Forum: What Are Your Predictions For 2014?

Every week on Monday morning , the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or simply daily living. This week’s question:What Are Your Predictions For 2014?

GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD : 2014 will have similar themes to its predecessor.

The wider Middle East will continue to be convulsed by the uprisings of recent years, the Iran/Great Satan relationship will require close attention, the rise of China and re-emergence of Japan should mean headlines coming out of the South China Sea.

The possibility of war between Iran and Great Satan receded across 2013.
Now 2014 throws up the possibility of detente between them, but it will be a difficult road.

If the interim nuclear deal becomes a comprehensive one, detente is possible, if it falls apart then war will again begin to feature in the headlines.

China is emerging on to the world stage at a steady rate, and under the Premiership of Shinzo Abe Japan is re-emerging almost 60 years after the end of the World War Two.

They will bump up against each other with ripples washing up against the US Navy and countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines.

China is building a blue water navy, pushing out into the Pacific. To do that it has to sail past Japan and there things get a bit crowded.

At the same time there is a fledging arms race between China and India amid continuing tensions between the two along the Himalayas.

In 2014, Aegypt will hold parliamentary and presidential elections.
Whoever wins – their power will be limited in a fractured country in danger of becoming bankrupt.

Next door in Libya, the state didn’t fall apart because it has yet to come together following the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi in 2011.

Tripoli was the scene of many gun battles as different militia took on each other and the fledging official armed forces in what is a capital city in name only. The second city Benghazi saw similar scenes amid fears that Libya might disintegrate.

Like Syria. Now some Syrian opposition groups are fighting ‘Al Qaeda in Syria’, who are fighting the Syrian Kurds, who are also fighting the Syrian opposition, who are still fighting Assad.

Damascus has held yet it’s hard to see how it will ever again dominate the whole country. The state lines drawn in the sand by the colonialists a century ago are disappearing.

Al Qaeda does its best to make things worse. We will hear more from al Qaeda in 2014, but its stated aim of creating an Islamic caliphate from which to dominate the world has advanced little since the AQ declarations of war in 1996 and 1998.

Brazil will continue to rise, Russia will continue to dominate its ‘near abroad’ after a string of policy successes clawing back the influence it lost in the aftermath of the collapse of communism.

Iraq will hold an election which will show how fractured the country still is two years after the Americans went home.

And Afghanistan will hold a presidential election showing how fragile it is ahead of the troop pull-out at the end of the year.

Speaking of fragility, the elections for the European Parliament in late May will show the strength or weakness of loyalty to the main stream post-war consensus across the continent.

The National Front will win huge numbers of votes in France, and UKIP is likely to do well in the UK. The former may well be a reflection of voting intentions in French domestic elections, the latter will frighten the three big British political parties.

Scottish independence? Unlikely, but possible, however that’s the future, and if you want to make God laugh – tell him your plans.

And I’m too crunk to write anymore. Happy New Year!

 The Razor : I used to make predictions at TheRazor, and the problem I discovered was not being wrong but with my timing. I predicted Elizabeth Taylor would die in 2007, but she waited until 2011. I pegged Nelson Mandela for that year too and he held on until this month. And I foresaw the collapse of the housing and stock market bubbles – but just not in a financially useful way. Both held on longer than I expected. As Keynes once said, the market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent. This year I even tried, betting a small amount against JC Penney and lost, although I expect that the retailer will fold sometime in 2014. Like people it’s easy to make a general prediction that a company will die. After all everyone does; it’s the timing that’s challenging.

For 2014 I’m predicting the collapse of the stock market bubble again. I can’t believe we’ve got another one so soon after the 2008 and valuations are up there with 17th century tulip bulbs. Bears have been burned the past two years and more will likely suffer before this market becomes rational, but eventually financial gravity will reassert itself, and I’ll venture that 2014 will be the year it does. If I’m wrong about this next year I’m going to start testing the bottled water supply for LSD. Twitter is valued at $40 billion and hasn’t made a single dollar in profit. Not a one. Wall Street is tripping balls and doing the whole glow-stick thing listening to techno. $40 billion? Duuude is the company valuation I see the same one you see? Faaar oooout…

2014 will also be the year the GOP BEGINS to get serious. The 2014 elections are theirs for the taking, so I expect that will steel some minds within the party and the lackadaisical leadership we’ve had over the past few years will get a makeover. The leaders that come out of the 2014 elections will be the ones we talk about in 2016. On second thought maybe I’m tripping. Boehner and Priebus aren’t going anywhere and neither is the GOP.

China is going to pick a fight with someone – likely someone small like the Philippines or Vietnam although a newly militarizing Japan might be the adversary. The US will be caught off-guard as it has been over everything important for the past five years. This administration reminds me of the deer I see while driving around these parts at night except the deer have better scruples. No deer ever let an ambassador die or sent the IRS after its enemies, at least none of the ones I see on my property. China is a lumbering giant and is going to step on someone – soon.

The cultural divide between the establishment elites and the citizenry as exemplified by the current Duck Dynasty scandal will grow, although interest in Duck Dynasty itself will flare out. Reality TV shows have lifespans, and with each success they seem to grow shorter. Personally I’m fed up with the genre and find myself watching scripted dramas and comedies although through broadband outlets like Amazon Prime and Netflix. I went without DirecTV for four days this week and didn’t suffer at all. It’s going to be harder to justify rising cable and satellite rates when you can watch whatever you want commercial free via broadband.
As for the Obama administration, I only have one question: How low can it go? After the blatant lies and revelations of 2013 nothing would shock me with this lot. I keep on falling back on Hanlon’s Razor to attribute the blatant disregard for the Constitution and 230+ years of American foreign policy history, but after awhile that excuse no longer works. Stupidity and gross incompetence will only take you so far; you need pure narcissism fueled by amorality to take you to where we’ve been the past 5 years. Until Obama I thought Carter was the worst president in modern American history followed closely by Nixon. Carter would never have painted himself into a corner with his rhetoric over Syria as Obama did in 2013. Nixon would never have used the IRS to attack an entire class of his enemies. What surprise lurk in 2014 for the Obama administration? On one hand I can’t wait to find out; on the other hand I want to disappear to a cottage on an Irish moor before I do.

One should be hopeful at this time of year for the future, but I just can’t be. My optimistic predictions of the past always failed; Paris Hilton did not overdose. McCain did not beat Hillary in ‘08 and Obama did not lose his re-election. But I seemed to do well on the pessimist side.

So going with my prior success, we’re screwed in 2014. Seriously. Doomed with a capital D – OOMED! In a year you’ll look back and say that Scott from The Razor predicted the year accurately and you’ll beg Rob not to ask him to predict 2015.

Oh, and lest I forget, Happy New Year!

The Colossus of Rhodey: 1) Obumble, er, ObamaCare will continue to unravel. As more deadlines approach, anger over the law will increase. Obama will continue to try to unilaterally alter various provisions, and this will lead to a constitutional showdown. There will be no real attempt at impeachment due to political considerations; however, the House GOP will finally seek judicial remedies.

2) The GOP will take control of the Senate with a narrow majority. They’ll keep Harry Reid’s “nuclear option” as a rule.

3) The GOP will slightly increase its majority in the House.

4) Obama’s personal and job approval numbers will continue to plummet.

5) The mainstream media will continue to do its best to support Obama.

 JoshuaPundit: At the risk of sounding rather pessimistic, I think 2014  will be a year of reckoning.

The House will remain more or less as it is, with a few seats fluctuating  plus or minus for the current Republican majority. I do not believe Republicans will win the Senate, although they may pick up a couple of seats. The reasons for this will be (A) The warfare the GOP establishment will wage on Tea Party backed candidates.  (B) The preponderance of  ‘Libertarian’ candidates, some of whom will be Democrat financed and suck up 8-12% of the vote, similar to what happened in the recent governor’s race in Virginia (C) Outright voter fraud combined with a massive black turnout in the Democrats’ urban enclaves ginned up to ‘protect ‘ Obama from being impeached. Blacks will continue to support him uncritically in spite of his policies that disproportionally damage African-Americans.

Speaker John Boehner will likely at least partially rescue the Democrats from the consequences of ObamaCare by pushing through amnesty for illegal aliens, in spite of the fact that based on the 2012 figures, fully two thirds of the available legal Hispanic vote either voted Republican or stayed home.

ObamaCare will still remain the law of the land at the end of 2014, in spite of being Biblically unpopular. I fully expect a taxpayer funded bailout to be approved either by executive order or congress to ‘save the insurance industry’. The media will not concentrate on the fact that the bail out in necessitated by the damage done to the industry by ObamaCare.

Attacks on traditional American values and on Christianity will continue. I cannot predict what the backlash on this could be, or if it will even exist.

The economy in general will be in flux. Americans will sense that something’s very wrong, but will have trouble pinpointing it because the figures on things like unemployment and inflation will continue to be gamed. They definitely will notice higher prices on food, fuel, energy, and basic commodities because of the Obama Administration’s costly regulatory diktats by the EPA and other agencies. You will likely see more people working less hours at multiple jobs as employers cut hours to evade ObamaCare.

There will be defacto gun control in many Blue run states using heavy taxation on gun ownership and permits and on the sales of firearms and ammunition. I’d advise people to stock up now and to learn how to reload their own ammo.

The Dow will continue to rise simply because there are so few if any  places to invest and get any kind of return that beats inflation. There may very well be a correction later in the year, (Twitter worth $40 billion????) and as always, some savvy investors will jump off the bus beforehand while other will stay abroad and get slaughtered.

In foreign affairs, the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks will go nowhere.In April,the talks will collapse, which is the Palestinian strategy, so that Abbas can blame Israel and go to the UN to demand Palestinian statehood along the indefensible pre-1967 lines. Barack Obama will instruct his hand-picked UN Ambassador Samantha Power to abstain so that this will pass.the Security Council.

I expect Iran to make a successful nuclear test in 2014. What the Israelis will do then is unpredictable, but I don’t expect them to sit quietly, especially if the scenario I predict when it comes to the Palestinians and the American betrayal plays out. I also predict as a consequence of this that Israel becomes closer to China and possibly even Russia, especially as both countries extend their influence in the Middle East.

Syria will settle into a quasi-stalemate, while Iraq will continue to be wracked by terrorism as a consequence of essentially disenfranchising its Sunnis. Turkey may very well see a change in government, but it that happens it will be a quasi Islamist/Turkic Nationalist government led by the Gülenists ousting  the Muslim Brotherhood oriented Islamist government of Erdoğan and the AKP. rather than secular democracy if it does. That would still likely be a change for the better as far as the West is concerned.

The situation in the western Pacific will continue to be volatile, as China expands its blue water navy while we retreat and U.S.allies like Japan and Australia realize that the Obama Administration’s ‘Pacific Pivot’ is meaningless. Look for Japan in particular to revamp its military.

In fact, I predict that the former democratic U.S. allies of the Anglosphere, Australia, Canada and India will all become increasingly independent when it comes to the U.S.

No security agreement will be signed and we will leave Afghanistan in 2014, having accomplished nothing.

One positive aspect of 2014 will be that most Americans will begin to look more honestly at where our Republic is heading. That could very well set the stage for more positive changes in direction in the future.

 Virginia Right! : Obamacare will continue to be the top story. As people begin to use their plans and discover that in addition to paying a pretty penny for coverage, the doctor’s and hospital bills will be unaffordable after the Obamacare plan pays the paltry amount it will pay. People will not be able to afford the copay and deductible portion they are required to pay and also pay the monthly premiums. The newly covered people will be unable to pay their portion and will essentially still be uncovered.

The Republican war on the TEA Party will make holding the House an up hill battle and winning the Senate an impossible dream as TEA Party activists turn on Republicans and run Conservative alternatives as third party candidates in the general election. Establishment Republicans are already nearly indistinguishable from Democrats and the war on all things TEA will only result in Democratic victories. The only saving grace will be Obamacare.

The victory in the Duck Dynasty persecution of Phil Robertson will carry into 2014 as more people will challenge the left wing bullies demanding Christians abandon Bible teachings and beliefs.

The economy will suffer a major meltdown in 2014.

The Glittering Eye :Last year I didn’t make any predictions on my blog. For a number of years at the beginning of each year I made twenty some-odd predictions on areas from the economy to politics to sports to the Academy Awards, recapping at the end of the year to see how my predictions for that year had faredt. My typical accuracy of prediction was between 80-90%.

One of the things I noticed was that although my predictions were generally right I also failed to predict the biggest stories of the year. For example, this year I wouldn’t have predicted the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio to the papacy, Edward Snowden’s absconding with his trove of NSA secrets, or that the debut of Healthcare.gov would have been bungled in such a dramatic fashion.

At this point I don’t have any plans to make my annual predictions on my blog. However, in a spirit of bonhomie I’ll pitch in here to contribute some predictions.

By the end of 2014 marriage between same-sex partners will be legalized in all 50 states of the United States, effectively mandated by the U. S. Supreme Court.

As of December 31, 2014 the U. S. unemployment rate will be 7% plus or minus .2%. It will feel much worse, few will really believe the statistics, and BLS statistics will be entering the territory of the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics, whose reports are almost universally disbelieved.

Between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014 the real gross domestic product will have increased by less than 3%. It could be much, much worse. I think it’s about 3:2 that we’ve entered a recession by the end of the year.

12 Years a Slave will win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Sandra Bullock will win for Best Actress. Robert Redford will win for Best Actor.

By March 31, 2014 fewer than 3.5 million people will have signed up for insurance via the healthcare insurance exchanges whether Healthcare.gov or the various state-run exchanges. That’s just a little more than 1% of Americans, 10% of the number of people without healthcare insurance, and half the number projected by the CBO. Proponents of the PPACA will proclaim the exchanges a success. On December 31, 2014 the PPACA will still be on the books.

Israel will not have attacked Iran. Iran will not have suspended its enrichment program.

Republicans will pick up seats in the House and Senate, holding control of the House but narrowly failing to gain control of the Senate.

Illinois’s reformed public pension plan will be struck down by the courts.

Here’s the prediction in which I have the most confidence: none of my predictions, with the possible exception of my same-sex marriage prediction, will be among the top stories of the year for 2014.

Rhymes With Right : Predictions, predictions, predictions — do I have predictions for 2014? You bet I do.

Let’s break them down by category

World Affairs

1)We’ll finally see the death of Fidel Castro. The Left around the world will mourn deeply.

2)The current Turkish government will fall, and a more secular regime will replace it — returning the nation to its historical political configuration.

3)Nobody will do anything serious about the instability in Syria because there are no good guys there — which means a year from now Assad will still be killing his people and Islamists will still be trying to overthrow him.

4) Iran will continue working towards nuclear weapons — and Israel will continue to show restraint, not launching a military attack on the Islamic Republic. However, there will be more “unexpected deaths” of researchers, “industrial accidents” and “software problems” that most will understand are the results of Israeli efforts to provide for its own security.

5)The Christian population of the Middle East will continue to be persecuted and the governments of the West will continue to ignore the violence against followers of Christ in the region.

National Affairs

1) The GOP will hold the House of Representatives, even picking up a handful of seats as a part of the ObamaCare backlash.

2) The GOP will also win the US Senate — but will hold only 51 seats following bruising primaries against incumbents and a couple of meltdowns by “not ready for prime-time” nominees.

3)Barack Obama will continue to govern using the same playbook as the late Hugo Chavez, issuing executive decrees and making illegal recess appointments despite the restrictions on executive power contained in the Constitution.

4)Chief Justice John Roberts will write a 5-4 majority opinion on the ObamaCare birth control mandate — and will deliver a stinging defeat to Barack Obama by striking down the mandate on First Amendment grounds.

5)Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden will both declare their candidacy for President before Christmas. So will at least three Republicans — one of whom will be Chris Christie. Thus begins the long slog to November of 2016.

Texas Affairs

1) Despite drawing a great deal of national attention — and out of state money — Wendy Davis will NOT be elected Governor. Greg Abbott will be elected with over 55% of the vote.

2)Republicans will hold on to all statewide elected offices and both houses of the legislature. Among the statewide winners will be Jerry Patterson as Lt. Governor and George P. Bush as Texas Land Commissioner.

3) While Senator John Cornyn will face a crowded primary field that includes Congressman Steve Stockman, he will be the Republican nominee for Senate and will hold the seat for the GOP in November.

4)As the CD36 GOP primary has 12 candidates, the nomination will be decided in a runoff between two candidates who have garnered only about 20% of the vote each in the primary. The ultimate victor will be Seabrook businessman Dave Norman.

5) In 2014, the Houston Texans have their third number one draft pick since 2002. In 2006, they did the unexpected thing and drafted Mario Williams despite Reggie Bush being the consensus #1 pick of experts and Vince Young being the fans sentimental favorite — but this year we will see them pick a quarterback with that first pick. And no, it won’t be Fresno State’s Derek Carr, the younger brother of their 2002 number one pick — it will be the very safe and very expected Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville, despite sentimental fan hopes for Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel.

 The Independent Sentinel:Predictions for 2014: John Podesta will push through Mr. Obama’s agenda on global warming, immigration, and any other far-left idea that comes up. No one will be held accountable for anything except Republicans who will be blamed for everything. We will be lied to by the administration and the media will swear it’s true. The media will be very busy preparing for the second coming of Hillary Clinton who will diet and get Botox injections. Nancy Pelosi will make idiotic statements. Republicans will take over the Senate, at least they had better. If Republicans don’t get the Senate back, we’re toast.

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.

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

 

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.

 The one who conceals hatred has lying lips, and whoever utters slander is a fool.– Proverbs 10:18

“We do not merely destroy our enemies; we change them.” – George Orwell, 1984

This week’s winner, The Noisy Room’s  The Silencing of the Ducks is her sharp, well written examination of the recent A&E/Duck Dynasty controversy and what it reveals about the Angry Left’s attempt at thought control and the war on America’s culture…including traditional Christianity and the right to profess its values. Here’s a slice:

I did not start viewing Duck Dynasty until a few months ago. It has since become our favorite show and we can’t get enough of it. Christian values, real people, guns and hunting – what’s not to love? But it would seem that being a Christian and espousing your beliefs in America is now becoming ever more dangerous. As RedState pointed out, ultimately you will care and you will have to take a stand and take sides.

Phil Robertson, the patriarch of Duck Dynasty, just did a GQ interview where he stated his Christian beliefs, which included those concerning Gays. This whole blowup is not so much about the Gay issue, but far more about the Constitution and the First Amendment. In the interview, Phil was asked if he thought homosexuality was sinful:

“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he told GQ, before paraphrasing the Bible in Corinthians. “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

For telling the truth and stating what he personally believed, A&E put him on indefinite hiatus. They fired him. I would be very surprised if the family did not tell A&E to stuff it. They managed to take THE most popular rated show ever and scuttle it. Phil had told A&E earlier that if they insisted he remove God or guns from his show, they were through:

On May 9, Greensboro, NC country station 93.1 The Wolf reported that after receiving complaints over prayers to God and the frequent use of guns on air, Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson said, “God and guns are part of our everyday lives [and] to remove either of them from the show is unacceptable.”

Sarah Palin came to Phil’s defense with the following quote:

Free speech is an endangered species. Those “intolerants” hatin’ and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us.

She’s right and this will backfire on A&E and all the others out there that are anti-Christian. Phil Robertson just became a warrior for God and the Constitution and I am sure he is up to the task. An attack on one Christian, is an attack on all of us. Time to draw our line in the Marxist sand.

Much more at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Victor Davis Hanson with  Pajama Boy Nation submitted by Joshuapundit. It’s an examination of the metrosexual Pajama Boy used as a shill fro ObamaCare and what it says about the Left and how they see the country.  This opening paragraphs are a nice taste:

Will Kane of High Noon Pajama Boy wasn’t. Somehow we as a nation went from the iconic Marlboro Man to Pajama Boy — from the noble individual with a bad habit to the ignoble without a good habit — without a blink in between. 

There are lots of revolting things in the Pajama Boy ad. After all, how can you top all at once a nerdy-looking child-man dressed in infantile pajamas while cradling a cup of hot chocolate with the smug assurance that he is running your life more than you his?

Do read it.

OK, so here are this week’s full results. Both the Mellow Jihadi and VA Right were unable to vote this week,but neither was subject to the usual 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 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!

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Christmas Day Edition

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Ah, Christmas…a time for warmth and family, as the Dropkick Murphys remind us:

No worries Ken..we know you’re just funnin’…

But also, on more serous note, a time for faith:

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At this time, our thoughts and prayers need to go out for Christians under siege in the Middle East and elsewhere, where, with the exception of Israel, the one country in the Middle East where the Christian population is actually growing, they are systematically being ethnically cleansed by Muslims.

This shares something with the Holocaust, because once again there is an obscene conspiracy of silence and cowardice by the West to avoid confronting the perpetrators and protecting or at least providing a haven to the victims.For instance, President Obama, who likes to remind us that he is a Christian just sent troops to the new country of South Sudan because of tribal unrest there between the government and a rival tribal faction. He never saw fit to do anything like that to protect these people from assault by the Arab Islamist government of the Sudan and the orgy of rape, torture and murder perpetrated on Black Christians by the Muslim Janjiweed militias in South Sudan and Darfur. Nothing.

At this time of year, I urge all of us to pray for these beleaguered Christians and to raise holy you-know-what to demand that our respective governments to put these Christians’ lives and well being ahead of appeasing Islam. I run a serious risk of operating outside my pay grade here, as our president would say, but I flatter myself in thinking that I think it’s what Jesus would expect… not only of Christians but of all of us.

OK, rant over. Sorry about that.

Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere, and in our second decade 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:

Today is not only Christmas Day, but additionally special in that it is the birthday of our friend and colleague Dave Schuler, of The Glittering Eye.

Ordinarily, I pick out a cake and some liquid libation for these celebrations, and this is no exception.

German chocolate, I think:

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And perhaps chilled Veuve Cliquot to drink…brut, of course.

https://i1.wp.com/www.veuve-clicquot.com/sites/default/files/optimized/hist_sign-yellow.jpg?resize=375%2C479

Dave and I have known each other for some time now. In fact, he predates me on the Council. When I first got the nod from the original Watcher, I replaced a blog called New Sisyphus, if memory serves me, and I remember he wrote something to the effect that he had enjoyed New Sisyphus but was going to wait and see on this Joshuapundit fella. I hope I’ve lived up to his expectations…certainly he’s lived up to mine. I have never ceased to appreciate his wide range of interests, his clarity of thought, his dry sense of humor or the friendship and collegiality we’ve shared.

Many, many happy returns Dave.


This week
, Ask Marion , Right Truth, The Independent Sentinel, and The Pirate’s Cove took advantage of my generous offer of link whorage and earned honorable mention status.

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. Here’s how to bring something you want considered to my attention.

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 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 take a look at what we have this week….and our heartfelt wishes to all of you for a joyous and blessed Christmas from the Watcher’s Council:

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!

Forum: What Do You Think The Meaning Of Christmas Is? What Does It Mean To You?



Every week on Monday morning , the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture or just daily life. This week’s question
: What Do You Think The Meaning Of Christmas Is? What Does It Mean To You?

 The Independent Sentinel: For me, Christmas means getting together with family and friends to celebrate the birth and life of Christ. He modeled and exemplified the virtues I strive to attain. It is a time to give generously and wish people well in his name.

For all the people on the left, he was not a socialist. He was a religious leader and, for some of us, he is God. In either case, he was above politics.

Christmas is a National Holiday and should be above politics. It should be fun for everyone. It has historical significance because of who our Founding Fathers were.

There is enough that is secular about it to make it acceptable to everyone if they will allow it. One can have a black Santa, a winter tree…it doesn’t matter.

People should be glad for the day with loved ones and have a good time.

 Liberty’s Spirit: I have gone through a bit of an evolution about Christmas in my lifetime. Being Jewish we did not celebrate Christmas in any way shape or form growing up. We did not sing carols nor participate in the Christmas programs in school. And yes they had Christmas pageants in our public school. I grew up in the deep South, my family having moved from New York. We moved to Memphis one month after MLK was assassinated and after the Supreme Court had made prayer illegal in public school. Not that anyone in any of my schools paid that Supreme Court ruling much heed.

During my first year in Memphis, my parents informed the school that my sister and I, the only Jewish students in the school, would not be participating in the Christmas pageant. From that moment on, the teachers decided to torment us. We were not allowed to participate in music class and during the school-wide presentation of each class’ song, my sister and I were singled out, sent to sit by ourselves away from the other children into the back of the auditorium. The following year they didn’t even bother to bring us to the auditorium, we were told to stay in our classrooms, alone, without adult supervision until the school assembly was over. That particular teacher that year, enjoyed reading from the Bible the one line passage about how the Jews killed Christ as well. When I objected, she retorted that I didn’t know what I was talking about and I should sit down and be quiet before I got into trouble. The following year, my sister was beaten up by a boy in her class because she refused to kneel. The teacher looked on and did nothing. Simply turned around and walked out of the classroom while my sister was attacked. We were respectively in 3-5th grade during those years.

So what effect did it have on me, this antisemitism around the Christmas holiday? Well it did not predispose me to the season at all. I not only grew to resent the season but those who were religious Christians as well. For every carol sung I felt the sting of hatred that happened to me as a small child. I felt they tried to make me ashamed of my Jewish heritage but infact all they did was reinforce in me the desire and need to be Jewish. But what it also did was to make me feel a stranger in m own nation. The country that my father had fought for during Korea and that I had been taught to love and respect didn’t want me. I think that is what I resented the most. That someone out there thought they could try to take from me my rights as an American because I was Jewish.

And now?

Life has a way of changing your perspectives. Not because the sting of the ignorance I faced has faded. Not by any means. But in reality over the years, some of the people who have been the kindest and most endearing to my children have been religious Christians. When you have a child, especially one with special needs, you seek out those who are best for your child. It turns out that the village we created for my sons had people from every walk of life, every religion, every race and most creeds. That I saw all the professionals, work so very hard to enable my sons to have a true future, that to me was more important than holding on to the feeling of the marginalized little girl from so many decades ago. I also learned from these people what it meant to be a real Christian and live those values.

But you know what also changed? I think America as a whole changed too. There is more acceptance of all religions. Its as simple as hearing a Hanukkah greeting on the radio or television, having the children learn Hanukkah music at holiday time in public school, studying in some manner the Holocaust, seeing Jewish politicians, Jewish captains of industry and even when a Jewish Senator ran for Vice President. It’s having May designated Jewish history month too. It’s an acknowledgement that Jews were, and are, an integral part of the American landscape almost from the very beginning of our nation’s history. (As an aside I did read in a history book when I was in 7th grade about Chaim Solomon, a Jewish merchant who gave up his fortune so the American colonies could buy what it need for the Continental army. Little did I know at the time, that I would one day grow up to marry one of his descendants.In truth that little blurb in a history book helped that little Jewish girl living in the deep south who had been so wrongly treated. I remember at the time feeling pride and knowing that noone can take away my American heritage from me, no matter how hard they tried.)

So what does Christmas mean to me now? It is a holiday time when the majority of Americans celebrate a joyful holiday. Decorations are abundant, happiness and hope is in the air. It is a time when the impossible could become possible. It’s a reminder of the human spirit and what humanity could accomplish if it actually wanted to.

As far as what do we, a Jewish family do on Christmas Day? Well we do what most Jewish-Americans do….go to the movies and order in Chinese food.

 Bookworm Room : First and foremost, the meaning of Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Christ. It makes no difference that Christ was probably born around March. December 25 is his official birthday, and he deserves a big celebration.

Second, Christmas is about bringing light to winter’s dark days. It’s no coincidence that a 3rd century pope blended the Celtic Yule and the Roman Saturnalia, both celebrated around the winter solstice, into Christmas. The dark days force contemplation, but they also demand celebration.

Third, Christmas is about generosity. At the religious level, Christ grew up to give his life to save mankind, which is the ultimate generous act. At a less rarefied (or, should I say, deified) level, Christmas is about presents. Unfortunately, though, most American parents have realized that their generosity is just the flip side of their children’s sense of entitlement. To me, though, there’s a more fundamental generosity around Christmas in America: American Christians share this holiday. You don’t have to believe in “Christ the Savior” to enjoy the music, the lights, and the festivities. I don’t put lights on my house, but I’m free to drive around and admire other people’s house. Unlike certain other countries that shall go nameless, America’s Christians share their holiday with me, rather than foisting it upon me with social pressure or violence.

I adore Christmas. I love the music, I love the lights, I love the happiness that fills those people who aren’t bogged down in the whole commercial aspect, and I love living in a country where I am free not to celebrate Christmas but, instead, can freely celebrate others’ joy.

 JoshuaPundit: I don’t mind at all admitting that I really like Christmas.

Not for the usual reasons, probably. I don’t celebrate it per se. There’s no religious context for me, although I certainly find the faith that others express moving. The thought of slogging through a mall any time of year let alone Christmas sees me gritting my teeth and think ‘hmmm, flight,or fight?’

My main thought about the lights and decorations, honestly,  is that they’re kinda pretty but I’m  very glad I don’t have to put them up, although I confess to being moved by  nativity scenes here and there and some of the wonderful art that this holiday has inspired over the years. I can’t imagine anyone with an ounce of musical taste listening to Handel’s  Messiah or some of the carols in the right setting and not being moved. Christmas trees? I’d rather see one live out in the forest.

Yet the irony is that all of these things contribute to what I most like about Christmas..they are sort of triggers for the spirit that seems to permeate everyone during this time, including me. At least, unless you consciously choose to close yourself off from it.

People are easier, nicer to one another. They give of themselves. They smile more, and treat each other with more courtesy, generosity of spirit and decency.. The cop who ordinarily might ticket you for going 35 in a 30 mile zone to meet his monthly quota will say ‘Heck, it’s Christmas. Just be more careful, OK?’ People go out of their way to do favors for you or help you out in ways they ordinarily wouldn’t because it’s, you know, Christmas.

I suppose, in a way, what people are trying to do is to imitate how they view the behavior of Jesus Christ to the extent they can. That’s a beautiful thing. And being a Jew, I have to admit that I’m far more comfortable with non-Jews who embrace that spirit as opposed to those who don’t.

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

 GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD:A celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ the Saviour. “For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever will believeth on Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life” St John 3:16

The Glittering Eye: The basic belief that Christians hold is the transcendental made immanent. “For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son”. There’s no use in trying to rationalize that belief. It’s irrational. It’s mystical. Christmas is our celebration of that mystery.

That Jesus came among us as weak, helpless, and poor is a reminder to us of just how great that love was.

The basic vocation of Christians is the imitation of Christ. We are to imitate Jesus in humility, in love, in caring, and in healing.

It is at this time of year that I am reminded most forcefully of what a poor excuse for a Christian I am but that the new year is an opportunity for me to try and do better.

May we all see the love and grace of God in our families, friends, and all those we meet this Christmas season and may be do our best to show that love to others.

 Well, there you have it.

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


The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast, and another Watcher’s Council match up is engraved in the vast halls of cyberspace!

The winner this week, The Right Planet’s excellent I Don’t Believe In Defeat is aptly named,because it concerns the mindset and the tactics used in times of conflict. Here’s a slice:

A little while back I was on Twitter and started to express my frustration with something I’ve seen too much over my lifetime; and it’s only gotten worse, in my opinion. I’m referring to what I would call a “spirit of defeatism.”

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve listened to people say they believe the whole game is rigged, so to speak. The “man” is in total control and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. In the end, according to the defeatists, we’re just cogs in a giant machine being controlled by mysterious dark forces that we have no control over; but they have total control over us, as the story goes; we are simply helpless victims who are powerless to do anything about it: “It’s just how it is.”

This sort of defeatism has never sat well with me, because at the end of the day–even if it were all true, and it may be, for all I know–it’s an excuse to do absolutely nothing about anything. Why should one waste any energy trying to change something for the better that cannot be changed?

But I can’t help, at times, to feel the frustration, anger, and even downright demoralization, of living in a world where so much evil does exist. I always agreed with Ephesians 6:10 in the Bible: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

I don’t believe in defeat, even though defeat may be a part of life, even our own–which brings me to the ancient military philosopher Sun Tzu and his view of defeat. Years ago I read the book The Art of War by Sun Tzu. The book left a big impression on me. It is not a lengthy work. One might argue it’s not really a book per se.

Although Sun Tzu wrote The Art of War, it really is a collection of maxims from many sources throughout history that Sun Tzu collected and organized, along with his own maxims on war. I quickly discovered it’s not a book you read just once and put down; it’s really a reference you return to over and over again. People refer to the Bible regularly as a reference, and often see something new in it each time they read it. Sun Tzu’s treatise is much the same way; it could be thought of as the bible on warfare.

One day, not too long ago, following a day of frustration with certain individuals who I would say are seriously afflicted with the cancer of defeatism, I got on Twitter and sent out the following Tweet:

Brent Parrish ® ‏ @therightplanet1

Sun Tzu did not believe in DEFEAT. He just changed tactics when confronted w/ a superior or inferior force. ONE WORD: VICTORY!

Thomas Huynh @SunTzuShine

@therightplanet1 You got that right

What’s interesting is who replied. It wasn’t just anybody; it was Thomas Huyne. At first, I wasn’t sure who he was, but for some reason his name and face just rang a bell. And then I thought about it a little more and wondered if I had seen him interviewed somewhere, or if it was his name that I recognized. The only thing I could think of was a rare documentary on Sun Tzu and The Art of War I saw on the History Channel a while back. So I Tweeted Mr. Huyne and asked him if he had anything to do with the documentary. Huyne responded by saying, yes, indeed, he was one of the primary consultants for the History Channel’s documentary on The Art of War.

Much more at the link

In our Non-Council category,the winner was Council alumni David Gerstmanfrom Le.gal In.sur.rec.tion with Al Qaeda is on the Run …to Everywhere submitted by Liberty’s Spirit.

David took on President Obama’s famous statement about al-Qaeda being ‘on the run’ and gave it a pretty vicious going over..a great read.

OK, here are this weeks’ full results. Both The Razor and The Mellow Jihadi were unable to vote this week, but neither was subject to the usual 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!