US Supreme Court rules in landmark LGBTQ case

The court defended the right of a conservative designer to refuse to create websites for gay weddings

The US Supreme Court has ruled that a conservative web designer is legally entitled to refuse to create websites for same-sex weddings. The court’s liberal justices bitterly condemned what they saw as an attack on a “protected class.”

Web designer Lorie Smith is a devout Christian who runs a business creating bespoke websites for weddings. Her lawyers claim that she is “willing to work with all people, regardless of classifications such as race, creed, sexual orientation, and gender,” but when Smith placed a message on her website in 2016 explaining that she would not create content celebrating homosexual marriage, she found herself in violation of Colorado’s 2015 Anti-Discrimination Act and sued the state.

The case made its way up to the Supreme Court, which sided with Smith in a 6-3 decision along ideological lines on Friday.

Writing the majority opinion, conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch stated that by insisting that Smith create pro-LGBTQ websites, Colorado authorities were trying to “compel speech she does not wish to provide,” which the US Constitution’s First Amendment expressly forbids. 

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“The opinion of the Court is, quite literally, a notice that reads: ‘Some services may be denied to same-sex couples,'” Justice Sonya Sotomayor wrote in her dissent, claiming that speech is not protected when its use amounts to an “act of discrimination.” 

Gorsuch gave a scathing response to Sotomayor in his opinion. “It is difficult to read the dissent and conclude that we are looking at the same case,” he wrote. “The dissent abandons what this court’s cases have recognized time and time again: A commitment to speech for only some persons and some messages is no commitment at all.”

In a similar case in 2018, the Supreme Court sided with Christian baker Jack Phillips – also from Colorado – who refused to bake a cake celebrating a gay wedding. While the court found that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission acted with “hostility” toward Phillips’ religious beliefs, it did not issue a ruling on whether cake decoration constitutes “speech,” as Phillips argued, or on the specific circumstances under which people may seek exemption from anti-discrimination laws.

By definitively ruling that web design constitutes “speech,” Friday’s decision could pave the way for similar rulings in the 30 US states that have laws requiring businesses to serve everyone, regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. 

Riots over teen’s killing spread to Brussels, 64 arrested

Violent unrest triggered by the police shooting of a 17-year-old during a traffic stop has roiled France for 3 nights

Nationwide riots triggered by French police’s fatal shooting of a 17-year-old spread to Belgium on Thursday, unleashing chaos that resulted in 64 arrests, City of Brussels police revealed on Friday. 

The arrested included 47 minors and 16 adults who have been administratively detained, police said in a statement on Friday. Another minor, who was reportedly seen beating up a police officer, was arrested and questioned but released on Friday. 

Hordes of young people gathered in Brussels on Thursday night, using social media meetups to evade the authorities’ grasp and reassembling at the next location when police got too close. As the rioters settled on the Anneessens neighborhood and nearby Midi Station as the targets of their rage, the Anneessens metro station was closed for the night and buses through the neighborhood stopped or rerouted. 

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‘Record’ number of arrests made during unrest in France – Le Figaro

Video posted to social media shows rioters setting cars and even buildings on fire and strewing trash through the streets as rudimentary barricades. Local police told the Brussels Times 10 people were arrested for throwing paving stones at cops. 

Tuesday’s point-blank shooting of Franco-Algerian teenager Nahel M. during a suburban traffic stop in Nanterre has ignited three nights of riots across France. Some 667 people were arrested in France on Thursday night as police forces quadrupled their numbers in the streets, deploying 40,000 officers including anti-terrorist and tactical units. 

The unrest reportedly began as peaceful protests before turning violent at the hands of teens armed with fireworks, Molotov cocktails and other improvised weapons. While the police officer who shot the 17-year-old has been charged with homicide, this announcement did not make a dent in the violence. 

Many parts of France have already been in the grip of protest for months as residents denounced Macron’s pension reforms. France’s major unions have vowed not to back down until Macron capitulates.

U.S., NATO, and AUKUS, say that NATO isn’t anti-Russia, and AUKUS isn’t anti-China — they are pro-stability.

Eric Zuesse

At a conference of the Pentagon think tank CSIS on June 26th, a panel of their hired experts — Admiral Michael Gilday, Dr. Kurt Campbell, and Dr. Charles Edel — were asked about the intentions for the AUKUS U.S. military alliance between U.S., UK, and Australia, against China, and the three experts said that the intentions for this alliance are instead for stability in the Pacific Ocean region. “AUKUS was undertaken against the backdrop of a deteriorating security environment in the Indo-Pacific region, specifically, centering around the explosive growth of China’s military capabilities and the increasingly aggressive use to which those military capabilities are put. … And ultimately, it’s meant to be a model for how the United States works with and empowers its closest allies.” “AUKUS is among a number of initiatives that the United States is undertaking with its allies and partners in order to provide more stability in the region, more predictability in the region. And I think the stability piece is very important. There’s also a deterrence against any malign behavior.” It’s just a friendly policeman to the world, and helps to deal with “the challenges posed by Beijing.” “We try to build something that creates more strategic equilibrium” against those “challenges.” It is an organization to maintain the peace there. it is a peace organization, not a war organization. It doesn’t exist in order to increase the sale of weapons by its member-Governments, but instead to increase “interoperability” between them, “So, this would be an obvious evolution in terms of where we go, not only in terms of interoperability, but AUKUS takes it to a new level in terms of interchangeability.” That’s part of AUKUS’s “Pillar 2” which “focuses on expanding advanced technology that our three nations will use together, including cyber capabilities, hypersonics and counter hypersonics, quantum, artificial Intelligence, other undersea capabilities, and a range of other capabilities.”

Furthermore, “The other elements of AUKUS, that are important, are that we are increasingly linking efforts in Europe to our endeavors in the Indo-Pacific,” so that NATO and AUKUS can ultimately merge together into one giant U.S.-centered policeman over all nations, in order to enforce this “stability” world-wide. They emphasized that “AUKUS is not intended to provoke China. In fact, when President Biden was out in San Diego, I’m going to read this, he said, ‘AUKUS has one overriding objective — to enhance stability in the Indo-Pacific amid rapidly shifting global dynamics.’” So, they are simply carrying out the Commander-in-Chief’s orders, for “stability” and peace — a U.S.-enforced peace, over the entire planet.

Dr. Edel rhetorically asked the other two: “What do we think the prospects are for expanding Pillar 2 to cooperate with other nations?” Obviously, the plan is for a merged global military alliance to enforce the global peace, and it will have “interoperability” of weapons but the phrase here was “expanding Pillar 2” not “expanding NATO” or anything like that. Would it be “expanding AUKUS” to include NATO? Or: Is there possibly to be a new name for the global military-policeman organization? Edel said “We have noted that there has been a call to broaden out AUKUS and Pillar 2, but that’s about the full extent of the statement. So, I’d be curious to get both of your take on the ability to expand this outward beyond these three nations?” Here were the answers:

Admiral Gilday: I think there’s a huge potential to do that in selected areas. I think that’s where I would begin — instead of a wholesale invite for nations to Pillar 2, I would look at certain areas where nations bring technology to bear that is going to make a difference, and that we have high trust and confidence that we can share that information back and forth. The preponderance of R&D, not only in the United States but in the world, that is being done not only by governments, but also by industry. We need to leverage that. That’s the intent of Pillar 2 — it is to leverage that and to hit the accelerator.

The United States DoD is sometimes very slow in terms of how we transition new technology to actually fielding it. And, so, we’re trying to use, in some ways, Pillar 2 to accelerate that significantly. So, we can take disruptive technologies in some of those areas that I mentioned before, to get them on the table.

Dr. Campbell: I don’t think I could say it any better than the Admiral — that was extremely well articulated. I do believe that there are going to be some areas where some allies and partners have some either direct or niche areas where they can assist in a larger endeavor. And that might be in hypersonics. That could be in cybersecurity. Or it could be in anti-submarine warfare. There are a number of areas that we will explore as we go forward.

I think the key is going to be, what do you bring to the table? And are you able to do it in such a way that is going to be practical and operational? So, we’re not just looking for theoretical applications and partnerships, but practical, real efforts that will enhance defense capabilities. And so yes, I will say that we are in conversation with a variety of countries who are interested. And frankly, it goes far beyond just those countries. And we’re grateful for the fact that countries are interested in it. It’s a positive. And we will explore those appropriately. I think all three countries have made clear that under the appropriate circumstances, we would be prepared to work collaboratively with other partners who bring capacity to the challenge.

This is all that was said about expanding AUKUS. Nothing was said about what additional enemies of China might be considering to join (if any exist). But, of course, if and when they do publicly announce their intention to join, these will simply be additional friends of China who will be joining this peace-orgaanization.

An interesting parallel exists with regard to the much older NATO U.S. military alliance. The Soviet leader Gorbachev and his successor Yeltsin both asked the U.S. Government how Russia could join NATO and never got an answer. If China were to ask the U.S. Government how China would be able to join AUKUS, would China ever get an answer?

Anyway, NATO isn’t really about war but about peace. It isn’t even against Russia and never was. Here are some of its statements about this:

“NATO is not a threat to Russia.”  “NATO has tried to build a partnership with Russia, developing dialogue and practical cooperation in areas of common interest. Practical cooperation has been suspended since 2014 in response to Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea, Ukraine, which NATO will never recognise.” “NATO is not at war with Russia.”

Could they make it any clearer than that? These statements are all from approved and official sources. So, what reason could possibly exist to question what they are saying?


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse’s new book, AMERICA’S EMPIRE OF EVIL: Hitler’s Posthumous Victory, and Why the Social Sciences Need to Change, is about how America took over the world after World War II in order to enslave it to U.S.-and-allied billionaires. Their cartels extract the world’s wealth by control of not only their ‘news’ media but the social ‘sciences’ — duping the public.

French police demand government acts, threaten ‘resistance’

Law enforcement unions say they have have had enough of “wild hordes” rioting across France

The two largest police unions in France called on Friday for President Emmanuel Macron’s government to “restore order” and not capitulate to rioters, saying they were fighting a war today but may well become “the resistance” tomorrow.

“Now that’s enough,” said the statement by the Alliance Police Nationale and UNSA Police, posted on Facebook on Friday evening. 

“Faced with these wild hordes, asking for calm is no longer enough, you have to impose it!” the unions said, adding that the only political signal needed at this moment is to restore the order in the republic. “Our colleagues, like the majority of citizens, can no longer endure the dictates of these violent minorities. Now is not the time for union action but for the fight against these ‘harm-makers’. Submitting, capitulating and pleasing them by laying down our arms is not the solution, given the gravity of the situation.”

The police must show solidarity, put down the riots as quickly as possible, and restore the rule of law, the unions demanded, but warned the government that they expect “concrete measures for legal protection” of the officers going forward. 

“Today the police are in combat because we are at war. Tomorrow we will be the resistance, and the government will have to realize this,” the unions said in conclusion.

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France deploys anti-terror units against rioters

The de facto ultimatum to Macron comes after three nights of increasingly violent riots across the country, triggered by Tuesday morning’s death of 17-year-old Nahel M. during a traffic stop in the Paris suburb of Nanterre. The officer who fatally shot the Franco-Algerian teen has been charged with homicide and jailed, in what his attorney insists was an attempt to appease the rioters.

More than 400 arrests have been made across France, with most of those detained being juveniles. The French government has deployed over 40,000 police and gendarmes across the country, including 5,000 in Paris and its environs. Among them are elite anti-terrorist and tactical units, backed up by armored vehicles. 

Rioters have caused almost 4,000 fires, destroyed over 2,000 cars, and damaged almost 500 buildings, Macron told an emergency meeting of the French cabinet on Friday afternoon, after cutting short his trip to the EU leaders’ summit in Brussels.

Study reveals extent of Western aid to Kiev

Some of Ukraine’s backers have spent more than 2% of their GDP in aid, German research has shown

Ukraine received more than $170 billion in military, financial, and humanitarian assistance between January 2022 and February 2023, according to a fresh study published this month by a German economic research center.

The data from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) covers aid provided by Ukraine’s 41 largest donors, which mostly consist of the US and its Western allies.

Washington unsurprisingly emerged as Kiev’s largest single donor, with its total aid accounting for more than 45% of all assistance provided to Ukraine over that period. Roughly 60% of that money was spent on weapons, the data shows.

The UK’s military assistance to Kiev accounted for 67% of London’s total aid to Ukraine over that period. Most money Warsaw and Amsterdam allocated for Ukraine was also spent on arms, the research indicated.

The EU’s support, including both the aid provided by Brussels and bilateral assistance provided by the bloc’s members, amounted to almost 40% of the total aid for Ukraine over the same period.

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Ukrainian victory is ‘impossible’ – Orban

The US was also the biggest military aid provider for Ukraine, spending a total of $47.16 billion on arms for Kiev’s troops, leaving all other nations far behind. The UK became the second largest contributor by spending $7.1 billion on weapons for the Ukrainian forces.

According to the IfW, both the US and the UK were not the most transparent assistance providers, when it comes to aiding Kiev. London and Washington took the 17th and 18th places out of 41 respectively in the list of most transparent donors compiled by the German research center. The first two places on this list were occupied by Switzerland and Germany respectively.

Some of Kiev’s Western backers shouldered additional costs due to the need to accommodate refugees coming from Ukraine, the IfW study showed. Poland, which spent 0.6% of its GDP on bilateral aid to Ukraine, had to spend another 2.2% on Ukrainian refugees, according to the data.

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US mulls sending long-range missiles to Kiev – WSJ

The accumulated costs of helping Ukraine exceeded 2% of GDP in the case of Latvia and Estonia as well.

This week, the Pentagon announced a new package of weapons for Ukraine, including 30 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles. More than a dozen of the armored vehicles have reportedly been damaged or destroyed since Kiev launched its counteroffensive against Russian forces earlier this month.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Washington is also mulling sending long-range missiles to bolster Ukrainian capabilities in its ongoing campaign, which has largely stalled so far.

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Seymour Hersh recently criticized US military aid to Kiev by calling it a “very bad investment.” Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban also said this week that Ukraine could not defeat Moscow on the battlefield and called for a negotiated solution to the conflict instead.

Ukraine must explain how €70 billion was spent – EU state

Hungary will not allow the bloc’s money to keep pouring into Ukraine unaccounted for, Viktor Orban has said

Hungary will oppose the European Commission’s plans to give Ukraine €50 billion in financial aid until Kiev explains what it did with the last €70 billion, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday. Budapest and Brussels have repeatedly clashed over the supply of cash and arms to Ukraine.

According to the latest figures from Brussels, the EU has given Kiev €72 billion ($79 billion) in economic, military, and humanitarian aid since Russia’s military operation in Ukraine began last February. Despite this unprecedented outflow draining its coffers, the European Commission announced earlier this month that it would offer Kiev an additional €50 billion in loans and grants.

One thing is clear, we Hungarians… will not give more money to Ukraine until they say where the previous around 70 billion euros worth of funds has gone,” Orban told Hungarian radio, according to a Reuters report. 

“And we find it utterly ridiculous and absurd, that we should contribute more money to finance debt service costs of a loan, from which we have still not received the funds we are entitled to get,” he continued, referring to the commission’s recent announcement that interest costs on the bloc’s external debts would double this year due to inflation.

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Zelensky ally attacks Hungary’s Orban – media

The commission is currently denying Hungary and Poland access to post-coronavirus recovery funds over ideological differences with their conservative governments. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen admitted last year that the withholding of funds is one of several “tools” that Brussels can use to force member states to “work with us.”

Hungary blocked an €18 billion financial aid package for Ukraine last year until Brussels freed up a separate batch of funding withheld from Budapest. More recently, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto stated on Monday that Hungary would extend for another month its veto on a €500 million arms package from the EU’s common weapons fund for Ukraine.

Orban and Szijjarto have both repeatedly called for an immediate ceasefire and peace talks in Ukraine. Earlier this week, Orban explained that a Ukrainian victory on the battlefield is “impossible” and that without an immediate ceasefire and an end to Western arms deliveries, Ukraine will “lose a huge amount of wealth and many lives, and unimaginable destruction will occur.”