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Forum: If You Were President Obama, How Would You Handle The Situation In Ukraine?



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
: If You Were President Obama, How Would You Handle The Situation In Ukraine?

Liberty’s Spirit: Keeping Russia out of the G-8 was a good move. Also finding a way to limit Russia’s ability to sell their oil and natural gas on the open market would also hit Russia in the pocketbook. Of course a wounded bear is not so easily contained and it is a fine line between showing international condemnation and making that bear even more hostile. Remember a wounded Germany after WW1, instead of being cowed by sanctions and world derision turned to the Nazis and hence we ended up with the horror that was WW2. A wounded and angry Russian bear could turn us back into the bad-old-days of the Cold War.

Russia is in a highly vulnerable state, economically and internationally. We do not want to make the same mistake with Russia that we made with post WW1 Germany. However, unless you are willing to go to war over Crimea (you need to ask yourself, and answer honestly, is this incident worth the lives of YOUR children before you decided military action is tenable) then the only alternative is economic sanctions and keeping Russia out of organizations like the G-8. Of course the reality is that the entire first world has to be in line in order for there to be any real effect upon Russia. However, Europe as usual does not have the stomach for anything but specious pronouncements as they are beholden to Russia for their energy needs, especially Germany. Also there are too many financial and economic ties to Russia for any one nation to truly do anything about Russia’s aggression. Businesses worldwide would have to be willing to take a huge financial hit if they boycotted Russia and that is not something that anyone is going to make happen anytime soon. You can ask what is the tipping point? Honestly considering that the world’s red line (not just Obama’s) has continued to be crossed when dealing with the Iranian nuclear bomb, nor stopped the slaughter in Syria, it is highly doubtful that anyone has the desire to really do anything about Putin.

However, it would be good to have those in the White House who understand that rhetoric really gets you nowhere with someone like Putin. That a “Smartpower” policy would have to have a policy of decisive containment (sadly we are dependent on Russia for our space program now), energy independence (no Keystone pipeline and a refusal to open up areas to drill leaves us energy vulnerable to the likes of Putin) and allies that believe you are on their side (canceling the missile shield in Poland leaves vulnerable all those east European allies who are now once again in fear of Russian hegemony). Obama’s foreign policy has completely ignored these three major policy areas in dealing with Russia. In fact, in the case of the missile shield and nuclear downgrade of our military, Obama completely capitulated to Russian demands from the outset.

Now would Putin be so aggressive if he thought that the US had descent leadership? He did invade Georgia while Bush was in office and compared to Obama, Bush was highly aggressive and continually attacked for his “cowboy diplomacy, aka military actions.” So the truth of the matter is that it doesn’t necessarily matter who is in the White House when you are dealing with an oligarch like Putin. However, containment of Putin’s aggression is possible if you practice “Smartpower.” Something the Obama national security team never has done and is totally incapable of producing.

 GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD: Commonwealth Russia’s annexation of Crimea is gon be like a short-term political high at home that will eventually fizzle out. Long term though, Russia gains nothing from the annexation but a bleak peninsula of no economic or military importance, and the distrust and/or hatred of her neighbors.

A campaign of insurgency – funded by interested nation states with all the faux cover that terms like non state actors can provide would be interesting to say the least.

Nasty things like IEDs or better – EFPs (explosive formed penetrators) detonating amidst periodic sniper attacks would certainly queer the mix of Commonwealth’s adventures in her Near Abroad if hooked up with a myriad of ‘Rebel’ groups in Crimea and their Public Relations wave. Rebel Radio and TV could play on underground chic – particularly in old Ost Europa

Spectacular attacks will keep the spotlight on the area, granting internat’l interest and attention.

Commando style attacks on communications centers – storming, seizing and holding TV and radio stations would have a short life span as Russia would most likely play back with a heavy hand – thus sparking the insurgency to actually launch attacks outside of Crimea – even in Mommie Russia herself.

JoshuaPundit: The first thing I think that’s important going in is to understand that what we did to Russia and the Serbs with Kossovo is far worse than what Putin did with the Crimea. And what’s more, we didn’t even have any national interests at stake there. It was simply wag the dog, to distract the news headlines from Bill Clinton’s intern problems and look good to the Muslim world. And it has negatively affected our relationship with Russia severely to this day.Memories are long in that part of the world.

The last thing we want,in my opinion,  is any kind of military action. Ever since Barack Hussein Obama was a Senator, he’s demonstrated a disdain and a profound  disrespect for our military, so the idea of  any kind of action while he’s C-in-C is out of the question if we can possibly avoid it.

What would I do about the Ukraine? Assuming that Obama was out of the picture, John Kerry was out closing in on another rich widow and I had total control over things,  I would schedule a sitdown with President Putin for some serious horsetrading and a discussion of our future relationship.

I would happily offer to swap the entire Ukraine if necessary in a covert agreement in exchange for Russia looking the other way and keeping stuhm while we dealt with Iran’s nukes. We have no interests there. Especially if I offered this carrot with a regretful mention of my being forced to resort to the ultimate stick if we couldn’t agree – barring Russia and anyone trading with them from doing transactions via the US banking system. Since oil trades are delineated in dollars and the world banking system flows through New York, this would be the ultimate sanction on Russia, one they couldn’t get around. Plus the Europeans and the Chinese would be forced to go along because of their exports and financial dealings here in America. What we’re doing now is mere pinpricks.

I think there’s a very good chance Putin would go for it, especially since dealing with me, he’d be pretty certain I planned to solve that particular problem with Iran anyway, agreement of no agreement.

You see, I look at it from the standpoint of what benefits us and gives Putin a little something to save face with. That’s exactly the opposite of what you’re seeing with Obama and Kerry.

I’m not particularly worried about Putin expanding to any of the other countries near his border aside from Moldava,perhaps. With the exception of Finland, they’re all NATO allies who could call on Article Five of the treaty, and Putin knows it. He’s a rational actor. Russia is not in a position to fight that kind of war right now, and going after the Finns would be a serious mistake. The Russians tried that before and it was not pleasant for them in the least.

Provided we no longer have a president who’s a serial prevaricator who can convince our allies we can be depended on,  building up the military power and our security cooperation with the Visegrád Group would also be a good check on any ideas Putin or anyone else might have. Those countries certainly don’t trust Obama, and with good reason. But that can change with different leadership.

The Glittering Eye: There isn’t much that can be done at this point. The economic sanctions that are palatable to the Europeans aren’t enough to discourage the Russians so we’re limited to ineffectual gestures and condemnation. The president has already condemned Russia’s annexation of Crimea and repeating it won’t make it more effective. Less to, if anything.

Most of all we shouldn’t get cozier with Ukraine’s government. There’s little reason to believe that they’re freedom-loving liberal democrats. Indeed, in all likelihood they’re the same corrupt kleptocrats that the Yanukovych and Tymoshenko governments were.

We might have been able to do something if we’d started twenty years ago. We could have tried to slow the transition from the Soviet system to the present one, allowing liberal institutions to gain strength. We could have given the fledgling Russia a little more support. We didn’t need to treat them like vanquished foes. We could have discouraged the expansion of the EU and NATO into former Warsaw Pact and Soviet countries or, at least, slowed it. That expansion, coupled with the interventions in Serbia, Kosovo, and Libya, convinced the Russians that NATO wasn’t a defensive alliance but an anti-Russian alliance.

We’ve also over-emphasized the importance of individuals, first Yeltsin, now Putin. But that’s a somewhat different subject.

Every one penny drop in the price of oil takes money out of the Putin’s pockets. We can influence the price of oil by a) producing more and b) consuming less. Lowering the price of oil is a two-edged sword. It will hurt Russia and it will help China.

 The Razor: This is an easy question: I’d handle it exactly as Obama has.

It’s impossible to learn something new when one knows everything. Obama believes he knows the situation better than anyone on his staff, which is why he pursues this policy. Since he knows everything and implemented this policy, he cannot change it.

From his narcissistic perspective, he has done nothing wrong. It’s Putin who refuses to see reality, which from an outside perspective is Obama’s reality, not the reality that exists outside his own mind. From Obama’s perspective Putin is acting irrationally and almost insanely because Putin refuses to acknowledge the post-Cold War/Transnational reality where Russia is no longer a powerful nationalistic state. Because Obama is completely unable to perceive the world in any other way, let alone from another person’s perspective in an objective, unbiased way, he cannot understand Putin’s actions. They seem random and disconnected; it must puzzle him – and I wonder if he believes Putin is being poisoned or becoming mentally disturbed.

But from a perspective other than Obama’s we can see Putin’s action as quite rational when viewed in nationalistic terms. While I personally have wished Russia and China would see the world in a broader perspective, one that recognizes that international relations in the 21st century is not a zero-sum game, I understand that if a person sees you as an opponent you must treat him as an opponent. No amount of wishing is going to stop him from trying to hurt you. Therefore we have to react to Putin (and China, which is on deck to create the same mayhem in South Asia that Putin is making in Eastern Europe) in a way that he understands; by undermining his actions through diplomatic and military means when necessary. This would mean supporting rebel elements throughout the fringes of the Russian Empire, arming the Ukrainians, and generally attacking Russia through all means necessary short of a hot-war.

Luckily for Putin he has plenty of time before Obama leaves office, and that time may grow even longer if America elects an Obama-like Hillary Clinton or an isolationist-leaning Rand Paul. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to expand the Russian Empire, and from Putin’s perspective he’d be crazy not to take it.

Simply Jews : Thankfully I am not in the POTUS shoes at the moment, because in my opinion the man is in a bind in the current situation.

Obama and USA don’t really have a military option, aside of a doomsday scenario, which will be sheer madness, taking into account the questionable qualities of both sides of the conflict. To support the (ostensibly) pro-Western side in the Ukraine means extending the patronage to a big group of raving ultra-nationalist with roots in the Ukraine stained past. So I would exclude the military option anyway.

On the political front the POTUS has a totally immovable adversary in Vladimir Putin. Not only Putin has demonstrated several times during the recent years that he is a better poker player than Obama, he is also immune to political pressure, having unprecedentedly strong support at home. And not caring much for the world’s opinion, it has to be added.

Economically POTUS’ hands are bound, at least in the short term. Trying to apply economic pressure at the moment, with Europe being held hostage by Putin’s hand on the gas and oil taps, will almost certainly leave US alone in the battlefield.

The only remaining way is to establish the infrastructure for replacement of Russian source of gas and oil by US and others, which will take time. This, however, should be done anyway, since Russian expansion is by no means limited to the Crimea adventure. Having the Europe fueling solution in place, Obama then can seriously move to the economic blockade of Russia – which in the long run is the only measure that could endanger Putin and his KGB cronies at the helm.

Ask Marion: If I were President Obama, I would never have found myself in his position with Putin and the Ukraine to start with. Weakness and/or dysfunction begets weakness and dysfunction!

I am a Sarah Palin kind of gal… so would be a Ronald Reagan kind of president in a skirt! However, that being said:

If I were President Obama I would start by keeping my mouth shut unless I was ready to act:

The President addressed an audience in the Netherlands this past Tuesday after which he stood at his podium awaiting the customary round of applause. Instead, none came… virtually nobody applauded. One audience member can be heard clapping a slow, awkward clap for a few seconds before promptly giving up after noticing that his enthusiasm was not catching on (He and the United States have become laughable.

And then I would follow the KT McFarland route, giving the following speech (short and sweet)… and then take action:

First: I will reverse my decision to halt the missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic. America will go ahead as originally planned and build the missile shield, but an accelerated basis. That means U.S. military personal will be working alongside Polish and Czech military to construct and operate the systems. The missile shield is designed to protect Europe from Iranian missiles, but you get the point. Uniformed U.S. military will soon be stationed near the Russian border.

Second: I will reverse course on the defense budget. Your defense minister just announced Russia is negotiating basing rights in seven nations around the world. He also said you were rebuilding old Soviet era military bases in central Asia. Your parliament has just voted unanimously to invade Ukraine. In light of that, this is no time for my Secretary of Defense to announce we’re gutting our military.

Third: I will allow the Keystone Pipeline to go ahead, again on an accelerated basis. That will not only give a boost to the American and Canadian economies, it will start driving down the price of oil.

Fourth: I will give my wholehearted support for fracking and horizontal drilling. American energy companies will now develop the vast oil and gas resources that lie, literally, under our feet. We’ve seen the U.S. go from natural gas importers to exporters in less than five years and the price of gas fall accordingly. We will now do the same with oil. Analysts expect the price of oil could decline by 20%.

I don’t have to tell you what that means for the Russian economy. Your economy and government are solely dependent on energy revenues. You need oil above $90 to meet payroll. It should settle well below that within a few years time. And free markets are a great thing – they anticipate change and will start short selling you now. That will make it difficult for you to pay for food imports, subsidies, your military buildup, and of course the extremely expensive the Sochi Olympics.

Fifth: I will send a trade delegation to Poland and other countries in Central Europe to explore ways of helping them use fracking technologies to develop their own gas reserves. Chevron and Shell have already signed a $13 billion deal with Ukraine. I expect others to follow.

At the same time I will throw roadblocks in front of any American energy company that seeks to develop your eastern Siberian fields. Your existing oil fields in western Siberia have, maybe, a decade left. You need our technology to develop new ones. You’re not getting it.

Sixth: It’s time we refocus on Western Europe’s over-dependence on Russian natural gas. We will explore ways to export our new found natural gas surpluses to Europe by underwriting building of LNG terminals to accept imports from America. And while we’re at it, we will reassure our NATO allies, especially those that used to be under Soviet control, that Article Five of the NATO charter is still valid. If you are setting your sights on them next, think again. It’s all for one and one for all.

Seventh: It’s high time we expand our relations with the oil and gas rich nations of central Asia. We will extend invitations to each of them to visit Washington, to see how America and American energy companies might work with them to build pipelines to get their energy exports to Europe and beyond bypassing Russia.

Time for some real leadership… of course that would mean that this administration wanted the U.S. to succeed!?!

The Independent Sentinel: If I were in Mr. Obama’s place, I would put the missile defense shield in Poland and send arms to Ukraine. After all, we sent arms to the Syrians and we apparently give Russia tactical weaponry for free.

If Putin thinks he can just walk into Ukraine and not pay much of a price, he will do it. The reverse is true.

If I had the same mindset as Mr. Obama, however, I would challenge Putin to a golf match.

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?

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

The Council has spoken, the sacred bones have been tossed and the votes have been cast, and we have the results for this week’s Watcher’s Council match up.

“We stand with Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. America’s commitment and my commitment to the security of Israel is unshakeable.” - President Barack Hussein Obama, 2012 campaign speech

I hate that man like the very Gates of Death who says one thing but hides another in his heart. – Homer,The Iliad

“He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it.” – George Orwell, Shooting An Elephant

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This week’s winner, Joshuapundit’s Obama Commends Abbas For ‘Consistently Renouncing Violence’ ??? is my reaction to a few things President Obama said about Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas during during their cozy photo op at the White House last week. Here’s a slice:

 On Monday, before his meeting with Palestine’s unelected dictator Mahmoud Abbas, President Obama did the usual press appearance with Abbas and said something quite interesting:

“I have to commend President Abbas,” Obama said alongside the Palestinian leader. “He has been somebody who has consistently renounced violence, has consistently sought a diplomatic and peaceful solution that allows for two states, side by side, in peace and security; a state that allows for the dignity and sovereignty of the Palestinian people and a state that allows for Israelis to feel secure and at peace with their neighbors.”

Let’s examine that, shall we?

For starters, Abbas just signed a new unity agreement with Hamas, an organization that is openly genocidal and makes its members swear an oath to pursue a second Holocaust.

Abbas is a Holocaust denier, even if he lies about it today to handpicked audiences of Left wing Israelis. And his Moscow University thesis denying that the Holocaust occurred is a required part of Palestine’s educational curriculum.

Abbas and the Palestinian Authority under his control have always glorified the murderers of Israeli civilians. Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah, after all, are the same folks who made child murderer Sami Kuntar an honorary ‘Palestinian’ citizen and gave him a hero’s welcome after he was released in a prisoner swap. Abbas and his Fatah faction have made a point of naming public buildings and streets after murderers and teach their children about the virtues of killing Jews in their mosques, media and schools.

And Abbas pays terrorist murderers who are convicted in Israeli civilian courts monthly salaries to encourage further violent  attacks against Jewish civilians, with the higher salaries for both Hamas and Fatah killers reserved for those who commit the most heinous murders and thus get longer jail terms.

The Fogel family who lived in the Jewish community of Itamar  were at home relaxing after the Sabbath on March 11, 2011 when two Palestinians affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Hakim Awad and Amjad Muhammad Fawzi Awad carried out an ‘operation’ they had planned in advance. After cutting through a security fence, they broke into the Fogel’s home and murdered five members of the family pictured above, including a 3-month-old baby. They butchered them without even the regard a slaughterer usually gives to an animal. They are on the PA’s salary list, receiving top dollar because of the five life sentences they received.These are your tax dollars at work, courtesy of President Obama, the UN and the EU.

Much more at the link

In our non-Council category, the winner was a simply masterful piece by John Hindraker over at Powerline, Washington Post Falls For Left-Wing Fraud, Embarrasses Itself [Updated With Post's Response] submitted by The Glittering Eye. John caught the WAPO red handed publishing a completely false story designed to libel the Koch Brothers for partisan political purposes. And to add to the mix, written by a reporter who is married to a democrat operative who works for the Obama Front group the Center For American Progress.

As Rush Limbaugh famously said, these people aren’t journalists, but Democrat activists with a byline.

OK, here are this week’s full results.

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! Don’t forget to tune in on Monday AM for this week’s Watcher’s Forum, as the Council and their invited 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!

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Watcher’s Council Nominations – March Madness Edition

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Yes, honest,law abiding leadership…..that.

The sort of leadership that would rewrite the Freedom of Information Act secretly without consulting congress. The sort of leadership that would gut an existing law to shield himself and any ‘White House equities’ – which are anything this president says they are – from being lawfully released under the FOIA Act for as long as he chooses to stonewall them. The kind of honest, transparent leadership that would commit an illegal and unconstitutional act three months after he was sworn in and violate his oath of office with impunity.

The fault isn’t in Caesar, but in ourselves in that we choose to be underlings. Yes, the shame is ours, in that we choose to put up with this without screaming bloody murder and insisting justice be done.

Sheer madness.

Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere, and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council.Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday morning.

Council News:


The Council In Action!

Liberty’s Spirit has a new article up at the Times of Israel, Rejecting God: Atheism and Autism

Nice Deb has a new piece up at Breitbart about a significant legal challenge to Obamacare, DC Circuit Court to Decide Tuesday Whether Obama Administration Can Rewrite Laws

Joshuapundit has a new piece up at the Times of Israel,What Caroline Glick’s One State Plan Unfortunately Misses

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This week, MidKnight Review, The Pirate’s Cove, Maggie’s Notebook and Right Truth earned honorable mention status with some great articles.

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

To bring something to my attention simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title 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, without further ado, let’s see what we have this week….

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

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

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Forum: What Is The Meaning Of ‘Spirituality’ To You?

Every week on Monday morning , the Watcher’s 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 Is The Meaning Of ‘Spirituality’ To You?

Liberty’s Spirit:Spirituality is the understanding that the universe is greater than yourself, but at the same time, you are obligated to better the world around you as if you, and you alone, are responsible for the continuation of all living creatures. It matters not to me how any one person comes to this realization. I do not believe that a person has to have a religion to be a good person (unfortunately there are too many people in the world who use religion as a weapon to hurt others instead of a path to goodness). What matters is that individuals understand that their singular actions effect everyone around them and that there is a ripple effect in the dynamics of the universe. The constant desire to be kind to all living creatures around you is the epitome of spirituality. Every little action can have a positive effect on a stranger. A simple smile at a passing individual could bring joy to their world in ways you will never know. Trying to be a better person than you were the moment before is the path to spirituality and the constant challenge of humanity.

Simply Jews:That one sent me to the dictionary.

The first meaning (“Property or income owned by a church”) is hardly relevant to me.
The second one (“Concern with things of the spirit”) is somewhat more interesting, although, I suspect, much easier to deal with for religious people, which I am not.

So, I shall have to define it for myself, then. I would say that spirituality means several activities that a person occupies him/herself during the breaks in the daily mundane pursuit of happiness in its material aspect.

Our spiritual pursuits could be the main difference between us and the animals, although as a definition this statement doesn’t add much understanding of spirituality.

So, to be more specific, let’s go by example: fine arts, literature, music and, (unfortunately I have to say it), the elements of popular culture such as pop, heavy metal and similar kinds of musics, should be all named as part of our spirituality.

As, of course, the religious person’s study of things religious and praying, equivalent of which for a secular person would be philosophy – provided the secular person indulges in this field of activity.

And, if you want to take the root of the word “spirituality” more literally, a good bottle of spirit, like the one distillated by the magicians of Scotland, has something to do with spirituality too. Depending on the dosage, of course.

The Noisy Room: The meaning of ‘spirituality’ to me is simply my lifelong walk with God. As a child, my father was in construction and we moved constantly. My father was agnostic and my Grandmother was a devout Christian. However, we were never forced to go to church. From the time I can remember walking and talking, I have always gravitated to the Bible and its teachings. I went to church myself from the time I was very young – always alone. I have always felt Him with me – in the good and bad times and he has sustained me through many battles during my life. I could no more separate my life and being from my belief in God, than I could stop fighting against Communism. Most of my life, I have felt led by my spirituality to pursue the work I am ensconced in. It is my belief that I follow a calling from God and each and every day I pray for guidance. I gladly follow my path and His lead… I always will until I leave this world for the next.

JoshuaPundit: Spirituality is the horse that takes you on your journey towards Almighty G-d. Faith and acceptance is the reward at journey’s end. And should you be so fortunate as to be so close to the Father of Us All to be blessed with faith and acceptance, the next step is the self discipline to practice and live that faith and acceptance in this world, as an offering.

GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD: “Authentic spirituality involves an emotional response, what I will call the spiritual response, which can include feelings of significance, unity, awe, joy, acceptance, and consolation. Such feelings are intrinsically rewarding and so are sought out in their own right, but they also help us in dealing with difficult situations involving death, loss, and disappointment. The spiritual response thus helps meet our affective needs for both celebration and reconciliation. ”

As Richard Dawkins puts it in his book Unweaving the Rainbow, we have an “appetite for wonder,” an appetite for evoking the positive emotional states that are linked to our deepest existential questions.
But what might evoke these states? Spirituality often involves a cognitive context, a set of beliefs about oneself and the world which can both inspire the spiritual response and provide an interpretation of it. Our ideas about what ultimately exists, who we fundamentally are, and our place in the greater scheme of things form the cognitive context for spirituality. By contemplating such beliefs we are temporarily drawn out of the mundane into the realization of life’s deeper significance, and this realization generates emotional effects. But equally, the spiritual response thus generated is itself interpreted in the light of our basic beliefs; namely, it is taken to reflect the ultimate truth of our situation as we conceive it. The cognitive context of spirituality and the spiritual response are therefore linked tightly in reciprocal evocation and validation.

A third essential component of spirituality is what is ordinarily called spiritual practice. Since the intellectual appreciation of fundamental beliefs alone may not suffice to evoke a particularly deep experience, various non-cognitive techniques can help to access the spiritual response. Activities such as dance, singing, chant, meditation, and participation in various rituals and ceremonies all can play a role in moving us from the head to the heart. And it is in the heart, or gut, after all, where we find the most powerful intrinsic rewards of spirituality, as profound as its cognitive context might be.

Although the emotional content of the spiritual response – feelings of connection, significance, serenity, acceptance – is common to all spirituality, the background beliefs and specific practices vary tremendously. Almost all of us have the biological capacity to feel spiritually transported, but the cognitive context of those moments and the techniques to induce them are a matter of our culture.

A fascinating variety of spiritual traditions have arisen, ranging from the rigorous, ascetic regimes of Zen meditation to the ecstatic communal celebration of a Sunday morning gospel service, and each tradition has its own conception of the world and the individual’s place in it.

Stemming from these beliefs there are a multiplicity of spiritual objects of veneration, of deeper realities to be encountered: God, Earth, Nature, Emptiness, angels, devils, ancestors, previous incarnations, the Force, you name it (for a current, pop-cultural sampling of these, visit Beliefnet). For each tradition, spiritual experience is taken to be the direct appreciation of the ultimate truth about the world, a way to transcend one’s limited everyday perspective in the quest for meaning, unity, and serenity.

One of the most prominent recurring themes in Paul’s writings is the contrast between the flesh and the spirit. In the original Greek manuscripts of Paul’s letters, the Greek word SARX appears over ninety times. This word is most often translated as “flesh” and represents the physical, literal, carnal viewpoint. The opposite of the word SARX is the word PNEUMOS. This word appears over one hundred and thirty times in Paul’s writings and is translated as “spirit”.

The PNEUMOS represents the spiritual, non-physical, symbolic view. One of the best examples illustrating this contrast between the fleshly, literal outlook and the non -physical, spiritual perspective can be found in the epistle that Paul wrote to the Christians of Rome.

In this letter he declared: “there is therefore now no condemnation to those… who do not walk according to the flesh (SARX), but according to the Spirit (PNEUMOS)… for the mind of the flesh (SARX) is death; but the mind of the Spirit (PHRONEMA TOU PNEUMATOS) is life and peace; because of this the mind of the flesh (SARX) is enmity towards God… those in the flesh (SARX) are not able to please God… if anyone has not the Spirit (PNEUMOS) of Christ, this one is not His… for as many as are led by the Spirit (PNEUMOS) of God, these are sons of God” -Romans 8 (Interlinear Bible)

When Paul spoke of “those in the flesh [who] are not able to please God”, he certainly was not implying that anyone who has a physical, fleshly body can’t please God. Instead, he’s referring to the “mind of the flesh (SARX)”… the fleshly, literal attitudes, interpretations and ways of thinking which “are not able to please God”. It is the “mind of the flesh” – being literal minded which is “death.” It is the “mind of the spirit” – having a spiritual viewpoint which “is life”.

To make absolutely certain that Christians don’t miss this important point, Paul repeats it again in another passage. He wrote: “God made us able ministers of a new covenant; not of letter, but of Spirit (PNEUMOS). For the letter [the literal] kills, but the Spirit makes alive” -2 Corinthians 3:6 (Interlinear Bible)

The literal “kills”. The “mind of the flesh” is “death”. But seeing things in terms of their spiritual meanings breathes life into them and fosters true understanding.It was to these kinds of literal minded people that Jesus was referring when he said “seeing they do not see and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand”.

The Glittering Eye: I think that people refer to themselves as “spiritual” when they don’t want to be inconvenienced by a religion or systematic theology or ethics that might demand something from them or constrain their actions.

Perhaps that’s unkind of me.

Ask Marion: Spirituality to me is my (everyone’s) personal connection to God, our creator, but also to each other, to all living creatures and to nature. I liken it to a telephone for our souls.

Spirituality is the personal side of religion. Religion educates us and often helps people find a way to meet and mingle with like minded souls or searchers, but organized religion also has a worldly agenda that sometimes steers us far from spirituality and what I see as organized religions’ true and original intent.

I grew up Catholic and they actually steer you away from what I see as spirituality where each of us can speak and pray to God directly at any and all times instead of having to go through a third party. You can see how popular I was with the nuns… ;-)

For me spirituality includes the little voice in our heads, the tug in our hearts and the dreams or premonitions that tell us what is right or lead us in the right direction… if we listen. For those of us driver personality types, like me, I try to listen and often hear but then have to fight myself not to try to take control and argue with God, in our discussions that I have with him throughout the day, for my point of view.

The voice of spirituality is far too often not heard by many and even if they do, it is equally as often ignored. I remember Dr. Robert H. Schuller, Founder of the Crystal Cathedral, saying in one of his sermons, that we in countries like the United States and other first world countries, where we have so much to be grateful for, often have a much shallower connection to God and that inner voice than people in very poor nations where merely surviving is an every day struggle, because our world is so busy, so noisy and so full of distractions, that we no longer search for God, take time to listen to him talking to each of us, or recognize His messages to us. Just like many of us never take the time to pray or just talk to God… until we need or want something from Him. for as they say… there are no atheists in foxholes.

Also included in the realm of spirituality for me are joy and sadness… the feeling you get when you look into your children’s eyes; the feeling you get when you look into your pets’ or any animals’ eyes; the indescribable feeling you get when you see the beauty in nature; the feeling of peace you get when you took action or stood for the right thing, no matter what the personal cost to you. Spirituality is what makes living creatures of all kinds help each other and do good deeds that no one will ever know about and for which the only reward is the fulfillment of having done something good. But for me it is also the sadness you feel when we, humans anywhere in the world, abuse each other, when animals are mistreated, when we destroy a part of the world’s landscape or when humanity falls short no matter how far we are removed from the person (people), place, living-creature or event… and the guilt that we should feel for not having stepped-up. It is also the combined feeling of joy and sorrow that one feels if they were ever blessed to be holding another living creature… a loved-one or a pet, when they take their last breath and leave this world, knowing… if you have the belief, that they are entering the next.

Spirituality is the glue that holds us all together and that will hopefully someday prevail over the hate and politics that run the world.

 Bookworm Room: When I was young, I called myself an atheist. There is no God, I thought.

As I’ve grown older, though, I’ve realized a few things. First, we humans are definitely greater than the sum of our parts. We can deconstruct humans down to the atomic level without ever touching upon the animating force that powers us or understanding our ability to function not just mechanically, but in a moral, abstract way. Second, no one has answered to my satisfaction what preceded the Big Bang. And third, without a belief in something greater than ourselves, nothing controls our baser instincts. Incidentally, by greater than ourselves, I don’t mean a collection of individuals, such as government, as opposed to a single individual or a small group of individuals. When I speak of something greater, I refer to an entity other than mankind. I don’t know if this entity created us, controls us, or just observes us, but I believe it exists and that we would be wise to assume that it has certain expectations about our behavior.

To me, then, spirituality means accepting that there is — and must be — something out there bigger than we are, and believing that this greater being demands that we behave according to our best abilities, not our worst. I find the Judeo-Christian tradition a very satisfying way of both recognizing a greater being and demanding a higher standard of living.

  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.

“Israel exists; it has a right to exist in peace behind secure and defensible borders; and it has a right to demand of its neighbors that they recognize those facts. I have personally followed and supported Israel’s heroic struggle for survival, ever since the founding of the State of Israel 34 years ago. In the pre-1967 borders Israel was barely 10 miles wide at its narrowest point. The bulk of Israel’s population lived within artillery range of hostile Arab armies. I am not about to ask Israel to live that way again.” -Ronald Reagan, 1982

“The Jews are alone in the world. If Israel survives, it will be solely because of Jewish efforts….I have a premonition that will not leave me; as it goes with Israel so will it go with all of us.Should Israel perish the holocaust will be upon us.” – Eric Hoffer, 1968

“We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.” – Barack Obama, 2011

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This week’s winner, Joshuapundit’s  ‘Nice Little Jewish State Ya Got There..Shame If Anything Were to Happen To It’ is a reaction and analysis of a widely publicized interview President Obama gave when Israeli leader Benyamin Netanyahu was en route to meet with him, and how it related to some subsequent events. Here’s a slice:

While Israeli PM Benyamin Netanyahu was already en route to the United States to discuss the Middle East peace process,  President Obama gave an interview at the beginning of last week to a friendly journalist, Jeffrey Goldberg.The shock waves from what the president had to say are still reverberating.

President Obama started by talking about the Israeli-Arab peace process.

The president, to summarize briefly, embraces the tired idea of ‘linkage’ wholeheartedly. In his view, Israel catering to the demands of the Palestinian Authority, giving up strategic territory in exchange for vague promises from Mahmoud Abbas and accepting the establishment of a hostile state on Israel’s borders will magically lead to peace in the Middle East. Israel’s Arab neighbors will all immediately become allies and friends, the Iranians will stop their quest for nuclear weapons and stop threatening to destroy Israel every two weeks or so and Hamas and Hezbollah will close up shop, disarm and go out of business.

When Goldberg prompted him, he made a few pro forma remarks about Netanyahu and about the  American ‘commitment to Israel being rock solid’. But as he made plain, he wants Israel to comply with all of the Palestinian demands, and quickly. Or else. Because, you see, there are going to be a lot more Palestinians and Israeli Arabs who will overwhelm Israel demographically, the EU and others are going to isolate Israel internationally and the U.S. is going to not be able to defend Israel diplomatically any longer. Unmentioned is that much of any diplomatic isolation Israel faces is a direct result of the animosity exhibited towards the Jewish State by President Obama and his administration.

Even Goldberg, a long time Obama supporter,  evidenced some shock in a subsequent interview with PBS’s Charlie Rose and characterized this as a threat.

The president,of course, focused exclusively on Arab rights rather than Jewish ones, and on Israeli security…which of course, he expects Israel to depend totally on the United States to oversee and handle, something that can be changed at the president’s whim. He characterizes the Palestinians as ready for peace, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, because to the president, it’s those stubborn Jews who are holding things up.

Just for the record, that demographic threat the president and Secretary Kerry keep focusing on that is supposed to doom Israel as a democratic state unless those Jews do what he wants and fast is pure fantasy. The real truth as I write this is that the trends shows a Jewish majority in Judea and Samaria of well over 60%, because the Jewish fertility rate has increased while Palestinian rates have collapsed. In fact, Jewish fertility rates in Judea and Samaria have already overtaken Arab rates at 3.04 vs. 2.91 children per woman. Israel continues to attract a high rate of immigration, with many more to come, especially from Europe, while Palestinian emigration rates have risen sharply. Time is on the side of Israel, not the Palestinians…which is the real reason for the haste to push through a deal by the White House.

President Obama’s fantasy world also includes a portrait of Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority as committed to peace.At one point, the president referred to Abbas as ‘the most moderate Palestinian leader the Israelis are ever going to get.’

This could have been the cue for Goldberg to remind the president that this is the same Mahmoud Abbas who has repeatedly said that he will not make any concessions to Israel, who insists on a Jew free reichlet and who recently signed a unity agreement with the genocidal Hamas. This is the same ‘moderate’ who wrote his thesis at Moscow University on how the Holocaust was a myth and made it a required part of the Palestinian educational curriculum, regardless of what he told a group of hand-picked Leftist Israeli students in Ramallah last week. This is the same leader supposedly  committed to peace and co-existence who sees to it that convicted murderers of Israeli civilians are honored as ‘holy martyrs’, heroes and role models and rewards them financially.

Instead, Goldberg  merely pointed out that Abbas was “also the leader of a weak, corrupt and divided Palestinian entity that is already structurally semi-powerless. Do you think he could deliver anything more than a framework agreement? Is this the guy who can lead the Palestinian people to say, “OK, no more claims against Israel, permanent peace, permanent recognition?”

And President Obama’s reply? “I think it has to be tested. The question is: What is lost by testing it?” The answer, of course is the same thing that was lost because of Oslo and the Road Map – hundreds of Jewish lives and hundreds of others maimed for life. President Obama, to be frank, didn’t seem all that put out by the idea of Jewish bloodshed, as long as a Palestinian state the way he envisions it is the result.

Israeli PM Netanyahu probably came to the U.S. prepared to accept the non-binding Kerry framework and to try once more to convince President Obama that the Iranians are committed to obtaining nuclear weapons, that they must be stopped and time is running out. Instead, he was hit with this while in mid air.

Not only did President Obama convince a lot of Israelis that his view of an Israeli/Palestinian peace accord isn’t rooted in reality and that they can no longer depend on the U.S. as any kind of honest broker, but the president’s remarks had to let Netanyahu know in advance that any attempt to get President Obama to look at reality on Iran was a waste of time.

In the interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, President Obama also did some chest thumping about Iran, saying that the Iranians were cooperating because they were afraid of him! To hear President Obama talk, because they’re so scared of what he might do, “they’ve halted their nuclear program, no centrifuges being installed; the 20 percent enriched uranium being drawn down to zero; Arak on hold.”

Absolutely none of this is true. The Iranians say flatly that enrichment is continuing, a whole new crop of advanced centrifuges is being installed , and the Iranian heavy water reactor at Arak,which has no peaceful application is not on hold at all.

In the end, instead of publicly accepting the framework, Netanyahu merely took a copy from the president privately without commenting and left for home. Among other things, this completely sandbagged Secretary of State John Kerry, who was not briefed on the interview in advance and according to one of my sources definitely in a position to know, was left scrambling to do damage control.

The latest indication of this president’s disdain for Israel occurred after Netanyahu left the White House. One of Israel’s written-in-stone conditions for any peace agreement is the formal acceptance by Abbas of Israel as a Jewish State. Israel wants this because it would signal a final end to the conflict, terminate the Palestinian fiction that Jews are just ‘colonists’ who have no connection or rights to the land of Israel and end the idea that thousands of those hostile Arabs whom represent themselves as Palestinian ‘refugees’ somehow have a right to resettle in Israel.

Abbas has always refused to do this for exactly these reasons, and once this interview was released, he repeated it once again. Not only that, but those Arabs whom represent themselves as Palestinians and whom President Obama claims are ready for peaceful coexistence refuse to accept Israel as a Jewish state either. Because like Abbas, they still cling to the dream of someday driving the Jews into the sea.

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When Abbas again repeated his refusal, what was different this time is that our own State Department backed him up on it.

Much more at the link

In our non-Council category, the winner was Victor Davis Hanson with A New Obama Doctrine? submitted by Bookworm Room , which poses the question of whether President Obama will change his foreign policy direction ala’ President Carter after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

OK, here are this week’s full results. Only Rhymes With Right was unable to vote this week,but was not subject to the mandatory 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!

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Watcher’s Council Nominations – Putinmania Edition

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Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group that’s your must read weekly journal of news and opinion written by 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.

This weeks’ contest is lovingly dedicated to the memory of Rabbi Abraham Avrech (Z”l).

Baruch Dayan Emet…Blessed Be The True Judge.

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The last few day saw the interesting proximity of two holidays, the Jewish festival of Purim and St. Patrick’s Day. Interestingly enough, both holidays, by tradition, feature partying and the hopefully responsible use of alcohol. (!)

Purim of course, is about the Jews turnabout on a Persian maniac who wanted to annihilate them all. As Ecclesiastes put it, there ain’t nothin’ new under the sun. And what better way to portray it than as a Spaghetti Western? :

St. Patrick’s Day is a cultural and religious holiday based on the death date of the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461). It’s essentially become a world party, with festivals held as far afield as Malaysia, Japan, Montserrat and Germany. There’s also something about snakes,but hopefully not the kind you see when you drink too much.My favorite part? Aside from the Bushmills, the Guinness and the fond memories of some previous adventures of my misspent youth, it’s the music:

Speaking of celebrations, here’s one we’ll celebrate a bit belatedly..the birthday of our dear friend Hube, of the  The Colossus of Rhodey!

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The actual event occurred March 3rd, and somehow got lost in the mix, without anyone letting on (Translation: Rob screwed up). So what the hey, why not celebrate it now? Just be careful with that loincloth, big fella!

For Hube’s special cake, I picked out a bundt style Delaware Raisin cake, made with raisins, chopped apples, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg:

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Chips and various kinds of salsa on the side, because they go well with something I also know Hube likes…

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Beer and Tequila!

Aside from being a great guy all around, Hube has one the most unique blogs you’ll find anywhere, on that looks at sci-fi, comic books,film, media, TV and graphic art as signposts as to which way our culture is going.

Tiempo passado, mi querido amigo..but hopefully it gets better as it goes, no? Many many more.

Council News:

The Council In Action:

Author and Council Alumnus Trever Loudon will tape his appearance for Glenn Beck’s The Blaze TV on March 26th and his spot will air at 5PM. Check your local listings. And definitely don’t miss this one!

Dave Schuler at The Glittering Eye celebrated his 10th anniversary in the blogosphere, and his entry this week in the links below concerns his reflections on a decade of blogging..including the secret of where the name of his site came from! Happy tenth, Dave!

Elise Ronan of Liberty’s Spirit has a new post up at the Times of Israel, Tzedakah or Tikkun Olam, How about Just Being Kind to Families with Special Needs

Nice Deb’s new post at Breitbart is up, Obama May Be Leading From Behind But He’s Looking Sharp In His Jeans

Joshuapundit’s
latest is up at the Times of Israel, Abbas calls Israeli defense against Gaza rocket attacks ‘Cold blooded murder’

Honorable Mentions

This week, Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion , The Pirate’s Cove, Maggie’s Notebook, Boker Tov Boulder and The Political Commentator earned honorable mention status with some great articles.

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

To bring something to my attention, simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title 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, without further ado, let’s see what we have this week….

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

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

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Forum: If You Had The Opportunity, What Would You Discuss With President Obama?

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:If You Had The Opportunity, What Would You Discuss With President Obama?

 The Razor: I’ve learned that it’s pointless to talk to narcissists. Every success is theirs while every failure is someone else’s. There’s no conversation, no contrarian inner dialog that can surface to challenge the supremacy of the self. This self-centeredness makes their conversations quite boring which is why Obama must rely on carefully crafted speeches written by someone else flashed up on a teleprompter. Although I maintain the highest respect for the office he holds, since I cannot talk directly to it there’s nothing I’d want to discuss with President Obama.

 GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD: A chance to chat up 44? Have to hit him up about American Exceptionalism.

See, it semi sorta kinda seems he really thinks that people must be controlled by those in power or they will rob each other blind and it could be argued 44 does not see that those in power in socialist dictatorships are the ones who rob cats blind.

To see America as greedy thieving thieves stealing wealth from 3rd worlders is to wanna fundamentally transform America into something in which 44 does believe – a country ruled by the government. The uninformed think when America trades for goods from their country on their terms they still believe they got the short end of the stick. They believe that the rich man should pay more, not because they weren’t paid richly enough based on what their product was worth, but because he had more available to spend.

44 thinks American Exceptionalism is the same as national pride, except that Americans think they’re better than everyone else. He believes American Exceptionalism is American conceit and arrogance. 44 doesn’t understand the most basic, vital truth about America.

As that radio guy says

“American Exceptionalism has nothing to do with anything but freedom and liberty. Here is what American Exceptionalism is. Well, if you know the history of the world… read your Bible, read whatever historical account of humanity you hold dear, and what you’ll read about is human tyranny. You’ll read of bondage. You’ll read of slavery. The vast majority of the people, the vast majority of the human beings who have lived and breathed and walked this planet have lived under the tyranny of despots, the vast majority.

“The vast majority of the people of this world, since the beginning of time, have never known the kind of liberty and freedom that’s taken for granted every day in this country. Most people have lived in abject fear of their leaders. Most people have lived in abject fear of whoever held power over them. Most people in the world have not had plentiful access to food and clean water. It was a major daily undertaking for most people to come up with just those two basic things.

“Just surviving was the primary occupation of most people in the world. The history of the world is dictatorship, tyranny, subjugation, whatever you want to call it of populations — and then along came the United States of America. Pilgrims were the first to come here seeking freedom from all of that. They were oppressed because of their religion. They were told they had to believe in the king and his god, whatever it was, or they would be imprisoned.

“They led an exodus from Europe to this country, people of the same mind-set. They simply wanted to escape the tyranny of their ordinary lives. This country was founded that way. For the first time in human history, a government and country was founded on the belief that leaders serve the population. This country was the first in history, the EXCEPTION — e-x-c-e-p-t, except. The exception to the rule is what American Exceptionalism is.

“It is because of this liberty and freedom that our country exists, because the founders recognized it comes from God. It’s part of the natural yearning of the human spirit. It is not granted by a government.”

 Liberty’s Spirit: In all honesty I have no desire to sit down and talk to President Obama about anything. In any conversation it is about two people sharing and respecting each others as equals. This would not be the case with the President. He obviously has no respect for, nor use for, anyone who doesn’t share his positions on any issue. He may not say much when you have your turn in the discussion, but he would pay no heed to your cares and concerns. He would, as all leftist-progressives tend to do, dismiss you as someone beneath him, not worthy of any of his attention, even if he didn’t say it to your face. His entire persona says dismissive, condescending, arrogant narcissist.

This attitude is exemplified in his latest interview with Jeffrey Goldberg from Bloomberg News where Obama showed a fantastical and completely ignorant understanding of the Palestinian-Israeli issue. His adamant refusal to condemn Palestinian extremism and Obama’s true belief that the aging Holocaust denier Abbas is a peacemaker, someone actually even capable or desirous of peace with the Jewish State, is an example of Obama’s true hatred of Israel. Moreover, his views on the peace process is also an outgrowth of his true core extreme Leftist antisemitic value that Jews are not an indigenous people of the Middle East and the Levant, but an outgrowth of European settler colonialism. His attitude can also be viewed as an outgrowth of his soft-racism towards Arabs and other persons Leftists consider “colonized people.” This belief in the fact that those who have been “oppressed” cannot themselves be racist, hateful or evil in anyway, is much akin to Cornell West’s concept that racism takes power and that since persons of color do not have the same power base in the US and the world that Caucasians do, ipso facto they can never be racist. It is also this Leftist idea of multiculturalism, whereby you cannot attack another nation’s culture because that would be denigrating and judgmental. In fact, this philosophy entails that those in the First World are obligated to obliterate their own traditions of human and civil rights in order to pay a modern form of recompense for past colonialist misdeeds .

Obama’s philosophy can be exemplified in his thought process: Arabs can never be hateful, they are just fulfilling their rightful destiny with Jew-hatred, Islamism and the Moslem Brotherhood. The same with the Latin and South American nations, i.e. not one condemnation from Obama about the slaughter going on in Venezuela. Obama views Chavez-Madura’s Communist take over of Venezuela as the right of the indigenous people to assert their Independence and anything short of the successful take over of that nation by the Left is a residual virus from colonial days.

The same here in the USA with his concept of wealth distribution. His belief that those on the lower rungs of the economic scale have been exploited, hence the wealthy and successful should have their monies redistributed to the misused masses, is part and parcel of an outgrowth of his socialist and “social justice” philosophy. Meanwhile, of course, since he is part of the once misused masses, being both of African heritage and poor (this too is a fanciful recollection on his part) he is then entitled to every perk and extravagance at the tax payers expense, despite the bad recovery and the number of people on welfare, food stamps, other forms of government assistance and the cutting back of veterans’ services. His attitude toward our nation’s wealth is similar to those third world oligarchs who rape their nations in order to live a lavish lifestyle at other’s expense. Obama is merely the epitome of the entitlement illness so exemplified by the elitest-Leftist-Progresssive-Statist political ruling class .

Of course his denigrating attitude towards those who have served and swore to honor and protect the Constitution of the US is another strike against our having any conversation whatsoever. His actions during the government shutdown towards our WW2 veterans as opposed to his sycophant praise for the pro-illegal alien demonstration, which occurred on the Mall at the same time, shows his true purpose (never mind that his disregard for those who serve this nation was also exemplified when he left those in Benghazi to die and went about fundraising for his reelection campaign the next day as if nothing untoward had occurred). Additionally, him using the sequester cuts to hurt the average American (the White House tours), who is the one who pays the taxes int his nation, rather than cutting back on his own agenda or cutting back on the growth of his bureaucracy in government shows a disdain for the average person in this nation that is dictator-like. His needs, his wants, his desires come first and the people be damned, for he is better, smarter and more knowledgeable than anyone else and he will force his anti-American will down your throat whether you like it or not. He, with pen and phone, is determined to remake the United States and provide succor for those that hate this nation. Furthermore, the exponential reality of how his administration circumvents the Constitution, and lies to the American people, whether it was through Fast and Furious, the IRS scandal, the NSA scandal, and the appointing of anti-American, anti-Constitution, anti-law enforcement persons to the federal judiciary or the Justice Department, and the complete and total disdain for the truth when dealing with the realities of Obamacare, shows a disregard for the rights of the people of this nation beyond that of a tyrant.

These are just some symptoms of the disease that is Obama’s mentality. His desire to surround himself with totally incompetent people who do not actually care about the condition of this nation above their leftist-anti-American agenda, or have any idea how to handle the real threats that this nation faces, proves that his first priority truly is not the protection of the United States from enemies both foreign and domestic. His agenda is his desire to turn the US into the “sick-man of the world” and to that end he will circumvent any law, especially the US Constitution, without care or pretense.

So quite frankly we really have nothing to talk about ever.

 AskMarion: Normally I would be dancing on the ceiling for the opportunity of talking with or interviewing any U.S. president and the list of questions would be flooding into my head. But I really had to think about this one.

Because President Obama reads from a script and lies to the American people, in word and by his actions, daily; having been described as a pathological liar by people far more educated and influential than I, it almost seems like an act in futility… not that I wouldn’t take the opportunity, even just for the chance to look him in the eyes.

The 3 questions I would ask him are:

Who really pulls your strings and how did they recruit you?
How do you live with yourself?
Do you really hate America as much as it appears?

I would expect to leave with little more insight or answers than I have now, but one can always hope!?!

JoshuaPundit: “Hello Mr. President? How’s golf treating you? Trust me, it’s your left shoulder, and it’s affecting your follow through.. By the way, I notice that the  embassy in Samoa has had an opening for awhile..how ’bouts you give me a shot at that gig? I know enough about the place so I won’t look stupid in front of the senate like those other nominees, and we can work out some kind of donation to Organizing For America once I’m confirmed. Pinky promise. The Charge d’Affairs slot in Fiji would work pretty well for me  too. Or Jamaica..I have some good connections  there and could send you periodic shipments of the really good stuff by diplomatic bag. Ah, I see I’ve perked your interest sir! Well, you know, whatever’s right.”

(BTW, I don’t play golf , but Obama wouldn’t know that)

Bookworm Room: My problem with this question is that it presumes one of two things (a) that Obama would speak the truth or (b) that I would have the savvy to give meaning to his lies.  Both presumptions are wrong.  Obama will not speak the truth and I lack the insight to parse his lies and reveal deeper truths.

Since those presumptions are both wrong, any subject I could raise with Obama would see me receiving the same canned answers he gives the media.  Obamacare?  It’s wonderful and it’s working.  Foreign policy?  It’s wonderful and it’s working.  The economy?  It’s wonderful and it’s working. 

I’d have no more success if I asked questions about scandals.  Those would just elicit answers involving phrases such as “Bush did it too,” “it was Bush’s fault,” “vast right wing conspiracy,” “Benghazi happened because a parole violator unforgivably taunted al Qaeda terrorists with a mean video,” and “that reference to Kenya in my publisher’s bio was just a typo I inadvertently let stand for a decade or so,” etc. 

Certainly, it would be fun to put Obama on TV so that the American public could see him offer fumbling, canned, non-responsive answers to the tough questions the media never asks, but that’s the only scenario in which I can envision myself wanting to have a discussion with him.

 The Glittering Eye:Good restaurants in Hyde Park. I strongly suspect it’s a subject on which he has solid opinions and experience and it’s a subject on which we could find common ground.

The Independent Sentinel: I can’t think of a thing I’d want to talk to President Obama about except would there be any circumstance under which we could get him to resign. If we promised him 7 virgins, would that help? Just kidding. I can’t contribute this week. The thought of speaking with him is near-nightmarish.
What could he say? He talks every day. The last thing I want is to hear him talk. :)
 
 Nice Deb: I would just ask him to stop insulting our intelligence with his constant, never-ending BS. 
Also for the good of the country, I would suggest he call off the racialist dogs in his party who keep hearing racist dog whistles that aren’t there. Is it really worth dividing the country along racial lines to smear decent conservatives like Paul Ryan – just so Democrats can fund-raise off of it? But, then again – Obama is an Alinsky trained radical, and viciously targeting political enemies with dishonest smears is a huge part of the game. 
I don’t think there’s a chance in Hades he would take my advise, which is why my first instinct would be to have nothing to do with him. This president is a lost cause. I’m just counting the long days and weeks until 2016.
 
   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?

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

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

“Despite a voluminous and often fervent literature on “income distribution,” the cold fact is that most income is not distributed: It is earned.”  – Thomas Sowell


  “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery..”
– Sir Winston Churchill

“Political corruption, social greed, and Americanized quasi-socialism can ruin even the most wonderful places. California proved that.” – Tiffany Madison

“GRAPESHOT, n. An argument which the future is preparing in answer to the demands of American Socialism. – Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

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This week’s winner, The Right Planet’s  Bill Maher’s Bulls**t   is a wonderfully enjoyable rant on socialists and how they – pardon the expression – think. Here’s a slice:

One of the reasons why I don’t post much on the unhinged daily rantings of socialist-loving agitators like Bill Maher, Chris Matthews, Ed Schultz, and the like, is I believe their whole schtick is simply an orgy of gluttonous ad hominem, served fresh with platefuls of red herring and non sequitur, for the express purpose of setting up straw man and gotcha arguments, in order to put the accused into an unfavorable light, no matter how they may respond.

It’s a veritable logical fallacy feast, ya’ll!

From my point of view, characters like Bill Maher are just purposefully employing logical fallacies to score points with their socialist-loving and LoFo (low-information) loyal viewers. Unfortunately, in my opinion, it can be quite effective at influencing public opinion at the socio-cultural level, especially with the sheeple … who are exposed to copious amounts of collectivist propaganda–courtesy of the socialized educational system and a sycophantic media. The pitting of one group or individual against the other is a politically motivated and constant theme with the Maherons of the world.

Bill Maher et ilk are the sorts who say, “Don’t look over here at the real problem, look over there, and … oh, by the way, did I tell you the TEA Party is racist?!” I mean, Maher is a comedian, you know. Although I do realize that is up for debate. But I digress, ladies and gentlemen.

That’s why it was good to hear a guy like Bill Kristol, who I have my own issues with from time to time, just come right out and call “bullshit!” Folks like Bill Maher have been trying to smear the TEA Party as racist since day one. One must ask themselves why the Maherons of the world are so desperate to create something that just isn’t there. Could it be that they cannot not debate the merits of the argument concerning the destructive collectivist policies of a one Barack Obama and his minions–policies they wholeheartedly support?

This “TEA Party is racist” lie the socialists keep pushing goes all the way back to the run-up on the vote for the Healthcare bill–when former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, with her giant gavel in tow, arrogantly marched arm-in-arm with her Democrat comrades into a crowd of mostly white TEA Party supporters–an obvious attempt at goading the crowd. Why else would a group of congressional Democrats march arm-in-arm sporting a giant gavel amongst a group of people protesting their draconian healthcare legislation if it was not to illicit some sort of negative reaction or hostile response?

Much more at the link..

In our non-Council category, the winner was Zombie with Progressive Racism: The Hidden Motive Driving Modern Politics submitted by The Razor. Unlike a lot of Zombie’s stuff, this one isn’t the usual photo-journalism but a must read look at a force in modern politics I bet you haven’t considered.

OK, here are this week’s full results. Simply Jews is on vacay and voted, but only for Council posts since he was having too much fun to get to our non-Council nominees. Rhymes With Right was unable to vote, but was not affected by the 2/3 vote penalty.:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! Don’t forget to tune in on Monday AM for this week’s Watcher’s Forum, as the Council and their invited 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!

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Watcher’s Council Nominations – Green Eggs And Ham Edition

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Here’s the full speech..and well worth watching:

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Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere, and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council.Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday morning.

Council News:

The Council In Action!

Liberty’s Spirit has a great new piece over at the Times of Israel, Becoming an Autism-warrior-parent, Channeling Deborah, Esther and Miriam

And Nice Deb has a sparkling new piece over at Breitbart, Senate Dems Pulling an All Nighter To Draw Attention To Climate Change

This week, The Blue Ridge Forum and The Pirate’s Cove earned honorable mention status with some great articles.

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

To bring something to my attention, simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title 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 see what we have this week….

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

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

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Forum:What are Your Predictions For The 2014 Midterms?

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 are Your Predictions For The 2014 Midterms?

 GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD:Weaponizing the IRS really pays off for the Donkey party – along with unprecedented voting fraud and ID theft.

Retaining the Senate and capturing the House allows 44 and the Reid – Pelosi posse to focus on a REAL xformation of America.

Amnesty for undocumented immigrants, exhaustive gun confistication control laws ensures only cops and military possess guns, a ‘Green Wave” of climate laws that strangle the economy, auto market, housing market, non service related employment (by unhappy chance – fueling even more benefits and entitlements).

Hate Speech will be virtually ended as troublesome things like Holy Bibles and Readers Digests will be severely controlled. NPR will be granted unprecedented control of TV, Radio shows, networks, podcasts, internet forums and youtube.

The Justice Dept will create a massive task force to help determine which churches should be downsized or closed. Since tolerance is not enough, preachers that easily offend will be given mandatory means tested sensitivity training. The Prison Industry will see mammoth growth

The Peace Dividend will finally fully flower as a non essential military will downsized further. Sales of aircraft carriers and submarines to China help fund the Veterans Administration shutdown via one time payments to Vets and partial pay for surviving dependents.

The Glittering Eye: As I have been predicting for some time and as suggested by Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, I that Republicans will extend their control of the House slightly, probably by less than 10 seats, increase their share of the Senate, but fail to take the Senate. Right now I’m predicting a 50-50 split in the Senate which means the Senate stays Democratic and Joe Biden starts casting some deciding votes.

Unless, of course, Angus King starts caucusing with the Republicans instead of the Democrats as is now the case. We could have a situation in which Angus King is the most powerful individual in the Senate. I’m not predicting that but it’s possible.

 Bookworm Room: I have no predictions. Just hopes.  But I learned in 2008 that you cannot elect hope.

JoshuaPundit: I live in California,  where essentially, politics no longer matter. The state’s supposedly ‘non-partisan’ redistricting process was co-opted by Democrats at its inception, and we now have jungle primaries where the top two vote getters run against each other regardless of party, so in many areas you end up with a choice of Democrat A or Democrat B in the general elections.

Voter fraud is wide spread, and will be even more blatant in the future because illegal aliens can now receive driver’s licenses and of course automatic voter registration forms, thanks to President Clinton. One of the legal ID’s used to obtain a driver’s license is a Matrícula Consular card, easily obtainable at any of the numerous Mexican consulates. if you know where to go and whom to talk to, you can obtain one for a cash fee of $50-$100 in whatever name you like, no questions asked. Not only that, but you can easily obtain a dozen or more of them if you hit various consulates, all in different names and with different addresses. Absentee ballots are easily obtained as well, and of course California has no voter ID laws.

The state’s electorate has changed as well, with many of the sort of people whom used to vote Republican having left the state. Due to the high cost of living and heavy taxation, even a lot of retirees have hit the trail for more wallet-friendly locales.

I say all this merely to provide some background.

President Obama and the regime will be prepared to go to extreme lengths in 2014, especially when it comes to the senate because the last thing he wants is actual investigations of his lawless behavior. Benghazi alone (which makes Iran-Contra look like a parking ticket) would be enough by itself to get him impeached and to see to it that Mrs. Clinton and several others never hold any position of public trust again.So I would not be surprised to see several questionable senate races end up going Democrat under suspicious circumstances..not in places where a Republican manages to win by a substantial margin, but in a few places where it’s close, especially where there’s a decent urban machine in operation to help out. Just enough to tie things up so Biden is the deciding vote, or enough of a margin, one or two seats, to keep the senate and its committees in Democrat hands.

The House will likely remain Republican, because those smaller races are harder to fix and much more localized.

What happens after that is largely due to what kind of Republicans get elected. If John Boehner remains Speaker, or if one of his acolytes like Eric Cantor takes his place, we can expect few changes. On the other hand, if the caucus rebels and picks a real leader, then you might actually see some action in investigating what’s been going on the last 5 years with a select committee.

AskMarion: I used to be the eternal optimist… cup half full kind of gal, but the past 5-years have kinda taken that out of me. But over the past month or so, I have garnered some hope and renewed optimism.

I have been watching the Millennials and they gave me my first shot of hope. They are attending Sarah Palin and other conservatives’ events and speeches. Plus their view of Obama and their future in an Obama-type world has done a 180.

This past weekend was the annual CPAC Event and there was a strong representation of Millennials, younger people in general, at the event, including Evan Feinberg, President of Generation Opportunity, who said there is war on the youth of America… on his generation! Feinberg was on the Healthcare after ObamaCare: A Practical Guide panel. Their strong presence is probably what gave Rand Paul his second win in the CPAC straw poll, but many of them are leaning further and further right.

But I have also been sensing a change, an awakening, in Americans of all ages. I belong to a political Koffee Klatch group made up of Republicans, Independents, Libertarians, Tea Partiers, a few awakened Patriots with little political affiliation until recently and even some disenchanted Democrats who are finding common ground on issues and even possibilities for the 2016 GOP ticket that I never thought possible a year ago.

And when I heard the Sarah Palin interview with Greta Van Susteran on On the Record, the night before she was giving the keynote speech at CPAC Sarah pushed me squarely into the hope dimension. She was positive about America’s future and based on her constant interaction with people all over the country, Palin said there is reason for optimism because America is waking up!

I believe that Republicans will probably keep about the same numbers in the House of Representatives that we have now, perhaps pick up a couple seats, but that we will be trading some of the ‘potted plants’and RINO’s for patriots who will stand up for Americans and stand-up to Obama. And I also predict that the Republicans will that take the Senate, but by a narrow margin, which will make Harry Reid the minority leader as best. Or as Palin said in her CPAC speech perhaps he might be dealing Black Jack in Vegas?!? ;-)

And with a victory in 2014… things will begin to change for the better and it will lay the groundwork for 2016.

The Independent Sentinel: I can only predict the results of one election, the CD-1 congressional race on Long Island.

It is one crazy race.

Lee Zeldin has George Demos, a Pelosi-Republican, primarying him this June. Through marriage, Demos is financially tied to the largest Democratic donor in California who is also a business partner of Nancy Pelosi’s husband.

No one knows where Demos lives. He has run for office three times in six years, but only lives on Long Island when he is running for office. He runs ads all day long on Fox Cable News claiming Lee Zeldin voted for ObamaCare, even though he didn’t.

No one knows if Demos has a job. He has a checkered past.

Demos refuses to be interviewed or to debate.

After Zeldin wins that primary, and he will, he will go up against a Marxist Democrat, Tim Bishop, who is funded by movie stars and magnates from NYC, California, and yes, he too is supported by Pelosi-Democrats.

Eastern Suffolk County, the CD-1 district, is now predominately Democratic and Lee Zeldin is going to win despite all this.

He is going to win because in the four years he has been a state senator, he has fulfilled his campaign promises. He is honest – always and he is actually living on Long Island. He is funded primarily by people who actually live on Long Island. He has a great message of fiscal responsibility and repealing ObamaCare.

Independent Sentinel has been brought into the race, possibly because of exposes we have published about George Demos and Tim Bishop. Suddenly a shadow website to ours has been set up and they post articles under our author’s name, articles which viciously attack Lee Zeldin. The person who is doing it has some very interesting connections.

We are pursuing our legal options.

As I said, it’s one crazy race.

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?

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