Supreme Court affirms right to gay marriage (Source Yahoo) The Supreme Court has found a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, striking down bans in 14 states and handing a historic victory to the gay rights movement that would have been unthinkable just 10 years ago. Anthony Kennedy, a conservative justice who has broken with his ideological colleagues to author several decisions expanding rights for LGBT people, again sided with the court’s four liberals to strike down the state bans. The 5-4 majority ruled that preventing same-sex people from marrying violated their constitutional right to due process under the 14th Amendment and that the states were unable to put forth a compelling reason to withhold that right from people. The decision came just two years after the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could no longer refuse to recognize married same-sex couples who lived in the handful of states that had legalized their unions. That decision, also written by Kennedy, caused a cascade of lower court decisions striking down state same-sex marriage bans, and now 36 states allow same-sex marriage. Public opinion on gay marriage has changed at lightning speed as well: 60 percent of Americans support it, compared with just 37 percent 10 years ago. This transformative opinion will most likely continue the trend toward greater acceptance of LGBT people around the country, as the highest court of the land has ruled that same-sex unions are legitimate and lawful everywhere.
The Latest: Obama in Charleston for shooting victim funeral (Source AP) President Barack Obama says the pain over the killings of a church pastor and his eight black parishioners cuts much deeper because they were slain at a church. Obama says church is at the center of African American life. He says it’s a “place to call our own in an often hostile world.” Obama made the remarks during a eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was one of nine African-Americans shot and killed during a Bible study at a church in Charleson, South Carolina, last week. The suspect charged in the killings, 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof, is white. Obama also addressed the symbol of the Confederate flag and said for many it was a reminder of “systemic oppression and racial subjugation.” Roof had been photographed with the flag before the shootings. Obama broke into song toward the end of his 30-plus minute eulogy, delivering a rendition of “Amazing Grace” to the crowd of 5,000 mourners.
Russian Naval Vessels Led By Moskva Missile Cruiser Prepare For ‘Assigned Mission’ In Atlantic (Source ibtimes.com) A group of Russian navy warships from the country’s Black Sea Fleet will soon begin a mission in the Atlantic Ocean, a military official announced Tuesday. The vessels will be led by the missile cruiser Moskva, the lead ship of the Project 1164 Atlant class of guided missile cruisers in the Russian navy. In addition to the Moskva, the group of Russian naval vessels will also include the escort ship The Pytlivy and salvage tug The Shakhtyor, Captain Vyacheslav Trukhachev, a spokesman for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, told TASS news agency, adding that the three ships are currently replenishing water and fuel reserves near Spain’s Ceuta. “In the coming days, a detachment of ships under the flag of Deputy Black Sea Fleet Commander Vice-Admiral Valery Kulikov will proceed past the Strait of Gibraltar and will begin to fulfill its objectives in the waters of the Atlantic ocean,” the Russian Defense Ministry said, in a statement on its website. The Moskva, a guided missile cruiser, last visited the Atlantic in 2013, one year before Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, a region where the Russian Black Sea Fleet is based, the Moscow Times reported. Tuesday’s announcement came nearly a month after the Russian Defense Ministryexpressed concerns over a U.S.-led NATO missile defense drill in the Atlantic. The NATO exercise, which is titled At Sea Demonstration-2015, has been planned for this fall, and will involve Norway, the U.K., Italy, Canada, the Netherlands and France. “The drills will be conducted in the north-eastern part of the Atlantic and this can signal only that there are plans to practice intercepting Russian ballistic missiles. Such drills cannot but concern us,” Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s deputy minister of defense,told TASS in May.
Delaware governor signs bill decriminalizing pot: report (Source Reuters) Delaware Governor Jack Markell has signed into law a bill decriminalizing possession and private use of small amounts of marijuana. The measure will allow individuals in Delaware to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, and use it privately without facing criminal sanctions, though police could still confiscate the drug, according to Delaware Online, The News Journal. The statute also will reduce the penalty for using marijuana in a public place to a $100 civil fine. Under previous Delaware law, simple marijuana possession was a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,150. Not counting Delaware, 17 states have passed laws to decriminalize personal marijuana use and possession in small amounts, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a lobbying group.
Summer solstice marked with Stonehenge party (source cbsnews.com) Thousands of revelers, new-agers and self-styled Druids descended on the ancient stone circle at Stonehenge on Sunday, catching a brief glimpse of the sun as they marked the summer solstice – the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. About 23,000 sun-watchers gathered on the Salisbury Plain about 80 miles southwest of London, police said. But with the sun visible only briefly, the party was markedly shorter than in past years. Authorities reported nine arrests for drug offenses. Visitors kissed the stones, dancers swirled on the grass and drummers pounded as part of the free-form celebrations. A small group of yoga enthusiasts held a short class and couples renewed their commitments to one another. Stonehenge is an icon of Britain, and one of its most popular attractions. It was built in three phases between 3,000 B.C. and 1,600 B.C. and its purpose remains under study.
WARREN BUFFETT: DERIVATIVES ARE STILL WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION AND ‘ARE LIKELY TO CAUSE BIG TROUBLE’ (Source blacklistednews.com) The next great global financial collapse that so many are warning about is nearly upon us, and when it arrives derivatives are going to play a starring role. When many people hear the word “derivatives”, they tend to tune out because it is a word that sounds very complicated. And without a doubt, derivatives can be enormously complex. But what I try to do is to take complex subjects and break them down into simple terms. At their core, derivatives represent nothing more than a legalized form of gambling. A derivative is essentially a bet that something either will or will not happen in the future. Ultimately, someone will win money and someone will lose money. There are hundreds of trillions of dollars worth of these bets floating around out there, and one of these days this gigantic time bomb is going to go off and absolutely cripple the entire global financial system. Back in 2002, legendary investor Warren Buffett shared the following thoughts about derivatives with shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway. The derivatives genie is now well out of the bottle, and these instruments will almost certainly multiply in variety and number until some event makes their toxicity clear. Those words turned out to be quite prophetic. Derivatives have definitely multiplied in variety and number since that time, and it has become abundantly clear how toxic they are. Derivatives played a substantial role in the financial meltdown of 2008, but we still haven’t learned our lessons. Today, the derivatives bubble is even larger than it was just before the last financial crisis, and it could absolutely devastate the global financial system at any time.
During one recent interview, Buffett was asked if he is still convinced that derivatives are “weapons of mass destruction”. He told the interviewer that he believes that they are, and that “at some point they are likely to cause big trouble”
Has the U.S. Just Suffered a ‘Cyber Pearl Harbor’ at China’s Hands? (Source thetrumpet.com)
Hackers stole the personal data of about 14 million current and former United States government employees in a cyberattack believed to have launched from China. “This is the most significant breach of federal networks in U.S. history,” House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul said on June 7. China denies any involvement in the attack. “In my judgment, this was an attack by China against the United States government,” McCaul said. “It quantifies to espionage, and that raises all sorts of issues that we need to deal with.” McCaul added that the “threat indicators” suggest that it was China, “and perhaps nation-state sponsored.” Experts are calling this security breach “potentially devastating,” with one even asking, “What if Pearl Harbor happened and nobody noticed?” The information stolen in the federal personnel records give hackers a wide avenue to intimidation, blackmail and identity theft. But that’s not the worst part of it. The specific data stolen also include information about drug and alcohol problems, arrests, bankruptcies, Social Security numbers, and sensitive information regarding spouses, relatives and friends. Possessing this kind of data gives hackers great power over 14 million government workers, past and present.
The Bilderberg’s “Cashless Society” Proposal and Rwanda’s US Supported Cashless Payment System (Source Silent Crow News) One of the main topics at the Bilderberg Group meeting held last week in Telfs-Buchen, Austria was the idea of promoting a cashless society. It seems like governments in Africa think that a cashless society is a good idea, which is good news for the Bilderberg elite, but really bad news for the rest of us. The Independent, based in Uganda reported that John Karamuka, the head of payment systems at the National Bank of Rwanda is optimistic in creating a “cashless payment system” for ordinary Rwandan citizens. According to the report, Mr. Karamuka announced during the introduction of Airtel’s cashless payment system that “a lot of work remains to be done to build a solid cashless payment system in the country” he continued “Progress made towards creating a cashless economy is good, but is still far from the country’s vision”. The National Bank of Rwanda has partnered with Airtel Rwanda, an affiliate owned by Bharti Airtel, a global telecommunications company with operations across Africa and Asia that would allow subscribers to pay bills from their mobile phones. Airtel Rwanda officials said that subscribers will be allowed to “pay electricity bills, television subscription and school fees through their mobile phones. The service will be expanded to include tax payment and water bills before the end of the year”. Karamuka stated that “We need to move from simple money transfer to other financial services where one can pay for water through electronic channels; pay school fees, taxes and even [groceries] through merchant payment. This is when the country will be able to say it is moving towards a cashless payment society.”
Accidental conflict is ‘true danger of Russia-West clash’ (Source AFP) Military posturing and increasingly hostile rhetoric between Russia and the West are raising the risk of an accidental slide towards a wider conflict that neither nuclear-armed side wants, experts warn. “I think it is seriously dangerous. There is a genuine misreading of the other side’s intentions, I think on both sides, but especially from Russia,” said Kadri Liik, a Russia expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations. “There is a real danger that Russia will respond to an attack that happens only in its own head. They would retaliate in the real world.” Relations between Western powers and Moscow have plummeted to their lowest point since the depths of the Cold War over the Russian annexation of Crimea and its political backing for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. For Jeffrey Mankoff, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, the tension raises the possibility for miscalculation and accidents. What concerns him is the talk from some Russian analysts about limited use of nuclear weapons on the battlefield as well as President Vladimir Putin’s recent reminders that Moscow is a nuclear power. From a Russian perspective, the West’s involvement in a region that used to be under Soviet sway is not innocent, experts said. In fact in Moscow’s view, it was the West that fomented the uprising that forced Ukraine’s pro-Russian president from power last year. Accordingly, Putin’s announcement about adding to Russia’s nuclear missile arsenal was a logical response to the American plans to send heavy military equipment to Eastern Europe, said Dmitry Orlov, the pro-Kremlin director of the Agency for Political and Economic Communications.
Americans’ confidence in religion hits a new low (Source usatoday.com) Americans have less confidence in organized religion today than ever measured before — a sign that the church could be “losing its footing as a pillar of moral leadership in the nation’s culture,” a new Gallup survey finds. “In the ’80s the church and organized religion were the No. 1″ in Gallup’s annual look at confidence in institutions, said Lydia Saad, author of the report released Wednesday. Overall, church and organized religion is now ranked in fourth place in the Gallup survey — behind the military, small business and the police — while still ahead of the medical system, Congress and the media, among 15 institutions measured. “Almost all organizations are down but the picture for religion is particularly bleak,” said Saad. In the mid-’70s, nearly 7 in 10 Americans said they had “a great deal or quite a lot” of confidence in the church or organized religion. That has bobbled downward decade by decade to a new low of just 42%, according to the report. However, the most significant influence on the religion statistic is the high number of Americans disconnected from organized religion and likely to have little or no confidence in it, Saad said. A Pew Research survey this year finds nearly 23% of Americans say they don’t identify with any religion. The Gallup data — which combined this group with non-Christians — finds only 10% of these had a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in religion.