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

Alea acta est…the Council has spoken, the votes have been cast, and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match up.

The Obama Administration’s empowerment of the Muslim Brotherhood has had some interesting ramifications, among them the changes in the status of  long standing U.S. clients and allies in the region.

This week’s winner, Joshuapundit’s  The Next Islamist Domino – Jordan takes a look at a very under the wire U.S. client that could very well be th enext state to fall to Islamist..perhaps even with the Obama Administration’s  encouragement. Here’s a slice:

Jordan and King Abdullah appear to be next on the Islamist hit list. And the Obama administration seems to be sending signals that it tacitly approves.

Jordan has been at a tipping point for quite some time, partly because it’s a U.S client state (which doesn’t sit well with a significant part of its population whom consider King Abdullah an American tool) and partly because of its peculiar history and tribal aspect.

There have been protests with Muslim Brotherhood participation for two years now, but the most recent outbursts were large riots across the Kingdom that spread across the Kingdom and called openly for King Abdullah’s ouster. In spite of brutal suppression by the King’s security police and numerous arrests, the unrest, referred to as the “The November Intifada” is only growing.

Adding to the turmoil were remarks on November 19th by Deputy State Department Spokesman Mark Toner, who stated at a press conference that there was “thirst for change” in Jordan and that the Jordanian people had “economic, political concerns,” as well as “aspirations.” Needless to say, this sent a clear signal to King Abdullah’s foes and to America’s remaining allies in the region that just like Egypt’s Mubarak, the Obama Administration is willing to cut Abdullah loose in favor of an Islamist regime.

The unrest was ostensibly over an end to government subsidies that have led to increases in fuel prices and other staples,but it’s been festering for quite some time. Here are the two main factors involved.

Jordan, like the other Arab nations of Egypt, Tunisia and Syria without oil wealth had been keeping things quiet by subsidizing the price of food staples and cooking oil. The skyrocketing prices of these items on the world market combined with the rising economies of countries like India and China have made this an impossible solution to continue. Where it used to be Indians and Chinese who suffered when food prices rose dramatically, now it’s the Arabs without oil wealth who are at the bottom of the chain because of their dysfunctional economies, and it’s no coincidence that with the exception of Bahrain and Libya where there were tribal issues involved, all of the Arab Spring revolts have been in countries without oil wealth. It’s also worth noting that in the only the two countries with oil resources that experienced Arab Spring unrest, the Bahrain revolt failed miserably, and that the one in Libya only succeeded because of extensive U.S. assistance.

To cut it down to one a short paragraph, no matter what you’re hearing from the usual suspects, the Arab Spring isn’t about a hankering for democracy. It’s about the price of goods and food.And the Islamists are capitalizing on this (with the help of an Islamist-friendly American administration) by telling the Arab Street that all it’s going to take to fix things is a return to hard line Islamism and sharia.

The second factor is similar to the one operating in Syria, longtime rule by a privileged minority caste. In Syria, it’s the Shia Alawites ruling over a predominantly Sunni population. In Jordan, it’s Bedouins ruling over Palestinians, or Qurayshi Arabs, to give them their proper name.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Sultan Knish with War Is The Answer submitted by The Noisy Room.

OK, here are this week’s full results:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

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

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Line In The Sand Edition

 

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.

Council News:

This week, Right Truth, The Pirate’s Cove, Maggie’s Notebook and Ask Marion took advantage of my generous offer of link whorage and earned honorable mention status with some excellent articles they sent our way.

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.

Simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title 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 6PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category. Then just 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.

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!

This Week’s Forum: What’s Your Reaction To The Gaza Ceasefire?

 

Every week on Monday morning , the Council and invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day. This week’s question:What’s Your Reaction To The Gaza ceasefire?

The Razor:  I’m more sanguine about it than JoshuaPundit, and agree with Haaretz (paywalled at http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-s-pillar-of-defense-achieved-its-goals.premium-1.479674#) that Israel achieved its two strategic goals of reinstating the cease-fire with Hamas and stabilizing the peace with Egypt. Add in the whacking of a few senior Hamas leaders and the success of Iron Dome shooting down the rockets with the mild reaction of the cliché “Arab Street” and I believe it will be hard to paint Israel as the loser in this episode although I’m sure the Leftist media will struggle to portray it that way.

Hamas was clearly acting as Iran’s proxy to draw attention away from its Syrian quagmire. What’s particularly interesting to me is the failure of Hezbollah to join the fray given its reliance on the mullahs in Teheran for funding. Syria is definitely draining the pond it swims in, and the quiet on Israel’s northern frontier says a lot, as does the relatively muted response in the Arab world. The protests in Egypt started as anger against the Morsi regime for failing to support Hamas against Israel and then brokering the peace, but they quickly morphed into protests against the regime’s power grab that has given me a serious case of ear worm with The Who’s classic “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” particularly the line “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” Obama clearly thinks he bought Morsi which I personally doubt; I just hope for America’s sake he stays bought.

But back to the topic, if the missiles begin to sail over the border, Israel can just whack another Hamas leader and the cycle will start again. Israel has clearly learned from its past episodes dealing with Hamas and in my view comes out of this episode stronger than it was when it went into it.

 GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD: Like being hit with a nerf base ball bat. You know something just happened yet are semi sorta unsure exactly what the heck it was.

Disappointment.

At terrible risk of appearing to be a war monger, the Strip Cease Fire seems to only delay the inevitable clash betwixt Little Satan and the now illegit HAMAS regime (no elections in nigh unto a decade? Please). And to what end? A Lo Down Ho Down is looming as all of Little Satan”s Near Abroad begins to exhibit bloody borders – Syria, The Strip, Jordan.

Methinks next time – and there will be a next time – Little Satan should strike 1st and quiz later with a ground assault – faster and heavier than Cast Lead. Easier said than done no doubt – calling up reserves is a pretty obvious signal and alerts friends, frenemies and enemies what may be unfolding.

As Caroline Glick recently LOL”d about doing the Strip:

“To accomplish this Israel will need to invade Gaza and remain in place. It will have to kill or imprison thousands of terrorists, send thousands more packing for Sinai, and then spend years patrolling the streets of Gaza and arresting terrorists just as it does today in Judea and Samaria.”

JoshuaPundit: I think The Razor already linked to my basic feelings above about this.

Israel was presented by President Obama with two bad choices and simply chose the less bad one, which amounts to the status quo ante bellum..except that a good part of Hamas’ Iranian missile armory was destroyed…for now. There will be a next round, and the Israelis know it, which is why so many of them opposed this ceasefire even though their loved ones’ lives were on the line.You can’t appreciate what a people’s army the IDF is unless you’ve seen first hand how Israelis react to it.

Another part of the fallout that isn’t appreciated here (and certainly not by our president) is the way this is going to be seen as a victory over the Jews in the Arab world. It will make Israel’s enemies a great deal bolder next time.

It also had an effect on our relationship not only with Israel but with what’s left of our other allies in the region. They just received fresh evidence that America is not to be depended upon. According to my sources, the Israeli government is particularly livid over what went down.

They had a similar experience with France on the eve of the ’67 war. Expect them to chart a much more independent course in the future, and to look for new allies, especially as their massive oil and gas discoveries come online next year. That’s not so good for America on a lot of levels.

 The Noisy Room:My reaction to the Gaza ceasefire has several facets. My initial response was that it was a horrible mistake militarily. But I realize, that there may be much more to Netanyahu’s response than meets the eye. I am sure he has a strategy that is not obviously apparent.

Evidently he was strong armed into a Hobson’s Choice. Israel wanted to invade with ground forces and completely eliminate Hamas from Gaza. This sounds like a fine plan… enter the US and Egyptian meddlers. They were okay with the original plan, but they wanted to attach a rider. Upon succeeding in this strategy, Israel was to turn over the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority. Additionally, Obama insisted that Israel declare a Palestinian State in Gaza, including also Judea and Samaria, which of course would necessitate removing all Israeli citizens from those areas. And the whole shooting match would be turned over to Abbas. So, in summary, “Go ahead and win this, as long as you take this poison pill too.”

The second option Israel is offered is a hudna, a temporary ceasefire and fragile peace, but Obama and Morsi are calling on Israel to stop all attacks on Gaza, including targeting of individuals. They are also requiring all Palestinian factions to stop hostilities against Israel from Gaza, including rocket fire and attacks along the border. But this won’t stop smaller factions from their campaign of Islamic terror. Israel is going to relax border restrictions with Gaza, which means that weapons smuggling will step up in intensity. Hamas has blatantly stated that they will keep arming their forces.

This is only a brief reprieve. War with Iran and Hamas is coming. Israel may be regrouping for the fight to come. I really hope they’ve got some card up their sleeve no one has seen yet. Otherwise they are in a world of hurt and the pain is just beginning. The US will not have their back and Israel will have to fight alone. At least they will have God on their side.

 The Independent Sentinel: My reaction is that this has been a win for terrorists. They now have a better sense of what Israel can do and our President appeared to be more terrorist appeaser than Israel supporter.

Iran and Hamas get to talk about making Israel scream in pain. Egypt, obviously not much of a help in the negotiations, was praised by the administration for being much of a help.

Morsi responded to the accolades by making himself into a dictator – it’s temporary he claims.

Hamas won’t stop making and smuggling weapons though the daily missiles being lobbed into southern Israel have stopped for now. We now know their missiles have a longer reach.

In the aftermath, protests against Israel are taking place throughout the world.

Israel seems to stand alone and I am very concerned for Israel and the US.

President Obama’s failed foreign policy continues FORWARD.

Oh, but we have peace, don’t we? Only until Gaza replenishes their weapons. Perhaps they are really preparing, along with others, for a massive attack on Israel if she tries to bomb Iran’s nuclear sites.

Other than that, Hillary and Barack did a fine job.

 Rhymes With Right: What do I think of this truce? Frankly, I think it is ill-advised and likely inimical to the best interests of Israel — but then again, hasn’t every truce with terrorists that has ever been forced on Israel by those who are loath to allow it to defend itself from those who would destroy the island of civilization in the midst of the Islamic world?

For those who think I am being too harsh, let’s consider things which have happened in just these last few days.

1) The Egyptian leader — anointed as the guarantor of peace by Barack Obama — has made himself the de facto dictator of his country, and is now facing massive unrest as a segment of his people rise up in protest. How long will he stay in power? Who knows — and is he likely to be the sort of leader who will, in fact, carry out his own commitments to rein in Hamas?

2) Hamas itself has continued with its bellicose statements regarding its eventual intention of destroying the Jews. Does this sound like a peace partner likely to honor the truce? When one considers the first violation came within an hour of the truce going into effect, the answer should be obvious.

3) Iran is already sending vessels ready to resupply Hamas with newer, better weapons to fight Israel — consistent with the drumbeat of genocidal anti-Semitism tha thas been part and parcel of the Islamic Republic’s rhetoric for the last thirty years.

4) For all Barack Obama mouthed the right words in support of Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas, his track record is such that it is impossible to believe he will hold the Arabs’ feet to the fire regarding the terms of the truce — but will require Israel to observe every jot and tittle of it. In this he is little different from all his predecessors, but his previous hostility towards Israel leads me to believe that he will not be so forgiving of Israel taking defensive action as have been previous presidents.

Israel should not have signed off on this agreement — at least not until every political and military leader of Hamas was dead and Gaza swept clean of every weapon more advanced than a sling or a bow. And if that meant more casualties among the civilian population in Gaza, their blood would rightly be reckoned as being on the hands of the Hamas terrorists who chose to war with a neighbor that has for over six decades asked for nothing more than peaceful coexistence with its Arab neighbors. But as Israel is the only civilized participant in the conflict, its leaders felt obliged to exercise restraint — a policy which I fear will mean more innocent blood will flow in the streets of Israel when Hamas again renews its terror campaign.

 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?

The Council Has Spoken!! This Week’s Watcher’s Council Winners

 

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

I and my Council comrades hope all of you had a simply wonderful Thanksgiving. But beware of the Turkey’s revenge!!

 

Democrats and the Left like to call themselves ‘pro-choice’, something that’s always fascinated me. Being statists and fairly totalitarian in outlook, the only thing they really are pro-choice about is abortion on demand. They’re rabidly anti-choice about pretty much everything else..whom you may hire to work for you, what constitutes a marriage, whether you may own firearms, what you may eat,drink or smoke,where you may send your children to school..in fact, pretty much everything else but terminating a pregnancy.

 

They are especially anti-choice when it comes to money you’ve earned and where it gets spent, as this week’s winner, The Razor shows us in this week’s winner, Freedom of Choice: Why Liberals Should Exercise Their Freedom to Pay Higher Taxes. 

Here’s a slice:

To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil. – Charles Krauthammer


It’s interesting to be hated. I’m a white male, married to the same woman for over two decades. We love rescuing animals in the US and working on conservation and health projects in Africa. Together we don’t make enough to qualify for the top 2% of wage earners, but we are uncomfortably close. She works 50+ hours a week in health care, has had her life threatened twice for failing to prescribe narcotics, and daily faces patients who act like their ordering off the
ala cart menu at a Chinese Restaurant, “I’ll have the MRI with antibiotics I don’t really need, oh and a side of Vicodin.” I work at a job that I enjoy for similar hours but as a contractor don’t know where I’ll be working from one month to the next. The only job security I have comes from the combination of my skills, wits and luck.

Aside from being white and conservative (libertarian actually) we are hated because we obviously don’t our fair share. Now granted, technically we’re excused from this requirement because we are not part of the minority being mugged, currently set at the top 2% of taxpayers, but I don’t trust technicalities to protect my family. For example the targets of liberal ire initially were the billionaires and millionaires; then it was 1% for awhile before some of the brighter liberals realized that you can’t soak the top 1% and get all the free healthcare and cell phones you need, so it became 2%. How long before it’s 5%? 10%? Anyone with more than anyone else except those who are more equal than me?

Nobel Prize winning Paul Krugman argues that we should bring back the 91% tax rate. Krugman’s argument in essence is that the American economy grew in the 1950s under the tax rate, workers were safely empowered by unions and as a result of both company executives enjoyed modest remuneration. Of course Krugman doesn’t mention other aspects of the 1950s that may have had something to do with prosperity, such as Republican control of Congress and the White House, and its darker side segregation although the treatment of Col. Allen West by the liberal establishment serves as a reminder of that last item. He does mention that the 91% number is a sham though, writing, “The best estimates suggest that circa 1960 the top 0.01 percent of Americans paid an effective federal tax rate of more than 70 percent, twice what they pay today.”

Wait, top .01%? Didn’t he mean 1% or 2%? No, but today we are talking about a minority 200x larger? And no one paid 91% even though it was on the books. Why? For the same reason we’re in a mess today: the tax code is riddled with loopholes and taxbreaks that the average 2%er isn’t privy to or can’t use.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Walter Russel  Mead at Via Meadia with America, Israel, Gaza, the World submitted by Joshuapundit.In it, Mead has an interesting take on why most Americans differ so much from the average  European when it comes to their views on Israel.

 OK, here are this week’s full results. Gay Patriot, The Right Planet and Simply Jews were unable to vote this week, but none was 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!

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Am Yisrael Chai Edition

The Israelis finally got sick and tired of having rockets, Iranian supplied missiles and mortars being fired at their civilians by Hamas and decided to do something about it. And as always, every time Israel defends itself, it’s somehow controversial.

The whole scenario reminds me of the old movie ‘Groundhog Day’. The Israelis are attacked, they defend themselves, they’re forced by international pressure to stop short of totally eradicating the threat, there a sort of ceasefire and the whole cycle repeats itself a few years later once their enemies regroup and re-arm.

The same accusations of ‘disproportionate response’ likewise resurface each time. Protesters in the EU probably know by now to store those defaced Israeli flags with a swastika replacing the Mogen David in the closet for future use rather than buying new ones.

The case of Gaza is particularly egregious. When the Israelis agreed to sign on to the Road Map and ethnically cleanse Jews from Gaza as one of the conditions, they were given iron-clad security guarantees by the U.S., the EU,The Egyptian government and the Palestinian Authority who were supposedly going to be running the place that Gaza would never be allowed to become a security threat to Israel again.

Surprise, surprise.

At this point, the entire situation is something Lewis Carrol couldn’t have dreamed up in his wildest opium fantasies.

Israel has nothing to do with running Gaza, yet they’re deemed ‘occupiers’ officially by the UN.

Hamas is an openly genocidal organization, yet the Israelis are faulted because negotiating with Hamas has been a dead end.And they’re also expected to treat seriously with countries like Egypt and the Palestinian Authority that defend them.

Israel is at war now with Hamas, yet Gaza still receives gas, electricity and water courtesy of Israel.

And wackiest of all, here we have terrorist entity shooting Iranian supplied missiles at Israel’s major cities and hiding behind a civilian population and it is the Israelis who are being told on one hand they have a right to defend themselves and in the same breath are cautioned not to defend themselves by dealing with the threat decisively, something any other nation would do in a heartbeat.

Secretary of State Clinton is in the region and there are rumors of another ‘ceasefire’ being brokered. Unfortunately, there’s no lasting peace possible in this instance without removing Hamas from the equation permanently. We’ll see what develops.

This week’s contest, of course, is dedicated to the land and people of Israel, her armed forces and to a true and lasting peace.

For those of you interested in investing a little time seconding that sentiment, my friend Lori Lowenthal Marcus of Z-Street has something happening this week that will allow you to get directly involved with the Decision Maker in this situation if you wish.

It’s geared towards Jews, but those of you whom aren’t can improvise quite easily, and your input will be most welcome.

-Selah-

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.

Council News:

This week, Ask Marion and Right Truth took advantage of my generous offer of link whorage and earned honorable mention status with some excellent pieces they sent in.

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.

Simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title a link to the piece you want considered along with an e-mail address (which won’t be published) in the comments section of any entry no later than Monday 6PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category. Then just return the favor by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for the week.

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?

And last but not least, I and my fellow Council members also join together in wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving.

OK! 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!