Our Watcher’s Council Nominations – Trumped Edition

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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:

This week we were sad indeed to say goodbye to long time Council member Brent Parrish at The Right Planet.

Brent is taking a hiatus from blogging to concentrate on family and business concerns, and all of us wish him the best. And of course, as a plugged in member of the WoW community, we’ll look forward to hearing from from him in the future in our Forum,our inter-Council threads and perhaps, even an article as a non-council submission if he gets the bug to write again, which we certainly hope he will.

This means we currently have a vacancy on the Watcher’s Council, the oldest and most established blogging group in the ‘sphere. Any talented, interested parties should contact me directly by leaving a comment on any story on JoshuaPundit including your name, site name and e-mail info as well as anything else you wish to include. Needless to say,it won’t be published but I will respond promptly to your inquiry and tell you what’s involved.

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

Council Submissions

Non-Council Submissions

Enjoy! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that!And don’t forget to tune in Friday for the results!

Forum: What Have Been Your Most Influential Books?

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 daily living. This week’s question:What Have Been Your Most Influential Books?

Fausta’s Blog : Many, may books, but the one that made a difference when I was very ill almost twenty years ago is “Toughness Training for Life: A Revolutionary Program for Maximizing Health, Happiness and Productivity.”

I had developed hypoglycemia – not diabetes – was misdiagnosed twice, and it took me two years to find the right way to control my blood sugars. Loehr’s book gave me a roadmap of sorts, and I highly recommend it.

 Bookworm Room : A lot of books have made a difference to me. Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends & Influence People. I’d grown up in a very European household, which meant that I was snotty, prissy, and judgmental. Dale Carnegie’s book was the first step in my becoming a much nicer person, one who learned to respect and value others.

2. Nevil Shute’s A Town Like Alice, a book that helped me gain a bit of perspective about the (to me) overwhelming life choices I was making in my early and mid-20s. The book’s structure is a little unusual, as the narrator, Noel, is the lawyer for a young woman named Jean Paget. He meets her after the war because he is the executor of a will that leaves her a legacy.

The first part of the book has Jean describe to Noel her experiences as a prisoner of war held by the Japanese in Malaya, a time of great hardship and personal tragedy. The second part of the book is about Jean’s life after the war, and the way in which her wartime experiences end up profoundly influencing not only her life, but many other people’s lives as well.

At the end of the first half of the book, when Jean sees herself facing a bleak and lonely future, she concludes her narrative to Noel with regret over the waste of a part of her life, but Noel disagrees:

“It was three years wasted, just chopped out of one’s life,” she said. She raised her head and looked at me, hesitantly. “At least — I suppose it was. I know a lot about Malays, but that’s not worth much here in England.”

“You won’t know if it was wasted until you come to the end of your life,” I said. “Perhaps not then.”

For me, Noel’s simple statement was a stunning truth: I cannot control the future. My responsibility is to make the best decisions I can now, and then to make the best of whatever effects those decisions have upon my life. And that’s all I can do. It was a simultaneously freeing and empowering revelation. Incidentally, in the 35 or more years since I had that revelation, I’ve repeatedly been reminded that my ability to predict either my future or the changes in my world was terribly flawed and that many of my “smart” choices were stupid or irrelevant, and many of my haphazard choices have paid off.

3. Keith Richburg’s Out Of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa, which tells about Richburg’s time as the Washington Post’s bureau chief in Africa. For him, it was a stunning revelation that he had benefitted greatly from his black ancestors’ suffering when they were sold from their homes, shipped in horrible conditions to America, and then enslaved. Life for blacks in America, he learned, is infinitely better than it is for blacks in Africa. America, moreover, has a much healthier and, at least when he wrote the book, much less corrupt culture than Africa. The book was a stepping stone in my journey to conservativism.

4. Christina Hoff Sommers’ Who Stole Feminism?: How Women Have Betrayed Women, which opened my eyes to the insanity that is modern feminism. (And keep in mind that she wrote the book in 1995, before things had reached the critical mass we see now.) I had an old-fashioned notion of feminism: equal pay for equal work, equal access to jobs provided that women could meet reasonable standards, and the freedom from being subject to workplace harassment. Sommers described a very different animal indeed, with campus feminists vying for the title of most oppressed (is a black feminist more or less of a victim than a white feminist in a wheelchair). When the insanity of American campuses exploded into the public eye last year, it was old news to me.

5. Philip K. Howards’ The Death of Common Sense: How Law Is Suffocating America, which tackles the regulatory state more than the statutory one (or at least that’s how I remember it). I’d always thought of regulations as our friends. It wasn’t until I read his book that I realized that modern regulations perfectly embody the statement that “the perfect is the enemy of the good.” They stifle economic development and individual initiative. This is another book from the 1990s that describes a situation that has only become worse in the ensuing years.

6. All of Jane Austen’s and Georgette Heyer’s books, which have provided endless laughter and solace because of their exquisite renderings of human decency and human foibles in a vanished pastoral landscape.

7. The Bible is a wonderful book. I read it first as a history book and literary effort. I’ve read it since as a history book and moral guide.

I’m sure that, given a bit more time, I could create an endlessly long list, but this seems like a reasonable stopping point.

 The Razor :Books can play very personal roles on one’s life, and one whose every word resonates with one person may completely bore another. Years ago a friend pestered me to read Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s “Black Swan,” and I have to admit it really changed how I viewed economics, risk and Life in general. Another friend bought PJ O’Rourke’s “Holidays in Hell” for me, and I’ve since included it at times when I could only bring a few books along for extended stays. Finally, “The Logic of Failure” by Dietrich Dorner explains the fallacies and mental shortcuts that lead to disaster in complex situations, whether its Chernobyl or one’s bad personal decision making. Final mention is Philip K. Dick’s “Ubik” – perhaps his best work and one that has never reached the screen. Like most of Dick’s work it questions the very foundations of Reality and has stuck with me ever since I devoured the book in high school.

But I must reiterate: Books are extremely personal and so I tend not to demand others read them. Instead I prefer to raise their existence to the awareness of others so that they may find, like some literary stray cat, their proper owner.

 JoshuaPundit : Ahh, books. I was a pretty steady reader from a very young age. The first book I can recall making a major impression on me was Gibbon’s Decline And Fall Of the Roman Empire, which I read at sixteen. I went to a fairly blue collar, rather run down high school not noted for its academic prowess, but it was an older school with a library that reflected different times. I found the book in the shelves, read a few pages and was hooked.The last time anyone had checked it out was over a decade ago. It was simply there waiting for me.

It taught a great deal about how societies become decadent and collapse, often without the inhabitants even fully realizing it.

I ended up reading quite a bit of history of the ancient and modern world. Favorites would be Caesar’s Commentaries,Xenphon’s Anabasis,Plutarch, Bernal Diaz Del Castillo’s The Discovery And Conquest of Mexico, a first hand account from one of Cortez’s conquistadors, William H. Prescott’s The Conquest of Peru, Bruce Caton’s Civil War trilogy, and Churchill’s histories of WWI and WWII. William L. Shirer’s books on the Twentieth Century  and Barbara Tuchman’s books are also favorites of mine, although both lean a bit to the Left at times. Henry Kissinger’s books are huge favorites of mine as well..what a mind!

I also learned a great deal from Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography and Miracle in Philadelphia by Catherine Drinker Bowen, a brilliant account of the 1787 Constitutional convention, which shows how the Founders hammered out our Republic based on the diaries and accounts of those whom were there.

While I do read fiction for pleasure (I’ve always been a Melville fan and still consider him one of America’s best writers and I’ve always loved Somerset Maugham and Shakespeare’s plays  among others) the other books that especially influenced me are spiritual and metaphysical in nature.

Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi is one of them, simply because his style is so, well, human. Sir James Fraser’s The Golden Bough is another favorite, as well as some of its offshoots from the Golden Dawn Society, leading ultimately to the Zohar.

 And as those of those of you whom know me might imagine, I have also been quite influenced by the Jewish Torah (the Five Books Of Moses) as well as the Writings, The Prophets, the Megillot which include the Book of Esther and Kehilla (Ecclesiastes) as well as my admittedly limited knowledge of Gemara, Talmudic law. I admit to also being influenced by the Qu’ran and hadiths of Islam as well which I read after 9/11, but in quite a different way.

GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD :

How America Got it Right by Bevin Alexander

Left-wing critics—both at home and abroad—relish blasting our country for being the world’s sole superpower, or even an “imperialist” power.

But as acclaimed military historian Bevin Alexander shows in How America Got It Right, these criticisms are completely off the mark. Alexander reveals how the United States has done and continues to do exactly the right thing in military and foreign affairs. As the world’s dominant political force and military power, he says, we are the only nation that will actually go into the world and strike down evil. And we must not shirk that responsibility—especially because we cannot rely on our so-called allies to defend our freedoms.

Alexander tells the dramatic and sometimes surprising story of how, from the American Revolution to the War on Terror, America’s core principles and ideals have shaped our march to economic, military, and political supremacy.

 To Rule The Waves by Arthur Herman

In the mid-16th century, England was a minor player on the world stage. The Spanish and the Portuguese, ahead in the race for the spoils of Asia and South America, dominated international trade and controlled the world’s oceans. They were the European superpowers. England could only watch enviously as ships laden with gold, silver and spices sailed into Lisbon and Cádiz, fattening the treasuries of their enemies.

The situation would change quickly. By the end of the century, England would defeat Spain. Her growing navy, almost mystically identified with the national character and destiny, would defeat the Dutch and the French, on the road to creating a global empire and, Arthur Herman argues in his rousing history, the world as we know it today. The British Navy, he writes, reshaped the world to suit the British Empire, and “those needs — access to markets, freedom of trade across international boundaries, an orderly state system that prefers peace to war, speedy communication and travel across open seas and skies — remain the principal features of globalization today.”

 Soldiers of Destruction by Charles Sydnor

Simply one of the best written books available despite the subject matter.

With “Soldiers of Destruction”, Sydnor has managed to write a military account of the infamous SS Death’s Head Division that is both lively and engrossing. Sydnor delves into the history of the division, their actions in combat and their involvement in the concentration camp system. He does all this without getting bogged down in statistics (like so many other books on the Wermacht or SS). He does however, provide massive amounts of footnotes for those who wish to do further research.

The writing style is smooth, engaging and engrossing.

As you read it’s nigh impossible not to develop a great amount of respect and awe for the fighting capabilities of the SS, yet always counter the praise with derogatory mention of their fanaticism and loyalty to National Socialist ideology; two factors that molded them into what they were. It helps to negate their combat achievements.

The subject matter of this book is not for everyone. The SS Totenkopf Division personified Himmler’s absolute ideal of the SS. It could be argued that they were the most politically indoctrinated of all the SS divisions. They were brutally efficient soldiers who were indifferent to hardship. Defeat was an unacceptable option for Totenkopf soldiers in combat. It is no wonder that on several occasions the division fought until almost total decimation. Victory of annihilation was the order of the day.

Numerically outnumbered almost 6 to 1 on the Eastern Front, the Totenkopf soldiers of the SS managed to rout entire Soviet armies. They were constantly thrust into the most dangerous of situations on the front. Even today the United States Marine Corps and the U.S. Army mimic some of the combat tactics developed and perfected by SS divisions like the Totenkopf on the Eastern Front.

If you like military history you’ll love this book. Your WWII collection will not be complete without Dr. Sydnors’ book

 The Lives of John Lennon by Albert Goldman

Those of us raised up by besotted Beatle worshipers long after Lennon was assassinated have a mystical legendary idea of what exactly wiped clean and drew again the face of popular music.

Goldman’s writing is simply amazing – easily one of the best written books in any library.

The critics hated it including cats like Sir George Martin, Yoko Ono and Sir Paul McCartney. Other writers like Bob Spitz in “The Beatles” take pains to demolish it even as they lift (with attribution) great bits of it – truly a tribute to Dr Goldman’s all absorbing fantastic writing.

Lennon was presented in the book as a talented but deeply flawed man who manipulated people and relationships throughout his life, flinging them aside when they were no longer useful to him. Goldman also suggested that Lennon was a heavy drug-user and that he was dyslexic, schizophrenic and suffered in the early stage stages of Parkinson’s.

The Persian Puzzle by Ken Pollack

Indispensable to understanding Iran. Informed and eminently readable study provides a detailed narrative of that turbulent quarter-century of U.S.-Iranian relations from the advent of the Islamic Republic to the present. Having tracked this subject since the late 1980s, as a U.S. government analyst until 2001 and at the Brookings Institution since, Pollack writes as an insider just far enough down the pecking order to be able to describe the official thinking and action without the compulsion to defend past policy.

It’s especially good in recounting Washington’s different efforts to reach arrangements with Iran, from the ill-fated Iran-contra affair to the carpets, caviar, and pistachios initiative in the 42’s term. Pollack gives considerable attention to the pressing problem of trying to keep Iran from going nuclear: he lashes out against Washington’s European allies for their “perfidy,” accepts that Iran’s rulers so badly need to present the United States as the existential enemy that a settlement is unlikely, and rejects pre-emptive military action against Iran, instead advocating a three-track diplomatic approach as the least bad of the unpromising options available.

Other influential books include:

The Pentagon’s New Mapby Thomas P.M. Barnett

Neoconservatism&by Justin Vaiise

An End To Evilby Dave Frum and Richard Perle

Counterinsurgency by David Kilcullen

Secret History of The Iraq War by Yossef Bodansky

Dreadnaught and Castles of Steel by Robert K. Massie

The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman

No Higher Honor by Condoleezza Rice

War and Decision by Douglas Fieth

Fatherland by Robert Harris

Stately McDaniel Manor : My students often ask me my favorite book. They also ask me my favorite song–to them, all music is a “song.” They have no idea how impossible it is to answer those questions. My favorite book is often the book–usually books–I’m reading when the question is asked. My favorite music is the music I’m rehearsing when the question is asked.

But, meaningful books…

Anything by John Ringo, for understanding of novel narration, characterization, getting tactical and gun details right, how to write women, and for sheer fun in reading.

Shakespeare, for understanding human nature–and dramatic irony.

The Gifts of the Jews by Thomas Cahill, for understanding ideas and their influence.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, for its humanity.

C.S. Lewis, for helping in the spiritual struggle.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens because it’s timeless, honest emotion.

Cyrano de Bergerac (OK, it’s a play; so what?) by Edmund Rostand, for its humanity and grace.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, for its hopefulness.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, because sometimes there are no good choices.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. I would have liked him.

The Glittering Eye : That’s a subject I haven’t thought about in years. From age 7 to 20 my life was marked out in books like milestones along a road.

The book that influenced me the most was the first one I ever read–my dad’s fourth grade reader. When I completed first grade I couldn’t read a word. According to my mom that summer I took my dad’s fourth grade reader, disappeared behind the couch, and when I re-emerged at the end of the summer not only could I read, I was reading far above grade level.

It was a wonderful book! An anthology of stories, fables, poetry, and snippets from popular literature (popular at the turn of the last century that is). It was the first of many.

There is no frigate like a book, indeed.

Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason : As a young teenager full of questions of a philosophical nature I discovered the authors Taylor Caldwell and Ayn Rand. Throughout the years I have consumed nearly everything they have written. Caldwell wrote many works of fiction and several historical fictions. After reading many of her books I dove into a book titled A Pillar of Iron, which revealed the life and writings of Marcus Tullius Cicero. Caldwell wove the story of Cicero’s life in Rome during the time of Julius Caesar with many of his writings and orations concerning government, philosophy, law, religion, and the nature of man. Cicero’s words spoke to me and provided many answers to the questions I sought; particularly the concept of natural law. I went on to read many of his works after being introduced to him through Caldwell’s book.

Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged also impacted me tremendously. Growing up in the Soviet Union she saw firsthand the destruction brought upon the people by communism. She extolled the virtues of selfishness in its purest form and believed that capitalism is the only system where the individual can reach their own potential.

Having not yet been introduced to such ideas as capitalism and communism these works opened my eyes and impressed upon me the rights of the individual. Perhaps being women writers both Rand and Caldwell portrayed female characters of independence and intelligence, many in spite of the circumstances of the times in which they lived. Of course, growing up during the women’s rights movement of 60s and 70s these characters were particularly appealing to me.

More recently The 5000 Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen shed light on the founding fathers and the philosophers whose writings they drew upon in crafting the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The writings of Cicero most decidedly contributed to their belief in the laws of nature and nature’s God and the inherent rights of the individual which is at the core of our country’s founding.

Finally, when I attended college in the 1970s I took many classes in German given by professor Rainulf Stelzmann. He had grown up as a young boy during the Weimar Republic, saw the rise of Hitler and was later conscripted into the Wehrmacht. His parents were both university professors. His father had spoken out against Hitler and was dismissed from his teaching position and later arrested for being what the Nazis deemed politically no longer “bearable,” a crime punishable by death by decapitation or hanging. Professor Stelzmann would tell little bits of his experiences during his years in Germany and I kept taking his classes just to hear more of his stories. Like so many I wondered how such evil could be permitted to exist in what was considered a civilized society.

Many years later I met Herr Stelzmann and discovered he had written a book. Thinking of Germany at Night recounts his experiences as he explains the methods the Nazis used to indoctrinate the German youth and assert control over an entire population. It is quite an enlightening read as he described his life in Germany and his experiences as a soldier having been sent to the Russian Front. Fortunately for him he was captured by the Americans and not the Russians.

Repeatedly throughout history we have seen the struggles between those who seek to enslave men and those who stand and fight for freedom and liberty. If people would acknowledge that this struggle between good and evil has always existed and understand the conditions that allow evil to insert itself into a society we could somehow stop it before it ends in death and destruction. Unfortunately, too few of us are able to see the very real threats we face as evil grows again in the world. By the time most people wake up to the threat it will be too late to stop it. And so the cycle will continue.

  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! Our Watcher’s Council Results

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

“As an American liberal with impeccable credentials, I would like to say that political correctness is going to kill American liberalism if it is not fought to the death by people like me for the dangers it represents to free speech, to the exchange of ideas, to openheartedness, or to the spirit of art itself.” – Best selling author Pat Conroy

“Those who make conversations impossible, make escalation inevitable.” – Stephen Molyneux

“The idea that you have to be protected from any kind of uncomfortable emotion is what I absolutely do not subscribe to.” – John Cleese

Stately McDaniel Manor

This week’s winning essay,Staely McDaniel Manor’s Progressives: Bayoneting Their Wounded is his account of exactly what goes on in academia at your typical Orwellian White Privilege and Male Bashing conference, this one ironically held in Philadelphia where our freedoms began! Here’s a slice:

As regular readers will doubtless remember, I have often written about leftist ideology. Paramount in leftist thought—such as it is—is the principle that leftist policies, no matter how idiotic on their face, no matter how spectacularly and often they fail, can never be wrong. They’re not wrong; the people who thought they were wrong were mistaken. This unfortunate tendency to double down on disaster was nowhere in greater evidence of late than at the 17th annual White Privilege Conference held in Philadelphia.

I was not aware that there had been 16 prior conferences, but that omission is no doubt due to my white privilege. And to think: I’ve been missing out on 16 years of self-flagellation for working my buns off my entire life and believing the world owed me nothing at all, despite my general blue-eyed, pale-skinned whiteness.

One would think such a conference would be a safe and diversity-friendly place, however, as John Belushi used to say: “but noooooooooooooo! Consider the horrific reality from participants of the conference, courtesy of heatst.com:
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Even at the White Privilege Conference, blatant, brutal racism runs amok! It’s just like Democrat-controlled cities: they’re all cesspools of racism, sexism, and violence. And imagine the horror of this:
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Certainly no white person of the same gender and approximately the same size, shape and hair color—brown—has ever been mistaken for another white person. And imagine the unimaginable horror of this:
003 It’s almost unfathomable. POC and indigenous ppl come to their very own white people bashing conference and find themselves unsafe! Who coulda thunk it? But the horror was just beginning:

The disaster of understanding culminated in the keynote speech, delivered by Jim Loewen, a demonstrably progressive sociologist, respected professor of African American Studies and perhaps the country’s leading expert on racism in the deep south during the Confederacy and beyond. Little did Prof. Loewen know, as he was delivering his speech, that his very act of speaking to the audience was cause for concern.

 Imagine the consternation of poor Professor Loewen, a man who doubtless imagined himself an intolerant, politically correct, perpetually outraged progressive, a man ashamed of his own privilege and whiteness, when people at the White Privilege conference, a conference whose premises he unquestionably believed and took to heart, was accused of white supremacy. And for what? Allegedly running over the time allotted for his speech about white supremacy:
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But wait a white privileged moment! He didn’t go over his allotted time; so what’s the problem?
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Of course. The facts don’t matter. The accused must lay down and accept the death sentence. Aeriel A. Ashlee was completely wrong, but because she’s non-white, she has absolute moral authority and can’t possibly be wrong. The issue is that Professor Loewen is demonstrating his white privilege defensiveness instead of accepting responsibility for what he didn’t do wrong. Progressive ideology cannot possibly be wrong!

But it’s even worse, gentle readers, than we, with our white privilege, can possibly imagine. Professor Loewen used the “N” word!

More at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Andrew McCarthy with First, Let’s Get the Facts on Saudi and Iranian Involvement in 9/11 submitted by Joshuapundit. Commenting about the pending bill in congress to allow the families of victims of 9/11 to sue the Saudi government for what appears to be it’s obvious complicity, he comments that great nations do not address acts of war with lawsuits. That is, unless your president is George W. Bush. He wants us to get the facts about Iranian and Saudi complicity and then decide how to proceed.

For what it’s worth, Iranian complicity in the 9/11 attacks is already proven fact and verified by a US federal court decision, something I wrote about some time ago. That two U.S. presidents, including our current one knew about this and did nothing about it is a clue as to why Iran has no respect for America anymore. Especially when that attitude was underlines by President Barack Hussein Obama’s blatant appeasement of the islamo-fascist regime in Teheran.

Here are this week’s full results. Bookworm Room, GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD, the Noisy Room, the Razor, and The Right Planet were unable to vote this week, but all were not subject to or not affected by our usual two thirds 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?

Our Watcher’s Council Nominations: Secrets To Hide 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 morning.

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

Council Submissions

Non-Council Submissions

Enjoy! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that!And don’t forget to tune in Friday for the results!

Forum: What Do You See As The Most Important Fronts In The Culture War?

Every week on Monday, 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 daily living. This week’s question: What Do You See As The Most Important Fronts In The Culture War?

Stately McDaniel Manor :The battle over what is wrongly termed “gun culture”  is our most vital cultural struggle. The term assumes there is some monolithic, massive group of people that share the same ideals, aspirations and values. This kind of group-think is natural for Progressives, who are compelled to place people in specific, progressive-defined categories, but it is nonsense. Most Americans own motor vehicles. Do they comprise a “car culture?” Is there a blue jean culture? Perhaps an underarm deodorant culture?

During the Age Of Obama, an unprecedented number of progressives–some now former progressives–have become gun owners. Surely progressives, by definition, cannot be part of a gun-loving, God-honoring “gun culture?” Would not the same apply to women? Black people? Hispanics? Are gay and lesbian gun owners members of the “gun culture”–first, or is their primary allegiance to their sexual orientation?

Since Barack Obama became the greatest gun salesman in American history, progressives have bemoaned the enormous ground lost in the gun culture battle. The NRA’s membership continues to skyrocket, and more and more Americans buy guns, yet the rates of violent crime continue to decline. True, Progressives are doing all they can to reverse that trend by forcing the police to avoid arresting criminals, and by trying to free convicted felons from prison, but poor Progressives have been horrified to discover that the fundamental transformation of America Mr. Obama promised did not extend to gun ownership.

However, as it took progressives a century to get Obamacare, and they had to do it through trickery, they will never give up on destroying the Second Amendment though it take millennia. Actually, all it will take is a progressive Supreme Court majority or a Democrat President and a large enough Democrat majority in the House and Senate. Either and both are possible in the near term.

So why is this the premier cultural struggle? It is the Second Amendment that secures every other human right. If there is no Second Amendment, or via Supreme Court dismantlement it has no application in the lives of Americans, there is no right to self-defense. When that day comes, expect government to take advantage of that advantage. Politicians have not yet gone too far because of the rule of law, enforced by the individual arms of all Americans. When we lose those arms, we lose the rule of law, our lives, and America. That process is already under way.

 Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason : The culture war is being fought primarily in our schools, beginning in pre-K and all the way through to our universities. Teaching multiculturalism and diversity seems to have started in the United States with the International Baccalaureate program which came out of the United Nations. It was and has been sold to parents as a rigorous program in which only a select few students are invited to participate. According to the IB website “The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.” In addition:“These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.”

While International Baccalaureate began as a high school program in the 1960s it now includes a primary years program for ages 3 to 12 and a middle school program. Getting to children at younger ages when they are still impressionable and their consciences and belief systems developing is extremely dangerous to a society. It is how Hitler was able to bring about the rise of the Third Reich; indoctrinating German youth beginning as early as ten years and the Hitler Youth programs that began when they turned fourteen years old. It was easy for Hitler to engage the German people with promises of a return to greatness for their country. Here in America we are a nation comprised of people from many different nations and cultures who have been able to keep alive some of the traditions of our former cultures while assimilating into this melting pot with the shared vision of a land of limitless opportunity for those who work hard and follow the rules. However, our country’s foundation comes from the Judeo Christian tradition and the belief that we as individuals are born with rights coming from our Creator. We understand the concept of the “laws of nature and nature’s God.” Most of us acknowledge these laws are inviolable and should not have anything to do with one’s culture.

While exposing our children to other cultures can be educational and enlightening, it is the moral relativity that comes with it that is where the culture war is being fought… and sadly being won. This moral relativity creates doubt and uncertainty and leaves our children vulnerable to indoctrination from forces with evil intentions. This is not so much a culture war as it is an attempt to deny the laws upon which we have based our western civilization.

Progressives are working hard on college campuses inciting our youth to protest for social, economic and even environmental justice. They have no idea they are being used in this effort to fundamentally transform America. The only way to win this war is to take back our education from the progressive left and teach our children the truth; that the laws of nature are and always will be inviolable and cannot be denied. And that other cultures and people, with their differences, might just be wrong.

 JoshuaPundit : We live in a time when decadence is not only celebrated, but mainstreamed. The work is done through our media, our schools, our politicians and even some of our religious institutions. When someone like Curt Schilling can be fired by ESPN merely for pointing out (privately, not on the air) that he’s against allowing males with male equipment to use women’s bathrooms where they have the opportunity to assault and molest women and children, you know the rot goes deep. And yes, some cases of this have unfortunately occurred already.

This is yet another tool to be used to disrupt and eventually supplant the traditional family with loyalty to the state, something Mao, Hitler and Stalin would find completely familiar and understandable.

Votes and even our Supreme Court have proven to be of little help in this struggle against the destruction of our culture, although voting and political activism may still play a role in the future. The basic weapons are organization, the realization that money talks  and voting with our feet.

First, any parent should do two things. First, if they have the means, they need to get their kids out of the public schools as soon as possible and into private schools, or if not, home school. And organize to force politicians to allow voucher programs and school choice, or elect ones that will.

The second thing, if very young children are involved is to get rid of television. Even a casual glance at  supposedly innocuous PBS might surprise you. Very young children lack the mental armor to defend themselves from what’s being fed to them, and it takes time for them to develop it. Also, the amount of television viewed in many homes promotes passivity and inaction.

A third tool that needs to be used far more aggressively is the realization that money talks. Imagine what would happen if ESPN’s advertisers received a few thousand or more e-mails and calls informing them that those members of the public would no longer patronize the products of companies that supported a network that violated Curt Schilling’s First Amendment Rights? And that they were going to spread the word to others?  Duck Dynasty is a good example of what happens when this garbage is exposed to sunlight.

Part of that sunlight also involves seeing whom these companies give their money and support to. Often, they’re not even aware of the full nature of whom they write the checks to.  Calling their attention to it and perhaps even following up with a practical demonstration of what their continued support can cost often can be surprisingly effective.

Organization, voting with our feet and political action.That’s how to win the culture war. In fact,it’s how the Left has been waging it, bit by bit.

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!! Our Watcher’s Council Results

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

“Holly came from Miami F.L.A.
Hitch-hiked her way across the U.S.A.
Plucked her eyebrows on the way
Shaved her legs and then he was a she…”
– Lou Reed, “Walk On The Wild Side”

“All men are liars, said Roberta Muldoon, who knew this was true because she had once been a man.” – John Irving, “The World According to Garp”

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” – Aldous Huxley

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This week’s winning essay,Bookworm Room’s It’s time for conservatives to take advantage of the Left’s reality denial Focuses on what she sees as a the Left’s reality denial…the fashionable confusion over what’s male and what’s female, what’s right and what’s wrong, and who gets free speech and who doesn’t particularly in our universities. Here’s a slice:

I finally got around to watching last week’s 60 Minutes, which had a segment devoted to Schuyler Bailar, a person who got admitted to Harvard as to swim on its women’s swim team, but who had breast removal surgery over the summer and presented at Harvard asking to swim on the men’s team. Harvard, reeking of political correctness (you can see oleaginous pride oozing off of the interviewed coaches), agreed, which infuriated me. Schuyler, as a woman, would have set breaststroke records deserving of a place on a highly competitive swim team. Schuyler, as a man, is a chubby, hip-heavy slow poke, who routinely comes in last.

Given that I loathe Harvard, why does this infuriate me? Shouldn’t I be cheering anything that lowers Harvard’s standing in the world?

Well, in theory, yes. In fact, though, I think it just stinks that, in the name of political correctness, some deserving young man with good grades and a fast breaststroke couldn’t get into Harvard (presuming, as I do, that such a man exists) because chubby little Schuyler got his place. It seems to me that if Schuyler wants to play with the big boys, Schuyler should also have to play by big boy rules — one of which is, if you’re really slow, you’re not on the team.

As far as I’m concerned, Schulyer’s gender “bait and switch” is tantamount to committing fraud against Harvard, although Harvard is happily complicit in its own victimization. Thinking in terms of fraud, though, has legal ramifications. If there is no reality anymore — in other words, if reality is shaped by our subjective desires rather than by any objective “facts” (and isn’t “facts” such a silly, old-fashioned word?) — we truly have entered a brave new world legally.

Once you start down that road, it’s a short stop to rethinking entirely the latest chapter in the Left’s despicable and un-American efforts to stifle free speech and association. I’m speaking, of course, of the lawsuit that 20 Democrat attorney generals have launched against ExxonMobile for “fraudulently” denying climate change. In the course of this litigation, the same attorney generals are attacking any conservative institutions that are speaking out against these Stasi tactics:

[U]nder the pretext of combatting fraud, these officials, clothed in immense power, have started what can only be termed a campaign of intimidation against businesses and organizations advocating a thoughtful, cautious approach to public policies dealing with man’s role in impacting the global climate.

Begun by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and followed-on by California AG Kamala Harris, this effort started by looking at the efforts of ExxonMobil in dealing with proposals that would have a tremendous impact on the energy sector in the United States. Among their concerns were the research and education organizations that ExxonMobil may have supported.

Schneiderman and Harris were soon joined by another eighteen attorneys general — and when this effort was questioned by CEI’s Hans Bader in January, CEI found itself to be the target!

Last week, Claude Walker, the AG for the U.S. Virgin Islands, subpoenaed the donor records for CEI — sending a clear signal to both CEI and its donors that such dissent simply will not be tolerated.

Let’s be clear here: Exxon has a fundamental right to support whatever non-profit organizations it wants to, and to do so privately. CEI has a right to accept donations from any U.S. Citizen or U.S. company it wants to. Both have the right to keep their donations private, a right that is protected under the First Amendment, and enshrined in the Supreme Court’s 1957 NAACP v. Alabama decision.

As it happens, after practicing law for almost three decades, I know a little bit about fraud: A fraud claim requires some semblance of objective fact as the standard by which to measure the defendant’s actionable deviation from those facts. Thus, an essential element in any fraud claim is the existence of a “material fact” as to which the defendant lied.

Much more at the link.

In our non-Council category, the we had a three way tie for first place between Caroline Glick’s Obama’s Political Legacy submitted by The Noisy Room, Andrew McCarthy’s piece in Pajamas MediaPay Attention! While Primaries Distract, Obama Shreds Constitutional Governance submitted by Nice Deb , and David P. Goldman (AKA Spengler) withTo be kind is to be cruel, to be cruel is to be kindsubmitted by Bookworm Room .

According to our bylaws, on such occasions I get to put on my Watcher’s hat and break the tie, which in this case means I have two Council members peeved at me instead of just one. Well, they don’t pay me the big bucks for nothing…

David Goldman’s ‘To Be Kind is To Be Cruel’ is yet another one of Spengler’s masterful pieces. His take on how Islamofaschism uses the West’s humane impulses against it to intimidate and ultimately subjugate it as well as how to combat this tactic should be required reading for anyone at all interested in turning this tide and saving our freedom. I had no problem picking it as this weeks’ winner in our non-Council category.

Here are this week’s full results: Fausta and Puma By Design were unable to vote this week, but were either unaffected or not subject to our usual 2/3 vote penalty for not voting. Two other members voted partially, one whom picked only a first choice in both categories and another who did not pick a second choice in the Council category.

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?

Our Watcher’s Council Nominations – ‘Trust Me’ Edition

If President Barack Hussein Obama says something…need I finish that sentence?

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.

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

Council Submissions

Non-Council Submissions

Enjoy! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that!And don’t forget to tune in Friday for the results!

Forum: China And Russia – Enemies or Potential Partners?

Every week on Monday, 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 daily living. This week’s question: China And Russia – Enemies or Potential Partners?

The Razor : Neither of these nations are America’s natural enemies, but it doesn’t matter what we think. What matters is what they think, and they both perceive us as their enemies so we would be foolish not to respond accordingly. And that’s what we’ve been for the past dozen years or so, responding foolishly.

The problem with our response is that it confuses Beijing and Moscow. They see us as an enemy in zero-sum terms, so perceive our statements as indicating weakness. This has emboldened them to expand, Russia in Eastern Europe and China in the south China Sea. The more they expand the more we talk and the less we act. They therefore perceive this as further weakness.

Eventually the are going to push too far and cross a line where the US will have no choice but to act. For Russia that may be against Poland or possibly one of the Baltic states, and in China it could be against Taiwan or through supporting North Korea. From their perspective our action will be unexpected, which is why it is important that we respond in kind with each and every move they make. We must speak their language and ratchet up the actions each time they press us in order to prevent them from overplaying their hands. It’s a form of real-politic that the ancient Roman emperors would understand (or their descendants the Italian mafia), but that the geniuses at Foggy Bottom have missed in their diversity training.

Stately McDaniel Manor :Russia and China are enemies. To be sure, they have adopted at least some of the characteristics of fiscal Capitalism, but this is out of economic necessity. Communism, as economic underpinning for a state, is always and everywhere a dismal and murderous failure. Where both nations still cling to the ultimately totalitarian nature of Communism we see the necessity of keeping an outside, all-powerful boogeyman–the United States–foremost in their minds and propaganda. They have no doubt they are our enemies, and are delighted to play us for suckers when we think smiles, handshakes and insincere promises and lies portend otherwise.

We certainly, and when it suits our national security needs, ally with both nations, but thinking, for an instant, that they give a moment’s thought to what is good for America, or for a peaceful and prosperous world order, is dangerous credulousness. The leadership of both nations thinks only of what benefits them and what will keep them in power.

Combine this with enormous arsenals of nuclear weapons, and one begins to understand the nature of the threat. Add in the aggressive, and purposefully provocative behaviors of both nations over the last few years, and we see two still-Communist nations that are actually more dangerous than they were during the Cold War.

Why more dangerous? Because America is led by weaklings and fools, people the Communists know they can play like violins from Hell. What makes the span from now until January so uniquely dangerous is both Russia and China understand that there is no way Barack Obama would use nuclear weapons against an adversary. They could wipe New York City off the map, and he would not respond in kind. They can even be reasonably assured that he would not respond with conventional weapons in any meaningful way. Remember John Kerry’s threat of an “unbelievably small” military response to Syria?

What this calculation portends is scary indeed. If the Russians and particularly the Chinese, think Obama is too weak to respond to attacks on Americans, they can be certain he would never uphold America’s mutual defense treaty obligations with her allies. At few times in world history has America’s fecklessness and retreat so invited aggression, and at few times have our enemies–again, particularly the Chinese–been stronger or more capable of taking advantage of American moral weakness.

I am not convinced that Barack Obama is not doing his best to make America and her allies inviting targets for the enemies of liberty, but if he is not, what, apart from outright disarmament and surrender, would he be doing differently?

Throw international terrorism into the mix–which is surely supported and/or manipulated by the Communists to at least some degree–and it will be by the grace of God that we, and those foolish enough to ally with us, do not experience disaster between now and January, 2017.

Trevor Loudon: Russia and China are allies against the West. . Have been right through. Google Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

JoshuaPundit : Our relationships with Russia and China represent a unique opportunity provided we have competent leadership. Both countries face major problems that belie their tough stance, which has only been enhanced by the weak, incompetent and distrustful  nature of our current president and his administration.

Russia and China both have very similar problems…poisonous demographics, moribund economies whose chief assets are in decline, and problems with Muslims.

China’s one child policy has resulted in a severe shortage of marriageable females and a graying population balance far more intense than the U.S., all of which will have to be supported somehow by China’s social welfare system. It’s chief source of income, manufacturing, is in jeopardy. China invested heavily in manufacturing and now has a major overcapacity at a time when consumer consumption is falling.   They also are looking at a shortage of younger workers, to the point where the Chinese just closed a multi-billion dollar contract with Israel to design and build industrial robots for them. China’s infrastructure is another problem with pollution and damaged, antiquated structures and facilities a major source of concern.

And while the Chinese downplay it,  the insurrection and terrorist attacks by their Uigher Muslim population continue to grow more intense.

Russia’s demographic problem is even worse. The problem there is that the vast amount of pregnancies among native Russians end in abortion, and only one sector of the population is having children at replacement rates – Russia’s Muslims.  Aside from Russia’s problems with the Chechens, their own increasingly restive Muslim population has been linked to terrorist attacks within Russia. Brawls and even actual firefights have broken out in Russia’s military between Muslims and native Russian soldiers.

Russia’s economy is slowly sliding into basket case territory. Aside from the problems with the sanctions, Russia’s main economic engine is energy, where prices have dropped to historic lows.

Another both problems share is a long standing distrust and hostility towards each other. They’ve fought wars against each other over territory and Russia still holds large areas across their shared border that China still considers as theirs. While both countries belong to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, it’s more a trade organization rather than an actual military alliance, especially when it comes to dealing with energy policy.

A place where Russia and China differ is in their basic worldview. Russia,fearing encirclement and a lack of access to warm water ports (that’s a lot of what Crimea was about) has always been imperialistic, seeking to expand and especially to create a buffer zone along it’s borders, not too hard to understand when you see how many times in history Russia has been invaded.

China’s aim has been just the opposite, to secure its territory and keep foreign nations out. China has ever only gone to war along its borders, which the Chinese have always seen as defensive wars, with the possible exception of Tibet. At this point, maintaining those borders and maintaining access to trade and markets is China’s foreign policy goal.

Given the problems these countries have, there is a great opportunity to create a strategic partnership between Russia and America and China and America. Nations, after all, have interests, not friends and cooperation in a number of areas is in the interest both countries as well as America.

We have a common enemy in Islamic fascism and their economic needs are an imperative. There’s no reason that Putin, an ultimate realist wouldn’t cooperate with America on a number of items.  In fact, he tried, in Syria, and after being lied to repeatedly by our current president gave it up a a wasted endeavor. Putin, I think, realizes the desirable benefits of  engaging with America in a number of areas, but will requires an smart, honest horse trader on our side to make that happen in a way that works for both Russia and America. Might I add that Mrs. Clinton failed dismally at that task?

The same is true when it comes to China. Trade sanctions by America would devastate China’s economy, which is already stumbling. Serious discussion with the Chinese could secure our mutual spheres of interest, get China’s industry to build factories in America and create jobs here ala’ Japan in the 1980’s, and relieve tensions as we communicate effectively to the Chinese that the Western Pacific is America’s strategic frontier, a concept they would understand.  Even the problem of the Kims and North Korea is not out of reach…the Chinese are getting tired of them as a disruptive element, but will want assurances they can trust that China will control what happens on their border.

Perhaps Dr. Kissinger, whose mind is still as sharp as a whip even in his 90’s could be persuaded to embark on one more mission for his country, something he has done clandestinely for every president since Nixon except for Barack Obama, who pointedly declined his services. The Chinese trust and respect Dr. Kissinger as they do all wise elder sages, and his health permitting, he’s just the sort of intermediary  whom could make a difference.

 GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD : Enemies or adversaries? Both, actually.

See, “Power” is the ability to get others to do what you want and prevent them from doing what you don’t want.

Power changes people, and it changes nations. It changes their perceptions of themselves, of their interests, of their proper standing in the world, of how they expect to be treated by others. That is why the rise of great powers throughout history has so often produced tensions in the international system, and even wars.

Russia’s turn toward liberalism at home stalled and then reversed, and so has her foreign policy. The centralization of power in the hands of Vladimir Putin has been accompanied by a turn away
from the integrationist foreign policy championed by Yeltsin and Kozyrev. Great power nationalism has returned to Russia, and with it traditional great power calculations and ambitions.

Contrary to the dismissive views of many in the West, Russia is a great power, and she takes pride in being a force to be reckoned with on the world stage. She is not a superpower, and may never again be one. But in terms of what the Chinese call “comprehensive national power”—her combined economic, military, and diplomatic strengths— Russia ranks among the strongest powers in the world.

Today she spends more than every country in the world except for the United States and China. Much of this has gone to modernizing her nuclear arsenal, which remains formidable by any standard – Russia still possesses16,000 nuclear warheads. Russia also has an active-duty force of more than a million soldiers; is developing new jet fighters, new submarines, and new aircraft carriers; and has resumed long-range strategic bomber flights for the first time since the end of the Cold War.

Russian military power is an integral part of her foreign policy. In addition to fighting a war in Syria and Ukraine, she maintains troops in Chechnya, Georgia and Moldova and has suspended her participation in the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), which had restricted her troop deployments. She has also been the leading supplier of advanced weaponry to China and has thus made herself a factor in the strategic equation of East Asia.

This new sense of power today fuels Russian nationalism. It also stirs up deep resentments and feelings of humiliation. Russians today no longer regard Moscow’s accommodating policies in the 1990s as acts of enlightened statesmanship.

Today Russia’s leaders seek to reclaim much of the global power and influence they lost at the end of the Cold War. Their grand ambition is to undo the post-Cold War settlement and to reestablish Russia as a dominant power in Eurasia, to make her one of the two or three great powers of the world.

What Russia wants today is what great powers have always wanted: to maintain predominant influence in the regions that matter to them, and to exclude the influence of other great powers.

Were Russia to succeed in establishing this regional dominance, like other great powers its ambitions would expand.

When the United States made herself the dominant power in the Western Hemisphere at the end of the nineteenth century, she did not rest content but looked to new horizons in East Asia and the Pacific.

Russia’s self-image today is that of a world power, with global interests and global reach.

Europe may be ill-equipped to respond to a problem that it never anticipated having to face. Its postmodern tools of foreign policy were not designed to address more traditional geopolitical challenges. Europe is neither institutionally nor temperamentally prepared to play the kind of geopolitical games in Russia’s near-abroad that Russia is willing to play.

Today the Chinese believe that their nation’s ancient centrality, appropriately adjusted for the times and circumstances, can, should, and will be restored. They increasingly look back to imperial days for guidance about the future. Chinese thinkers and policymakers foresee a dawning era of renewed Chinese dominance in East Asia. Some see the world divided into two geopolitical spheres: a Euro-Atlantic sphere dominated by the United States and an Asian sphere dominated by China.

Chinese officials speak of extending strategic frontiers progressively outward to what they call the three “island chains”: the first, running from Japan to Taiwan to the Philippines; the second, from Sakhalin to the islands of the Southwest Pacific; the third, from the Aleutian Islands off Alaska to the Antarctic.

While the Chinese navy remains far from achieving these more distant ambitions, the Chinese have been steadily replacing their antiquated naval and air forces with modern ships and aircraft, almost all purchased from Russia. Within a few years China will have roughly doubled its fleet of modern submarines and modern guided missile destroyers. For the 1st time in eons, China thinks of herself as a sea power.

Don’t the Chinese understand that in the globalized world one can buy oil on the market without cozy relations with the oil despots of the world? Don’t they see that the globalized world of international commerce has an interest in keeping waterways open and that China’s buildup is therefore unnecessary?

Chinese leaders don’t believe any of this, and with reason. Like all rising powers throughout history, like the United States, Japan, and Germany at the end of the nineteenth century, they fear that the rest of the world may conspire against them. Like the Russians, the Chinese believe that to be a great power they must be independent and self-reliant.

The Chinese have considered the United States hostile to their ambitions for decades. Long before Europeans began expressing concern about the “hyperpower,” long before world opinion complained about America’s arrogance and hegemonism, Chinese observers had pointed to her “superhegemonist” ambitions. They knew 41’s new world order meant a dominant United States, with Russia and China in distinctly secondary roles.

China may speak of transcending traditional geopolitics. They may claim no interest in traditional
forms of power. But their actual policy is to accumulate more of it.

The Glittering Eye :Russia isn’t necessarily our enemy although we seem bound and determined to make it one. The last three administrations have completely bungled relations with Russia. Each has presided over an expansion of NATO, none of which increased our security or that of Western Europe but were aggressive and provocative from Russia’s viewpoint. Most recently we have supported the neo-fascist regime in Kiev which we are learning is as corrupt as its predecessors.

It didn’t have to be this way. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia downsized its military and reorganized it away from one prepared to confront Western provocations. Its gradual return was a response to NATO moves not their cause.

We should have been cooperating with the Russians in Syria. The Islamist rebels of whatever stripe are our common enemy. Now we’ve got Russian jets buzzing our planes and ships in the Baltic. I hope the Cold Warriors are happy. It’s what they’ve been working for the last 20 years.

China on the other hand clearly sees itself as the rising power and us the declining power. The U. S. to our Britain. I think they’re miscalculation but I believe they will be troublesome. We should stick to our longstanding grand strategy wherever it leads but I’m skeptical the present administration will do so. I think the Chinese would back down. Their aggression in the South China Sea isn’t popular in China however popular it is with a small number of Chinese elites.

Russia and China are natural adversaries. We should have the wit to capitalize on that.

Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason : We have gone beyond the impotent saber rattling from these communist countries seen during the peak of the Cold War. Over the past few years China has expanded its reach into the South China Sea through a reclamation project creating artificial islands; building airstrips and military installations and threatening regional peace. These are some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes as an estimated five trillion dollars of global trade per year passes through these waters. China’s control of these waters could have a devastating global economic impact.

A seemingly sleeping Russia flexed its might by invading the Crimea in Ukraine and annexing it into the Russian Federation in March of 2014. Just this week, two Russian fighter jets buzzed the USS Donald Cook, a U. S. Navy guided missile destroyer in the Baltic Sea, coming within 1000 yards of the destroyer and the next day a Russian jet came to within 30 feet of the destroyer. We can be assured Putin’s vision is the reclamation of the vast empire once under the banner of the Soviet Union.

We’ve gone beyond the “trust but verify” days of President Ronald Reagan. China and Russia are our enemies and are not just testing the response of the United States and our allied nations. I fear theirs is an unholy alliance whose goal is to divide and conquer as they expand power and seize control of more countries and waterways. All of this is happening as the Obama Administration is systematically downsizing and demoralizing our all volunteer military. It’s no surprise the threat to our national security is growing as President Obama seems unwilling to do anything to stop it. I just hope nothing catastrophic happens before the next president is sworn in, and that the next president has a good understanding of these truly existential threats and is willing to act; through diplomacy when possible or militarily if necessary. Unfortunately, it is impossible to be an isolationist in this 21st century.

  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!! Our Watcher’s Council Results

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

“Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“To educate a person in the mind but not in morals is to educate a menace to society.” – Theodore Roosevelt

“In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then he made school boards.” – Mark Twain

Stately McDaniel Manor

This week’s winning essay,Stately McDaniel Manor’s Racism In The Public Schools: Dead Or Alive? Is a professional educator’s look at rampant racism in the public schools..to wit, the racism and bigotry of low expectations. Here’s a slice:

Lyndon Baines Johnson was an old school, bare knuckles politician, hard-edged and bluntly obscene. He was very much reflective of his Democrat party, a party dedicated to segregation and the superiority of the white race. He is widely reported, in speaking about his “Great Society” plan, to have said:

“I’ll have those niggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years.”

Some claim Johnson never said such a thing, but it is certainly in line with his everyday speech and demeanor, and he certainly expressed similar sentiments. Johnson died in 1973, and thus far, he has been successful. Hook a people on government handouts, reward them for anti-social behaviors, convince them that hard work, honesty, reliability and obeying the law are for suckers, and they’ll support those that feed those beliefs–and their pocketbooks–with few exceptions. Black Americans, circa 2016, vote at rates of 90%, sometimes more, for Democrat candidates making those kinds of promises.

But how does a political party ensure that kind of support? By destroying generation after generation, and the destruction falls most grimly on young, black boys, the majority of whom grow up without fathers, and the young men they become–if they live long enough. That process of destruction begins in school, where black children are convinced they are untouchable. They don’t have to behave, learn, or accomplish anything. There are many examples, but a brief, preliminary lesson in human nature is necessary:

The “broken windows” effect is nowhere more operative than in schools. The term refers to not only a correct understanding of human nature, but its application in a broad social context. Classically, it refers to the reality that if the windows of a building, say a warehouse in an industrial area, are unbroken, if the building appears to be occupied and maintained, it will tend to stay that way. However, let one window remain broken for even a brief time, and soon, every window will be broken, the building will be entered, and its contents stolen or destroyed. Obviously, honest citizens won’t break the windows, steal or destroy, but some portion of any population inevitably will.

This understanding has an obvious application in policing. When New York City, under Mayor Rudy Guliani, adopted broken windows policing, that meant that the NYC Police aggressively pursued less serious, quality of life violators. They arrested people for urinating and defecating in doorways, they employed stop and frisk (Terry stops) to let criminals know they were being watched and were likely to be caught, and the quality of life in NYC dramatically improved. The concept is simplicity itself: when criminals know they’ll be caught for smaller crimes, they tend not to commit larger crimes. Now, under Progressive Mayor Bill DiBlasio, broken windows policing has been abandoned, and crime is once again running rampant. The decline in the overall quality of life in the City has been rapid and dramatic.

The human nature lesson is obvious and striking: let criminal personalities get away with smaller offenses, and they’ll inevitably escalate to serious offenses. Its application to the school setting should be obvious, and urgent. Unfortunately, all too often, it’s not.

Imagine, gentle readers, a group of human beings with little impulse control, people who tend to be selfish, unable to defer gratification, aggressive, enormously immature, even cruel. Put those people in an institutional setting surrounded by potential victims, and make it plain to them—and to their victims–their behavior, no matter how outrageous or criminal, will have few or no consequences. What could possibly go wrong?

The St. Paul school district supplies the predictable answer. Katherine Kersten, at the Weekly Standard, writes:

The most dangerous places in St. Paul, Minnesota, these days may not be the city’s tough East Side or Frogtown neighborhoods, but its public schools.

At Como Park and Humboldt high schools, police have been called to quell riots involving dozens of students. At Central High School, a teacher was body-slammed by a student and hospitalized with a traumatic brain injury. ‘Classroom invasions’ by students settling private scores have become a fact of life.

At elementary schools, meanwhile, out-of-control kids overturn chairs and attack their classmates, as teachers stand by helplessly. A teacher caught in a fistfight between two fifth-grade girls was knocked to the ground with a concussion.

Public schools should be among our communities’ safest places. Why do St. Paul’s schools increasingly resemble Lord of the Flies?

The transformation dates from 2011, when superintendent Valeria Silva launched her ‘Strong Schools, Strong Communities’ initiative. The plan sought to engineer a dramatic reduction in the suspension rate for black students, who here, as nationally, are far more likely to be suspended than white students.

That Progressives routinely label their supposedly transformational programs opposite of their reality is a terrible irony. The “Affordable Care Act,” provides neither care, nor is it affordable. Even progressives have exposed every promise about it made by Mr. Obama as a lie. Silva’s “Strong Schools, Strong Communities” initiative is no different.

Silva’s ‘Strong Schools’ initiative was at the forefront of the crusade for racial ‘equity’—a top priority of the Barack Obama administration’s Department of Education. Equity in this context does not mean fairness, but racial statistical parity in school discipline rates, regardless of students’ actual conduct.

Equity proponents claim that teachers’ racial biases are the primary cause of the discipline gap. Silva maintains that ‘defiance, disrespect and disruption’ are ‘subjective’ student behaviors, which teachers perceive and punish in discriminatory ways.

Silva is not alone in perpetrating such destructive nonsense. The Obama Administration has been relentless in its attempts to impose the same kind of racist destruction on schools and children.

[In 2014,] Education Secretary Arne Duncan made clear that his department considered racial differences in discipline rates ‘simply unacceptable’ and a violation of ‘the principle of equity.’ ‘It is adult behavior that needs to change.

Powered by that kind of defective, racist reasoning, the pattern developing across the nation is easily recognizable:

Silva’s campaign to eliminate racial disparities had two components. First, she retained a ‘diversity’ consultant called the Pacific Educational Group [PEG]—at a cost of at least $2 million to date—to compel teachers to confront their ‘white privilege’ and develop ‘a true appreciation’ of their students’ cultural ‘differences.

Ah! And would this be an ancient, unique and valuable culture characterized by wearing baseball caps sideways or backwards, the crotch of one’s pants around one’s ankles, heavy drug use, unrestrained violence against members of the same culture (and others), and absolute defiance of authority and the law?

Much more at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Professor Glenn ReynoldsAKA Instapundit in USA Today with Dear attorneys general: conspiring against free speech is a crime submitted by Stately McDaniel Manor.

In it, Professor Reynolds notes a disturbing trend among various ‘progressive’ attorneys general to conspire – there is no other word for it – to use taxpayer funded resources to unconstitutionally prosecute thought crimes and political stances they disagree with. Fascism is alive and well in its original home on the Left.

Here are this week’s full results. The Right Planet was unable to vote and one member submitted only a first choice in each category, but neither was subject to the usual 2/3 penalty for not voting :

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!

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Our Watcher’s Council Nominations – Virtual Reality Edition

Michael Ramirez - Creators

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.

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

Council Submissions

Non-Council Submissions

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