The Watcher’s Council has spoken — check out who won

Here, direct from the Watcher’s Council:

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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.

“So we want an Islamic state where Islamic law is not just in the books but enforced, and enforced with determination. There is no space and no room for democratic consultation. The Shariah is set and fixed, so why do we need to discuss it anymore? Just implement it! – ISIS Leader Abu Bakar Bashir

“We’re definitely not losing in Iraq” – Barack Obama

“In a very short time the Islamic State has become the most compelling and attractive organisation for Muslim fighters around the world, more so than al-Qaeda ever was” – Sunny Hundal, Al Jazeera

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This week’s winning essay, Joshuapundit’s Ramadi Falls To ISIS In A Major Victory – And Why It’s Important is pretty much about what the title implies it is…an analysis of how and why ISIS won a huge victory in Ramadi, Iraq and what it means. Here’s a slice:

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On Sunday, Islamic State forces captured Ramadi, routing the Iraqi army, many of whom literally fled from the scene, those that could. Over 500 Iraqi soldiers died in the assault, and the debacle came so quickly that substantial pockets of Iraqi troops were trapped there after taking heavy casualties. They aren’t expected to hold out very long and I’ve already received reports that some of them have already been captured and executed by ISIS.

Hundreds of civilians fled along with the Iraqi troops.

ISIS is using some fairly innovative tactics against fixed defensive points like Ramadi. First they seek to control the ingress and egress via outlying areas, to prevent or delay reinforcement and resupply. The next step in Ramadi was to break the defensive line using car and truck bombs, after which ISIS fighters stormed into the breach.

Many Americans may recall hearing the name Ramadi before, and some might recall that quite a few American lives were spent in securing it. Here’s why Ramadi matters.

Look at the map above. Ramadi controls all of the traffic on the Euphrates River. It is only 68 miles (110 Kilometers) from Baghdad and opens the road to that city from the west, just as Fallujah, which ISIS also holds does from the east paving the way for a two-pronged assault. Also, ISIS captured the town of Jubbah in this new offensive, next door to Iraq’s biggest air base at Al-Ansar. That’s where US soldiers, AKA advisers are trying to train Iraqi troops to fight ISIS, which so far hasn’t been particularly successful.

ISIS has also surrounded the oil-producing town of Baiji near Ramadi, where a small Iraqi army force of a few hundred soldiers is trying to hold out. It’s probably only a matter of tie until they’re forced to surrender or are wiped out.

Our Secretary of State John Kerry announced from a news conference in Seoul, South Korea that as far as he was concerned Ramadi was ” a target of opportunity” for ISIS rather than a carefully planed strategic offensive.

“I am convinced that as the forces are redeployed and as the days flow in the weeks ahead that’s going to change, as overall (they) have been driven back … I am absolutely confident in the days ahead that will be reversed.”

Let’s examine that.

Exactly what forces is Secretary Kerry talking about? True, the Iraqi government announced that “major military reinforcements” were being deployed to halt the advance of ISIS. The problem is that between Ramadi, the recent ‘victory’ in Tikrit (about which more later) and an attempted counterattack on Fallujah that went horribly wrong, the Iraqi army has very little strength to ‘deploy’ between ISIS and Baghdad right now. They’re a badly defeated army that is incapable of an offensive against Islamic State right now. The only thing keeping ISIS away from Baghdad is a series of 19 U.S, airstrikes near Ramadi over the past 48 hours.

Much more at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Sultan Knishwith De-Islamization Is The Only Way To Fight ISIS submitted by Joshuapundit

Here are this week’s full results. only the Right Planet 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.

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Watcher’s Council nominations for May 27, 2015

Nothing slows the Watcher’s Council down.  No matter how grim the headlines, we go forward with our weekly effort to find the best commentary on the state of our world.  Here, verbatim, is the nominations post from the Watcher’s Council:

Strange days, indeed..prescient, or just a reverberation?

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.

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My take on Carly Fiorina back in 2010, when she ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senator

Carly FiorinaWith Carly Fiorina earning an increasing number of accolades for her campaign against Hillary Clinton, I thought I should republish my take on her from a 2010 talk she gave in Marin County when she made her unsuccessful run to get Barbara Boxer’s seat:

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Fiorina, who showed up right on time, which is always a nice sign of respect to ones audience, is shorter than I had thought she would be.  She’s such a trim, upright, tidy figure that I somehow had the impression that she’s a very tall woman.  She’s not; she just has a tall presence.

Carly is a wonderful speaker:  she has clear, warm voice, and speaks without any annoying verbal ticks.  No “ums” and “uhs” from this lady.  I guess you could call her the un-Obama.  (She didn’t need a teleprompter either.)  She also has a nice energy.  Even though it was obvious that this was her usual speech, it didn’t have a canned feel.  Instead, it had a fresh vitality that made those of us sitting there feel as if she was conversing with us, rather than going through the usual political “blah blah.”

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The Bookworm Beat 5-27-15 — the “oy, such a day!” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265It’s been one of those days: I took two family members to two different doctors’ appointments, went to a work meeting, went grocery shopping, and cooked dinner. It’s 8:30 at night where I am, and this is the first time today that I’m sitting down at the computer.  I still have legal work to do tonight so this will be a very abbreviated post, in no small part because I haven’t had the chance to read a dang thing today. Still, for what it’s worth, here are a few things you might enjoy:

Bernie Sanders is a dodo

Bernie Sanders is a proud socialist (although his net worth is greater than Scott Walker’s, so perhaps he’s a proud socialist hypocrite, but anyway….). Bernie Sanders has announced that he wants to cut back on the number of antiperspirants and sneakers offered to American shoppers so that more children get fed. If you think that’s a non-sequitur, you’re correct. Only an economic illiterate would take — gosh, they’re not even close enough to be apples and oranges…. Let me try again:  Only an economic illiterate would conflate bottled water and tires, and insist that if we use less of one, we’d have more of the other.

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Lena Dunham — proud or pathetic Hillary Clinton avatar?

A lot of people thought it was kind of tacky for Barack Obama to honor Memorial Day on his Twitter feed by posting a picture of himself eating ice cream while surrounded by fawning reporters. Lena Dunham, however, has gone Obama one better. To honor Memorial Day, she posted a picture of herself in lingerie:

Lena Dunham in lingerie

Me? I would have preferred a picture of Dunham eating ice cream, but that’s not where I want to take this discussion.

A friend and I were discussing whether the picture was attractive and we concluded that it’s not. We both agreed that part of why it’s not attractive is because we don’t like Dunham. Seeing endless acres of flesh on someone you think has a corrosive influence on your society is not an appealing sight. So we had to ask ourselves the next question:  If we liked Dunham more, would we find her more pleasant to look upon as she flaunts her flesh?

My answer — no.

This answer doesn’t have anything to do with my being opposed to people who would be rejected by Cosmo Magazine or a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. There are big women who manage to look radiantly attractive in lingerie photographs. They look happy in their own skins and their attractive sensuality communicates itself to the viewer. Even if a comfortably filled-out woman isn’t your idea of objective “beauty,” a woman who feels sexy still manages to look sexy. Dunham doesn’t.

What Dunham does is look defiantly depressed. Her face says, “You better like me,  you sons and daughters of bitches, or you’re clearly guilty of a hate crime against women and, worse, against big women.” Dunham may be about sex (God knows, she certainly never stops talking about it or taking pictures of it), but she’s not about sexy.

Nothing illustrated that more to me than a sad “just use me” quotation Dunham made about the endless nude scenes on her critically-acclaimed (although not audience acclaimed) show Girls:

While Ellie Kemper said she had yet to film a sex scene, Dunham told the other comedians she’s not shy when it comes to being naked on set.

“I stopped wearing the nude patch after the first season of Girls,” Dunham said. “There’s not one guy who works on that show who hasn’t seen the inside of my vagina. This patch – you glue it over your vagina. It gets sweaty and always falls off. My male co-stars, at the end of the day, don’t care.”

I’m sure Dunham is right that her male co-stars don’t care about her vagina. But I’m equally sure that they don’t look at Dunham and see anything more than a woman begging to be used sexually — and by that I mean more than just being used for sex. She’s reduced her essence — the part of her that deserves love and respect — to a vagina.

For an older generation of feminist, the one swept away by the tide of hard Left harridans, feminism meant believing that men and women should get equal pay for equal work, and that job standards should be tied to the needs of the job, not to pandering to one sex’s abilities or trying to shut out the other sex’s opportunities.  For the Dunham generation, feminism means “love me, love my vagina — and really, there’s nothing more of me that’s worth loving.”

Dunham, in other words, isn’t a feminist, she’s a sexual nihilist.  Worse — and this is where I get into politics, as the nihilistic voice of her generation, she’s joined by countless other women who have reduced the corrupt, ineffective, potentially dangerous Hillary to nothing more than a vagina and who, having reduced Hillary to this biological absurdity, insist that, on this basis alone, Hillary is worthy of becoming President of the United States.

My suggestion is that Hillary’s next campaign poster should look like this.  (Sorry about the abysmal quality of the “poster.”  I don’t have anything like Photoshop on my computer and this is the best I can do.):

Hillary Dunham

It ought to win Hillary at least a few votes from the Dunham generation.

The Bookworm Beat 5-26-15 — the “mad, mad, mad, mad world” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265No time for chit-chat. I’ve got stuff to share:

America’s values have turned upside down

It’s a time-honored custom for older people to look at changes in the world since their youth and to bemoan those changes. I’d like to think I’m neither that rigid nor that old. There are so many things in the modern world to love, especially when it comes to technology.

What does seem extremely unlovable, though, is that we are living through a time in which moral values aren’t merely being loosened (a la the rising hems of the flappers) but are being turned completely upside down. In one of the best articles I’ve seen in forever at National Review, Quin Hillyer focuses on the sea change in our moral and political values. If you’ve already read it, read it again and share it with your friends; if you haven’t read it, by all means do . . . and then share it with your friends:

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The Book of Mormon: The smug laughter of people who don’t recognize their own irrational beliefs

book-of-mormonI saw the musical The Book of Mormon yesterday. I was disappointed. I knew it would be anti-Mormon and filled with prepubescent potty and sexual humor, so that wasn’t what bothered me. What bothered me was that it wasn’t clever, that it didn’t attack genuine societal ills at home or in Africa, that it was too gay camp, and that the actors all appeared to have learned their trade from those irritating kids on the Disney channel — they overacted, mugged, and telegraphed their (obvious) punch lines. Simply put, watching puerile pokes at Mormons, who are an easy target because they’re not going to kill you, was boring.

What really irritated me was the audience. I thought it a little pathetic that they laughed so uproariously over every poop joke (I stopped doing that when I was 12), but I kind of expected that. After all, I saw the show in San Francisco, which is one of the most densely populated Progressive bastions in America. Progressives, of course, are the Party of Poop, so that humor will inevitably appeal to them.

Where the audience really let itself go, though, was with the song “I Believe,” which is something of a patter song about some of the core Mormon beliefs. I should say here that I too find the Book of Mormon unbelievable. But you know what? Viewed objectively, all faith stories are unbelievable.

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