Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Guilford County in North Carolina does not believe registering marriage licenses is a government activity.

Recently, County Register of Deeds, Jeff Thigpen stated the government does not have the right to deny marriages based on religious preference.

Mr. Thigpen has been the Register of Deeds in Guilford County for as long as I can remember. He stated clearly to the media last week, the government has no right to interrupt any marriage and to do so illustrates religious preference.

GREENSBORO, N.C. (click title to entry - thank you) — North Carolina has no constitutional duty to be in the marriage licensing business and should get out of it immediately, according to a lawsuit filed by a Guilford County elected official and other residents.

County Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen, whose office is responsible for recording marriage licenses, is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit that says the state should not be involved in that activity — or deny marriages to same-sex couples, according to The News & Record of Greensboro.

State laws essentially make members of the clergy agents of the state by requiring them to oversee the marriage licensing process, the complaint argues, and they improperly deny marriage rights to same-sex couples.

"In order adequately and fully to protect the personal liberty and religious freedom of citizens in North Carolina and the United States, there must be a de-coupling and disentanglement of the state from the personal and religious institution of marriage," the complaint reads....

To the right is a map of estimates to when states may enact gay marriage laws.  (click here)   On this map it is estimated North Carolina won't have the political will to move their legislature until between 2017 to 2020.  That might be true, but, what Mr. Thigpen is clearly stating is that the government has no role in granting or denying marriage. 

He believes that by granting rights to heterosexual couples only sets a precedent that is over reaching by the government and if there is legislation to change that to include same sex marriage then the law could also be passed to prohibit heterosexual marriage as well.  To the best of my knowledge Mr. Thigpen is not gay and is a devout man.  I don't know him personally.  I do know he is well qualified to do his job and has been for a long time.



Guilford County Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen announced today that he will be conferring with County Attorney Mark Payne, NC Attorney General and Secretary of State as to whether the Mortgage Electronic Registration Service (MERS) owes Guilford County fees estimated at $1.3 million in lost revenue from mortgage assignments.  Thigpen also wants to review pending legal actions against MERS and consider options to protect the integrity of public land recordation offices....

Mr. Thigpen's approach is how to best define government to serve the citizen.  He is not dismantling anything, he is simply trying to clear up his role in registering a marriage license.  After all, it isn't as though a marriage license has deeded property rights, or, does it?

Local elected official joins lawsuit over state marriage license requirements (click here)
(Updated 5:05 pm)

No retribution for freedom of expression.

This is exactly the problem with Christian Hubris. They get carried away in their expression to CAUSE INFLUENCE. When others feel on the defense because of it there are words of unkindness exchanged. If Bill Mayer believes he had to point out that every move by Mr. Tebow is not an act of god, then so be it!

I thought Christians were suppose to be humble without bring over zealous attention to themselves.  No?  My mistake.

There are conflicts within the international waters that Iran claims as their sovereign territory.

...While passing through straits, (click title to entry - thank you) such as the Strait of Hormuz, that run through territorial waters, ships in transit have more rights. In particular, warships can maintain an appropriate degree of combat-readiness.

Seems reasonable? Unfortunately in the Strait of Hormuz and the waters to the west of it, shipping lanes run close to and in some areas through Iranian territorial waters. Under international maritime law the Iranians are entitled to monitor this traffic but the traffic, including warships, is entitled to unimpeded transit. As the US and Iran view each other with great mistrust, the potential for conflict is high.
Two things complicate the matter further. The first is that the USA has not ratified (formally agreed to abide by) the relevant legislation on international maritime law: the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The second is that, according to UNCLOS, if there are islands lying off a nation’s coast then the 12 miles extend from the outermost island.

The area of sea around the Strait of Hormuz contains several islands, for many of which the ownership is claimed by both Iran and the United Arab Emirates, a pro-western country.Whoever owns the islands will own the territorial waters around them, according to international maritime law as it is usually interpreted.

The convention greatly enhances our ability to protect the American public as well as our efforts to protect and manage fishery resources and to protect the marine environment. From the Coast Guard's perspective, we can best maintain a public order of the oceans through a universally accepted law of the sea treaty that preserves and promotes critical U.S. national interests."

General Richard Myers, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: “The Convention remains a top national security priority…It supports efforts in the War on Terrorism by providing much-needed stability and operational maneuver space, codifying essential navigational and overflight freedoms.” (2004)...

This is such a joke.

3. Straits of Hormuz (click title to entry - thank you) The world’s most important oil chokepoint, with 15 million barrels of oil shipped through it daily. Only 1.5 miles wide at its narrowest point.  Connects Persian Gulf with Gulf of Oman and Arabian Sea;

The pirates nearly have the Straits of Hormuz under control anyway.  I am quite confident the pirates carry out their attacks with immunity from Iran.  I have never read of Iran interceding with any raids on ships passing through The Straits anyway.

It is probably the best thing to happen, it will make for easier monitoring of activity in Iran and help gain control of the piracy.  The USA could really decriminalize the area if they have such cooperation from Iran.  It would be good.

Somali pirates seize tanker near Omani port (click here)

Aug 21, 2011 
MUSCAT // Somali pirates hijacked a tanker with 21 Indian sailors on board while it was being loaded just three kilometres from an Omani port yesterday.
Last night the Fairchem Bogey, owned by an Indian firm, was heading toward Somalia after it was seized while it was loading its cargo near Salalah in Oman's far west at about 8.30am, port officials said.
While pirates have continued to stray further north and east in the Indian Ocean to capture ships, the fact that the attack took place so close to a port will cause further alarm for ship operators....

No one is going to say the USA military was going to be surprised by this, were they?  I mean, all the military needs is half a chance to do it their way.  The Free World and most of Arabia believes the pirates work for Iran.

Military personnel place a flag on a submarine during the Velayat-90 war games by the Iranian navy in the Strait of Hormuz in southern Iran December 27, 2011. Iran threatened on Tuesday to stop the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz if foreign sanctions were imposed on its crude exports over its nuclear ambitions, a move that could trigger military conflict with economies dependent on Gulf oil.

USS Theodore Roosevelt

NORFOLK (NNS) -- More than 15,000 service members from four countries will participate in Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) 08-4 "Operation Brimstone", July 21-31 in North Carolina and off the eastern U.S. coast from Virginia to Florida.

JTFEX 08-4 serves as a ready-for-deployment certification event for the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (TR CSG) and the Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group (IWO ESG). The exercise will also serve as a Joint Task Force Capable Headquarters sustainment event. In addition, JTFEX 08-4 will offer preliminary accreditation for 2nd Fleet's Maritime Headquarters with Maritime Operations Center (MHQ with MOC)). MHQ with MOC is a new approach to command and control for fleet commanders.

"This exercise is a tremendous opportunity to train; not only as the Navy and Marine Corps team, but with our joint and coalition partners as well," said Commander, 2nd Fleet Vice Adm. Marty Chanik.

"JTFEX 08-4 will flex our warfighting capabilities from the operational level through expeditionary strike force and strike group operations with several of our coalition partners – France, Brazil and the United Kingdom."...

Any actions between Iran and the USA would be unchallenged globally as there are too many lost assets in this region already and China's cost of transportation of their energy supply would be more detrimental to them than the USA.  China would be the hardest hit by any closure of The Straits.

Iran (click here) has launched production of the Zolfaqar and Seraj 1 class missile boats, Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi said on Monday.
"The Seraj 1 boat is a high-speed rocket-launcher designed for tropical areas," the ISNA news agency quoted Vahidi as saying. "It is fitted with advanced indigenous communication capabilities."
The Zolfaqar missile-carrying boat "is a surveillance boat designed for quick attacks on enemy ships, it is outfitted with rocket launchers and machine guns," he said....
Russia pays attention to Iran.  Iran considers Russia a muscular asset to its own ambitions, however, I do not believe Russia views itself as an asset to Iran, so much as a business partner.  I sincerely doubt Russia could be lured into turning The Straits in WW III.  The USA and Russia were on the same side in WWII and it may seem silly, but, considering we are all working on non-proliferation and have been the entire time for decades, I sincerely believe there would be no confrontation between the two powers.  Securing The Straits would probably be as much a priority for Russia as the USA and China.  I sincerely believe Iran's muscle flexing only proves there is little Iran can expect from other nations when it comes to causing damage to the global economy.  I do not believe Russia will respond to an Iranian temper tantrum.  Too much as stake and Russia on the record stating Iran's nuclear capacity is non-existant with UN inspectors on the ground there.
Are the inspectors still there?  If Iran were going to muster up its military for confrontation there would be a warning to any foreign ministers in the country, neutral or not.  I do believe this is brinkmanship by Iran.

The UN Inspectors have been in place as recently as November 2011.  That is the report the inspectors stated Iran was preparing a nuclear weapon, but, the report failed to reveal strong evidence.  That is where there is contention between Russia and The West.  Russia consistently has stated there is no nuclear weapon being developed in Iran.  There were pitfalls in the IAEA report.

These inspections occurred after Iran backed down from blocking the inspectors in June or July or somewhere around that time frame.  I am quite confident Russia was the economic partner that insisted the inspectors carry out their work. 

 Now, one can say Russia is conspiring to keep the Iranian missile capacity a secret, but, that is so far afield it is completely ridiculous.  Try to imagine Russia facilitating a nuclear bomb operation in Iran.  Nothing is more bizarre.  If Iranian missiles could reach Europe they can reach Russia and Russia is not willing to allow such problems for its country.  Russia is considered an friend of Israel as well. 

Fact Sheet Russia-Israel Relations (click here)

By Indira A.R. Lakshmanan - Nov 9, 2011 12:01 AM ET

U.S. and European officials (click here) said they will seek to tighten financial sanctions against Iran as soon as possible, armed with a United Nations atomic weapons inspectors’ report that asserts Iran has conducted clandestine activities “specific to nuclear weapons.”
The International Atomic Energy Agency concluded the Persian Gulf nation has pursued a nuclear warhead small enough to fit on its ballistic missiles. Yesterday’s statement is the strongest to date from the Vienna-based UN watchdog that Iran isn’t simply seeking peaceful nuclear power, as its leaders insist.
The findings bolster the arguments of U.S. and European officials who say negotiations with Iran have failed to halt a covert nuclear weapons program. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel is seeking support in his cabinet for military action to destroy Iran’s program, news reports said, raising concerns in Washington and at the UN....

Fear mongering really has no place here.  That is what occurred before the Bush/Cheney invasion into an unarmed country, where they were seeking nuclear weapons program the UN Inspectors stated there was no evidence at all that indicated same.


...UN inspectors (click here) got their first look today inside a once-secret uranium enrichment facility that has raised western suspicions about the extent ofIran's nuclear programme.
The semi-official Mehr news agency reported that the four-member team visited the heavily protected facility, carved into a mountainside south of Tehran. The tour marked the first independent examination of the site, but no results were expected until after the inspectors leave Iran later this week....

Published: December 19, 2011
If Iran used nuclear material to do weapons work, the country would be in direct violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Tehran has signed. Failing to report that work to the watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency -- as they are required to – would also put Iran at odds with the international community. In any case, a large measure of ambiguity about Iran's nuclear work would be removed. IAEA inspectors were careful to avoid "extrapolating" in the November report, in the hope that Iran would answer their questions. The result is that important implications were not spelled out in the detailed allegation of a comprehensive and sustained Iranian nuclear weapons program.

The United States has estimated that Iran stopped its weaponization activities in 2003 but the IAEA report states that some work has continued since then. These activities may have included neutron initiator testing using natural uranium, or natural uranium transformed into uranium deuteride. A neutron initiator is a key trigger to setting off a nuclear explosion. The tiny initiator is placed in the center of a nuclear core to produce a burst of neutrons, initiating a fission chain reaction.

The test would have required a dry-run explosion....

Any aggression by Iran toward any entity in The Straits of Hormuz would be conventional, not nuclear.  The Iran military, no matter their capacity, ain't all that. Everyone has to try, I guess.