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

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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?

10/16/14

The Convention of States (COS) would undermine the Constitution

By: Stephen C. Eldridge

The COS is often marketed and sold with superficial, nice-sounding verbiage like “Wouldn’t you like the States to have the power to rein in the runaway federal government?” No person who believes in our Constitution’s core principle of very limited federal government would answer “No” to that question.

However, the principal purpose heard for a COS, Article V, “Con-Con”, etc, is to adopt a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) – how could any Conservative possibly be against balancing the budget? But, BBA is only superficially about balancing the budget – its principal purpose is to undermine our original Constitution’s extreme limitations on the powers of the federal government.

If a BBA is enacted, the original Constitution’s limitations on federal powers (Article I, Section 8 and the 10th Amendment) would become even less relevant than they have already become. Congress could point to the BBA and safely aver that their spending is Constitutional , as long as it is within the BBA’s dollar limitations  – whether that limit be an amount equal to tax revenues, plus all the money that Congress can borrow or print, or an amount equal to (say) 20% of Gross Domestic Product. ALL of these artificial limits are stated in terms of a dollar limit and completely ignore and override Article I, section 8’s limitations to specifically delegated federal powers.  The BBA thus creates a new, more Progressive Constitution in which the federal government may now spend money on (and thereby engage in) any activity it chooses.

COS proponents also try to assuage our fears that Congress would find a way to violate even those (new, more Progressive )spending limits.  They offer us the additional “assurance”, that Congress could not raise those (new, more Progressive) limits or raise taxes, without the prior approval of the States.  While that may sound comforting superficially, it does not comport with real life. Congress would extort the States into raising those (new, more Progressive) limits or into raising taxes by threatening to reduce federal  payments to the States, while leaving all federal mandates on the States in place (or threatening to  increase them).

The core problem is that Congress spends far more money than the original Constitution would permit, and even more than allowed by  later unconstitutional extensions of the Constitution (e.g., SCOTUS’ cowardly approval of Social Security under FDR’s threat to pack the court, and Obamacare), because it spends money on activities not permitted by the original Constitution. Voters need to press their members in Congress to squeeze the giant federal genie back into the little lamp. A BBA does not cure the problem, but would only make it far worse.  To paraphrase activist  Jeff Lewis , a BBA is the wrong solution to the wrong problem..

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!

10/13/14

Must See!!! UNFAIR Movie Premieres October 14, in a Theater Near You!!!

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“The IRS has become a criminal enterprise” – Mike Huckabee.

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I’ve seen a preview of this movie and its great. Finally some culture warriors had the guts to take on the IRS.

Top class production values. The team at Gadsden Films has done a superb job. Moving narration by Craig Bergman, backed up by the artistic talents and commitment of Judd Saul. Two great artists for liberty. This movie will outrage and terrify you… make you laugh and make you cry. Its educational, very entertaining… and most certainly inspirational. Best of all it offers hope and solutions. You’ll leave the theater smiling.

Trailer here:

One night theater release across the nation. You HAVE to be there.

To buy tickets go here, Patriots!

10/12/14

Your personal invitation to the national screening of Unfair: Exposing the IRS

Next Tuesday, Oct. 14th

Unfair: Exposing the IRS                              
7 PM
One Night Only Event

Coming to a theater near you!

This important expose is produced by my friends and fellow Iowans Craig Bergman and Judd Saul.
Please pass this link on to your friends and family TODAY.

Let’s get the word out, and make Unfair: Exposing the IRS a grassroots smash hit!

Click the link to find the nearest theater!
http://www.unfairmovie.com/

Friend,

As many of you know, I have spent more than two decades advocating for an end to the IRS, and the income tax systems at both the federal and state levels. Unfair: Exposing the IRS documents the unconscionable Obama Administration abuses of the powerful governmental instrument we call the Internal Revenue Service.

The first step in overcoming tyranny is knowledge.

Every American needs to see this movie!

Please do what you can to help get the word out. If every patriotic American who receives this message will pass it along to everyone on their email list and in their social networks, we can send a powerful message to the country.

Thank you, and may God bless the USA, and our posterity, with an IRS-free future.

For Liberty,
Tom Hoefling

PS … if you can also click on the link below and contribute generously to our continuing efforts to educate and organize principled grassroots conservatives here in the first in the nation caucus state as we head towards 2016, it would be greatly appreciated!

Tom Hoefling for Iowa
https://secure.piryx.com/donate/FwOk38Kx/Tom-Hoefling-for-Iowa/