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'Nobody wants a complete ban on foreign social networks,' Kremlin says, but companies must be forced to comply with Russian rules

twitter logo phone app
After Russian authorities warned they could pull the plug on Twitter over claims it is being used to spread child porn and pro-suicide posts, the Kremlin has insisted that it doesn't want to see all foreign networks taken offline.

President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told Moscow's Argumenty i Fakty newspaper on Tuesday that he was optimistic foreign-owned social media giants could learn to live within the country's laws. "It is necessary to find a middle ground between the priorities of media freedom and regulation," he said. "More and more life flows into it. The more life there is, the more rules there need to be. And these should be the rules of the game for everybody, including foreign companies, because the internet has no borders."

However, he argued, while "some companies enter into dialogue [with the Russian government], others do not - this is a difficult and painstaking process. All companies obviously want to operate without restrictions and make massive profits in every possible market." The obstacle to that, Peskov said, is that "not all companies can insure themselves against becoming instruments of influence for other states."

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Documents show Amazon is aware drivers pee in bottles and even defecate en route, despite company denial

amazon bottle
© The Intercept, Getty Images
In anticipation of Sen. Bernie Sanders's scheduled trip to Bessemer, Alabama, to support the unionization drive by Amazon workers there, Amazon executive Dave Clark cast the $1 trillion behemoth as "the Bernie Sanders of employers" and taunted: "So if you want to hear about $15 an hour and health care, Senator Sanders will be speaking downtown. But if you would like to make at least $15 an hour and have good health care, Amazon is hiring."

Rep. Mark Pocan replied via tweet: "Paying workers $15/hr doesn't make you a progressive workplace when you union-bust & make workers urinate in water bottles," echoing reports from 2018 that Amazon workers were forced to skip bathroom breaks and pee in bottles. Amazon's denial was swift: "You don't really believe the peeing in bottles thing, do you? If that were true, nobody would work for us."

But Amazon workers with whom I spoke said that the practice was so widespread due to pressure to meet quotas that managers frequently referenced it during meetings and in formal policy documents and emails, which were provided to The Intercept. The practice, these documents show, was known to management, which identified it as a recurring infraction but did nothing to ease the pressure that caused it. In some cases, employees even defecated in bags.

Amazon did not provide a statement to The Intercept before publication.

Comment: See also:

Eye 1

Despite roll-out, Russians 'in no hurry' to receive Covid-19 vaccines as suspicion is a 'national characteristic,' Kremlin claims

vaccination Moscow
© Sputnik / Pavel Bednyakov
One of the vaccination sites in Moscow. March 17, 2021
As countries across the world sign deals to import or manufacture Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccines, many back home in Russia are still skeptical of receiving any form of jab. That, the Kremlin says, is just part of the culture.

Speaking to Moscow-based newspaper Argumenty i Fakty, President Vladimir Putin's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, admitted that distrust in domestically-produced vaccines is still hampering immunization efforts.

"In terms of why people are in no hurry to get vaccinated, it seems to me that this is one of our national characteristics," the spokesman said. "There are still many people who are very suspicious of vaccines in general."

However, he added, Putin's decision last week to roll up his sleeve to receive one of three Russian-made formulas that have been shown to protect against coronavirus may turn the tide of public opinion. "I think his example will add some dynamism to the whole process," Peskov said. "It is necessary to significantly strengthen the promotion of vaccination in the good sense of the word."

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Teacher at elite Virginia school caught on camera forcing controversial race theory on students

© Pixabay
A Virginia school is under fire after video footage showed a teacher berating a student for refusing to acknowledge racial differences. The teacher's Critical Race Theory sermon is not the only woke scandal to hit the district.

Located on the outskirts of Washington, DC, the Loudoun County Public School District is one of the wealthiest in the nation, with the average household there pulling in $136,000 per year. It's also emerged lately as a hotbed of Critical Race Theory (CRT) - a set of ideas that puts race at the center of every human interaction, views the US as "structurally racist," and maintains that "white supremacy" and "white privilege" permeate every institution in the country.

Video footage posted on Monday shows how this plays out in the classroom. In a bizarre lecture at one of the district's schools in Ashburn, a teacher shows his students an image of two women standing beside each other, one white and one black. "Tell me what this seems to be a picture of?" he asks.

Eye 2

Sex trafficking crimes brought against Epstein ex-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell

epstein and ghislaine
Sex trafficking charges were added Monday to the indictment against financier Jeffrey Epstein's ex-girlfriend as prosecutors alleged that she groomed a 14-year-old girl to recruit other young females in the early 2000s to provide "sexualized massages" to Epstein in return for cash.

The charges contained in a superseding indictment returned by a Manhattan grand jury alleged that Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell conspired between 1994 and 2004, when, prosecutors say, Epstein was paying her to manage his properties. An indictment returned after Maxwell's July arrest limited crimes to a three-year period in the 1990s.

Maxwell, 59, has remained in a federal jail without bail after a judge three times rejected bail packages, the last of which included offers to renounce her citizenships in the United Kingdom and France, to be kept in place by armed guards and to post $28.5 million in assets.

Snakes in Suits

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem kills bill to ban transgender athletes from female sports

kristi noem
© AP Photo/Stephen Groves
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem killed legislation Monday that would bar transgender athletes from girls' and women's sports, refusing to sign the bill after it was returned to her unchanged despite her request for revisions.

The Republican governor insisted she had not vetoed House Bill 1217 after the House sent it back to her on a 67-2 vote, but the legislation died after the Senate adjourned before voting on whether to override her decision.

"There would have never been two-thirds here [in the Senate] to override, and we waited four hours," Senate Pro Tempore Lee Schoenbeck told the Argus Leader. "To tie up the Legislature for four hours for no constructive reason, it was time to go home."

In her statement, Ms. Noem said, "I cannot certify that the bill conforms with my specific recommendations. Therefore, my only option consistent with the constitution is the [sic] fail to certify the bill and to return it to you."


Many Capitol rioters unlikely to serve jail time - because they weren't insurrectionists

capitol protest
Americans outraged by the storming of Capitol Hill are in for a jarring reality check: Many of those who invaded the halls of Congress on Jan. 6 are likely to get little or no jail time.

While public and media attention in recent weeks has been focused on high-profile conspiracy cases against right-wing, paramilitary groups like the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys, the most urgent decisions for prosecutors involve resolving scores of lower-level cases that have clogged D.C.'s federal district court.

A POLITICO analysis of the Capitol riot-related cases shows that almost a quarter of the more than 230 defendants formally and publicly charged so far face only misdemeanors. Dozens of those arrested are awaiting formal charges, even as new cases are being unsealed nearly every day.

In recent days, judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys have all indicated that they expect few of these "MAGA tourists" to face harsh sentences.

There are two main reasons: Although prosecutors have loaded up their charging documents with language about the existential threat of the insurrection to the republic, the actions of many of the individual rioters often boiled down to trespassing. And judges have wrestled with how aggressively to lump those cases in with those of the more sinister suspects.

"My bet is a lot of these cases will get resolved and probably without prison time or jail time," said Erica Hashimoto, a former federal public defender who is now a law professor at Georgetown. "One of the core values of this country is that we can protest if we disagree with our government. Of course, some protests involve criminal acts, but as long as the people who are trying to express their view do not engage in violence, misdemeanors may be more appropriate than felonies."


Nike files trademark lawsuit against MSCHF over Lil Nas X 'Satan' shoes

satan shoe lil nas x nike
Nike filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against MSCHF, the shoe designer behind Lil Nas X's now-infamous "Satan" sneakers Monday, alleging that the shoe design and marketing implied Nike is involved with the shoe.

The shoe maker cited a need to "set the record straight," according to NBC News, after the shoes went viral on social media and some outraged individuals accused Nike of supporting the "Old Town Road" rapper's embrace of the occult.

Lil Nas X, whose real name is Montero Lamont Hill, is not named in the lawsuit, only MSCHF, which collaborated with Hill on the Satan shoe design, technically a follow-up to the shoe designer's previously released "Jesus" shoe.


Scandal hits Sicilian authorities on COVID-19 data rigging allegations

tourists italy masks covid
© Miguel Medina/AFP
Sicily's regional health counsellor resigned on Tuesday after being placed under investigation suspected of sending rigged COVID-19 data to national authorities to avoid tough lockdown restrictions for the southern Italian region.

Ruggero Razza, who has managed the epidemic in Sicily since the first Italian outbreak was discovered in the north of the country in February 2020, denied wrongdoing but said he had decided to step down to "protect" the regional administration.

"To save the administration from unavoidable controversy, I have asked the regional governor to accept my resignation," Razza said in a statement.

Comment: Even if the official was possibly facilitating criminal activities, avoiding a heavy lockdown was probably better for the local population in the long run.The northern part of Italy suffered much more under heavy restrictions.


FBI deploys creepy "sentiment analysis" tools to screen National Guard for pro-Trump sympathies

Trump supporters, military
A recent Revolver News investigative piece coined the term "Counter-American Intelligence" to describe the systematic counter-intelligence operation to cleanse the entire national security state of any thought-criminal MAGA employees who may not agree with the Globalist American Empire's agenda.

Like clockwork, fresh off the heels of a bill that would deny security clearances to so-called "conspiracy theorists" (read: Trump supporters), Senator Duckworth suggested that the DOD monitor the social media habits of its employees for "extremist views."
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) on Monday suggested that the Pentagon find a way to examine the social media habits of incoming and existing service members who show tendencies toward extremist views.

"It's not a new thing, but I will tell you that I have seen over the last probably two decades this growing radicalization of a portion within the military. And I think part of it too comes with social media consumption," Duckworth, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, said at The Hill's Future of Defense Summit. [The Hill]

Comment: This deployment of sentiment analysis to weed out a particular kind of person from the military could be an end in itself, but that doesn't exclude the possibility that it's also part of a bigger agenda. The number of people in the military is rather small compared to the total population, so it's possible that this is, in addition to securing greater compliance within the military, a way to improve the algorithms for later deployment. The targets of that later deployment likely being those who question government directives regarding vaccines, lockdowns, etc.