MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Moscow court on Saturday remanded in custody three more suspected members of the ransomware crime group REvil over illegal trafficking of funds, a day after Russia claimed it had dismantled the group at the request of the United States. The court identified the three men as Mikhail Golovachuk, Ruslan Khansvyarov and Dmitry Korotayev. In a rare apparent demonstration of U.S.-Russian collaboration at a time of high tensions between the two over Ukraine, Russian authorities detained and charged the REVil group's members this week. A police and FSB domestic intelligence operat...
Stories Chosen For You
Over the years, far-right U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has had his conflicts not only with the liberals and centrists on the High Court, but also, with some of its right-wingers — most notably, former Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose libertarian leanings on abortion and gay rights were a sharp contrast to Thomas’ severe social conservatism. Thomas has also had his share of disagreements with conservative Chief Justice John Roberts, and the disagreements between Thomas and Roberts were evident when Thomas spoke at a conference in Dallas recently.
President George W. Bush appointed Roberts in 2005. Discussing the atmosphere on the High Court before 2005, Thomas told the Dallas crowd, “We actually trusted each other. We may have been a dysfunctional family, but we were a family — and we loved it.”
Thomas’ comments come at a time when the U.S. Supreme Court is likely to overturn Roe v. Wade. A leaked majority draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito makes an argument for overturning Roe; Alito is joined in his 5-4 opinion by Thomas, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Justice Amy Coney Barrett and Justice Neal Gorsuch — while the four dissenters are Roberts, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Justice Elena Kagan and Justice Stephen Breyer (who is retiring and will be replaced by President Joe Biden’s nominee, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson).
CNN legal analyst Joan Biskupic, in an article published on May 20, explains, “Thomas' blunt remarks suggest new antagonism toward Roberts and added to the uncertainty regarding the ultimate ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, expected by the end of June. Roberts, with his institutionalist approach, is positioned as the one justice who might generate a compromise opinion that stops short of completely overturning Roe v. Wade, at least this year. That would thwart an outcome that Thomas has worked toward for decades.”
Biskupic observes that “Thomas' sudden aim at Roberts' leadership is new. In the Dallas appearance, his message to the chief justice came down to: The Court was better before you arrived.”
“Thomas and Roberts have different negotiating patterns,” Biskupic explains. “Thomas is known for putting his cards on the table and abhorring gamesmanship. The first attribute he ascribed to (Justice Ruth Bader) Ginsburg was revealing: ‘You knew where she was.’ Roberts, in contrast to Thomas, has a reputation inside the Court for being guarded, even secretive.”
It’s so secret where Thomas stands on Roe v. Wade, which he believes was wrongly decided by the Berger Court back in 1973.
“Roberts has a steep climb to craft a compromise that will keep Roe partially intact,” Biskupic notes. “The right-wing bloc allowed Texas' virtual ban on abortions to take effect last year, and during oral arguments in the Mississippi case, it appeared to be holding together to eviscerate Roe.”
Former President Donald Trump's false claims about voter fraud in 2020 has inspired a group of his supporters, but in Virginia, it wasn't enough to combat the Democrats that have their own complaints.
WUSA News revealed that the battleground Loudoun County held an Electoral Board meeting Thursday to address allegations of the "stolen election." Trump's supporters were thin in the audience, however.
About half-dozen conservatives were overwhelmingly outnumbered at the hearings by Democrats demanding election integrity by county officials.
A MAGA-hat wearing Jonathan Kasperek clashed with a Democratic activist after he claimed he had binders full of election problems. The Democratic activist waved at him to "move on."
"I believe the election should be voter verified," he said. "I want to see the log files from all of the OVOs [OpenElect Voting Optical Scan] from the high-speed scanner. I want to see all the absentee ballots. I want to count all the absentee ballots. All the paper ballots. Just show us how it's done. Show us the numbers."
Leesburg Mayor Kelly Burk, a Democrat, explained that in 40 years of serving in Loudoun County politics she has never once seen evidence of voter fraud.
"This is crazy, this is truly crazy," Burk explained. "I can assure you every vote is counted. Every rule is followed."
Election workers were on hand to deny the claims of the Trump supporters that there was voter fraud. Dozens of Democrats joined them.
"I don't understand when the Republicans win, it's business as usual, pop open the champagne," said Bernard Hill, of Loudoun County. "And when they lose, somebody stole it."
Read the full report at WUSA News and see the report below:
'Stop the Steal' allegations hit Loudoun County's electoral board www.youtube.com
The Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial has exposed the danger of parasocial obsessions and 'stan' culture
It’s difficult to scroll through social media right now without seeing at least one post mentioning Johnny Depp, Amber Heard and the defamation trial that began on April 11, 2022.
Depp is suing ex-wife Heard for defamation over an op-ed she penned for the Washington Post in 2018. Depp says that by presenting herself as a victim of domestic violence, Heard has tarnished his name, despite not naming him in the piece. He is seeking US$50 million in damages.
Many have been eager to take sides, declare guilt, assign blame and condemn cancel culture on social media and in coverage of the trial. #JusticeForJohnnyDepp and #AmberHeardIsAPsychopath, among other hashtags, have been trending over the past several weeks.
Fans of Depp claim that his life and career have been “ruined” by false allegations of violence and that he is the “real” victim. Others have written about how disturbing the public treatment of Heard has been throughout the trial, particularly as it relates to claims that she is a “liar,” a “psychopath” and a “monster.”
As a social worker and researcher who has spent the past six years working with people who have survived or been criminalized for domestic and sexual violence, I’m interested in the ways in which this case demonstrates the significant dangers of parasocial relationships (one-sided relationships with public figures) and their ability to reinforce carceral logics (the ways we have been shaped by the idea and practices of imprisonment).
Depp and Heard represent the risks related to the emotional ties fans develop with celebrities and how these relationships can have material implications for how we understand violence and how it should be dealt with.
What are parasocial relationships and carceral logics?
Parasocial relationships are one-sided intimate, emotional bonds that people develop with public figures.
Johnny Depp is greeted by cheering fans and supporters as he arrives to court house.
Carceral logics are “the variety of ways our bodies, minds, and actions have been shaped by the idea and practices of imprisonment.” And they produce specific images about who perpetrates violence, why and how those people should be dealt with.
When this happens, the carceral state (police, courts, laws and prisons) is framed as a necessary intervention that effectively addresses violence through arrest, prosecution and punishment of people who commit violence. For example, people who have deemed Heard a liar and the aggressor have called for her arrest, imprisonment and removal from her role in the Aquaman franchise.
Carceral logics cling to assumptions that the system is effective, and ignore the reality that most perpetrators of violence never see a courtroom, let alone a cell, the systemic issues of racism within a broken system, and that domestic and sexual violence continue to be some of the most underreported crimes.
Violence is a spectrum
When people develop parasocial bonds with public figures, sharp lines are drawn between those who are considered good or innocent and those who are considered bad or guilty. When this happens, grand assumptions are often made about someone’s character based only on what is represented in the media.
People don’t know Depp or Heard, and don’t know the full history of their relationship. They only know them as beloved characters.
These bonds are influencing conversations about what does or doesn’t count as violence. Right now, online abuse of Heard is being seen as acceptable because she has been declared a liar by the social media majority.
TikTok trends have openly mocked Heard’s emotional reactions during testimony, as people re-enact skits of the trial with their pets. Social media users have also made #AmberTurd trend across platforms.
But violence is a spectrum and it is deeply nuanced in relationship with power, identity and context. When people assign the label of “abuser/offender” to some and not others, they are deciding which violence is unacceptable and which is excusable.
While commentary on social media appears as a product of “stan” culture — a portmanteau of “stalker” and “fan” — it has tangible implications for socio-legal responses to the issue.
This all plays out in real time. When people decide that those who lie about violence should be punished, we see “frivolous claims” sections in institutional sexual violence policies and on police portals for reporting sexual violence.
We see renewed commitments to the criminal justice system, regardless of the violence it perpetrates within prisons and in the mass incarceration of marginalized communities.
What appears to be normal social media activity exposes a much darker reality: that parasocial relationships help entrench deeply harmful conversations shaping how people address and redress domestic and sexual violence.