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Supreme Court rejects retroactive sentence reductions for small amounts of crack cocaine

supreme court
© Drew Angerer, Getty Images
A general view of the Supreme Court on June 1, 2021, in Washington, D.C.
The Supreme Court ruled against a Florida man who sought to have his sentence for a low-level drug crime reduced, holding that a bipartisan push in Congress in 2018 to ease such punishments didn't address his circumstances.

Though the question in the case was narrow, it arrived as bipartisan majorities in Congress have sought to rethink long sentences for relatively small amounts of drugs. And it sparked a heated debate between one of the high court's leading conservative voices and one of its leading liberals over the history of drug sentencing and whether Congress should "right this injustice" - despite the fact that all nine justices agreed on the outcome in the case.

Associate Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the opinion for the court. Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a concurring opinion in which she agreed with most of the court's reasoning but described the outcome as "no small injustice" and encouraged Congress to change the law to address similar situations.

Comment: See also:


Handcuffs

Former NSA translator Reality Winner jailed for leaking classified intel to be released from prison

reality winner
Former National Security Agency translator Reality Winter, who was jailed for leaking classified intelligence, will be released early from prison. The news was announced on Twitter on Monday by her attorney, who spoke also spoke with Newsweek.

The attorney, Alison Grinter Allen, tweeted that Reality Winner "is still in custody in the residential reentry process, but we are relieved and hopeful."

"Her release is not a product of the pardon or compassionate release process, but rather the time earned from exemplary behavior while incarcerated," the statement continued.

Comment: See also:


Syringe

Americans find another point of polarization as poll shows 79% of Democrats support employers forcing workers to get Covid-19 jabs

Protests against vaccinations
© Global Look Press / Keystone Press Agency / Jeremy Hogan
Americans find another point of polarization as poll shows 79% of Democrats support employers forcing workers to get Covid-19 jabs
Protests against mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations at Indiana University, June 10, 2021
A new poll shows that Democrats and Republicans are just about as divided on an employee's right to choose whether to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as they are on a woman's right to choose whether to abort her unborn child.

Nearly 80% of Democrats agreed that employers should be able to force their workers to get Covid-19 shots, according to a CBS News-YouGov poll released on Sunday. In contrast, only 39% of Republicans approved of giving businesses such authority over their employees' medical choices. The overall response was 56%-44% in favor of forced jabs.

Supporters of the two major parties are more split on vaccine choice than on Covid-19 inoculation in general. While 95% of Democrats have already been vaccinated or are at least considering it, 71% of Republicans are on board or thinking about taking the jab, the poll showed.

That result suggests some improvement in vaccine acceptance in the past two months. A Monmouth University poll released in mid-April indicated that 43% of Republicans don't intend to get vaccinated against the virus. In the CBS News-YouGov survey, 29% of Republicans said they had ruled out the shots. Overall, only 18% of respondents said they won't get vaccinated, while 71% said they had either already gotten a jab or planned to do so. The other 11% were undecided.

Comment: See also:


Eye 1

The Finders: CIA ties to child sex cult obscured as coverage goes from sensationalism to silence

cia child sex cult
© Antonio Cabrera
In February 1987, an anonymous phone tip was called into the Tallahassee police department reporting that six children were dirty, hungry, and acting like animals in the custody of two well-dressed men in a Tallahassee, Florida park. That phone call would kick off the Finders scandal: a series of events and multiple investigations even more bizarre than the initial report.

The trail would ultimately lead to allegations of a cult involved in ritual abuse, an international child-trafficking ring, evidence of child abuse confirmed and later denied, and ties with the CIA, which was alleged to have interfered in the case. No one was ever prosecuted in the wake of the initial 1987 investigation or a 1993 inquiry into the allegations of CIA involvement: official denials were maintained, and authorities stated that no evidence of criminal activity was ever found. However, documents that have emerged over time beg significant questions as to the validity of the official narrative.

In contrast with other historical human trafficking rings covered in the independent press, including those I have previously discussed, the Finders scandal presents as something of a phantom. This is in consequence of the lack of adult victims who have come forward, an absence of hard evidence viewable to the public, and an absence of extensive trials or convictions. Further impeding the willingness of most journalists to cover such a story were claims of ritualistic abuse that were hyped by corporate media at the time of the incident, as well as allegations of a CIA-led coverup that were less widely recognized by the legacy press.

Flashlight

South Korea's Office of Supreme Prosecutors raided as part of Sewol ferry disaster probe

Seoul
© Yonhap
This June 14, 2021, photo shows the entrance of the National Digital Forensic Center of the Supreme Prosecutors Office in southern Seoul.
A special counsel team investigating the 2014 Sewol ferry disaster raided the Supreme Prosecutors Office (SPO) Monday over allegations that evidence related to the ferry sinking has been forged.

The office of Special Prosecutor Lee Hyun-joo said the team was searching the server of SPO's digital evidence management system to seize evidence related to the incident, including footage of the collection of a digital video recorder that had closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage from the Sewol ferry stored on it.

Suspicion that the Sewol ferry's CCTV records may have been manipulated was first raised by the Special Commission on Social Disaster Investigation in 2019. The commission claimed that roughly one hour of footage is missing.

Arrow Down

Baltimore's attempted crime crackdown failing, even after businesses threatened to stop paying taxes

baltimore fells point street blm signs
© Google Street View
Bullets fired in Baltimore's Fells Point neighborhood on Saturday suggest the city's attempted crime crackdown amid a threatened tax revolt by businesses is off to a shaky start, regardless of how the gunfire might be euphemized.

Baltimore police told local media outlet WBAL Radio that they're investigating an overnight "discharging," not shooting, in Fells Point. The discharging, as it turns out, came from a gun or guns, and the bullets damaged several vehicles. A man sitting in one of the vehicles suffered a laceration to the head, perhaps when the discharging broke a window in his car.

Fire

Huge blaze breaks out at Illinois chemical site after enormous explosion, locals evacuated

chemical fire illinois
© Eyewitness News / WTVO/WQRF / Twitter
A huge blaze at a chemical plant in Rockton, Illinois may not burn out for several days, the local fire chief has warned. People living within a two-mile radius of the site have been evacuated from the area.

The fire was reported at around 7am local time (8am ET) on Monday at Chemtool Incorporated in Rockton, according to local media.

Rockton Fire Department ordered the mandatory evacuation, and drivers have also been told to avoid the area.

Comment: Other fires and explosions in the last month or so: See also: SOTT Exclusive: The growing threat of underground fires and explosions


Cardboard Box

Half of pandemic unemployment money from past year stolen, bulk of it in foreign hands says report

Benjamins
© Shutterstock
Benjamins MIA
A stunning $400 billion in unemployment claims were likely stolen via fraud over the past year — and a "bulk" of that money has come from crime syndicates in places like China, Russia, and Nigeria. Axios reported Friday:
"Criminals may have stolen as much as half of the unemployment benefits the U.S. has been pumping out over the past year. Unemployment fraud during the pandemic could easily reach $400 billion, according to some estimates, and the bulk of the money likely ended in the hands of foreign crime syndicates — making this not just theft, but a matter of national security."
When state and national leaders encouraged or mandated lockdown measures, disallowing millions of Americans from working, unemployment claims skyrocketed. States were unequipped to handle the influx in a timely manner, choosing to get out the money as quickly as possible with the expectation that some fraud would slip through.

But the fraud wasn't just from Americans — an estimated 70% of the fraud likely came from foreign criminal syndicates, CEO of LexisNexis Risk Solutions Haywood Talcove told Axios:
"[Talcove] estimates that at least 70% of the money stolen by impostors ultimately left the country, much of it ending up in the hands of criminal syndicates in China, Nigeria, Russia and elsewhere. These groups are definitely backed by the state. Much of the rest of the money was stolen by street gangs domestically, who have made up a greater share of the fraudsters in recent months."
The Biden administration responded to the report, seemingly blaming the state level "widespread fraud" on the Trump administration.

Star of David

Jerusalem, Dispossessed

Shepherd Hotel
© Yossi Zamir/Flash90
The demolition of the Shepherd Hotel in East Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood
January 9, 2011
I have always viewed interior spaces — how they are decorated and related to by their inhabitants — as a clearer reflection of character than clothes. Certain vintage posters ("Visit Palestine"), lithographs by David Roberts, Dome of the Rock models made of mother of pearl, Iznik pottery and tatreez-embroidered cushions are ubiquitous in Palestinian homes. It is rare not to find at least one, if not all, of these items in a Palestinian interior, whether under occupation, in refugee camps, in exile or in the diaspora.

Palestinian writers and artists living in all of those circumstances have circulated a letter in recent days that has quickly gathered more than 15,000 signatures from other artists and supporters around the world. It demands the end of apartheid:
"an immediate and unconditional cessation of Israeli violence against Palestinians," and "an end to the support provided by global powers to Israel and its military, especially the United States."
These calls have been building for decades, but they were triggered this time by Israel's looming evictions of Palestinian families from their homes in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

Fire

Black mom torches critical race theory: It's 'racist;' it's 'teaching hate;' it will destroy America

Keisha King
© Screenshot/The Florida Channel
Keisha King
A black mother in Florida unloaded on critical race theory during a speech to the Florida Board of Education, warning that the far-left ideology was racist and that it will destroy America if it is not stopped.

Keisha King, a Duval County parent representing Moms for Liberty, praised school choice and slammed the idea of dividing people on the basis on race 100 years after the Tulsa riots happened.
"...Just coming off of May 31st, marking the 100 years of the Tulsa riots, it is sad that we are even contemplating something like critical race theory, where children will be separated by their skin color and deemed permanently oppressors or oppressed in 2021. That is not teaching the truth, unless you believe that whites are better than blacks. I have personally heard teachers teaching CRT and we have had an assembly shutdown because a Duval County Public School System consultant thought it would be a great idea to separate students by race. This is unacceptable."
"CRT is not racial sensitivity, or simply teaching unfavorable American history, or teaching Jim Crow history. CRT is deeper and more dangerous than that. CRT - and it's out working today - is a teaching that there is a hierarchy in society where white male heterosexual able-bodied people are deemed the oppressor and anyone else outside of that status is oppressed. That's why we see corporations like Coca-Cola asking their employees to be less white, which is ridiculous. I don't know about you, but telling my child or any child that they are in a permanent oppressed status in America because they are black is racist, and saying that white people are automatically above me, my children or any child is racist as well."
"This is not something that we can stand for in our country. And don't take it from me, look at the writers of these types of publications, our ancestors, white, black, and others hung, bled, and died right alongside each other to push America towards that more perfect union. If this continues, we will look back and be responsible for the dismantling of the greatest country in the world by reverting to teaching hate and that race is a determining factor on where your destiny lies."

Comment: CRT is a mind virus. Time to 'remind' ourselves who we are, what we stand for and what we stand against.