid was featured in a photo at a groundbreaking ceremony for a new solar project. Where is that project located? Just 35 miles from the Bundy ranch in Bunkerville, Nevada.

By the way, here is the open letter I posted calling Mitt Romney a Conscientious Objector.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

An open letter to Gov. Mitt Romney from an unconvinced conservative Republican. You’ll get my vote but not my cash.

The following letter was sent today to Gov. Mitt Romney via U.S. Mail to two different addresses asking for campaign contributions and posted on his official web site http://www.mittromney.com/contact-us. Now that I think of it, maybe I should cc: Ann Coulter, too, who helped him win the primaries.

Gov. Mitt Romney
I get mail every day asking for contributions to your campaign. All the while I watch your tepid, lackluster commercials on my TV and wait and wait for you to begin to fight. (or at least sound angry enough like you’re ready to fight)

Never before has anyone like Barack Hussein Obama occupied our White House. Never before has anyone had such a disastrous effect on America’s present and future. No one has ever trashed our Constitution as he has when writes new laws by dictatorial decree. No one ever has had more devious connections in American politics as he has. And while Obama has repeatedly asked you on a daily basis why you don’t release your tax returns, I keep hoping every day you will ask him why he has spent millions to keep hidden almost every personal record in his adult life. So why haven’t you? Obama is filled with personal weaknesses that you haven’t exploited yet. Have your advisers told you not to? Has Karl Rove told you to campaign like a boy scout while Obama and the Democrats are attacking you like vicious thugs? I think you need new advisers if the ones you have are telling you these things. If you haven’t got the balls to fight then let Paul Ryan do it. If you need ideas or inspiration then go see the film 2016 Obama’s America.

I won’t waste any more money on your campaign when you pay Obama compliments like that RINO John McCain did four years ago. I don’t want to hear you tell anyone that Obama is a nice person or a nice family man. He is, in truth, none of these things. His best friends are communists and radical terrorists who all hate America. How can you find such a person to be nice? America wants to see you take up the banner and wage war against Obama and the rest of the Marxist/Socialist Democrats, not go after him with a feather duster.

I watched the RNC and was very impressed with the testaments given by those friends you have helped but this campaign is supposed to be against the evils committed by Barack Hussein Obama and this not the place for your “Mr. Nice Guy” routine. If, by chance, you are a some kind of conscientious objector and have some religious scruples against fighting, then you should drop out of the race now. America’s future is at stake.

I have already sent $500 to the RNC but will now withhold any further contributions until I see how well you do during the debates. That is your last chance to show the public how much you are willing to oppose evil and make no mistake, everything about Obama is EVIL.

My name is Nelson Abdullah and I am Oldironsides.

04/18/14

The Council Has Spoken!! This Weeks’ Watcher’s Council Results — 04/18/14

The Watcher’s Council


After the week all of us have had, I think we can relate…


A Young Huntress And Her Golden Eagle

The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast and the results are in for this week, carved eternally in the records of cyberspace.

This week has been a celebration of hope and freedom, with Passover starting last Monday night and continuing through the weekend until next Tuesday. Which of course also coincides with Holy Week, which culminates this weekend with Easter Sunday. This linkage is entirely appropriate, since Jesus had come to Jerusalem for the Passover ceremonies and the famous Last Supper was a Passover Seder… the ritual meal where Jews all over the world retell the story of the Exodus, celebrate their G-d-given freedom and eat the unleavened bread, matzoh, to commemorate their ancestor’s journey and deliverance from bondage and slavery.

The story of the Resurrection is a story of freedom too… freedom of the soul and a promise of eternal life to believing Christians who understand what the rolling away of the stones means for them.

Both holidays change their dates on our calender from year to year, Passover or Pessah in Hebrew, because it is based on the centuries old Hebrew calender and Easter because the early Church fathers determined that Easter is always celebrated on the Sunday immediately following the Paschal Full Moon date of the year, which always occurs after Passover.

However, it’s rare that the two holidays occur this close together and in this momentous year, when Judeo-Christian values seem to be under siege, I likewise see in that a sign of hope for the future.

I and my friends on the Watcher’s Council wish you and yours Chag Pessach Sameach and a blessed Easter.

“Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear” – George Orwell

Allah’s Apostle said, “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.” – Hadith Bukhari (84:57)

“People ask me if I have some kind of death wish, to keep saying the things I do. The answer is no: I would like to keep living. However, some things must be said, and there are times when silence becomes an accomplice to injustice.” – Ayaan Hirsi Ali

This Week’s winner, Joshuapundit’sAn Honor Killing On Campus, is my reaction to the decision of Brandeis University to withdraw an honorary degree and a chance to address commencement ceremonies from writer, thinker and women’s rights activist, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, under pressure from Muslim Brotherhood fronts and a few scared and clueless lefties. Here’s a slice:

Regular members of Joshua’s Army may recall the name Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

She was raised as a Muslima in Somalia and Saudi Arabia, survived female genital mutilation, beatings, abuse and various aspects of Somalia’s internecine clan warfare and became a devout member of the Muslim Brotherhood, after which her questions about Islam and the life she was leading led her to escape being ‘given’ in marriage to a distant male relative she had never met.and flee to Holland. There, she was granted Dutch citizenship and eventually became a member of the Dutch parliament where she became a voice alerting the people of her adopted country to the menace of radical Islam, and against the abuse of Muslim women and children in the Netherland’s Islamic ghettos.

She later collaborated with the late filmmaker Theo Van Gogh on a film called ‘Submission’, which chronicled the plight of many Muslim women victimized as she was by the traditional tribal culture.The film caused a firestorm of protest among Muslims. Van Gogh was murdered in broad daylight by a fanatic Muslim while cycling to work one morning in 2004 and then had his corpse ritually mutilated. A note was pinned to Van Gogh’s corpse promising Ayaan Hirsi Ali that she was the next target, with explicit Qu’rannic details of her `crimes against Islam’ as an ‘apostate’, a death sentence in Islam. Other death threats followed, and Ayaan has lived under 24 hour security protection ever since.

She went through the experience of being forced to move out of her apartment because her Dutch neighbors were annoyed that the security protection ‘inconvenienced them’ and because they were afraid that the violence directed towards Ayaan Hirshi Ali might involve them. And the Dutch government, which was obligated to pay for her security as a member of Parliament also disliked the cost, the inconvenience and the political stigma of protecting an ‘enemy of Islam’ in a country that’s over 25% Muslim, so they found a trumped up reason to take away her citizenship and force her to step down from her seat in parliament. Whereupon, she came here to America and became a noted author and speaker. You can read her story in her books ‘Infidel’, ‘Nomad’,and ‘The Caged Virgin.’

So Brandeis decided to honor Ayaan Hirshi Ali. She was to be their commencement speaker and receive an honorary degree.

But when the local chapters of Muslim Brotherhood fronts like CAIR and the Muslim Student’s Association heard about this, they went absolutely ballistic and were able to rope in enough guilty and frightened non-Muslim Lefties to go along with the mob to get Ayaan’s honorary degree ‘rescinded’ and her invitation to speak revoked.

“This is a real slap in the face to Muslim students,” said senior Sarah Fahmy, a member of the Muslim Student Association who created the petition said before the university withdrew the honor.

“But it’s not just the Muslim community that is upset but students and faculty of all religious beliefs,” she said. “A university that prides itself on social justice and equality should not hold up someone who is an outright Islamophobic.”

Thomas Doherty, chairman of American studies, refused to sign the faculty letter. He said it would have been great for the university to honor “such a courageous fighter for human freedom and women’s rights, who has put her life at risk for those values.”

Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim advocacy group, said, “It is unconscionable that such a prestigious university would honor someone with such openly hateful views.”

The organization sent a letter to university President Frederick Lawrence on Tuesday requesting that it drop plans to honor Ali.

“This makes Muslim students feel very uneasy,” Joseph Lumbard, an American convert to Islam and the chairman of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies, said in an interview. “They feel unwelcome here.”

The university said that the decision had been made after a discussion between Ali and university President Frederick Lawrence.According to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, that ‘discussion’ consisted of a phone call made simply to inform her after the decision had already be made.

Much more at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Mark Steyn with a superb piece on the Nevada standoff between the Bundy family and the Bureau of Land Management, The First Amendment is Not an Area, submitted by The Noisy Room. Mark Steyn is absolutely on fire in this one… A must-read.

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

04/18/14

President Ronald Reagan – “Evil Empire” Speech

Mark Levin is right – peace through strength as Ronald Reagan put it. It was true then and even more so now.

MCamericanpresident:

View the full speech here: http://millercenter.org/scripps/archi…

Address to the National Association of Evangelicals in Orlando, Florida that would come to represent Reagan’s view of the Soviet Union. Reagan defends America’s Judeo-Christian traditions against the Soviet Union’s totalitarian leadership and lack of religious faith, expressing his belief that these differences are at the heart of the fight between the two nations.

Here is the transcript:

“Evil Empire” Speech (March 8, 1983)
Ronald Wilson Reagan

Reverend clergy all, Senator Hawkins, distinguished members of the Florida congressional delegation, and all of you:

I can’t tell you how you have warmed my heart with your welcome. I’m delighted to be here today.

Those of you in the National Association of Evangelicals are known for your spiritual and humanitarian work. And I would be especially remiss if I didn’t discharge right now one personal debt of gratitude. Thank you for your prayers. Nancy and I have felt their presence many times in many ways. And believe me, for us they’ve made all the difference.

The other day in the East Room of the White House at a meeting there, someone asked me whether I was aware of all the people out there who were praying for the President. And I had to say, “Yes, I am. I’ve felt it. I believe in intercessionary prayer.” But I couldn’t help but say to that questioner after he’d asked the question that—or at least say to them that if sometime when he was praying he got a busy signal, it was just me in there ahead of him. [Laughter] I think I understand how Abraham Lincoln felt when he said, “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.”

From the joy and the good feeling of this conference, I go to a political reception. [Laughter] Now, I don’t know why, but that bit of scheduling reminds me of a story—[laughter]—which I’ll share with you.

An evangelical minister and a politician arrived at Heaven’s gate one day together. And St. Peter, after doing all the necessary formalities, took them in hand to show them where their quarters would be. And he took them to a small, single room with a bed, a chair, and a table and said this was for the clergyman. And the politician was a little worried about what might be in store for him. And he couldn’t believe it then when St. Peter stopped in front of a beautiful mansion with lovely grounds, many servants, and told him that these would be his quarters.

And he couldn’t help but ask, he said, “But wait, how—there’s something wrong—how do I get this mansion while that good and holy man only gets a single room?” And St. Peter said, “You have to understand how things are up here. We’ve got thousands and thousands of clergy. You’re the first politician who ever made it.” [Laughter]

But I don’t want to contribute to a stereotype. [Laughter] So, I tell you there are a great many God-fearing, dedicated, noble men and women in public life, present company included. And, yes, we need your help to keep us ever mindful of the ideas and the principles that brought us into the public arena in the first place. The basis of those ideals and principles is a commitment to freedom and personal liberty that, itself, is grounded in the much deeper realization that freedom prospers only where the blessings of God are avidly sought and humbly accepted.

The American experiment in democracy rests on this insight. Its discovery was the great triumph of our Founding Fathers, voiced by William Penn when he said: “If we will not be governed by God, we must be governed by tyrants.” Explaining the inalienable rights of men, Jefferson said, “The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time.” And it was George Washington who said that “of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”

And finally, that shrewdest of all observers of American democracy, Alexis de Tocqueville, put it eloquently after he had gone on a search for the secret of America’s greatness and genius—and he said: “Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the greatness and the genius of America. . . . America is good. And if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

Well, I’m pleased to be here today with you who are keeping America great by keeping her good. Only through your work and prayers and those of millions of others can we hope to survive this perilous century and keep alive this experiment in liberty, this last, best hope of man.

I want you to know that this administration is motivated by a political philosophy that sees the greatness of America in you, her people, and in your families, churches, neighborhoods, communities—the institutions that foster and nourish values like concern for others and respect for the rule of law under God.

Now, I don’t have to tell you that this puts us in opposition to, or at least out of step with, a prevailing attitude of many who have turned to a modern-day secularism, discarding the tried and time-tested values upon which our very civilization is based. No matter how well intentioned, their value system is radically different from that of most Americans. And while they proclaim that they’re freeing us from superstitions of the past, they’ve taken upon themselves the job of superintending us by government rule and regulation. Sometimes their voices are louder than ours, but they are not yet a majority.

An example of that vocal superiority is evident in a controversy now going on in Washington. And since I’m involved, I’ve been waiting to hear from the parents of young America. How far are they willing to go in giving to government their prerogatives as parents?

Let me state the case as briefly and simply as I can. An organization of citizens, sincerely motivated and deeply concerned about the increase in illegitimate births and abortions involving girls well below the age of consent, sometime ago established a nationwide network of clinics to offer help to these girls and, hopefully, alleviate this situation. Now, again, let me say, I do not fault their intent. However, in their well-intentioned effort, these clinics have decided to provide advice and birth control drugs and devices to underage girls without the knowledge of their parents.

For some years now, the federal government has helped with funds to subsidize these clinics. In providing for this, the Congress decreed that every effort would be made to maximize parental participation. Nevertheless, the drugs and devices are prescribed without getting parental consent or giving notification after they’ve done so. Girls termed “sexually active”—and that has replaced the word “promiscuous”—are given this help in order to prevent illegitimate birth or abortion.

Well, we have ordered clinics receiving federal funds to notify the parents such help has been given. One of the nation’s leading newspapers has created the term “squeal rule” in editorializing against us for doing this, and we’re being criticized for violating the privacy of young people. A judge has recently granted an injunction against an enforcement of our rule. I’ve watched TV panel shows discuss this issue, seen columnists pontificating on our error, but no one seems to mention morality as playing a part in the subject of sex.

Is all of Judeo-Christian tradition wrong? Are we to believe that something so sacred can be looked upon as a purely physical thing with no potential for emotional and psychological harm? And isn’t it the parents’ right to give counsel and advice to keep their children from making mistakes that may affect their entire lives?

Many of us in government would like to know what parents think about this intrusion in their family by government. We’re going to fight in the courts. The right of parents and the rights of family take precedence over those of Washington-based bureaucrats and social engineers.

But the fight against parental notification is really only one example of many attempts to water down traditional values and even abrogate the original terms of American democracy. Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged. When our Founding Fathers passed the first amendment, they sought to protect churches from government interference. They never intended to construct a wall of hostility between government and the concept of religious belief itself.

The evidence of this permeates our history and our government. The Declaration of Independence mentions the Supreme Being no less than four times. “In God We Trust” is engraved on our coinage. The Supreme Court opens its proceedings with a religious invocation. And the members of Congress open their sessions with a prayer. I just happen to believe the schoolchildren of the United States are entitled to the same privileges as Supreme Court Justices and Congressmen.

Last year, I sent the Congress a constitutional amendment to restore prayer to public schools. Already this session, there’s growing bipartisan support for the amendment, and I am calling on the Congress to act speedily to pass it and to let our children pray.

Perhaps some of you read recently about the Lubbock school case, where a judge actually ruled that it was unconstitutional for a school district to give equal treatment to religious and nonreligious student groups, even when the group meetings were being held during the students’ own time. The first amendment never intended to require government to discriminate against religious speech.

Senators Denton and Hatfield have proposed legislation in the Congress on the whole question of prohibiting discrimination against religious forms of student speech. Such legislation could go far to restore freedom of religious speech for public school students. And I hope the Congress considers these bills quickly. And with your help, I think it’s possible we could also get the constitutional amendment through the Congress this year.

More than a decade ago, a Supreme Court decision literally wiped off the books of 50 states statutes protecting the rights of unborn children. Abortion on demand now takes the lives of up to one and a half million unborn children a year. Human life legislation ending this tragedy will some day pass the Congress, and you and I must never rest until it does. Unless and until it can be proven that the unborn child is not a living entity, then its right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness must be protected.

You may remember that when abortion on demand began, many, and, indeed, I’m sure many of you, warned that the practice would lead to a decline in respect for human life, that the philosophical premises used to justify abortion on demand would ultimately be used to justify other attacks on the sacredness of human life—infanticide or mercy killing. Tragically enough, those warnings proved all too true. Only last year a court permitted the death by starvation of a handicapped infant.

I have directed the Health and Human Services Department to make clear to every health care facility in the United States that the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 protects all handicapped persons against discrimination based on handicaps, including infants. And we have taken the further step of requiring that each and every recipient of federal funds who provides health care services to infants must post and keep posted in a conspicuous place a notice stating that “discriminatory failure to feed and care for handicapped infants in this facility is prohibited by federal law.” It also lists a 24-hour, toll-free number so that nurses and others may report violations in time to save the infant’s life.

In addition, recent legislation introduced in the Congress by Representative Henry Hyde of Illinois not only increases restrictions on publicly financed abortions, it also addresses this whole problem of infanticide. I urge the Congress to begin hearings and to adopt legislation that will protect the right of life to all children, including the disabled or handicapped.

Now, I’m sure that you must get discouraged at times, but you’ve done better than you know, perhaps. There’s a great spiritual awakening in America, a renewal of the traditional values that have been the bedrock of America’s goodness and greatness.

One recent survey by a Washington-based research council concluded that Americans were far more religious than the people of other nations; 95 percent of those surveyed expressed a belief in God and a huge majority believed the Ten Commandments had real meaning in their lives. And another study has found that an overwhelming majority of Americans disapprove of adultery, teenage sex, pornography, abortion, and hard drugs. And this same study showed a deep reverence for the importance of family ties and religious belief.

I think the items that we’ve discussed here today must be a key part of the nation’s political agenda. For the first time the Congress is openly and seriously debating and dealing with the prayer and abortion issues—and that’s enormous progress right there. I repeat: America is in the midst of a spiritual awakening and a moral renewal. And with your biblical keynote, I say today, “Yes, let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream.”

Now, obviously, much of this new political and social consensus I’ve talked about is based on a positive view of American history, one that takes pride in our country’s accomplishments and record. But we must never forget that no government schemes are going to perfect man. We know that living in this world means dealing with what philosophers would call the phenomenology of evil or, as theologians would put it, the doctrine of sin.

There is sin and evil in the world, and we’re enjoined by Scripture and the Lord Jesus to oppose it with all our might. Our nation, too, has a legacy of evil with which it must deal. The glory of this land has been its capacity for transcending the moral evils of our past. For example, the long struggle of minority citizens for equal rights, once a source of disunity and civil war, is now a point of pride for all Americans. We must never go back. There is no room for racism, anti-Semitism, or other forms of ethnic and racial hatred in this country.

I know that you’ve been horrified, as have I, by the resurgence of some hate groups preaching bigotry and prejudice. Use the mighty voice of your pulpits and the powerful standing of your churches to denounce and isolate these hate groups in our midst. The commandment given us is clear and simple: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

But whatever sad episodes exist in our past, any objective observer must hold a positive view of American history, a history that has been the story of hopes fulfilled and dreams made into reality. Especially in this century, America has kept alight the torch of freedom, but not just for ourselves but for millions of others around the world.

And this brings me to my final point today. During my first press conference as President, in answer to a direct question, I pointed out that, as good Marxist-Leninists, the Soviet leaders have openly and publicly declared that the only morality they recognize is that which will further their cause, which is world revolution. I think I should point out I was only quoting Lenin, their guiding spirit, who said in 1920 that they repudiate all morality that proceeds from supernatural ideas—that’s their name for religion—or ideas that are outside class conceptions. Morality is entirely subordinate to the interests of class war. And everything is moral that is necessary for the annihilation of the old, exploiting social order and for uniting the proletariat.

Well, I think the refusal of many influential people to accept this elementary fact of Soviet doctrine illustrates an historical reluctance to see totalitarian powers for what they are. We saw this phenomenon in the 1930s. We see it too often today.

This doesn’t mean we should isolate ourselves and refuse to seek an understanding with them. I intend to do everything I can to persuade them of our peaceful intent, to remind them that it was the West that refused to use its nuclear monopoly in the forties and fifties for territorial gain and which now proposes 50-percent cut in strategic ballistic missiles and the elimination of an entire class of land-based, intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

At the same time, however, they must be made to understand we will never compromise our principles and standards. We will never give away our freedom. We will never abandon our belief in God. And we will never stop searching for a genuine peace. But we can assure none of these things America stands for through the so-called nuclear freeze solutions proposed by some.

The truth is that a freeze now would be a very dangerous fraud, for that is merely the illusion of peace. The reality is that we must find peace through strength.

I would agree to a freeze if only we could freeze the Soviets’ global desires. A freeze at current levels of weapons would remove any incentive for the Soviets to negotiate seriously in Geneva and virtually end our chances to achieve the major arms reductions which we have proposed. Instead, they would achieve their objectives through the freeze.

A freeze would reward the Soviet Union for its enormous and unparalleled military buildup. It would prevent the essential and long overdue modernization of United States and allied defenses and would leave our aging forces increasingly vulnerable. And an honest freeze would require extensive prior negotiations on the systems and numbers to be limited and on the measures to ensure effective verification and compliance. And the kind of a freeze that has been suggested would be virtually impossible to verify. Such a major effort would divert us completely from our current negotiations on achieving substantial reductions.

A number of years ago, I heard a young father, a very prominent young man in the entertainment world, addressing a tremendous gathering in California. It was during the time of the cold war, and communism and our own way of life were very much on people’s minds. And he was speaking to that subject. And suddenly, though, I heard him saying, “I love my little girls more than anything——” And I said to myself, “Oh, no, don’t. You can’t—don’t say that.” But I had underestimated him. He went on: “I would rather see my little girls die now, still believing in God, than have them grow up under communism and one day die no longer believing in God.”

There were thousands of young people in that audience. They came to their feet with shouts of joy. They had instantly recognized the profound truth in what he had said, with regard to the physical and the soul and what was truly important.

Yes, let us pray for the salvation of all of those who live in that totalitarian darkness—pray they will discover the joy of knowing God. But until they do, let us be aware that while they preach the supremacy of the state, declare its omnipotence over individual man, and predict its eventual domination of all peoples on the Earth, they are the focus of evil in the modern world.

It was C.S. Lewis who, in his unforgettable “Screwtape Letters,” wrote: “The greatest evil is not done now in those sordid ‘dens of crime’ that Dickens loved to paint. It is not even done in concentration camps and labor camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried and minuted) in clear, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice.”

Well, because these “quiet men” do not “raise their voices,” because they sometimes speak in soothing tones of brotherhood and peace, because, like other dictators before them, they’re always making “their final territorial demand,” some would have us accept them at their word and accommodate ourselves to their aggressive impulses. But if history teaches anything, it teaches that simple-minded appeasement or wishful thinking about our adversaries is folly. It means the betrayal of our past, the squandering of our freedom.

So, I urge you to speak out against those who would place the United States in a position of military and moral inferiority. You know, I’ve always believed that old Screwtape reserved his best efforts for those of you in the church. So, in your discussions of the nuclear freeze proposals, I urge you to beware the temptation of pride—the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil.

I ask you to resist the attempts of those who would have you withhold your support for our efforts, this administration’s efforts, to keep America strong and free, while we negotiate real and verifiable reductions in the world’s nuclear arsenals and one day, with God’s help, their total elimination.

While America’s military strength is important, let me add here that I’ve always maintained that the struggle now going on for the world will never be decided by bombs or rockets, by armies or military might. The real crisis we face today is a spiritual one; at root, it is a test of moral will and faith.

Whittaker Chambers, the man whose own religious conversion made him a witness to one of the terrible traumas of our time, the Hiss-Chambers case, wrote that the crisis of the Western World exists to the degree in which the West is indifferent to God, the degree to which it collaborates in communism’s attempt to make man stand alone without God. And then he said, for Marxism-Leninism is actually the second oldest faith, first proclaimed in the Garden of Eden with the words of temptation, “Ye shall be as gods.”

The Western World can answer this challenge, he wrote, “but only provided that its faith in God and the freedom He enjoins is as great as communism’s faith in Man.”

I believe we shall rise to the challenge. I believe that communism is another sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages even now are being written. I believe this because the source of our strength in the quest for human freedom is not material, but spiritual. And because it knows no limitation, it must terrify and ultimately triumph over those who would enslave their fellow man. For in the words of Isaiah: “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increased strength. . . . But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary. . . .”

Yes, change your world. One of our Founding Fathers, Thomas Paine, said, “We have it within our power to begin the world over again.” We can do it, doing together what no one church could do by itself.

God bless you, and thank you very much.

04/16/14

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Yippee-Ki-Yay Edition

The Watcher’s Council

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, Midknight Review, Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion 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 (which won’t be published) in the comments section no later than Monday 6 PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category. Then return the favor by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for the week when it comes out Wednesday morning.

Simple, no?

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

So, let’s see what we have 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!

04/14/14

Mark Levin’s “Liberty” Amendments: Legalizing Tyranny

By: Publius Huldah
Publius-Hulday’s Blog

For 100 years, the federal government has usurped powers not delegated to it in our Constitution.

What should we do about it? Should we reclaim our existing Constitution and put an end to the usurpations?

Or should we “modernize” the Constitution by delegating to the federal government the powers it has usurped – so as to legalize what is now unconstitutional?

Mark Levin begins “The Liberty Amendments” by saying he doesn’t believe the Constitution requires “modernization through amendments”. But he then proposes a series of amendments, six of which modernize our Constitution to delegate to the federal government most of the powers it has usurped during the last 100 years.

And each of his six amendments does the opposite of what its title promises. I’ll show you. 1

Levin’s amendment to “limit the federal bureaucracy” [p 99-100 of his book]

George Washington’s cabinet had four members: Secretary of State, Secretary of War, Secretary of the Treasury, and Attorney General. Those functions are authorized by our Constitution. 2

But today there are numerous agencies in the Executive Branch of the federal government. Where is the constitutional authority? What Article, Section, and Clause authorizes the Departments of Agriculture, Education, Energy, Labor, Transportation, HHS, HUD, DHS, EPA, SBA, etc., etc., etc.?

There is no constitutional authority! Accordingly, all these agencies are unconstitutional as outside the scope of the powers delegated in our Constitution.

Well then, a person who wanted to “limit the federal bureaucracy” would demand that these agencies be closed, and their functions returned to the States and The People, right?

But Mark Levin doesn’t do this. Section 1 of his amendment legalizes all these agencies. It says:

“All federal departments and agencies shall expire if said departments and agencies are not individually reauthorized in stand-alone reauthorization bills every three years by a majority vote of the House of Representatives and the Senate.”

As long as Congress periodically “reauthorizes” the agencies – they remain.

Continue reading

04/11/14

The Council Has Spoken!! This Weeks’ Watcher’s Council Results – 04/11/14

The Watcher’s Council


We Stand With Cliven Bundy

Alea iacta est… the Council has spoken, the votes have been cast and we have the results for this week’s Watcher’s Council match-up.

“In war, truth is the first casualty” – Aeschylus

“We maintain peace through our strength; appeasement only invites aggression” – President Ronald Reagan, 1983

“They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.” – Jeremiah 8:11

This week’s winner was Joshuapundit’s Yes, The Peace Talks Are Dead – And An Opportunity For Real Peace Comes Alive. Here’s the real story of how things imploded and why, and how the Obama Administration set things up for failure. I attempt to wrap up the post mortum and show that there’s an opportunity for real peace here, what I think it would take and what it might look like. Here’s a slice:

While neither side has formally acknowledged it, the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are dead, and even John Kerry has thrown in the towel.

The Obama Team would never admit it, but they’re fully aware that it was Palestine’s unelected dictator Mahmoud Abbas that pulled the trigger and ended the talks, and his own controlled Palestinian media proudly admits it. Both Palestinian and Israeli media outlets on Thursday night quoted Abbas as saying, “I would rather become a martyr” than rescind the applications he signed on Tuesday to join 15 UN and other international treaties and conventions.

Kerry and the rest of the Obama team managed to arm twist the Israelis into discussing a further release of convicted terrorists along with releasing the fourth batch provided Abbas rescinded the UN membership applications and agreed to extend the deadline of the talks.

Instead of agreeing to what amounted to another gimmee, Abbas came out with a whole new set of pre-conditions to continue talks, conditions he knew no Israeli government could accept. According to Abbas’ own Palestinian News Agency Ma’an, the new pre-conditions included formal Israeli recognition of the borders of ‘Palestine’ as the pre-67 lines with all of East Jerusalem as its capitol; the release of 1,200 Palestinian prisoners including convicted terrorist leaders Marwan Barghouti, Fuad Shweiki and Ahmad Saadat; a Israeli building freeze in East Jerusalem and all of Judea and Samaria; Israeli citizenship for 15,000 Palestinians under a ‘family reunification program’ essentially a recognition of a Palestinian ‘right of return’; the end of Israel’s blockade of Hamas in Gaza; the right of return for PLO terrorists who were exiled to European countries under an agreement between the EU and Israel after the 2002 Palestinian siege of the Church of the Nativity; forbidding the IDF to enter Area A, the part of Judea and Samaria under PA control which would essentially create an escape zone for terrorists after attacks on Israelis since the PA has never jailed anyone for murdering an Israeli; and Palestinian control of parts of Area C, the areas now under full Israeli sovereignty.

And that was just to continue listening to Abbas say no for another few months!

Kerry’s deputy Martin Indyk mediated a nine hour meeting between head Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, Head of Palestinian intelligence Majid Faraj, and Israeli negotiators Tzipi Livni and Yitzhak Molcho and tried to cable together some semblance of a reasonable platform, but he was yelled down by the Palestinian negotiators and the entire meeting turned into a shouting match, with even the ever flexible Tzipi Livni unable to contain herself. At one point, Livni reportedly demanded of Erekat that Abbas rescind the applications to the 15 UN organizations and conventions he’d submitted in order to negotiate any other preconditions. Erekat flatly refused, and Livni announced the next day that Israel would definitely not release that fourth batch of convicted Palestinian terrorists.

When Indyk tried to reason with the Palestinians, saying that any agreement had to consider Israel’s security considerations, Faraj snapped back that the Palestinians weren’t there to discuss Israeli security, but to negotiate over a timetable to get all of their demands met.

Things went quickly downhill from there, with the Palestinians threatening to join even more international bodies and take prosecute Israel for ‘war crimes’ at the International Criminal Court and the Israelis promising retaliation if they did so.

Abbas never had any intention of actually negotiating. Even Saeb Erekat admitted earlier this month that Abbas was staying in the talks just to get the terrorist releases.

Much more at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Matt WalshHey gay rights militants: your fascism is showing, submitted by Joshuapundit. It’s Walsh’s defiant blowback to the Gay Mafia and progressive fascism in general, and it makes for some stirring reading.

Okay, here are this week’s full results.

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

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

04/9/14

Watcher’s Council Nominations – The New Fascism Edition

The Watcher’s Council

It’s all over the place, isn’t it? ‘Nuff said.

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:

First off, we have a party to go to, we do. Nice Deb’s actual birthday was April 6th, but we’ll celebrate it in style today!

First off, a cake. I chose a double Dutch chocolate number, with chocolate ganache icing and just a lil’ bit of rum for flavor.

Beverage? I thought some Kristal Brut would go nicely. Can’t go wrong with a classic, yes?

Our friend Debra is fairly new to the Council. Back last June, when a vacancy opened up, I happened across her site and really liked what this no nonsense conservative lady was putting out. Her response when I asked if she’d be interested in joining the Council? “Sure, sounds like fun.”

You see, that’s the other side of her persona. Among her other attributes, she has a really good sense of humor, so I knew right then she’d fit in well with the rest of the gang. And she certainly has, to say the least.

Not that it should be any surprise, of course. As she’s shown me and her other Council mates on many occasions, she really is Nice Deb.

Happy Birthday, Debra… and many, many more.

THE COUNCIL IN ACTION:

This week, Midknight Review, Right Reason, Maggie’s Notebook and The Pirate’s Cove earned honorable mention status with some fine articles.

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

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

Simple, no?

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

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

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

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

04/8/14

Pulitzer Prizes for Espionage?

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

As the Pulitzer Prize board meets this week to consider its 2014 winners, many eyes are on the journalists who conspired with former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, and the secret documents he stole and then disclosed to them.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Thomas Ricks was initially sympathetic to Snowden. But he has grown suspicious of Snowden’s Russian connection and debt to the Vladimir Putin regime. Ricks asked whether Snowden and Glenn Greenwald, his main collaborator, would denounce recent crackdowns on press freedom in Russia. Ricks said, “If they [are] acting on moral beliefs, now would be the time for both of them to speak out against Putin. It could have a great impact, I think.”

Later, he expanded his concern, saying that the longer Greenwald and Snowden “remain silent on events in Ukraine, the more I suspect their previous motives.”

The Moscow connection for Snowden stands out like a sore thumb.

Almost a year ago I wrote, “…the Snowden case looks increasingly like the NSA equivalent of Philip Agee, who defected from the CIA and became a Soviet and Cuban agent. Agee died in Havana after writing several books with the help of Cuban intelligence.”

Another comparison is provided by Logan Beirne, an Olin Scholar at Yale Law School who wrote that Edward Snowden is a modern day Benedict Arnold, the notorious traitor to the American Revolution.

He writes, “Born and raised in America, both men held positions meant to bolster U.S. national security. However, disillusioned with the political system, they came to see America’s adversaries as their salvation. Seeking out positions of trust, they collected sensitive intelligence, which they then divulged. Both fled to hostile nations as the U.S. government hunted them. Whatever justifications we concoct to explain their actions, Snowden and Arnold betrayed their country.”

Beirne’s book is Blood of Tyrants: George Washington & the Forging of the Presidency.

His column, published last year, goes on to say, “Just as Snowden sought out a position with inside access to the National Security Agency, Arnold lobbied for command of West Point. Knowing the installation was crucial to the American cause, he collected intelligence on its fortifications as well as on Continental Army movements. He delivered this information to a British agent, but American forces intercepted it just in time to prevent the British takeover. Rather than stay to defend his actions, Arnold fled to British-controlled territory, providing our foes with more secrets.”

He adds, “Our founding fathers faced men like Edward Snowden. They sentenced them to death.”

Before the Snowden scandal developed, the NSA had published its own informative guide to espionage in the American Revolution entitled Revolutionary Secrets. It states, “Communication plays an important role in both a country’s diplomacy and its wars. Keeping those communications secret and understanding the adversary’s communications can make the crucial difference in a leader’s actions and abilities.” For instance, General George Washington received intelligence, gained partially through the decryption of captured British messages, that gave him the assurance he needed to complete his move on Yorktown, Virginia, the booklet says.

Washington discovered Benedict Arnold was a spy, but Arnold was by then on the run, mounting up and riding away to the nearest British outpost. He eventually arrived safely behind British lines aboard the HMS Vulture on the Hudson River.

In Snowden’s case, of course, he went to Russia. Liberal columnist Richard Cohen had said, “Snowden’s residency in Russia has been forced upon him—he had nowhere else to go.” But Edward Lucas notes in his book, The Snowden Operation: Inside the West’s Greatest Intelligence Disaster, “If he were truly keen to portray himself as a whistleblower, why did he fly to Hong Kong? For anyone involved in American cyber-security, China is the biggest threat—bigger even than Russia. Though autonomous in economic terms, Hong Kong is firmly under the thumb of the Chinese authorities when it comes to security.”

Regarding those who find it somehow accidental or coincidental that Snowden ended up in Moscow, Lucas counters: “People who are so highly (and I would say unreasonably) suspicious of Western governments become bizarrely trusting where the interests and abilities of Vladimir Putin’s regime are concerned.”

This is a point that Thomas Ricks seems to be grasping.

In fact, Snowden’s leaks seemed designed to embarrass the United States and enable Russia to evade U.S. electronic intercepts. Consider the Guardian story, “G20 summit: NSA targeted Russian president Medvedev in London,” based on a Snowden leak. The document shows the agency believed it might have discovered “a change in the way Russian leadership signals have been normally transmitted,” the story said.

Leaks like these help explain The Wall Street Journal story about Russian war planners catching the U.S. by surprise prior to the invasion of Ukraine.

By the way, the AMC cable-TV network is airing “TURN,” based on Alexander Rose’s book Washington’s Spies. It seems that spying has become fashionable again, at least on television when the enemies are British, and not Russian or Chinese.

Brian Kilmeade of Fox News co-authored the great book, George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution, and openly thanks the CIA for providing information.

The CIA had published its own report, “Intelligence in the War of Independence,” back in 2007 that included a Washington letter saying, “The necessity of procuring good intelligence is apparent & need not be further urged—All that remains for me to add is, that you keep the whole matter as secret as possible.”

The booklet notes that the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution creating the Committee of Correspondence (renamed the Committee of Secret Correspondence). It authorized “secret agents,” covert operations, the use of codes and ciphers, “propaganda activities,” and even “the opening of private mail.”

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, some members of the Communist Party helped create the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, in order to undermine U.S. defenses against communist subversion. This Communist Party spin-off was named after the Committee of Correspondence formed during the American Revolution.

Comparing communists to American patriots is like calling Edward Snowden a whistleblower.

We shall see on April 14, when the Pulitzer Prizes are announced, whether the American media establishment falls for it.

Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at cliff.kincaid@aim.org. View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.