The religious freedom legislation that gelatin-spined Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed wasn't controversial until the Left started lying about it.
The state-level civil rights bill that Brewer mothballed Feb. 26 was killed by a media-led propaganda campaign that falsely characterized it as "anti-gay." To no one's surprise, both of the GOP's last two RINO losers, Mitt Romney and John McCain, urged a veto.
There has been a blizzard of hysterical misinformation about Arizona’s SB 1062. As anyone who takes the trouble to consult the text of the legislation will readily discover, SB 1062 does not mention, much less single out, gays or same-sex ceremonies.
As Douglas Laycock (who supports redefining marriage to include same-sex couples) and other leading religious-liberty scholars explain in a letter to Arizona governor Jan Brewer, SB 1062 “has been egregiously misrepresented by many of its critics.”The veto "marks a sad day for Arizonans who cherish and understand religious liberty," said Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy. SB 1062 passed the legislature for one reason only: to guarantee that all Arizonans would be free to live and work according to their faith. Opponents were desperate to distort this bill rather than debate the merits. Essentially, they succeeded in getting a veto of a bill that does not even exist. When the force of government compels one to speak or act contrary to their conscience, the government injures not only the dignity of the afflicted, but the dignity of our society as a whole. The vetoed bill would have given some much-needed protection against lawsuits to those who refuse on religious grounds to provide services. In other words, it would have made it more difficult for activists to successfully sue service providers for refusing to make cakes for gay weddings or to do photographic spreads of such ceremonies.
As champagne corks pop across the fruited plain, the Left views the defeat of this legislation as an opportunity to make examples of and publicly humiliate those who fail to genuflect before their policy agenda. It is no longer enough for left-wingers to be winning the nationwide battle over same-sex marriage (and at lightning speed).
Now they want to compel their opponents to approve of same-sex marriage. They want same-sex marriage opponents to be forced to participate in the celebration of same-sex marriage. It is a new, creepy, ritualized form of torture in our litigious society. We can only wonder how far off into the future coerced, politically correct public self-denunciations, may be.Left-wing activists call this kind of in-your-face harassment “accountability,” an Orwellian euphemism to be sure. Accountability actions focus on harassing and intimidating political enemies, disrupting them, and forcing them to waste resources dealing with activists’ provocations. It is a tactic of radical community organizers, open borders fanatics, and union goons. They want to shut down and silence those who disagree with them.
Update : The Nicaraguan press is reporting continuous aftershocks in the greater epicenter area
Update : It is estimated that tens of millions of people have felt this earthquake at various intensities. A lot of people will have been interrupted from their sleep. The reason that so many people have felt it is the depth of the hypocenter. At earthquake-report.com we know from our experience that earthquakes in between 50 and 80 km depth are being felt as strong up to several hundred kms from the epicenter. This is also the reason that we are receiving “I Have Felt It” reports from all the neighboring countries (luckily without serious damage so far).
Update : The James Daniell CATDAT theoretical damage engine comes out below 1 million $ damage for this earthquake. This model is based on parameters like Magnitude, depth of the hypocenter and damage during historical earthquakes in the same region.
Update : Maximum shaking intensity as reported by USGS (agency with the highest Magnitude) MMI VI = strong shaking. We, at Earthquake Report, are estimating Strong shaking with max. slight damage and a minimal number of injuries. Let’s hope that we are right!
Once the budgetary savagery Hagel outlined for the military is in place, the U.S. will have a Navy with the fewest ships at sea since before World War I, the smallest Air Force ever, and an Army and Marine Corps smaller than at any time since 1940. Weapons systems that would modernize and upgrade our military capability will be canceled, and older weapons systems, such as the A-10, will be eliminated.
Furthermore, if budgetary cutbacks necessitate curtailment of training, that means additional degrading of America’s military capabilities.
In addition to severely reducing America’s conventional military capability, Obama has drastically curtailed the country’s nuclear weapons capacity.
The upshot of Obama’s budgetary butchery is that America is following the pattern set by Europe’s nanny states: huge expenditures for welfare programs necessitate spending a pittance for national defense.
These drastic defense cutbacks come at a time when the U.S. faces potential threats from terrorism and from totalitarian regimes such as North Korea, mainland China, Vladimir Putin’s irredentist Russia, and Iran.Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk warned Sunday that his crisis-hit country was on the “brink of disaster,” accusing Russia of declaring war in a bleak appeal to the international community. “This is the red alert, this is not a threat, this is actually a declaration of war to my country,” he told reporters in English, a day after Russia’s parliament approved the deployment of troops to Ukraine. “If President Putin wants to be the president who started a war between two neighboring and friendly countries, between Ukraine and Russia, he has reached his target within a few inches. We are on the brink of the disaster.”
Russia’s Federation Council has unanimously approved President Vladimir Putin’s request to use Russian military forces in Ukraine. The move is aimed to settle the turmoil in the split country.
The upper house of the Russian parliament has voted in favor of sending troops to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, which would ensure peace and order in the region “until the socio-political situation in the country is stabilized.”Putin on Saturday requested the Federation Council to use the Army for normalizing the socio-political situation in Ukraine in connection with the “extraordinary situation” there. The events in Ukraine indicate there is a “threat to the lives of citizens of the Russian Federation… and the personnel of the armed forces of the Russian Federation on Ukrainian territory,” the Russian president said.
From Obama’s diplomacy, which continues to alienate allies and delight enemies, and his strong support of military budget cuts, it appears he’s eager for America to fall from superpower to also-ran.
With that fall inevitably comes the loss of our ability to influence most of the events happening in the world. Whether it's Ukraine, Syria, Iraq orChina, Obama is leading us to irrelevance.
Russian, Chinese and Iranian military planners must also be doing the math, calculating the risk, as we continue to slash our military capabilities. Not for a direct invasion of the United States, but for ringing the US with a set of interlocking military bases to project their naval and air power superiority into Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
The Russians and Chinese political leadership are adept and patient players of the “long game” of accumulating bloodless military victories. Make no mistake, isolating and eventually destroying the United States is still their end game; a simple fact that Obama publically ignores and personally embraces.
It took US President Barack Obama 90 minutes of intense dialogue with the Russian president to grasp that Vladimir Putin is unshakably fixed on the course he has set for Ukraine and has no intention of withdrawing the Russian troops he has positioned in the Crimean peninsula. In fact, behind the diplomatic verbiage, Putin was clearly on the offensive. He let it be understood that unless the US and Europe rid Kiev of the “fascist gangs,” which had taken over, Moscow would move forces into additional parts of Ukraine to uphold its interests and “protect the Russian citizens and compatriots living there” for as long as the interim regime remained in Kiev.
Not a shot has so far been fired in the Russian military takeover of Crimea. This could change very rapidly and deteriorate into a head-on clash between Russian and anti-Russian elements on Ukraine soil.
Putin was not impressed by Obama’s accusation of being in ”clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity." Neither was he deterred by the US president’s threat of “international political and diplomatic isolation” - or even a Western boycott of the G8 summer summit in Sochi.
After all, he stood alone at the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Winter Games - unattended by a single Western leader. After that experience, he is not afraid to stand alone on Ukraine as well, regardless of US and EU efforts to force him to abandon what he views as an imminent strategic threat on Russia’s doorstep.
So the West would be more productively served by leaning hard on the group of assorted protesters who seized power in Kiev and get them to step aside, or else seek an understanding with Moscow. Military brinkmanship will get them nowhere.
The basis of an understanding already exists. It was signed and sealed on Feb. 21, the day before the pro-Western coup in Kiev, in a deal with Viktor Yanukovich, brokered by the German, French and Polish foreign ministers, for a unity government, an early election and a new constitution curbing the president’s authority.
That deal was endorsed by Moscow as well as Washington. However, as time goes and the escalation continues, that deal will fade, along with the chances of a non-violent resolution of the Ukraine conflict.
Therefore, the US-EU tactic of turning the heat on Moscow is not just an exercise in futility; it is proving to be a major strategic blunder stemming from weakness, which now threatens to promote real violence and bloodshed.
The Interim government’s security council chief Sunday, March 2 announced a general mobilization of Ukraine’s 1 million reservists after placing the army on a combat footing. This step was virtually useless in practical terms while providing Putin with further impetus to continue his military expansion. He knows that the Kiev administration is broke, so how can it feed, equip, arm and provide transport for hundreds of thousands of troops? And does anyone know how many are loyal to the new regime?
Belatedly, the interim government appealed to the West for help
This grossly uneven confrontation takes place under the critical gaze 2,000 km away in the eastern Mediterranean and 3,500 km away in the Persian Gulf of the leaders of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Syria, and Hizballah in Lebanon.
They may be said to share four significant conclusions:
1. President Obama was seen backing off a commitment to US allies for the second time in eight months. They remember his U-turn last August on US military intervention for the removal of Syrian President Bashar Assad for using chemical weapons. They also see Washington shying off from Russia’s use of military force and therefore not a reliable partner for safeguarding their national security.
2. The Middle East governments which opted to range with Vladimir Putin - Damascus, Tehran, Hizballah and, up to an initial point, Egypt, are ending up on the strong side of the regional equation.
The pro-American camp keeps falling back.
3. American weakness on the global front has strengthened the Iranian-Syrian bloc and its ties with Hizballah.
4. Putin standing foursquare behind Iran is an insurmountable obstacle to a negotiated and acceptable comprehensive agreement with Iran - just as the international bid for a political resolution of the Syrian conflict foundered last month.
With the Ukraine crisis looming ever larger, Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s scheduled meeting Monday with President Obama at the White House is unlikely to be more than an exchange of polite platitudes.