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.
Farrakhan Plans Rally for Million Man March 20th Anniversary (Source ABC News) Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan said Wednesday he plans to hold a Millions for Justice march in the nation’s capital this fall, 20 years after the Million Man March. During a speech at Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Washington, Farrakhan said he intends to hold the rally Oct. 10 on the National Mall, scene of the 1995 march. “This is the time our people must see our unity,” Farrakhan said. “Let’s make 10/10/15 a meeting place for those who want justice, for those who know what justice is.” Organizers said they aim to stage a more diverse and inclusive event than the one in 1995, which was billed as a men-only event. Former NAACP executive director Benjamin Chavis, who helped organize the original Million Man March, said he is optimistic that this year’s turnout will be “in excess of a million.” He said the event’s success would be measured more by the political and socioeconomical impact it has on communities. “What ultimately will be a success is seeing improvements in the communities where these people are going to come from,” Chavis said. “We want to make sure our public policy demands are aligned with those challenges.” Farrakhan said the rally is intended to galvanize a more strategic movement for equality as supporters unite under the social media hashtag JusticeOrElse.
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.
Vatican under fire from Israel over deal with Palestine (source Aljazeera.com) The Vatican has come under fire from Israel after signing a historic first accord with Palestine that called for “courageous decisions” to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The historic accord signed on Friday covers the activities of the Church in the parts of the Holy Land under Palestinian control, is the first agreement since the Vatican recognised Palestine as a state in February 2013 and drew immediate response from Israel.”This hasty step damages the prospects for advancing a peace agreement, and harms the international effort to convince the Palestinian Authority to return to direct negotiations with Israel,” Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said. The product of 15 years of discussions, the agreement between Palestine and the Vatican was finalised in principle last month despite Israel’s opposition to both the symbolism of Palestine signing international accords and the specific content of the agreement.
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.
U.S. Needs to Think Twice About Antagonizing Russia (Source Huffington Post)Whether it’s a bluff or not, one cannot fathom why the West and specifically NATO would condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin following his decision to place more than 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) into service this year. After all, his decision is a direct response to the United States’ own announcement that it intends to place heavy weapons in Eastern Europe, basically at Russia’s very doorstep. “If someone threatens our territories, it means that we will have to aim our armed forces accordingly at the territories from where the threat is coming,” Putin said during a visit with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö last week. “How else could it be? It is NATO that is approaching our borders, it’s not like we are moving anywhere.” The thinking of moving heavy weapons near Russia’s border betrays poor judgment and frankly a certain level of idiocy associated with our foreign policymakers, to say the least. Granted, tensions between the West, headed by the United States, and Russia, increasingly aggressive, stem from the latter’s annexation of Crimea. However, if the situation escalates, it could bring NATO and Russia closer to war, a conflagration that would end only with complete destruction on both sides. When addressing reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov argued that Putin’s decision to place more than 40 new ICBMs was justified. Russia’s argument is that NATO’s military infrastructure near Russia’s border represents a national security threat. And one can understand why Putin would want to display his country’s nuclear might. Frankly, the United States would act similarly if Russia placed nuclear missiles near our borders. But the broader point is this: Military tit-for-tat is a dangerous, unconstructive and confrontational endeavor that, without constant, almost hourly oversight and shrewd and nuanced diplomacy, can have grave consequences. One only has to recall how both countries, Russia and the United States, came close to all-out nuclear war during the tense, 13-day Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962. Whether Saudi leadership or the United States is to blame is irrelevant at this point. The drastic drop in oil prices caused by record levels of oil production here and abroad has one objective among any others: seriously damaging Russia’s economy, thus rendering its military capabilities weak. As long as tensions continue between the West and Russia, the possibility exists that the price of oil could go as low as $20 a barrel. That would make it difficult for Russia to invest in its military. If history is any guide, a similar scenario happened in 1941 when the United States imposed a devastating oil embargo on Japan, which resulted in the latter losing 92 percent of its oil imports and sparked the attack on Pearl Harbor.
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.