President Obama today announced that he now supports same-sex marriage, reversing his longstanding opposition amid growing pressure from the Democratic base and even his own vice president.
In an interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts, the president described his thought process as an “evolution” that led him to this place, based on conversations with his own staff members, openly gay and lesbian service members, and conversations with his wife and own daughters.
“I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama told Roberts, in an interview to appear on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday. Excerpts of the interview will air tonight on ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer.”
The president stressed that this is a personal position, and that he still supports the concept of states deciding the issue on their own. But he said he’s confident that more Americans will grow comfortable with gays and lesbians getting married, citing his own daughters’ comfort with the concept.
So, President Obama whose one in six of his political campaign cash bundlers are gay suddenly gets religion. Is this too cynical?
I mean, really, is there anyone out there who did not think Obama favored same sex or gay, homosexual marriage?
Well, this certainly will be a contrast with Mitt Romney who supports traditional marriage. But Obama for what it is worth hedged a bit by saying his position is like Republican Dick Cheney’s – he supports the state’s right to define marriage.
Russia’s most senior military officer said Thursday that Moscow would preemptively strike and destroy U.S.-led NATO missile defense sites in Eastern Europe if talks with Washington about the developing system continue to stall.
“A decision to use destructive force preemptively will be taken if the situation worsens,” Russian Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov said at an international missile defense conference in Moscow attended by senior U.S. and NATO officials.
The threat comes as talks about the missile defense system, which the U.S. and its allies insist is aimed at Iranian missiles, appear to have stalled.
“We have not been able to find mutually-acceptable solutions at this point and the situation is practically at a dead end,” Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said.
Ellen Tauscher, the U.S. special envoy for strategic stability and missile defense, insisted the talks about NATO plans for a missile defense system using ground-based interceptor missiles stationed in Poland, Romania and Turkey were not stalemated.
But she acknowledged Wednesday that the recent elections in Russia and the upcoming elections in the U.S. make it “pretty clear that this is a year in which we’re probably not going to achieve any sort of a breakthrough.”
She reiterated that the U.S.-built system, still in development, is being designed to shoot down Iranian intermediate-range missiles aimed at Europe, not Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
Yeah, Yeah, Russia is afraid of missile defense as they always have been since Reagan. And, President Obama and the Democrats in the Congress hate the program.
Just watch Obama capitulate and Romney to jump all over the President, especially since Obama made those flexibility remarks..
I am a few days late to this story, but at least someone (her brother) is trying to obtain justice for Terri Lynn Winchell.
The killer of a woman brutally murdered more than 30 years ago still sits on death row. The victim’s brother is suing to resume executions in California. The lawsuit seeks to end the legal logjam that has put a hold on executions at San Quentin State Prison for six years. The delays involve questions over the use of lethal injections.
More than 700 inmates sit on California’s death row. Not one has been executed in six years. Former governors Pete Wilson and George Deukmejian are on a team of lawyers seeking to help the families of murdered victims.
“I get sick to my stomach,” said Bradley Winchell, the victim’s brother. “I am asking this court to set it right.”
Bradley Winchell says he’s been waiting more than three decades for closure. His sister Terri was brutally murdered and raped in 1981 in a Lodi vineyard.
Her convicted killer, Michael Morales, sits on San Quentin’s death row and is one of 14 inmates who have exhausted all their appeals.
But just as Morales was about to be executed in 2006, a judge granted a reprieve, allowing Morales’s lawsuit to move forward after he claimed the three-drug lethal injection method was cruel and unusual punishment.
Winchell just filed a lawsuit of his own, saying he’s waited long enough. He wants the state to resume executions by moving to a one-drug process currently used in other states.
“I consider 31 years excessive delay, injury to not only myself but my family,” said Winchell.
California’s death penalty has been criticized for many years. Delays often result in decades passing before an execution is carried out.
“It’s a sad state of affairs when those officials with the duty to execute the law care so little about the rights of victims of crime,” said Kent Scheidegger, Criminal Justice Legal Foundation.
In the meantime, an initiative qualified yesterday and California voters yet again will be asked to vote on whether the death penalty will continue in the state. I, frankly, think that California voters will approve the death penalty – as they have each time.
Here is a video of a news report that tells the story:
This Californian demands justice for Terri Lynn:
Terri Lynn Winchell
The California Department of Corrections needs to speedily change its execution protocol and get on with it.
Michael Morales would then be one of the first to go:
Michael Angelo Morales current photo
Justice for Terri Lynn!
The Death Penalty Archive
While the California Republican Party has endorsed Elizabeth Emken for California United State Senate, the more conservative California Republican Assembly has just announced their endorsement for businessman, Al Ramirez.
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Al Ramirez, an accomplished businessman, received the endorsement of the California Republican Assembly (CRA) at the group’s endorsing convention on Sunday.
“I’m incredibly pleased and honored to have the support of the State’s oldest and largest Republican volunteer organization,” said Ramirez. “The endorsement of the CRA demonstrates that our message is resonating with Republicans across the State. We simply cannot afford more of the same socialistic policies of Feinstein and Obama. It’s time to restore the American Dream in California.”
The CRA endorsement is one of the most coveted in all of Republican politics. Ronald Reagan even referred to the CRA as “The conscience of the Republican Party.”
Candidates seeking the CRA endorsement went through a rigorous vetting process which included giving speeches to the entire delegation and facing a session of tough questioning in front of a “Fact Finding Committee.” In order to receive an endorsement, a candidate must be supported by two-thirds of the voting delegates.
Ramirez was endorsed overwhelmingly by a vote of the entire CRA delegation late Sunday morning.
This endorsement has to deliver a decided edge to Ramirez, especially with so many candidates in the race vying to run against the front-runner and incumbent Senator Dianne Feinstein.
Millions of dollars were embezzled from her campaign. Twenty-two challengers are trying to knock her off in the June primary. And the stakes in the November election are nothing less than control of Capitol Hill.
But U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein isn’t a bit worried. Her campaign is on cruise control, her re-election all but certain — yet again.
After holding elected office for all but five of the last 42 years, Feinstein is the doyenne of California Democrats. She’s so politically bulletproof that no A-list candidates are wasting their time and money trying to dethrone her.
At 78, Feinstein has become the rare lawmaker who plays to her own political base while not overly riling her opponents. “She should have her easiest re-election ever,” said Gary Jacobson, a UC San Diego political science professor.
Feinstein, who won her last two elections in landslides, attributes her success to her work ethic and her ability to get along with fellow Washington politicians during venomous times. “I am known for working hard, and I can tell you if I wasn’t, I would have some major opposition,” Feinstein said in an interview last week.
Just how little she has to worry about was shown in a recent Survey USA poll. It found 51 percent of California’s likely voters intend to vote for Feinstein, while Republicans Elizabeth Emken of Danville and Dan Hughes of Oceanside were backed by 2 percent each. All other candidates clocked in at either 1 percent or zero.
But, will this endorsement be enough for Ramirez to come in second place above Elizbeth Emken and Dan Hughes?
The exterior of a building housing the Jyllands-Posten Copenhagen office is seen. Four Swedes accused of plotting a revenge attack on the Jyllands-Posten newspaper that printed caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad have gone on trialThe trial is set to last until June 15.
Four men went on trial in Denmark on Friday accused of planning a “Mumbai-style” terror attack on the offices of a Danish newspaper whose publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in 2005 outraged many Muslims.
The men, three Swedish citizens and one Tunisian, pleaded not guilty to involvement in the worst terrorist plot in Denmark to date, denying allegations they had planned to kill a large number of people at the offices of the paper, Jyllands-Posten.
“It is our perception that an unknown number of people were to be killed by shooting,” Chief Prosecutor Gyrithe Ulrich told TV2 News outside the courthouse in Glostrup, near Copenhagen.
Jyllands-Posten was the first to print a dozen cartoons lampooning Islam in 2005, triggering protests against Danish interests abroad and riots in countries from the Middle East and Africa to Asia the following year in which at least 50 people died.
Denmark’s state security police (PET) has said the planned attack was modelled on a 2008 shooting spree in Mumbai, when 10 Pakistani gunmen killed 166 people in a three-day assault at city landmarks, including two hotels and a Jewish centre.
The men belonged to a militant Islamist group and had links to international terrorist networks, the PET has said.
On trial are Mounir Ben Mohamed Dhahri, a Tunisian, and three Swedish citizens – Lebanese-born Munir Awad, Swedish-born Omar Abdalla Aboelazm, and Sahbi Ben Mohamed Zalouti, of Tunisian origin.
The four were arrested in a joint Danish-Swedish police operation in the suburbs of Copenhagen and Stockholm on Dec. 29, 2010. Police, who had been tracking the men for some time, have said that the attack was imminent “within days”.
All four pleaded not guilty to the main charge of terrorism, but Dhari pleaded guilty to the charge of illegally possessing weapons, which the others denied.
Another account of the trial beginning is here.
Again, this terrorist attack was planned because of this cartoon, among the others:
Another blow for freedom of speech.
The Court of First Instance of Mahdia sentenced two men to seven years of prison for charges relating to their posting of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed on Facebook. The decision is subject to appeal.
According to an extract of the decision, which was posted online, Jabeur Mejri and Ghazi Beji were sentenced to five years in prison for “troubling the public” order and “transgressing morality” by posting the images of the Prophet and an additional two for “bringing harm to others” across “networks of public communications.” The two men were each levied a fine of 1,200 dinars as well.
Beji has fled to Europe to avoid facing charges while Mejri is currently in jail in Mahdia and studying his appeal with his legal representation.
Bochra Belhaj Hmida, lawyer, activist, and ex-president of the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women, is currently involved in an effort to rally civil society against the decision. She stated that she found the decision shocking, particularly, “when one considers the fact that those in Tunisia who committed terrorist acts are free and those two men are being prosecuted for publishing such insignificant things.”
But, then again, most of the American press were afraid to post these cartoons or caricatures as well.
I wonder what my sentence would be, since I have posted them over and over?
Here is Kurt Westergaard’s most famous cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad:
According to the latest Gallup Poll.
Mitt Romney’s gathering momentum in the Republican nomination contest is evident as he now leads Rick Santorum by 16 percentage points as national Republican voters’ choice to be the GOP presidential nominee. He has led Santorum by at least 10 points for the last two weeks, and his lead has been 15 points or more for each of the last five days.
The latest results, based on Gallup Daily tracking conducted March 29-April 2, show Romney to be the choice of 41% of Republican voters and Santorum the choice of 25%, with Newt Gingrich (12%) and Ron Paul (11%) trailing.
Romney had led continuously since late February after winning the Michigan and Arizona primaries, but his lead dwindled to four points after he lost to Santorum in Alabama and Mississippi on March 13.
Romney’s current momentum coincides with his decisive victory in the March 20 Illinois primary, and he has maintained a double-digit lead for the last two weeks. On Tuesday, voters in Wisconsin, Maryland, and the District of Columbia will vote in primaries, with Romney favored in all three contests.
This race for the GOP Presidential nomination is just about over.
Newt Ginrich has already scaled back his campaign operation and Rick Santorum is wishfully thinking for a miracle. When Santorum loses tonight, he might as well pack it in and get on board the Romney train.
This is not to say that Mitt Romney is the best candidate the GOP has to offer as an alternative to President Obama. But, it looks like no one else is stepping forward to lead – so you go with the candidate that you have.
Romney may win, but may not.
In any case, Romney is a do NO harm candidate and will not hurt the GOP brand in Senate and House races.
The United States Missile Defense Agency
According to the latest Rasmussen Poll.
President Obama drew fire from his political opponents last week after he was overheard confiding to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that U.S.-Russian missile defense negotiations would have to wait until after November’s elections, a time when the president should have more “flexibility”. Most voters nationwide currently favor a U.S. anti-missile defense system, and a majority believes a missile attack on the U.S. is likely to occur in the near future.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely U.S. Voters shows that 55% favor the creation of a U.S. anti-missile defense system, while just 16% are opposed. Another 29% are undecided.
Something the President should keep in mind, before he negotiates anything flexible with our enemies.
This DigitalGlobe satellite image, obtained on March 30, shows Tongch’ang-ni Launch Facility on North Korea’s northwest coast. A rocket launch, purportedly to put a satellite into orbit, is set for sometime between April 12-16 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of founding president Kim Il-Sung
The Pentagon recently activated its global missile shield in anticipation of North Korea’s launch of a long-range missile, according to defense officials.
The measures include stepped-up electronic monitoring, deployment of missile interceptor ships, and activation of radar networks to areas near the Korean peninsula and western Pacific.
Three interceptor ships near Japan and the Philippines, as well as U.S.-based interceptors, are ready to shoot down the North Korean missile if space-, land-, and sea-based sensors determine its flight path is targeted at the United States or U.S. allies, said officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Obama administration will regard any launch by North Korea as a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions regardless of whether the North Koreans claim the rocket test is for space launch purposes, the officials said. The technology and rocketry used for a space launch is nearly identical to that used with ballistic missiles that carry a warhead, they said.
Also, because the payload or warhead of the test launch cannot be determined prior to launch, the Obama administration decided to activate the missile defense system.
According to U.S. officials, current intelligence assessments indicate the North Korean missile will be launched from a base called Tongchang-ri, located on a west coast peninsula north of Pyongyang between April 12 and April 15.
The Obama Administration has rightly activated the shield and remember when Vice President Joe Biden and other Democrats came out against the system and ridiculed President Ronald Reagan.
“This premise, that one day Kim Jong Il or someone will wake up one morning and say ‘Aha, San Francisco!’ is specious,” Senator Joe Biden told AP in May 2001.
Meanwhile in the Senate, Carl Levin (D., Mich.) offered in June to cut off funds for the ground-based interceptor program that Mr. Bush recently activated in Alaska in anticipation of the North Korean launch. Mr. Levin wants to stop new interceptors from being built, but Senate Republicans wouldn’t bring his proposal up for a vote. Mr. Levin has been waging his own private war against missile defenses for a generation, to the point of outflanking Russian objections on the political left.
In May 2001 the Boston Herald‘s Woodlief wrote that John Kerry “wants to croak the hugely costly nuclear missile defense system.” And just one day before the 9/11 attacks Joe Biden (D., Del.) gave a National Press Club speech outlining Democrat opposition to national missile defense.
In May 2001, John Kerry himself outlined some of these arguments on Meet the Press by saying that he wanted “a very limited…highly verifiable and mutually agreed-upon (missile) defense system.” And he complained about the cost. “We’ve already spent $68 billion and have almost nothing to show for it,” noted Kerry.
On May 3, 2001, John Kerry called national missile defense a “mythology” on Don Imus’s radio show.
On June 14, 2001, John Kerry told Hardball‘s Chris Matthews that a “missile shield that could defend the United States against any incoming missile is a fantasy, it is too expensive, it won’t work, and that’s what people believe will drive an arms race.”
If it had been left to them, there would be NO missile shield.
So, what the hell does this mean, Mr. President?
Unaware that a microphone was recording him, President Obama asked outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev Monday for breathing room until after Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign to negotiate on missile defense.
“On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved, but it’s important for him to give me space,” Mr. Obama told Mr. Medvedev at the end of their 90-minute meeting, apparently referring to incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Mr. Medvedev replied, “Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…”
“This is my last election,” Mr. Obama said. “After my election, I have more flexibility.”
The Russian leader responded, “I understand. I transmit this information to Vladimir.”
The exchange was picked up by microphone of a Russian reporter as journalists were allowed into the meeting room for remarks by the two leaders. It was first reported by ABC News, which said it verified the conversation. A Washington Times reporter heard a portion of the tape that begins with Mr. Obama saying, “This is my last election.”
The two leaders are in Seoul for a nuclear security summit involving the heads of more than 50 nations. Mr. Obama and Mr. Medvedev were huddling close together in their respective chairs when the conversation took place.
The President and the Democratic Party have never been in love with the National Missile Defense system first started by President Reagan and greatly accelerated by President George W. Bush. During the Obama Administration, the issue has been quiet as cuts were made to the program but slow deployment and research progress was made.
So, did President Obama just elevate the issue of missile defense into the political arena?
The President has some answers to deliver to the American people and undoubtedly will be asked about the level of his support for the program during the Presidential debates.