Monday, May 23, 2016

Forum: Can Public Education And The University System Be Fixed?



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 : Can Public Education And The University System Be Fixed?

Stately McDaniel Manor : The most serious problems in K-12 and “higher” education are not what most people think. Conservatives are, at least rhetorically, for local control of education. There we find a situation about as close to actual democracy as is possible in America circa 2016. School board members are often elected by a handful of votes, sometimes, single votes. One can often discuss school issues with board members over the backyard fence or at the local coffee shop.

Instead, we have huge and overbearing state and federal departments of education that exist not to ensure that teachers have all they need to teach as well as possible, but to perpetuate political control and power over others. These days, education has little to do with learning, with building individual bigger, better brains, but everything to do with mandatory, high stakes tests and the production of data. It’s big business and cronyism, not building the virtuous citizens necessary for a vibrant, constitutional America.

I lose, easily, three months per year to test preparation. That’s three months my kids will never get back, three months where they will not make the neural connections necessary to properly develop their brains, three months where they will not experience the greatest literature known to man, or further develop their abilities as writers, thinkers and speakers. Instead, they will learn how to take a very specific, single type of test, which once passed, they’ll never take again. This to produce a single data point: their test score.

Whom does it benefit? Not the students, not the schools, not the parents, and not society. It benefits the education bureaucracies and the education publishers who make actual billions by providing the tests and other materials that deny an actual education, but hide it with a blizzard of jargon, powerpoints and empty textbooks.

College? College teachers whine about the poor quality of contemporary students, and establish mini high schools on their campuses to provide remedial classes for unqualified students. These are not students forced on them, but students they actively recruit and accept, not out of the kindness of their Marxist hearts, but because their tuition checks clear the bank.

Why aren’t they qualified? Three primary reasons: the K-12 testing culture where kids are ruthlessly tested, benchmark tested, tested to see if they’re prepared for the test, and SAT tested, turns kids into automatons able to take those tests, and that’s about it. How do colleges address it? By accepting just about anybody even though they know they won’t be able to do actual college level work. They suck them dry, send them into decades of debt with no skills or credentials to pay it off, and when the drop out, could care less.

Oh, the third reason? Not everyone is smart enough--they don’t have a sufficiently high IQ--to do genuine college work. We have no trouble accepting that not everyone will be able to play on the varsity basketball team, but bridle at the idea that some people just aren’t as smart as others.

But hey, that’s “accountability.” That’s “no child left behind,” and “the race to the top.” I don’t recognize conservatism anymore, not as it applies to education.

JoshuaPundit: You can't 'fix' something this perverted and screwed up. You have to rebuild it. There are two ways to do it, I think. One way simply gets the federal and state bureaucracies out of government, mandating full local control combined  with a strong federally mandated  voucher program for accredited private schools and homeschooling programs  allowing parents to opt out from the whole corrupt system.

The idea of course is that while parents vote with their feet the schools will be motivated to provide a better product for that all important head count to keep their funding coming in (it's unlikely that most states would axe their own DOEs). Unfortunately, given whom runs a number of states and municipalities, and the union politics involved, that motivation is unlikely to mean much.And ultimately, a lot of the same people would be in charge.

A second way, one that tickles me immensely is to use the vast edu-bureaucracy the Left created against it. They, after all, have created a system where the feds can twist arms to get what they want because of the funding they provide. Imagine this scenario implemented along with the reforms I proposed above:

  • All public schools would be required to establish 'discipline standards.' This would involve mandatory dress codes, written standards of expected conduct including how teachers and principles are addressed (In Barbados and other countries whom use the British system, students are required to stand when addressing a teacher rather than slouching at their desks and call them 'Sir', 'Miss' or 'Mrs', for instance) and a 'zero tolerance' policy with a requirement for local jurisdictions to create a designated school for repeat offenders to prevent them from stopping others from learning and provide some badly needed correction.
  • While curriculum could be chosen by individual schools to a degree, all would have to use  textbooks and materials certified by the Federal DOE. This would be especially true of Liberal Studies such as history, civics and the like. Ditto with those infamous 'required reading' lists, another important way the left spreads its dogma. Needless to say, the new DOE would not certify  textbooks and materials written by the usual Marxist clowns like Howard Zinn. The certified texts and materials would be specifically chosen to expand young minds, foster patriotism and teach the miracle that is our Republic.
  • The New DOE would also monitor and approve teacher education standards.
  •  The new DOE would also recommend non-denominational prayer in schools to start each morning along with the Pledge of Allegiance. Students whom for religious reasons wish to be exempted could be excused. An executive order to put this in place would be fine with me, and probably a majority of parents.
  • No 'closed shop' schools would be eligible for federal funding of any kind.
  • The federal DOE would partner extensively with private industry to provide apprenticeships  and vocational training for the non-college bound and widely publicize these opportunities.
  • Given that many of the brick and mortar universities have become Leftist cesspools and havens for tenured radicals, the best way to correct that situation (which will take at least a generation) is to starve them of funds and compete with them. The new DOE would create certified, extensive online degree programs for most of the liberal arts programs and some of the preliminary math and science ones that could be completed in a year or so at a fraction of the cost families now pay for 'the college experience.' 

Such programs exist today. My beloved daughter wanted to go into teaching special ed. She has been  working for the past year as a teaching assistant in New York in one of the best schools of that kind there while taking an online, fully accredited course for her BA. She will have completed it at a cost far less than an equivalent 4 year university without any debt (the course allows monthly payments) and will start her masters program in September, which will  take her another year and a half and includes her being a credentialed teacher in New York state for further work experience at the same time.  In  two and a half years, she will have her masters along with an equivalent amount of work experience on her resume' along with zero debt for her or for us. Imagine that kind of success story repeated  nationwide.

The idea of using the Left's mechanism against it brings a smile to my face!


Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason :Yes! Eliminate the US Department of Education. Our public education system is being controlled by the federal government. The U.S. Department of Education ( DoED) originated in 1979 under the presidency of Jimmy Carter. In his 1980 presidential campaign Reagan called for the elimination of the DoED and while he was president he cut its budget severely. But since Reagan the DoED budget has grown tremendously. Here we are less than four decades later and the federal government pretty much controls our public schools. The latest insanity from the government, the transgender bathroom and locker room mandate, is being forced on us through the threat of withholding federal funds for non-compliance. As with so many of the federal government’s executive agencies they are able to expand their reach into every facet of our lives. Early on the Democrats promoted federal involvement in public education while the Republican platform vowed many times to eliminate the DoED. Conservatives believe the federal government should not be involved in education. It is not mentioned in the Constitution and by its omission this responsibility was left to the states or the people to decide. This is no longer a D or R issue as progressives have infiltrated both parties. George W. Bush pushed Race to the Top which morphed into No Child Left Behind under Barack Obama. Common Core is the latest evil incarnation.

One issue which does not get brought up is the fact that our entire public education system has been essentially turned over to private corporations. They discovered that in addition to being able to indoctrinate the younger generation to a “global” philosophy where social, economic and environmental justice must be the goal of everyone, there is quite lot of money to be made in education. Our hard earned tax dollars are being confiscated and redistributed to wealthy corporations who turn out the textbooks and learning materials indoctrinating our children. What began as a few charter schools with promises of advanced and better education for our children has led to the complete corporatization of our schools. It is big business and people like Bill and Melinda Gates, the Rockefellers and Pearson are creating the curricula and making money off of the software, hardware, materials, and testing. They are not only making billions of dollars, they are also gathering much desired data from our children for future use. They call it college and career ready.

Since so much of the material comes from private corporations and is proprietary we are not permitted to see much of it except what is being shared by parents and teachers. Having grandchildren in school I’ve gotten to see a lot of the worksheets and from what I have seen I find it very sloppy, age inappropriate, and confusing even for adults. The books they are reading are riddled with emotional content also inappropriate for their ages. Much of the reading material is depressing; stories about horribly handicapped children or children subjected to physical or sexual abuse or bullying. These are books being read by third and fourth graders! Eight, nine and ten year old children are being asked to put themselves in the place of the characters in the story and answer questions from their perspective. This is the age when a child is most impressionable and susceptible to indoctrination. The “elites” creating this material know this as do most educators and child development experts. This is child abuse.

Also, what is happening is the older teachers are being forced out or leaving early due to the constant testing and pressure to perform. They can’t teach the children like they used to. A good teacher knows children have different learning abilities and will teach to those abilities. Today the lessons are all scripted and there can be no veering from the script. The young teachers coming out of college have learned to be facilitators, not teachers.

As far as the university system, they have all been taken over by what we used to call liberals but have in recent years shown themselves to be full blown Marxists and communists and are unashamed to espouse its ideology. Unfortunately the children coming out of our primary and secondary public school system have already been indoctrinated so college is just an extension of what they have been hearing for years. Is it any wonder why millennials support avowed socialist Bernie Sanders?

I do believe it’s time for a Million Mom March on Washington.


 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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Friday, May 20, 2016

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.

"Boys will be boys and girls will be men/It's a mixed up hung up shook up world..." - Ray Davies' lyrics to The Kinks 'Lola'

"They can’t do that. It’s the one thing they can’t do. They can make you say anything – anything – but they can’t make you believe it. They can’t get inside you." - Julia, to Winston Smith in George Orwell's '1984'

“Liberty means refusing to allow some men to use the state to compel other men to serve their interests or opinion.” - Auberon Herbert

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This week's winning essay,Bookworm Room's Sex and State Power — What’s Behind Obama’s Transgender Push is pretty much exactly what it sounds like - Bookworm's exploration of exactly what's behind President Obama's threatening new diktat to America's schools and other public facilities to normalize the use of women's bathrooms and locker rooms by transgender males whom claim they feel 'female' - or else. Here's a slice:

The Obama administration has announced that from this day forward, all public schools in America must let children choose their bathroom and locker room based upon a child’s feelings about his or her gender on any given day. This means that, if a male sexual predator (or simply a sexually curious boy) feels that today is a good day to be a girl and watch the girls’ volleyball team strip off in the bathroom, that is his right and the school is obligated to comply:

The guidance from leaders at the departments of Education and Justice says public schools are obligated to treat transgender students in a way that matches their gender identity, even if their education records or identity documents indicate a different sex.

“There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement accompanying the directive, which is being sent to school districts Friday.

Because Congress has already allotted funds to the Department of Education, the DOE wields the power of the purse over this issue, and there’s nothing Congress can do to stop it.

If asked why they are forcing this policy onto American public schools, administration figures, from the president on down, would reply that they’re doing it “for the good of the children.” It’s all about self-actualization, and self-realization, and personal empowerment, right?

Wrong! This comes from the Left, so there’s good reason to believe that it’s not “for the children” at all. Indeed, there’s extremely good reason to believe that the transgender movement is very bad for those who identify as transgender, starting with the children and working up to the disproportionate number of transgender adults who commit suicide. David French has a good breakdown of the heartbreaking numbers behind the suddenly trendy tranny movement:


The evidence of transgender despair is overwhelming. A Swedish study found that trans people were 19 times more likely to die from suicide. An American study found that a horrifying 41 percent of transgender and “gender non-conforming” people had attempted suicide, compared with a national rate of 1.6 percent. In Canada, a study found that each year one in nine transgender people try to commit suicide, compared with the national rate of one out of 167.

So it’s not “for the children.” Lie Number One is exposed.

Lie Number Two is the contention that the transgender movement is the same as the gay rights movement. In fact, the transgender movement also weirdly homophobic, even though the LGBT movement has embraced it . The weirdly homophobic aspect comes from the fact that the transgender movement puts the lie to what gay rights activists have been telling us for a good decade or more, which is that when it comes to gay, “Baby, I was born this way.” Again, David French neatly defines the conundrum:

For the last decade, the American public has been told that sexual orientation is a fixed, immutable characteristic — like skin color. Now we’re told that “gender identity” is much the same. Psychology is fixed. Biology has to adjust.

But observe the lamentation in the video: A transgender boy wants other boys to change, to reject the “born this way” of their own sexuality for the open-mindedness of “getting physical” with a girl with a penis. Claire is desperate for their psychology to change, for their minds to open, and for their sexual identity to change in response to Claire’s allegedly unchangeable desires.

Writing in the Gospel Coalition, Trevin Wax asks: “When a person feels a disjunction between one’s sex at birth and one’s gender identity, why is the only course of action to bring the body into closer conformity with the person’s psychological state, rather than vice versa?” That’s the course of action for the transitioning person. The course of action for their loved ones is substantially different. In essence, the Caitlyn Jenners are saying to their spouses or paramours, “I’m now a woman, and that makes you a lesbian.”

Wax notes that the declaration of this new reality — with the expectation that spouses comply and conform — “destabilizes some of the foundational elements of LGBT theory on homosexuality.” Well, yes. But the true “foundational element” of LGBT theory isn’t so much “born this way” as it is “I do what I want.”

Even on the Left, saner minds are figuring out what I pointed out some time ago, which is that we laugh at and despair over all forms of body mutilation except for the gender type, which is wrongly celebrated. Daniel Harris, a hard Left gay man who hates Republicans, wrote a much-talked-about article for The Antioch Review stating the obvious, which I’ll summarize here in my own words: Body mutilation is always a sign of some sort of mental disability and that the LGBT world and its fellow travelers cannot say “All body mutilation is a tragic joke, except for gender mutilation, which is a wondrous thing.”

Or, to quote from Harris himself:

. . . TGs have ambushed the debate and entangled us in a snare of such trivialities as the proper pronouns with which to address them, protocol as Byzantine and patronizing as the etiquette for addressing royalty.They insult us with the pejorative term “cisgender,” which they use to describe those of us who accept, however unenthusiastically, our birth gender, as opposed to the enlightened few who question their sex. Moreover, they shame us into silence by ridiculing the blunders we make while trying to come to grips with their unique dilemmas, decrying our curiosity about their bodies as prurience and our unwillingness, or even inability, to enter into their own (often unsuccessful) illusion as narrow‑mindedness.
[snip]



Much more at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Victor Davis Hanson with The Pajama Boy White House submitted by Stately McDaniel Manor.

It's Dr. Hanson's interesting look at what he sees as a real commonality in a number of the young, 30-something men who appear to run the White House...and their similarities with the star of certain ad put out by the White House to sell ObamaCare.


Here are this week’s full results. Only Fausta was unable to vote this week but was not subject to the usual 2/3 vote penalty:

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?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Israeli Gov Shake Up! Liberman,Israel Beiteinu Join Coalition!

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman announce the formation of a united Likud and Yisrael Beytenu list for the upcoming elections, October 2012. (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

There had been a fair amount of talk about Israeli PM Benyamin Netanyahu bringing the leftist Zionist Union Party, the shotgun wedding between Labor and Tzipi Livni's fractional Hatnua faction into Netanyahu's center right coalition in a unity government. Netanyahu and ZU leader Yitzhak Herzog were reportedly engaged in negotiations to do just that.

But today, a political thunderbolt hit, with Netanyahu instead bringing a party on the right, Israeli Beiteinu and its leader Avigdor Liberman into the coalition instead, increasing Netanyahu's Knesset majority from an unstable 61 seats to a much more solid 67 seats.

Liberman will reportedly replace General Moshe 'Boogie' Ya'alon as defense minister and the announcement could come as soon as tomorrow.

The back story here is fascinating.

Yitzhak Herzog, or 'Buji' as he's referred to by many Israelis * is head of a steadily decreasing Leftist faction since the last election when Zionist Union was decisively beaten by Likud and other parties on the right. As a consequence, Herzog, whose party received substantial money and assistance from Obama Administration functionaries during the election was seen as ineffectual and a loser.

For Buji, going into the coalition was seen as a lifeline to make ZU politically relevant again, and he had support from US Secretary of State John Kerry, former British PM and Quartet envoy Tony Blair and socialist French PM Hollande among others who were trying to push Netanyahu into putting together a more 'centrist' government.

However, Herzog had a major problem - his Zionist Union colleagues mostly hated the idea like poison, and a lot of them were already no huge fans of Buji.

Tzipi Livni said she would take her Hatnua faction and its six seats out of Zionist Union rather than join the government, and Herzog's far left rival for party leadership Shelly Yachimovich threatened a revolt.

So Herzog's solution was to up the price for joining tothe point where even the most reluctant members of ZU would go along. He reportedly demanded control of Israel's Foreign ministry and a veto on anything concerning Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem. Not only did he price himself out of the market, but the fracas from ZU made Netanyahu doubt Herzog could bring his party along with him.

So Netanyahu reached out to Avigdor Liberman, with whom he had a long standing feud that dated back to a joint list agreement between Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu which Liberman felt was unfair in its application as well as disagreements on policy.

The two men have apparently patched up their differences or at least put them aside for now and agreed to work together, with a formal announcement reportedly to be issued shortly.

While General Ya'alon has an honorable record as a soldier, he has been a fairly controversial Defense Minister. The most recent incident was his decision to prosecute an IDF soldier with a superb record whom shot a terrorist whom was already wounded and on the ground in the course of an attack on Israeli civilians. The soldier's defense is that he had no idea whether the wounded attacker had a bomb belt on or a firearm in his pockets, and Ya'alon's insistence that he be prosecuted has been extremely controversial in Israel. Other problems like leaks and statements critical of the government coming from Ya'alon and some of his subordinates have also been a problem.

Liberman, while he lacks Ya'alon's military experience ( he served as a corporal in the IDF) has a very different view of things like prosecuting a soldier for killing a terrorist.

His take on the matter? “It’s better to have a soldier who made a mistake and lived than one who hesitated and had a terrorist kill him.”

That kind of attitude will probably resonate a lot better from a common sense standpoint with the Israeli public whose loved ones serve in the IDF.

There are also some signs that Liberman has gotten some control over his tendency to shoot from the lip, but we'll see.

I have also heard a strong rumor from another source that Naftali Bennett from Jewish Home will be moving from education minister to head the Foreign Ministry. We'll see how that develops.

But in any event, the government on the Right Israelis voted for looks likely to be preserved, ZU is out in the cold where they belong and Yitzhak Herzog will not be embedded in position to be a willing tool topressure Netanyahu and the Israeli government to make ridiculous concessions for a few promises and a worthless piece of paper.


* In Hebrew, 'Buji' is slang for as little doll or toy. In an interview with MK Herzog's mother, she unfortunately revealed that this was her pet name for him as a child and in view of his very diminutive stature, Yitzak Herzog has been stuck with it ever since. It is not considered a term of endearment by most Israelis whom use it to refer to MK Herzog.

Our Watcher's Council Nominations - Good News In The Bunker 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!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Fire And The River - A Parable

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Once upon a time, there was a pretty village, built up in the hills over a river.

The village had at one time been quite prosperous.There were fish to be caught,game, berries, nuts and fruit to be gathered in the nearby woods and even pelts and other goods that the village traded to other villages along the river.

But over time, the village had become rundown and less prosperous. The village chiefs, their followers and ceremonial guards devoted less time to keeping the village in good repair and wealthy. Game became scarce as the animals gradually left the nearby forest, but there were few hunting parties looking for new sources of meat and hides. Fishing boats and their nets were neglected and the village buildings themselves became rundown and seedy, except for the huts where the chiefs and their friends and followers lived.

Part of the reason for the decline was that the chiefs, their families, their closest supporters and their ceremonial guards seemed to concentrate less on the village and the people's well being then they did on demanding and hoarding a bigger and bigger share of what wealth the villagers produced for themselves.

Those whom openly complained about this or those whom were caught trying to secretly keep more of what they hunted and gathered for themselves instead of handing it over to the authorities were publicly shamed before the whole tribe, and sometimes even beaten by the guards and thrown in a makeshift jail. But the murmuring continued, and the people of the village became more and more discontented with their lot.

Then came the day of the Great Fire.

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It broke out in the woods just below the village and leapt up the hills, destroying everything before it and heading towards the village itself. Many years ago, the villager had erected an artificial pool of river water with a sluice for exactly this purpose, to fight any fires that broke out. But like much else in the village, the pool had been neglected. Too much of the water had evaporated and not been replaced and there was little time bring more river water up to refill it.

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The chiefs and their followers tried to restore order but were hampered by the arguments that broke out among them and their followers about whose fault this was and who was supposed to be in charge of the pool. Meanwhile, the flames kept getting closer and closer to the village.

The people of the village likewise had their differences. Some took cisterns down to the river to fill it with water, even though it was obvious they were going to be too late to stop the fire. "Things are just great here in the village" they cried, even though it had been a long time since things really had been that great there. They believed what their chiefs and village officials had been telling them for months and still trusted them,so they proceeded to do things the same old way.

Many of the villagers hung back, since they could see that the flames had already reached the village and were licking hungrily at the buildings. Some rushed to their huts and brought out a few treasured possessions. But then what?

Believe it or not,an argument broke out among them too!

One man, a rich trader named Donaldus claimed he had an answer. "I know a spot just up the river with a green valley where we can rebuild and make our village great again! i know just how we should do it too. Follow me into the river!"

And many did, jumping into the water from the small ten foot cliff with their belongings and heading down river after Donaldus.

Others refused outright. Donaldus had never been a chief or even a village official. Who did he think he was? Besides, the village way was not to jump off the small cliff, but to walk down the path from the hills. Everybody knew that.

"Donaldus is not only loud,crude and nasty, but he has never had any sense of our village traditions.Only fools like him would follow him. And if his plan's so good, why doesn't he sit down and share all the details with us? What a reckless idiot," some of them said. And their voices were loud.

Others were wracked with uncertainty. "Well, you may be right but look! The fire has already burnt through the village, and it's heading this way towards the cliff. And the path downhill to the river looks like it's almost blocked by the flames. The chiefs and their followers are calling on us to follow them, but I don't think they have any idea of where they're going, just running like a herd of animals."

At this point there was a major division of the people. Some decided to follow their chiefs as best they could, even to disaster. A second group decided they would neither follow Donaldus or the chiefs."Neither of them are worth following." Some of them talked of electing a new chief from among themselves, someone who would lead them in the traditional way down the hill to the river.

Meanwhile, the flames got closer as they talked and argued. And finally a number of them decided to try the leap from the cliff into the river, to the jeers and name calling from the others.

One young man named Brutus finally decided to try to leap off the cliff with his wife and child to the river. But as he walked towards the edge his old friend Marcus tried to dissuade him. "Don't be an idiot and follow that fool Donaldus," he said. "Stay here, stick with our traditions. After the fire, we will rebuild our village and take over from the chiefs. Anyone who follow Donaldus will regret it."

"Marcus, you are well known in the village Councils and speak in the square every day. You have always been a strong voice for our taboos and traditions. But what are you going to do now?" asked Brutus.

"Whatever's left after the fire the chiefs will come back with their guards and rule over. They will be even worse than they were before! We will not be able to change anything, ever. And what about the fire now? It's getting closer!"

"I'm sticking to our traditions and principles," replied Marcus. "Eventually we'll take over somehow, have our own new chiefs and go back to our traditions. Going into the water from the cliff is morally wrong, Donaldus is not to be trusted at all and anyone who does it is stupid."

"But Marcus, if we stay here we burn. Maybe the water's not so bad...people seem to be swimming in it. Maybe Donaldus actually knows what he's talking about. Why not chance it? Those like you who stay here will burn for sure. Or at best, be enslaved even more than they were."

Marcus glared at him. "I'm not going to compromise my principles. I'd rather burn than do that, and you're the one who's going to regret it. Be a fool, jump into the water. I'm not following a idiot and clown like Donaldus."

So Brutus and his family jumped. Surprisingly, they were able to swim in the river easily and even managed to find a small fishing boat to cling to so they could occasionally rest as they swam.

As Brutus looked up at the cliff one last time, he saw the flames encircling it. Then he looked forward, because he had made his choice.

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Monday, May 16, 2016

Forum:Who Do You Think Will Be On The Tickets In 2016?



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: Who Do You Think Will Be On The Tickets In 2016?

Don Surber : Clinton/Castro and Trump/Gingrich -- only because Ivanka wants a fourth kid, otherwise Trump/Kushner.

The Right Planet:Really horrible people. It will be Hitler, Mussolini, Castro, Kim Jong Un, George Wallace, Josef Stalin, Huey Long, (Harvard comma) and David Duke ... all rolled up into one ... according to political "pundits." The earth will cease to rotate on its axis ... and the sun will shut down its "fusion magic." All is lost. We hate everybody now. Welcome to planet Earth. Back out quiet.

Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason :If there is any justice in the universe Hillary Clinton will be forced to deal with her many scandals and unquestionably illegal activities and have to drop out of the race. The Democrats will not permit Bernie Sanders to be the nominee so Joe Biden will be pulled in to be the Democrat nominee and I expect if this happens he will choose Elizabeth Warren to be his vice presidential running mate. Donald Trump will be the GOP nominee, not because the RNC likes it as much as the people have made their voices heard. I would like to see him choose Newt Gingrich as his vice presidential running mate. He has the experience and knowledge that Trump lacks. Hopefully this will make enough Republican voters come out and vote for Trump/Gingrich and not sit this one out. We will not survive a third term with a Democrat in the White House.

Having voted in every election since 1976, it always seems we are left to choose the lesser of two evils. And that electing the lesser of two evils has just brought us progressively more evil.

JoshuaPundit: Well, first let's look at the Republican ticket. It appears that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee and will have over the 1237 delegates needed, but I would not put it past the GOP establishment to pull some shenanigans at the convention to disqualify Trump's delegates.Suicidal as that would be,it's exactly what the ultra Left McGovernites did in 1972, disqualifying whole delegations and literally throwing them out of the building.

But assuming Trump is the nominee, there are various things to consider. First of all, a lot of potential Veep candidates whom hold political office have either been warned off by the establishment the same way potential campaign staff were, with threats of their careers being over. There are also those who simply wouldn't be an asset to the ticket for various reasons.

Newt Gingrich is being touted as a potential running mate, and there are some real plusses and minuses. Newt knows government inside out, he's smart, actually oversaw a balanced budget and is a superb debater. His minuses include a rather checkered past, an unpleasant divorce and a reputation as a political insider. That last quality could either alienate the people Trump appeals to or reassure them that there's an experienced hand on the ticket.

Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas is a decorated combat vet, a superb speaker and a man of rare common sense.He has a great voting record and was the only U.S. Senator to vote against the despicable Corker amendment which allowed President Obama to shove his Iran deal through. I think he'd be a great choice.

The fact that Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin are both advising Trump is a real plus to me. Both of them are experienced in getting an agenda through government and both are expert problem solvers. And both would have made excellent presidents, in 2008 or 2012. I'm sorry neither is probably a viable vice-president because of our poisonous media culture. A nation doesn't flush leadership talent like that without a cost.

Democrat Jim Webb is another interesting choice. A scary brave decorated Marine vet (reading his Navy Cross citation is hair -raising) he also served during the Reagan Administration as the nation's first Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs from 1984-87. In 1987, he served as Secretary of the Navy and later served as a US Senator from Virginia. He endorsed Donald Trump fairly early. which makes sense as they have similar views on VA affairs foreign policy and rebuilding America's military. Webb is one of those conservative Jacksonian Democrats no longer in favor with his party, and if not as VP, I'd love to see him as SecDef.

For the Democrats, It's obvious to me that Hillary Clinton will be the nominee. While she may be indicted at some point, any actual prosecution will be done so ineptly as to allow her to wiggle out from under with a slap on the wrist and a modest fine at worst. It won't stop her from running. She can't be prosecuted by the Obama Justice department because she knows where too many bodies are buried and any sign of real prosecution that might mean jail time would have her lawyers dealing for immunity in exchange for her testimony on a number of juicy matters she was privy to.

I doubt she will pick Elizabeth Warren or that Warren would accept, because it would wreck both her street cred with hard core 'progressives' and a decent chance of being senate majority leader.

The Democrats lost the white vote years ago, and Hillary will have to campaign to the left to have a shot at winning Bernie's people as well as find a way to gin up racial grievance and the black and/or Latino turnout. Her obvious choices are HUD director Julián Castro and former governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick.

Patrick, an Obama protege' is a fiery speaker more than capable of appealing to the #blacklivesmatter crowd and is perhaps even farther to the left that the president in a number of matters. Castro, aside from being pro-amnesty is equally radical. I'd see either one of them as Mrs. Clinton's picks, especially since either would guarantee President Obama's enthusiastic support. My money would be on Deval Patrick.

The Glittering Eye : I think that Hillary Clinton will select Julián Castro. She's a serial bungler so it's a miscalculation.

On the Republican side I have no idea whom Trump will pick. Gingrich is pretty clearly running for the job but I don't see how he fits in with Trump's outsider persona. I don't think he can pick any regular Republican who will enhance the ticket and put more states in reach.

I'd speculate it will be someone from out of left field. Someone with strong name recognition but not a politician. Think Kanye West or someone of the sort.

GrEaT sAtAn"S gIrLfRiEnD: GOP has several excellent choices. Newt Gingrich, Condoleezza Rice are two I'd like to see. Also, Congresslady Mia Love may be perfect. Aside from the catchy "Trump - Love 2016" slogan, that choice would totally disarm any counter fire about race and gender.


Stately McDaniel Manor:The way things are going, I’m not sure Trump will be on the ticket. He’s just the kind of guy that might decide he really doesn’t want to be President--he would have been great, just yuuuuuge!--and he’s made his point and had his say, which changes from day to day. He’s probably going to realize, if he already has not, that being President will badly crimp his style. On the other hand, the trappings of the office will be a major ego boost--a bigger plane at least--but with Trump, who knows? Not Trump. He will probably be the nominee, but this political season is so weird…

As to his VP pick, it would make sense to pick someone well versed in everything Trump is not, but it’s unlikely a man with his ego would do that. Ted Cruz? I’d rather have him on the Supreme Court. Trump is so inexperienced and unconventional, anyone I suggest will almost certainly be wrong.

But what if someone makes a credible third party run, particularly if it’s against Bernie Sanders, or someone the Dems drop in at the last moment? That might send an already bizarre election into the Twilight Zone. The Cookie Monster and Big Bird? Pen and Teller? A couple of “undocumented Aliens,” or “justice involved individuals?” Who knows?

I liked Mitt Romney, thought him a decent kind of guy, but good grief Mitt, will you just shut up already? Listen to your wife. She has her head on straight.

Will Hillary be the nominee? Highly likely. I doubt the Obamites would ever prosecute her. Obama has no love for the Clintons, but he has less for the Constitution and the rule of law.

If it’s Hillary, she won’t pick Elizabeth Warren. It would have to be somebody like a Joe Biden, someone lackluster, someone willing to stay in the background, nodding like a bobblehead on a washboard road to everything she said at a State of the Union address. Obama did not want anyone to upstage him; Hillary has learned at least that much from his example. She might go for a Tom Perez, a totally unscrupulous Marxist and racist, but again, she might think him too likely to upstage her.

I suspect that the VP picks by whoever the nominees are will be surprising, even dumbfounding, and absolutely not the sort of people rational Americans would want a heartbeat from the Presidency. No matter what happens in November, America is going to scare the hell out of the rest of the world. Americans? We’re just numb…


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?

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Council Has Spoken! Our Watcher's Council Results

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0d/Northrop_Moses_Appoints_Joshua.jpg

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

"Israel was not created in order to disappear- Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope and the home of the brave. It can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success. It carries the shield of democracy and it honors the sword of freedom." - John Fitzgerald Kennedy

"In Israel, in order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles." - David Ben-Gurion

“In Israel, free men and women are every day demonstrating the power of courage and faith. Back in 1948 when Israel was founded, pundits claimed the new country could never survive. Today, no one questions that. Israel is a land of stability and democracy in a region of tyranny and unrest” - President Ronald Reagan.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-_nEAkWOufFU/T366WMxCdrI/AAAAAAAABOg/easpV-8FMnM/s1600/Joshua_Dali_Sun.jpg


This week's winning essay,Joshuapundit's's Israel - The Living Bones are my thoughts on Israel's 68th birthday, the days in Israel that precede it each year and how it all fits in with...well,read it and find out. Here's a slice:

The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones.

2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry.

3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!

5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath[a] enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone.

8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.


9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’”

10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’

12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. -
Ezekiel 37

This is a special, poignant time in Israel, when Israel mourns the dead and celebrates its redemption and rebirth.

Yom HaShoah, which occurred last week is a time when Israel remembers the slaughter of the Holocaust. It's hardly a holiday at all, but a quiet, sober time of reflection. There is usually a public ceremony at Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. Six torches are at lit, usually by Holocaust survivors and the President and the Prime Minister both deliver speeches. Like most Jewish holidays, it begins at sundown. Flags are flown at half-mast and bars, clubs and other entertainment venues are closed.

File:Yom HaShoah Flags halfmast.jpg

Documentaries on the Shoah itself are commonly shown, and the elderly survivors give testimony of what happened. This is how the Valley of Dry Bones was created, and the survivors of that carnage get fewer every year. But those that remain can speak for those whom no longer can to remind us that yes, it happened and yes, with some honorable exceptions most of the world could have cared less at best, or participated in it at worst.

There are those who think this is simply old news and not worth repeating, and wish that the Jews would shut up about it. But denial of what happened remains alive and well, and a lot of the people that would much rather not be reminded have reasons of their own for wanting this abomination, this stain on humanity forgotten.

About a week later, another part of Ezekiel's prophecy comes about on Yom HaZikeron, Israel's Memorial Day,when Israel mourns the soldiers who have fallen defending this small country from its genocidal enemies.

 http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_k95DnR-pqGQ/SfUqMg9UHOI/AAAAAAAAEqg/Mycc5GxVk5o/s400/yom+hazikaron.jpg

It starts with sirens wailing all over the country at 8:00 PM the preceding evening. No matter where they are or what they are doing, Israelis uniformly take a minute to stand at attention to honor those whom sacrificed their lives as the price for Israel's survival as a free nation. Even cars and buses pull to the side of the road, and the passengers leave their vehicles to stand for a minute or so and remember Israel's fallen heroes.... 23,447 as of this year, a terrible price for such a small country.

 http://commentisfreewatch.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/during-the-2-min-siren-yom-hazikaron-for-soldiers-1.jpg

The next day,there is a ceremony at the Kotel, the Western Wall in Jerusalem and President Rivkin, accompanied by a widow of one of Israel’s fallen will light a memorial candle, after which Kaddish, the Jewish Mourner's Prayer will be recited and and the traditional prayer for the dead, K’el Maleh Rachamim will be chanted. Similar prayers will be recited at cemeteries all over Israel.



Because Israel is a state where most people serve in the military, the Tzahal is literally a people's army. Often, these are people who have grown up together in the same neighborhood, join up together, serve in the same unit and then continue to serve together yearly in reserve duty.They become an extended family, and this is their day to mourn and remember as well. On Yom HaZikaron it's not only the family that mourns the fallen soldier. It's his comrades. And that applies to Christians, Bedouin, Druse and other non-Jews whom served in Israel's IDF and have given their lives to defend their country.

All over Israel, people visit the graves of the fallen...and remember.

Even Israel's prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu is not immune. He has his duties as head of state on Yom HaZikaron, but he will go as he does every year to Mount Herzel cemetery before speaking at the public ceremony there to visit the grave of his brother Yoni, who died in 1976 while leading an attack to rescue Jews held captive at the Entebbe, Uganda's airport.

What happens the very next day, after all of this sadness? Absolute joy as Israelis celebrate Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel's Independence Day. In Israel, it's kind of like old fashioned American-style Fourths-firecrackers, parades, lots of flag waving and lots of mangal (barbecues) and games of matkot(Israeli style paddle ball) at the beach.

 http://www.israelcampusroundtable.org/uploads/3/1/1/4/3114393/9560043_orig.jpg

http://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.589174.1399385267!/image/632120214.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_609x343/632120214.jpg

So here are the Living Bones, fleshed out and restored to their home. How are they doing, 68 years later? To read the daily news,they should be on the verge of collapse.

Instead, they're thriving.

Much more at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was conservative icon David Horowitz with The 'Never Trump' Pouters submitted by Joshuapundit. In this piece, Horowitz gives a superb argument on exactly why the #NeverTrump crowd needs to reconsider and why a number of people whom claim to be 'constitutional conservatives' will be violating the main principle of the very Constitution they claim to revere. Do read it.

Here are this week’s full results. Fausta, the Razor and the Glittering Eye were unable to vote this week, but none of them were subject to the usual 2/3 vote penalty for not voting:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners



See you next week!

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum.


And 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?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Our Watcher's Council Nominations - Climbing The Wall 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.

Council News:


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!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Israel - The Living Bones

The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones.

2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry.

3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!

5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath[a] enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone.

8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.


9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’”

10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’

12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. -
Ezekiel 37

This is a special, poignant time in Israel, when Israel mourns the dead and celebrates its redemption and rebirth.

Yom HaShoah, which occurred last week is a time when Israel remembers the slaughter of the Holocaust. It's hardly a holiday at all, but a quiet, sober time of reflection. There is usually a public ceremony at Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. Six torches are at lit, usually by Holocaust survivors and the President and the Prime Minister both deliver speeches. Like most Jewish holidays, it begins at sundown. Flags are flown at half-mast and bars, clubs and other entertainment venues are closed.

File:Yom HaShoah Flags halfmast.jpg

Documentaries on the Shoah itself are commonly shown, and the elderly survivors give testimony of what happened. This is how the Valley of Dry Bones was created, and the survivors of that carnage get fewer every year. But those that remain can speak for those whom no longer can to remind us that yes, it happened and yes, with some honorable exceptions most of the world could have cared less at best, or participated in it at worst.

There are those who think this is simply old news and not worth repeating, and wish that the Jews would shut up about it. But denial of what happened remains alive and well, and a lot of the people that would much rather not be reminded have reasons of their own for wanting this abomination, this stain on humanity forgotten.

About a week later, another part of Ezekiel's prophecy comes about on Yom HaZikeron, Israel's Memorial Day,when Israel mourns the soldiers who have fallen defending this small country from its genocidal enemies.

 http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_k95DnR-pqGQ/SfUqMg9UHOI/AAAAAAAAEqg/Mycc5GxVk5o/s400/yom+hazikaron.jpg

It starts with sirens wailing all over the country at 8:00 PM the preceding evening. No matter where they are or what they are doing, Israelis uniformly take a minute to stand at attention to honor those whom sacrificed their lives as the price for Israel's survival as a free nation. Even cars and buses pull to the side of the road, and the passengers leave their vehicles to stand for a minute and remember Israel's fallen heroes.... 23,447 as of this year, a terrible price for such a small country.

 http://commentisfreewatch.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/during-the-2-min-siren-yom-hazikaron-for-soldiers-1.jpg

The next day,there is a ceremony at the Kotel, the Western Wall in Jerusalem and President Rivkin, accompanied by a widow of one of Israel’s fallen will light a memorial candle, after which Kaddish, the Jewish Mourner's Prayer will be recited and and the traditional prayer for the dead, K’el Maleh Rachamim will be chanted. Similar prayers will be recited at cemeteries all over Israel.



Because Israel is a state where most people serve in the military, the Tzahal is literally a people's army. Often, these are people who have grown up together in the same neighborhood, join up together, serve in the same unit and then continue to serve together yearly in reserve duty.They become an extended family, and this is their day to mourn and remember as well. On Yom HaZikaron it's not only the family that mourns the fallen soldier. It's his comrades. And that applies to Christians, Bedouin, Druse and other non-Jews whom served in Israel's IDF and have given their lives to defend their country.

All over Israel, people visit the graves of the fallen...and remember.

Even Israel's prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu is not immune. He has his duties as head of state on Yom HaZikaron, but he will go as he does every year to Mount Herzel cemetery before speaking at the public ceremony there to visit the grave of his brother Yoni, who died in 1976 while leading an attack to rescue Jews held captive at the Entebbe, Uganda's airport.

What happens the very next day, after all of this sadness? Absolute joy as Israelis celebrate Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel's Independence Day. In Israel, it's kind of like old fashioned American-style Fourths-firecrackers, parades, lots of flag waving and lots of mangal (barbecues) and games of matkot(Israeli style paddle ball) at the beach.

 http://www.israelcampusroundtable.org/uploads/3/1/1/4/3114393/9560043_orig.jpg

http://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.589174.1399385267!/image/632120214.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_609x343/632120214.jpg


So here are the Living Bones, fleshed out and restored to their home. How are they doing, 68 years later? To read the daily news,they should be on the verge of collapse.

Instead, they're thriving.

In 1948, the country had a population of only 806,000. Then, the country's gross domestic product was only $1.5 billion in today's money and worth a lot less back then. The problems of national defense against 7 Arab invaders had be to faced and arms purchased on the black market at high prices because Israel was under an arms embargo by most countries, including the U.S.

Even after the war, Israel was faced not only with refugees from the Holocaust but almost one million penniless refugees from the Arab countries, whom came to Israel with the clothes on their back if that after everything they owned had been plundered. These refugees all needed food, jobs, housing and medical care and unlike Arab refugees of the conflict, Israel had to cover the cost itself. There was no UNRWA for the Jews.

Many of them ended up living in tents for months until some kind of housing could be found.

Fadayeen raids were a constant problem, and the Arab boycott kept many countries from trading with Israel. Consumer goods were scare and expensive. Even by the mid-1950's only 12 percent of Israelis had washing machines, while by 1963, only 13% had a phone line. In 1951, there were only abut 34,000 cars in the whole country.

Let's flash forward to today. In spite of its humble beginnings. Israel today has a gross domestic product of over well $300 billion, a 2,000% + increase. Israel is virtually the only country in the Middle East that is self-sufficient in both food and water. Over 96% of Israeli have washing machines today, and phones lines and cell phones are pretty much universal. In spite of easy and convenient mass transit, Israel today has about 3 million cars on its roads. Israeli high tech is in demand world wide,Israeli innovations continue to astound, foreign investment is booming and remarkably, some of Israel's long time Arab foes finally show some signs of thawing. Israel at long last even now has abundant oil and natural gas, provided the politics about utilizing it ever get resolved.

Israel's population increased by 182,000 people, a growth of 2.2% since the last Yom Ha'atzmaut according to Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics. During that period, 195,000 babies were born and about 36,000 new olim - immigrants- came to Israel.

Israel's population now is 8,522,000. Oddly enough, the percentage of Jews to Arabs is just about the same as it was in 1948, 6,377,000 Jewish Israelis, 74.8% of the total population, and 1,771,000 Arab Israelis, 20.8% of the population. Christians, Ba'hai, non-Arabs, and other minority groups account for 374,000 people, or 4.4% of the population.

The fertility rate among Israeli Jews has risen to over 3.2 per woman, the highest in the developed world and eclipsing the birth rate of both Israel's Arabs and those in the Palestinian Authority. Among Jews in Judea and Samaria the birth rate is even higher.

The increase in fertility rate is interesting because psychologically, such trends are a sign of optimism about the future. And not so surprisingly, Israel is rated one of the 5 happiest countries in the world according to according to a new Better Life Index report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).



So what's going on here, in a country where every other news story is about a vicious terrorist attack, threats of annihilation from Iran or condemnation from the so-called international community for the 'crime' of building homes and infrastructure for its people to relieve a housing crunch? Or condemnation for goodness knows what else?

The secret is a simple one, I think. Home is where you feel most relaxed, where you set the rules and make the decisions on how you're going to live.For Jews, this is a relatively brand new sensation after centuries of living by other people's rules and being made to feel like strangers and outsiders no matter how they tried to fit in.

Well, the Jews are finally home. Anyone who's been there senses that immediately. And they aren't going anywhere.Their roots in the Land of Israel go deep, back through the centuries. And they will not be uprooted as easily as some people imagine. Not this time.

When your country's very existence is a modern miracle, you may not pay much lip service to it, but it's something you carry with you and that you remember always. That's something I think many Americans, whose own nation is rather miraculous in its conception understand instinctively, perhaps.

In the past 68 years, although the price has been agonizingly heavy, the Jews have made Ezekiel's prophecy come true..the remnants of the Jewish people, the remnants, the Dry Bones came home from fire and slaughter and they not only prevailed, but they have prospered in a way that amazes the world. G-d's question to Ezekiel 'Can these bones live?' has an answer in the miracle that is Israel today.

Yom huledet sameach, Yisrael. Am Yisrael Chai!

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/7f/e8/a1/7fe8a16070b7bcf89eb6242264638521.jpg

Monday, May 09, 2016

Forum: What Do You Think Europe's Future Looks Like?



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 Do You Think Europe's Future Looks Like?

Don Surber: Arabia.

 Stately McDaniel Manor : I suspect that Europe’s future is Islam. Not only are European--and Scandinavian--countries importing the very means of their destruction through more or less unrestrained immigration, they have, as Mark Steyn has often noted, sown the seeds of their own demise by failing to plant the seeds necessary to produce sufficient Europeans to replace themselves. When the birthrate falls below replacement level, as it has in much of Europe, it’s merely a matter of time.

Several other issues will accelerate the decline: Europe has essentially turned away from Christianity and the societal and moral cohesion it provides. There will be no modern crusade, figurative or literal, because far too many Europeans no longer think their faith, or the freedom to practice it as they choose, worth preserving. They simply lack the will to fight--in any way--militant Islam, and have all but invited it to conquer them.

Paris will no longer be the fashion center of the world as female fashions will never again change from year to year.

Some Europeans are beginning to understand that their economic and political systems are abject failures, but it will likely be too late to turn them around, particularly with the European Union still in place. They have, in the name of sophistication and equality of outcome, thrown away the national pride and social ties that might have compelled them to fight their conquerors. Soon, Europe will be too old, too weak, and too morally corrupt to fight. Millennia of civilization will end with a whimper, and a bloody whimper it will be. A shared faith and national pride are two of the main forces that hold any nation together. Europe has essentially abolished all three.

It won’t take long for Germany to run out of money to bail out the rest of the EU, and when they beg America for help, they’ll discover that we are truly the brokest nation in history. If England backs out of the EU, they may have a chance, but the rest of Europe is in real trouble, and until and unless we have a genuine conservative in the Oval Office, and the American people wake up to our very real troubles before it is too late, future nations, Lord knows who or where, will be writing histories about the fall of Europe and America, about how the noble experiment in democracy failed, falling to the barbarian hordes like all before it.

Individual liberty is not the natural state of man. When we forget, as Europe has forgotten, that it must be taught, cherished, and fought for every day by all free men, it is lost. Europe, as a nation of more or less free people, is doomed. Many know it, but as with everything else, they won’t admit it, even to themselves, and they won’t do anything about it.

JoshuaPundit : It really depends. In spite of the failed EU experiment, Europe remains very diverse, so I think we'll see various outcomes depending on several factor.

The UK's Brexit vote in June could signal the beginning of the end for the EU. Multiple polling indicates that if the UK leaves,a majority of voters in other countries will want to as well. The EU also didn't do itself any favors by having its unelected bureaucrats attempt to impose a fine for any EU country refusing Muslim refugees of - wait for it - ‎€ 300,000 per head!

Needless to say, a number of EU members were quick to say that under no circumstances were they going to pay anything like that, especially with a number of members in fiscal chaos. Nor were they going to accept the arbitrary quotas of 'refugees' assigned them.

So whether and in what form the EU survives is a big factor, especially when you consider the issue of schengen visas which allow open borders for citizens or legal residents like refugees between member nations. If it survives the present crisis, I think it's a question of the water circling the drain.

As it is right now, the EU and its currency, the euro primarily benefit Germany because it allows Germany to ship its exports cheaper than it could if the were valued in Deutschmarks. That's why the Germans have been so willing to bail out other EU members. But even Germany has its limits to what its taxpayers will put up with and that is fast approaching, which brings us to the second factor - massive migration from the Muslim world.

This problem actually began some time ago, in different ways in different countries. Tony Blair in the UK saw bringing vast amounts of Muslims in from places like Pakistan as a source of Labour voters and workers whom would finance the UK's welfare state. He was right about them being Labour voters, but sadly mistaken about both their ability to assimilate into British society and about their being tax contributors as opposed to being tax money consumers. Similar things contributed to this same situation elsewhere in Europe, particularly in France, Belgium, Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands,with the problem being exacerbated by their liberal asylum programs. Most of these people were not actual refugees, but economic migrants as stories spread in the Muslim world about the lavish benefits available.

In Germany as in some of the other countries, the influx was also driven by low birth rates and the need for new workers to finance their massive welfare states. Germany, Italy, Scotland, Greece and a number of other nationalities are actually in danger of becoming extinct in a generation or so. Many of the countries that saw military age young Muslim males as an easy solution to their demographic problems are now finding out to their horror that they've imported something very different.

I see Western Europe responding in different ways. It's an open question whether the UK will avoid becoming a Muslim state no matter how the Brexit vote goes, especially if Charles become King. Sharia is already established there, with Sharia courts mandated for Muslims handling domestic matters. Scotland, which will probably break away from the UK soon seems well on the path to becoming Scotlandistan.

France will probably survive. It has a strong sense of nationhood, a well organized nationalist movement and I could see them,at the least, deporting a fair amount of France's Muslims. The same is likely true of Denmark and Switzerland, whom have also imported comparatively few Muslims and maintain a stubborn degree of independence.

Norway and Sweden might also survive simply because the tipping point has been so obviously reached. Non-EU Norway at this point is actually offering Muslim migrants money to leave,and if that doesn't do it they will simply start deporting them. And in Sweden, even the asylum friendly Swedes are finally beginning to fiercely pressure their government.

Belgium will likely split along ethnic lines, with Flanders becoming an independent country. The Netherlands, like the UK is an open question. They have one of the largest percentages of Muslims in Europe, around 6%. Geert Wilder's Rightist PVV continues to get more and more support in each election and may even take over the government, so we may yet see the Dutch maintain their independence.

Germany is at the point France is. They have a government that is totally unresponsive to them importing people into Germany,a million of them, most of whom make no attempt to assimilate and see Germans, particularly German women as prey. Two things enabled Mutti Merkel to get away with this so far, the traditional German obedience to authority and German experience of the previous Muslim migrants to Germany, mostly from Kurdistan, Turkey and Iran. These migrants assimilated and behaved quite differently from the kind of people Merkel has now foisted upon the country. The Germans are revolting, and their rightist, Euro-skeptic nationalist party, AfD "Alternative for Germany" is doing quite well politically.

The one constraint for a lot of Germans with wholesale deportations is memories of Germany's actions under the Nazis. To steal a line from the always superb Spengler, if that's a problem, they can just do what they did last time - hire Ukrainians.

Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece aside from stagnant economies and poisonous demographics have another misfortune...they're geographically close to the Muslim world. Young native Greeks, Spaniards and Portuguese whom are able to are actually fleeing these countries because there are no jobs or futures for them there. Spain is so desperate for taxpaying residents that they have, ironically, started a special 'fast track' program for Jewish migrants whom have ancestors whom were expelled in 1492. There haven't been many takers. i think there's a distinct possibility of a reverse Reconquista in at least Southern Spain and Portugal unless things change. Italy may see the same.

New Europe is an entirely different proposition. These countries have taken in few Muslims, are relatively new to freedom after decades of Soviet tyranny and have functioning militaries. In response to what they quite rightly see as Obama's treachery, some of these countries have joined together in a military alliance outside of NATO known as the Visegrád Group, consisting of Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary. Don't be surprised if you likewise see co-ordination with Germany,Romania, the Baltic states and perhaps even Russia.

The reason is the third factor in Europe's future, Turkey. Tayyip Erdoğan and his Islamist AKP have assumed a virtual dictatorship over the country, and even his erstwhile partner, former Erdoğan loyalist and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has been forced out of office after a few disagreements with Erdoğan.

Turkey also has a relatively stagnant economy with a huge credit bubble on the verge of bursting, a growing population and the largest conventional army in Europe. Don't be surprised if you see Turkey do exactly what the Ottomans did in the past,attempt to expand and plunder Europe via the historic route through the Balkans, hooking up with Muslim enclaves in Bosnia, Albania and Kossovo.

Since Erdoğan and the AKP took over, Turkey has never taken its role as a NATO ally particularly seriously. Since the road to the Caucasus is now blocked by Iran and Turkey's historic antagonist Russia, Europe is the other alternative. Greece, Macedonia and Bulgaria lack the military power to stave off the Turks and the Serbs would be outflanked on three sides. While this would call for an Article 5 intervention from NATO, I doubt that an Islamist friendly Obama or Clinton administration would do more than token military assistance.

The last thing Russia wants is the Turkish military on its borders, so Russia might very well intervene. Certainly the Visegrád Group would and we could literally see another major battle at the Gates of Vienna.

What Turkey does will be the third major factor in Europe's future, and it might even be a positive, uniting one if the scenario I'm exploring here becomes reality.

 GrEaT sAtAn"S gIrLfRiEnD : "A large Mohammedist minority is in Europe to stay. Persisting with the establishment’s approach makes a certain sense: keep a lid on prejudice, tamp down extremism, and hope that time will transform the zealous Mohammedism of recent immigrants into a more liberal form of faith, and make the conflict go away.

Or least keep it manageable … The most likely scenario for Europe isn’t dhimmitude; it’s a long period of tension, punctuated by spasms of violence, that makes the Continent a more unpleasant place without fundamentally transforming it."

Skippy Lipchitz's happy happy version not so long ago.

Between the financial crisis and the migration of a million combat age males from Mohammedist world, Europa will face an ever scary future of uprisings, successions, unification battles, independence battles a probably a few wars
Start with continuing concerns about the finances of so-called southern peripheral countries. The Greek bailout of 2015 created strong and lingering resentments in Germany and other creditor nations of northern Europe. This bailout was the third in five years, and it will not be the last. Some are now forecasting a new Greek default early this summer. Portugal’s sinking economy may also need rescue soon. The Portuguese and Greek governments united recently to denounce what they view as the European Union’s relentless, draconian austerity measures. Meanwhile, Italy struggles to manage its own excessive debt, low growthhigh unemployment, and severe banking crisis. Spain is on the verge of breaching its deficit targets  for the ninth consecutive year. A familiar refrain in Germany goes, “We shovel money south, while they pretend to reform, and we pretend to believe them.”

The refugee crisis may well become a serious threat to Europe’s cohesion and security. Amid the hundreds of thousands of displaced and suffering, there are jihadist infiltrators, with the number of suspects now so large they are nearly impossible for authorities to track. German authorities have confirmed that roughly 3,800 blank Syrian passports are in the possession of Islamic State. The probability of fresh attacks in the next few years will remain high.

But there’s another daunting problem: how to integrate such large numbers of Mohammedist refugees? Germany alone has already taken in roughly 1.1 million homeless from Syria and elsewhere since the summer of 2015. While it’s difficult to obtain precise data, a decent number of refugees are apparently poorly educated; by some estimates, as many as 20 percent may be illiterate. Even if most are able to join the workforce over time, can they become part of European society?

It’s foolish and dangerous to deny the fact that many Europeans will not welcome these newcomers, just as it is obvious that many of these newcomers — largely from socially conservative and in some instances militantly illiberal backgrounds — will have little enthusiasm for joining life in liberal, progressive Europe.

So far, Europe’s success in integrating Mohammedists has been mixed at best. A senior Central European politician LOL'd the current problem in a semi private communique as, “the land of full mosques invading the continent of empty churches.”

Also there is the the enduring strategic problem of Mitteleuropa, a fragmented region suspended between larger powers by virtue of geography, language, and culture. As it emerged from the last age of empire, Woodrow Wilson sought to re-anchor the region through self determination, a short experiment as weak states were preyed upon by more capable neighbors. A perpetual source of instability at best, Tim Snyder described it as the “Bloodlands” at its worst. Robert Kaplan, quoting Josef Pilsudski, founder of the second Polish Republic, refers to the need for an “Intermarium” group of unaffiliated democratic states between the Baltic and Black Seas.

While it is obviously desirable if these countries are also democracies, it would mark an important step towards a sustainable security system if they had a reasonable ability to defend themselves and were at least not constantly in play between larger alliances. At a minimum, this could buy time, giving Russian strategic culture an opportunity to mellow, grow beyond its post-imperial ambitions, and learn to live within the boundaries of a modern nation state.

The Glittering Eye : Beats me. The people of the ethnic states of Europe have choices to make. They can retain the ethnic identities they've built for themselves or they can accept mass immigration from the Middle East and Africa. They can't do both which is what they've been trying do to.

Don't think they can't put the ethnic identity Humpty Dumpty together again. It would require expelling and or killing millions. They've done it before. Multiple times.

The idea of Europe seems to be dying a painful death one way or the other.


 Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason :The future of Europe looks much like the rest of the Western world as progressives prey on the emotions of its citizens to gain power through democratic means. Although not familiar with the grooming of young Muslims to aspire to positions in government and elected office in Europe, it is happening in America locally, across every state and nationwide. I assume the same forces promoting civilization jihad in America are also behind the efforts in Europe.

Just this last week the city of London elected its first Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, of the Labour Party. His platform of making London more “fair” for all and tackling the issues of affordable housing, freezing commuter fares, creating jobs, and pushing for cleaner energy could well be the platform of any progressive mayoral candidate in any large American city. Populists appeal to the emotions of the voters, who don’t see the emptiness of their promises until it is too late.

As more Muslims are elected to office in Europe they will pursue acceptance of shari’ah over existing laws under the guise of “fairness” and understanding of cultural differences. We are already seeing reports of sexual attacks by Muslim men against European woman, and government officials are telling women to dress more modestly or stay indoors to avoid attacks. This sends a message that the victims are somehow responsible for these attacks. This is shari’ah. In addition, we have to remember these countries have very strict gun control laws so self defense is difficult.

The experiment of the European Union is failing as some countries and their people are bearing a disproportionate financial burden and resentment continues to build. There will be a backlash of Europeans who will attempt to reassert their cultural dominance… kind of a “Make (insert country here) Great Again” platform which will eventually lead to internal chaos and violence as these factions clash. Europe is becoming ripe for a despot or dictator.