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Why the Supreme Court"s OSHA ruling could be more complicated for multi-state employers

The Supreme Court's ruling Thursday related only to the federal agency's vaccine mandate-or-testing rule, and it doesn't prohibit companies enacting mandates of their own. A pair of St. Louis lawyers explain why that makes for a challenging landscape for companies operating in multiple states......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsJan 14th, 2022

Yes, your company can still require you to be vaccinated despite the Supreme Court"s ruling

The Supreme Court shot down President Biden's vaccine-or-test mandate for large businesses, but that doesn't mean your company can't enforce its own. The federal government has provided COVID-19 relief in numerous forms, from free vaccines to economic programs.Reuters The Supreme Court shot down the White House's employer vaccine-or-test mandate on Thursday. Despite the ruling, employers are still legally able to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for employees. The federal mandate would have made it so that any company with over 100 employees must require vaccines. The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down the Biden administration's vaccine-or-testing mandate for companies with more than 100 employees. Employers, however, can still make their own rules. The decision had two major results for American workers: It struck down a COVID-19 vaccine-or-testing mandate for private companies with more than 100 employees.It upheld a vaccine requirement for healthcare workers at federally-funded facilities.Though the court struck down the federal mandate, employers can still legally require employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine or ban them from the office, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said last year.The agency has categorized COVID-19 as a direct threat, which allows employers to require temperature takes, masks, and social distancing. That said, businesses with employees in multiple states face a much more complicated situation."Employers are in this position where they have to look very carefully at each of the states in which they operate," Nathaniel Glasser, who leads a COVID-19 compliance practice group at the law firm Epstein Becker Green, said in an interview.In each state, businesses will have to determine: "Is there a vaccine mandate that we are required to comply with? What group of employers are covered by that mandate? And then, if there aren't any vaccine mandate requirements in that jurisdiction, but we want to implement our own, are there any restrictions in implementing that type of a mandate given the state/locality in which we're operating?" he said. A "face coverings required at all times when not seated" is displayed near a table at Westville Hudson on September 30, 2020 in New York City.Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty ImagesIn New York City, for example, all employees of all businesses must be vaccinated."Businesses may not allow any unvaccinated workers to come to their workplace," the law says. "A workplace is considered any location — including a vehicle — where you work in the presence of at least one other person."The EEOC and federal law say that employers can require employees to get vaccinated, but some states are attempting to find ways around these laws.In Montana and Tennessee, for example, businesses aren't legally allowed to mandate vaccinations due to anti-discrimination laws written and passed during the COVID-19 pandemic.Arkansas, Florida, and Texas have also passed laws specifically prohibiting businesses and government agencies from requiring vaccinations. More than 100 employees are suing one Texas hospital after saying that vaccines would be required for continued employment.With federal and state laws in direct conflict, it's unclear how things will ultimately shake out. This legal gray area is likely why few companies have outright required vaccines for employees. While some have attempted to encourage vaccinations with perks like bonus payments, it remains unclear whether those with mandates will actually enforce them without the federal backstop. Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 14th, 2022

"They"re Totally Confused": Biden"s Vaccine Mandate Chaos Leaves Employers With "Whiplash"

"They're Totally Confused": Biden's Vaccine Mandate Chaos Leaves Employers With "Whiplash" The Biden Administration's attempt to force millions of American workers to either get vaccinated or risk losing their jobs has backfired spectacularly. On Monday, the NYT published what to many probably sounded like scathing criticism coming from the notoriously pro-Dem paper: President Biden's attempt to use OSHA to try and force some 84MM workers to get vaccinated has left said employers with "whiplash". "They're totally confused", a quote in the headline screamed. Just a few weeks ago, the Administration was charging ahead, but its momentum has been decidedly crippled, especially now that the "very definition of fully vaccinated" has been thrown into question. The marching orders from the Biden administration in November had seemed clear — large employers were to get their workers fully vaccinated by early next year, or make sure the workers were tested weekly. But a little over a month later, the Labor Department’s vaccine rule has been swept into confusion and uncertainty by legal battles, shifting deadlines and rising Covid case counts that throw the very definition of fully vaccinated into question. The spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant has seemingly bolstered the government’s argument, at the heart of its legal battle over the rule, that the virus remains a grave threat to workers. But the recent surge in cases has raised the issue of whether the government will take its requirements further — even as the original rule remains contentious — and ask employers to mandate booster shots, too. The country’s testing capacity has also been strained, adding to concerns that companies will be unable to meet the rule’s testing requirements. Even the lawyers don't know what to do. "My clients are totally confused as, quite frankly, am I," Erin McLaughlin, a labor and employment lawyer at Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney, said on Saturday. "My sense is that there are a lot of employers scrambling to try and put their mandate programs in place." With the issue still being viciously contested in the courts, the legal reality of the situation is that the order is still pending, so in effect, the Biden Administration has been stymied. With so much likely riding on a decision from the nation's highest court, how much longer until this becomes another cudgel used by the progressive left to push their court packing agenda, which is not dead, since President Biden and VP Kamala Harris mostly refuse to talk about it publicly. No company has been spared the whirlwind of changes in the last week, set off by the spike in Covid cases that have, in some instances, cut into their work forces. Then on Friday, an appeals court lifted the legal block on the vaccine rule, though appeals to the ruling were immediately filed, leaving the rule’s legal status up in the air. On Saturday, hours after the appeals court ruling, the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration urged employers to start working to get in compliance. But OSHA also gave employers some leeway, pushing back full enforcement of the rule until February, recognizing that for all its best intentions the rollout of the rule has been muddled. For companies struggling to meet OSHA’s standards because of testing shortages, the Labor Department said Sunday that it would “consider refraining from enforcement” if the employer has shown a good-faith effort to comply. The fact that many states have cities (most notably NYC) have rolled out their own rules for enforcement adds another layer of complexity to the whole mess. Adding a layer of confusion, many states and cities have created their own vaccine rules — some more stringent than the federal government’s, as in New York City, where an option to test out of vaccine requirements isn’t allowed, while some, like Florida, have sought to undermine OSHA’s rule. There’s also the question of whether companies will eventually be required to mandate boosters, which would require accommodating the six-month delay between the second and third shots. And as far as Wall Street is concerned, their current state of vaccine enforcement is "we're not going to talk about it." JPMorgan Chase, whose decision to require vaccines is complicated by its sprawling retail operations across the United States, declined to comment on how the court’s most recent decision, along with the recent spike in cases, affects any plans to mandate vaccines. But the bank on Friday told its American employees who do not work in bank branches that “each group should assess who needs to come into the office, work priorities and who should revert to working from home on a more regular basis over the next few weeks.” At this point, opponents of the rule, which includes the National Retail Federation, a trade group, haven't changed their positions despite the "rise" of omicron (which, keep in mind, has only been confirmed in a tiny fraction of overall new cases). Even the spread of Omicron hasn’t changed the position of some of the vaccine rule’s most ardent opponents. The National Retail Federation, one of the trade groups challenging the administration’s vaccine rule, is among those that have filed a petition with the Supreme Court. The group is in favor of vaccinations but has pushed for companies to get more time to carry out mandates. Still, even as it fights the administration’s rule, the federation is also holding twice weekly calls with members to compare notes on how to carry it out. "There’s no question that the increased number of variants like Omicron certainly don’t make it less dangerous," said Stephanie Martz, the group’s chief administrative officer and general counsel. "The legitimate, remaining question is, is this inherent to the workplace?" Then of course there's the booster question. And employers face yet another uncertainty: Should they mandate boosters? And will they be required to? When will all of this insanity and confusion end? Tyler Durden Mon, 12/20/2021 - 20:00.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytDec 20th, 2021

Texas Judge Blocks Biden"s Vaccine Mandate For Federal Employees Nationwide

Texas Judge Blocks Biden's Vaccine Mandate For Federal Employees Nationwide While President Biden was occupied Friday trying to take credit for a new factory for the production of semiconductors (and all the jobs - construction-related and otherwise - that he said it would create), a federal judge in Texas was issuing an injunction to put the second major piece of Biden's vaccine mandate on ice. After SCOTUS last week rejected the administration's attempt to force corporations to abide by the mandate via OSHA, a federal court in Texas has issued an injunction against Biden's jab mandate for federal workers, the other part of his administration's attempts to force vaccines on reluctant Americans -  a strategy that Biden has already abandoned in favor of providing at-home COVID tests to all Americans. Biden issued both mandates by executive order back in September. Trump-appointed Judge Jeffrey Brown of the US Court for the Southern District of Texas said the case was not about whether individuals should be vaccinated or even about federal power more broadly. Instead, he said it's about "whether the president can, with the stroke of a pen and without the input of Congress, require millions of federal employees to undergo a medical procedure as a condition of their employment," Brown wrote. "That, under the current state of the law as just recently expressed by the Supreme Court, is a bridge too far." The order that SCOTUS struck down last week would have mandated all private sector employers with more than 100 workers, as well as the US Postal Service, to test or vaccinated their employees. The case against the mandate for federal workers was brought by Feds for Medical Freedom, which has filed three different lawsuits against the mandate, according to a report from Government Executive. Most federal agencies have already started implementing the mandate requiring vaccination or testing, and some had already started ordering suspensions for workers who failed to meet the requirements. This latest ruling will forestall (at least temporarily) those suspensions from moving forward. Although there's still a possibility that the injunction granted could be overturned, given SCOTUS's conservative majority and its previous ruling on the other federal vaccine mandate, any workers who were facing suspension can probably breath a sigh of relief. Tyler Durden Fri, 01/21/2022 - 12:59.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 21st, 2022

An abortion or a job? Companies and investors are forced to weigh in on the Roe v. Wade debate.

Saturday is the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and some companies have realized if they don't take a stand, they'll lose out on workers. Lush Cosmetics' "Don't Ban Equality" campaign outside a storefront.Lush Cosmetics Saturday will mark the 49th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. With abortion rights being considered in the US Supreme Court, some companies have taken a stand. Lush and Yelp have reconsidered their healthcare plans and messaging to customers. Saturday will mark the 49th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion in the US. Yet at least 26 states are poised to ban abortion if the US Supreme Court upholds a Mississippi law that seeks to ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Meanwhile, a Texas law that allows private individuals to sue abortion providers and anyone who aids in an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy was sent to the state supreme court this week.With both these cases in limbo and the US Supreme Court ruling not expected before June, some companies are beginning to recognize that access to reproductive healthcare and abortion is an economic issue, and that providing it should be part of their DEI efforts."Access to reproductive health is an equality issue," Miriam Warren, Yelp's chief diversity officer and chair of the Yelp Foundation, told Insider. "If women can't decide whether and when to extend their family, that makes other decisions difficult." Miriam Warren.Courtesy of Miriam WarrenReproductive healthcare services, including contraception and abortion, are used by nearly all women — 99% have used contraception and 25% have had an abortion by age 45, according to "Hidden Value: The Business Case for Reproductive Health," a report by Rhia Ventures, which invests in reproductive and maternal-health solutions.Abortion restrictions impact the labor forceAbortion restrictions fall the hardest on women that already face obstacles accessing healthcare and economic opportunities — including Black women, Hispanic women, and LGBTQ+ individuals, according to a report by the Institute for Women's Policy Research. State-level abortion restrictions cost state economies $105 billion per year by reducing workforce participation and earnings and increasing turnover and time off from work among women ages 15 to 44 years, the IWPR report also found. If a woman can't get an abortion, she might be forced to quit her job, Shelley Alpern, director of corporate engagement at Rhia Ventures, said. "But an abortion is so taboo that the employee will never tell her employer that was the reason why," she said. "These state restrictions will create a lot more turnover that will add to the Great Resignation."Last year, states enacted more than 100 restrictions on abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organization advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights. These restrictions don't just impact women, some experts said. "Regardless of gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or marital status, inclusive reproductive health benefits should provide family-forming options to all employees," Annette Alexander, chief people officer at WP Engine, a WordPress technology company based in Austin, said. Annette Alexander.Courtesy of Annette AlexanderThe LGBTQ+ community also has a strong need for supportive and tailored sexual and reproductive care because historically, they've been overlooked for this type of health benefit, she added.In fact, most employees agree that access to reproductive healthcare is an equity issue. Roughly seven in 10 respondents said access to reproductive healthcare, including abortion, should be part of the issues companies address when it comes to gender issues in the workplace, according to a national survey by nonpartisan research firm PerryUndem. Some companies are taking a stand After the Texas law was passed, a number of companies made headlines with their plans to support employees. Salesforce promised to helping employees relocate if they have concerns about access to reproductive healthcare, and Lyft and Uber said it would pay legal fees of drivers sued under the Texas abortion law.Several other companies are responding to the Texas law by reevaluating their benefits. Although Lush Handmade Cosmetics is based in Vancouver, a majority of its stores and workforce are US-based, so the company is reviewing its healthcare coverage to make sure all US staff has access to abortion services, said Carleen Pickard, Lush's ethical campaigns specialist. Carleen Pickard.Courtesy of Carleen PickardLush has 213 US shops and 1,200 US employees, including 124 stores in Texas. Although the company's healthcare plan provides access to abortion, employees in Texas can no longer obtain these services. The company is working on ways to provide equal coverage, she said. "We actually have women and women-identifying staff in Texas that don't have the same rights as their colleagues in Washington State, and that is a real conundrum for us," Pickard said. Yelp is also looking into ways to provide equal access to reproductive healthcare for all its employees, Warren said. "If someone is residing in a state where abortion is banned and needs to go to another state for healthcare, we want to ensure that will be covered," she said. Both these companies are also helping to educate consumers on this issue.Yelp is using its social-media platform to help consumers tell the difference between crisis pregnancy centers, which offer counseling services, and centers that provide reproductive healthcare services, Warren said. Since 2019, the company has reviewed approximately 8,000 businesses and updated 2,000 listings, she said.Yelp took this step after its CEO Jeremy Stoppelman saw an episode of "Last Week Tonight" with John Oliver that explained the dangers of this type of mischaracterization, Warren said. "Someone might want to go to a crisis pregnancy center, but consumers have a right to know the difference," she added.Meanwhile, Lush is using its store windows and employees in select states to educate customers about the need for comprehensive reproductive healthcare, including abortion. Lush began talking to Texas customers last year and using messages from the Don't Ban Equality campaign, which explains the economic impact of restricting access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare. Staff members were trained to speak about the issue and encourage customers to take action by contacting their local state representatives, Pickard said. On Saturday, Lush employees at its 12 stores in Florida and six stores in Ohio, where state legislators have introduced bills similar to Texas's law, will begin the same customer education campaign through February 14. "We will move to other states in quick succession," Pickard added.Investors also play a roleSome investors are also taking a more critical look at companies' political donations. In the past, companies have given equally to both Republicans and Democrats in their state and haven't considered the long-term impacts, Rachel J. Robasciotti, founder and CEO of Adasina Social Capital, a San Francisco-based investment firm that focuses on social justice, said.When Adasina learned that one of its portfolio companies, UnitedHealth Group, was a major contributor to Texas lawmakers supporting SB8, it called on the company to review its political spending or be excluded from the Adasina Social Justice Index. "We're seeing that companies are very open to engaging in these discussions," Robasciotti said.Investors are also engaging with corporations about reproductive rights by filing shareholder resolutions. Trillium Asset Management  in Portland, Oregon, filed a shareholder resolution with TJX Companies, which owns TJ Maxx, Home Goods, and Marshalls and employs thousands of employees in all 50 states. "If Roe is overturned, that will affect 40% of their stores and employees," Jonas Kron, chief advocacy officer for Trillium, said. More than half the employees are people of color and 75% are women, he added. The resolution is asking TJX to issue a report on how it'll manage its risk if Roe v. Wade is overturned, what it'll do about employees in states where abortion is banned, and how it'll think about executive recruitment and its ability to staff stores in those states. How other companies can get involvedBefore taking a stand, it's important to take a deep look at company values and talk with your employees, Warren said. "While this has historically been a topic that people don't talk about at the dinner table, if it is consistent with your values to consider the issue of equality and how important it is for every person in your company to have solvency over their own bodies, start to think about how you can get involved," she said. One step is to sign the Don't Ban Equality Letter.  "I believe companies have a responsibility to be good to the people who they employ," Pickard said. While there are many ways to support your staff, Pickard added that companies should speak out in a way that's sensitive to their brand. "Then you are stepping out into a world where your staff feels supported and customers feel like they are in safe spaces," she said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 21st, 2022

Moderna and Novavax pare losses after Supreme Court strikes down Biden"s vaccine mandate for private employers

The vaccine mandate was aimed at private companies with more than 100 employees. The ruling upheld a mandate for healthcare workers. A woman in San Antonio, Texas, receives her second Moderna COVID-19 vaccine shot.Sergio Flores/Getty Images Novavax and Moderna shares were under pressure Friday after the Supreme Court struck down a vaccine mandate for private companies.  The ruling blocked the Biden administration's vaccine-or-testing mandate at private companies with more than 100 employees.  Novavax and Moderna shares closed at multi-month lows on Thursday.  Shares of Novavax and Moderna trimmed losses Friday after the Biden administration's vaccine-or-testing mandate for certain private companies was blocked by the Supreme Court. In a 6-3 ruling issued Thursday afternoon, the court's conservative majority wrote in an unsigned opinion that the administration likely didn't hold the authority to impose its policy. Novavax shares slumped 10% to $101.10 then pared the loss to 5%. Moderna declined 3.5% to $202.88 before narrowing the pullback to 2.8%.  Novavax stock closed Thursday's session down by 13.7% at $112.38, the lowest closing price since December 2020.  For Moderna, its 5.7% fall in the previous session to $210.17 marked the lowest close since June 2021. Shares of vaccine maker Pfizer were down by a more modest 0.6%. The stock finished Thursday with a 2% loss.  "Although COVID-19 is a risk that occurs in many workplaces, it is not an occupational hazard in most," the court wrote.The mandate had been put in place for private companies with a workforce of more than 100 employees. The court's liberal justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor held the dissenting opinion of the majority's ruling. The court did allow the Biden administration's requirement for vaccines for healthcare workers at federally funded facilities to take effect.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 14th, 2022

Moderna and Novavax extend losses after Supreme Court strikes down Biden"s vaccine mandate for private employers

The vaccine mandate was aimed at private companies with more than 100 employees. The ruling upheld a mandate for healthcare workers. A woman in San Antonio, Texas, receives her second Moderna COVID-19 vaccine shot.Sergio Flores/Getty Images Novavax and Moderna shares were under pressure Friday after the Supreme Court struck down a vaccine mandate for private companies.  The ruling blocked the Biden administration's vaccine-or-testing mandate at private companies with more than 100 employees.  Novavax and Moderna shares closed at multi-month lows on Thursday.  Shares of Novavax and Moderna each dropped Friday, with stock in the COVID-19 vaccine makers stretching losses into a second session after the Biden administration's vaccine-or-testing mandate for certain private companies was blocked by the Supreme Court. In a 6-3 ruling issued Thursday afternoon, the court's conservative majority wrote in an unsigned opinion that the administration likely didn't hold the authority to impose its policy. Novavax shares dropped 11.7% in premarket trade, to $99.30 and Moderna lost as much as 5.6% when it hit $198.42 ahead of the opening bell.Novavax's stock closed Thursday's session down by 13.7% at $112.38, the lowest closing price since December 2020.  For Moderna, its 5.7% fall in the previous session to $210.17 marked the lowest close since June 2021. Shares of vaccine maker Pfizer were down 2% early Friday. The stock closed Thursday's session lower by 2%. "Although COVID-19 is a risk that occurs in many workplaces, it is not an occupational hazard in most," the court wrote.The mandate had been put in place for private companies with a workforce of more than 100 employees. The court's liberal justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor held the dissenting opinion of the majority's ruling. The court did allow the Biden administration's requirement for vaccines for healthcare workers at federally funded facilities to take effect.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 14th, 2022

Supreme Court Asks Biden Admin To Respond To Flurry Of Challenges To OSHA Mandate

Supreme Court Asks Biden Admin To Respond To Flurry Of Challenges To OSHA Mandate Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), President Joe Biden’s administration was directed on Monday to reply to a flurry of fresh challenges to its private employer COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh is seen at his confirmation hearing to serve as associate justice on the Supreme Court at the Capitol in Washington, on Sept. 4, 2018. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times) Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, a Trump nominee, told administration officials to file responses to applications from faith groups, companies, and attorneys general from over half the states in the country by 4 p.m. on Dec. 30. That’s just days before the mandate’s deadline. “This case is finally where it belongs: the Supreme Court. OSHA has threatened to start punishing employers like our clients starting on January 10, and we’re grateful the court has ordered a briefing schedule that will allow for resolution of our petition before that deadline,” Daniel Suhr, managing attorney at the Liberty Justice Center, told The Epoch Times in an email. “We’re very pleased with Justice Kavanaugh’s quick response and are confident that the court will act quickly to ensure legal predictability before the deadline,” John Bursch, a lawyer for Alliance Defending Freedom, added. Kavanaugh is dealing with the matter because the appeals court that issued the ruling that prompted the challenges is under his jurisdiction. The mandate in question was promulgated by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). If allowed to take effect next month, it will force every business with 100 or more employees to get proof of a negative COVID-19 test on at least a weekly basis or proof of vaccination from each worker. Companies that don’t comply would face escalating fines. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in November entered a preliminary injunction against the mandate, questioning its constitutionality. But the case was redirected by lottery to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which on Friday dissolved the stay. OSHA said it was “gratified” by the ruling and would begin imposing the mandate on Jan. 10, 2022. The official deadline, though, is Jan. 4. The rule could be paused anew by the Supreme Court, which quickly received appeals from the Word of God Fellowship, The Heritage Foundation, Ohio’s attorney general, BST Holdings, and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Absent a new stay, parties would be irreparably harmed, they argued in the filings. Institutions fear losing workers who don’t want to get a vaccine and also don’t want to get tested regularly, possibly at their own cost. “South Dakota and Florida public schools are not subject to the mandate and could attract teachers away from religious private schools,” lawyers for Alliance Defending Freedom wrote in one of the documents. Challengers say the administration is violating the state authority outlined in the U.S. Constitution and going beyond the powers Congress gave OSHA to regulate businesses. OSHA says the mandate “will protect the health of workers by mitigating the spread of the unprecedented virus in the workplace.” The agency was referring to Covid-19. Tyler Durden Tue, 12/21/2021 - 07:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 21st, 2021

Appeals Court Allows Biden Private Business Covid-19 Vax Mandate To Take Effect, Setting Up Supreme Court Showdown

Appeals Court Allows Biden Private Business Covid-19 Vax Mandate To Take Effect, Setting Up Supreme Court Showdown Authored by Mimi Nguyen Ly (emphasis ours), President Joe Biden in Detroit, Mich., on Nov. 17, 2021. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters) A federal appeals court late Friday in a split decision ruled that the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for private employers of companies exceeding 100 people can take effect. The 2–1 decision by a panel of the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dissolves the stay entered by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last month on the nationwide mandate. The rule issued by OSHA meant that some 84 million U.S. workers faced a Jan. 4 deadline to get vaccinated before it was paused. It is unclear after the latest ruling Friday when the requirement will be in effect. The case was brought by multiple businesses, including the American Family Association; multiple individuals; and several states, including Texas, Utah, and Mississippi. Petitioners said the mandate, promulgated as an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), should be struck down because it exceeds OSHA’s authority under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The ruling comes after several industries - including airlines and the big three US automakers - agreed not to mandate vaccines for their union employees. Judge Julia Smith Gibbons wrote in her majority opinion (pdf) on Friday, “Given OSHA’s clear and exercised authority to regulate viruses, OSHA necessarily has the authority to regulate infectious diseases that are not unique to the workplace.” She added, “Indeed, no virus—HIV, HBV, COVID-19—is unique to the workplace and affects only workers. And courts have upheld OSHA’s authority to regulate hazards that co-exist in the workplace and in society but are at heightened risk in the workplace.” Gibbons was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, a Republican. The other judge who ruled in favor of the OSHA mandate, Jane Branstetter Stranch, was appointed by President Barack Obama, a Democrat. Earlier this week, the 6th Circuit’s active judges rejected a move to have the entire panel consider the case, on an 8–8 vote, reported The Associated Press. The dissenting judge, Joan Louise Larsen, was appointed by President Donald Trump, a Republican. In her dissenting opinion, she noted that Congress did not authorize OSHA to create such a rule; furthermore, to work around Congress, the rule did not meet the emergency standard of necessity that the secretary of labor needed to bring it about. “The Secretary has not made the appropriate finding of necessity,” she noted. “An emergency standard must be ‘necessary to protect employees from [grave] danger.'” She wrote, “The purpose of the mandate is to protect unvaccinated people. The rule’s premise is that vaccines work. And so, OSHA has explained that the rule is not about protecting the vaccinated; they do not face ‘grave danger’ from working with those who are not vaccinated.” She also added, “[A] multitude of petitioners—individuals, businesses, labor unions, and state governments—have levied serious, and varied, charges against the mandate’s legality. They say, for example, that the mandate violates the nondelegation doctrine, the Commerce Clause, and substantive due process; some say that it violates their constitutionally protected religious liberties and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.  To lift the stay [by the 5th Circuit] entirely, we would have to conclude that not one of these challenges is likely to succeed. A tall task.” Under the rule, employees who are not fully vaccinated would have to wear masks and be tested on a weekly basis for COVID-19. Exceptions would apply to those who work outdoors or from home. The OSHA rule threatens fines of up to $13,600 per violation. It also threatens to fine an additional $13,600 per day that an employer does not abate the violation. For a willful, or serious, violation OSHA can issue a fine up to $136,000. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge denounced the ruling. In a statement, she indicated she would move to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to block it. “The Sixth Circuit’s decision is extremely disappointing for Arkansans because it will force them to get the shot or lose their jobs,” she said. South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, who chairs the Republican Attorneys General Association, expressed disappointment in the decision. “We are confident the mandate can be stopped,” he wrote on Twitter, adding: “We will go immediately to the Supreme Court—the highest court in the land—to fight this unconstitutional and illegal mandate. The law must be followed and federal abuse of power stopped.” Zachary Stieber and Nick Ciolino contributed to this report. Tyler Durden Sat, 12/18/2021 - 10:23.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 18th, 2021

Appeals Court Allows Biden Private Business Covid-19 Vax Mandate To Take Effect

Appeals Court Allows Biden Private Business Covid-19 Vax Mandate To Take Effect Authored by Mimi Nguyen Ly (emphasis ours), President Joe Biden in Detroit, Mich., on Nov. 17, 2021. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters) A federal appeals court late Friday in a split decision ruled that the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for private employers of companies exceeding 100 people can take effect. The 2–1 decision by a panel of the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dissolves the stay entered by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last month on the nationwide mandate. The rule issued by OSHA meant that some 84 million U.S. workers faced a Jan. 4 deadline to get vaccinated before it was paused. It is unclear after the latest ruling Friday when the requirement will be in effect. The case was brought by multiple businesses, including the American Family Association; multiple individuals; and several states, including Texas, Utah, and Mississippi. Petitioners said the mandate, promulgated as an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), should be struck down because it exceeds OSHA’s authority under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The ruling comes after several industries - including airlines and the big three US automakers - agreed not to mandate vaccines for their union employees. Judge Julia Smith Gibbons wrote in her majority opinion (pdf) on Friday, “Given OSHA’s clear and exercised authority to regulate viruses, OSHA necessarily has the authority to regulate infectious diseases that are not unique to the workplace.” She added, “Indeed, no virus—HIV, HBV, COVID-19—is unique to the workplace and affects only workers. And courts have upheld OSHA’s authority to regulate hazards that co-exist in the workplace and in society but are at heightened risk in the workplace.” Gibbons was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, a Republican. The other judge who ruled in favor of the OSHA mandate, Jane Branstetter Stranch, was appointed by President Barack Obama, a Democrat. Earlier this week, the 6th Circuit’s active judges rejected a move to have the entire panel consider the case, on an 8–8 vote, reported The Associated Press. The dissenting judge, Joan Louise Larsen, was appointed by President Donald Trump, a Republican. In her dissenting opinion, she noted that Congress did not authorize OSHA to create such a rule; furthermore, to work around Congress, the rule did not meet the emergency standard of necessity that the secretary of labor needed to bring it about. “The Secretary has not made the appropriate finding of necessity,” she noted. “An emergency standard must be ‘necessary to protect employees from [grave] danger.'” She wrote, “The purpose of the mandate is to protect unvaccinated people. The rule’s premise is that vaccines work. And so, OSHA has explained that the rule is not about protecting the vaccinated; they do not face ‘grave danger’ from working with those who are not vaccinated.” She also added, “[A] multitude of petitioners—individuals, businesses, labor unions, and state governments—have levied serious, and varied, charges against the mandate’s legality. They say, for example, that the mandate violates the nondelegation doctrine, the Commerce Clause, and substantive due process; some say that it violates their constitutionally protected religious liberties and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.  To lift the stay [by the 5th Circuit] entirely, we would have to conclude that not one of these challenges is likely to succeed. A tall task.” Under the rule, employees who are not fully vaccinated would have to wear masks and be tested on a weekly basis for COVID-19. Exceptions would apply to those who work outdoors or from home. The OSHA rule threatens fines of up to $13,600 per violation. It also threatens to fine an additional $13,600 per day that an employer does not abate the violation. For a willful, or serious, violation OSHA can issue a fine up to $136,000. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge denounced the ruling. In a statement, she indicated she would move to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to block it. “The Sixth Circuit’s decision is extremely disappointing for Arkansans because it will force them to get the shot or lose their jobs,” she said. South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, who chairs the Republican Attorneys General Association, expressed disappointment in the decision. “We are confident the mandate can be stopped,” he wrote on Twitter, adding: “We will go immediately to the Supreme Court—the highest court in the land—to fight this unconstitutional and illegal mandate. The law must be followed and federal abuse of power stopped.” Zachary Stieber and Nick Ciolino contributed to this report. Tyler Durden Sat, 12/18/2021 - 10:23.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 18th, 2021

Former ACLU lawyer running for Texas Attorney General on a pro-choice platform says her pregnancy inspired her campaign

Rochelle Garza tells Insider that her pregnancy helped inspire her bid for Texas attorney general, an office Republicans have held for 30 years. Former ACLU lawyer Rochelle Garza is running to be the first Latina attorney general in Texas.Verónica G. Cárdenas for Insider Rochelle Garza tells Insider that her pregnancy helped inspire her bid for Texas attorney general.  If she wins, the former ACLU lawyer could become the first Latina elected to statewide office in Texas.  Republicans have held the office for 30 years.  In early November, former civil liberties attorney Rochelle Garza went from vying for an open congressional seat in a safe Democratic district along the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas to entering the race for Texas Attorney General,  an office that Republicans have held for 30 years. A political novice, Garza is best known as the former American Civil Liberties Union attorney who successfully sued the Trump administration on behalf of a detained teenager who was seeking an abortion, and for testifying against Justice Brett Kavanagh, who had ruled against her in that case, at his Supreme Court confirmation hearing.Weeks earlier, in October, Republican lawmakers in Texas had seemingly upended Garza's political prospects when they unveiled new redistricting maps that diluted the power of communities of color, which accounted for 95% of the state's population growth, and increased the number of majority-white Republican districts. The newly drawn maps made the neighboring seat more competitive, leading the Democrat who represented that district, Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, to run in Garza's home turf. (In early December, the U.S. Department of Justice sued Texas over the maps, calling them discriminatory.)In response, Garza decided to aim for an even bigger job. Garza reached the decision, she told Insider, after discovering she was pregnant. "It's so much more personal. I think a lot about what the future holds and what's at stake for democracy, civil rights, the Constitution," said Garza. News of the pregnancy, which she and her husband welcomed as a "blessing," only strengthened Garza's conviction that abortion is a healthcare issue between a person and their doctor. "I don't think anyone understands pregnancy unless they have gone through it. That is a lesson learned from all the things that are happening to my body," said Garza.Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (right) at his 2015 swearing-in, alongside outgoing Attorney General Greg Abbott (seated) who is now the Texas governor.Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc/Corbis via Getty ImagesShe describes choice as an issue of respecting a pregnant person's humanity, adding, "I can't imagine what some of my clients were going through."  For decades, the Texas attorney general has been at the forefront of conservative and right-wing policy priorities nationally. Attorney General Ken Paxton, who's in his second term, has waged legal battles against vaccine and mask mandates; challenged the 2020 presidential election results, with tactics that included suing other states; and defended Texas' the states' recent abortion law, the nation's most restrictive, which bans abortion after six weeks, before most people know they are pregnant, and allows private citizens to sue anyone who "aids and abets" someone getting the procedure. Paxton took office in 2015 after Greg Abbott, who became Texas governor. Paxton has faced felony fraud charges for thr past six years, but has not yet faced trial. Jane Doe and the 'Garza Notice'In 2017, Garza represented a 17-year-old immigrant teenager, later known as Jane Doe, who was seeking a legal abortion while in government detention. After officials with U.S. Health and Human Services, which oversees the shelter system, refused to release her to undergo the procedure, Garza sued on the teen's behalf. A federal judge ruled in favor of Jane, but the Trump administration appealed. A panel of judges at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the government, but when the case was heard by the full appeals court, Garza's side prevailed.  Paxton, the Texas attorney general, would later argue to the U.S. Supreme Court that the appeals court had been wrong and that immigrants have no constitutional right to abortion. One of the judges who had ruled against Garza was Brett Kavanaugh, who argued that at issue was allowing access to "a new right" for unlawful immigrant minors. The following year, Trump nominated Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.Garza's client underwent the procedure. The case also led to the establishment of what is now known the "Garza notice," a government policy for informing pregnant teens in shelters and detention centers of their rights to abortion services and regulations for abiding by the court ruling in the context of Texas' restrictive abortion ban. Rochelle Garza testifying at Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee about how she helped an undocumented teenage girl fight for an abortion.J. Scott Applewhite/AP PhotoTo Garza, a clear line connects her work with teenage immigrants and the abortion cases the Supreme Court has considered this session."The erosion of rights begins with the most marginalized. With the Jane case, she was someone who, clearly, the Trump administration, Ken Paxton, and Brett Kavanaugh, did not think she mattered, and that her rights didn't matter, but they did," Garza told Insider. "And that's what we have to focus on, because if we don't protect someone like her who is the most vulnerable, what chance is there for the rest of us?"On Friday, the Supreme Court ruled that abortion providers could challenge the Texas law, which is considered the most restrictive in the nation, but left it in effect. A 'women's full pursuit'A recent Politico article drawn from interviews with dozens of Democratic strategists suggested that abortion rights are unlikely to galvanize the party's base "unless — and perhaps not even then — Roe is completely overturned."Until then, voters are more motivated on issues of employment and healthcare, and wealthy people in states that have blocked abortion access will be able to travel out of state for services. A recent Texas Tribune poll found that 46% of Texas voters disapproved of how "state leaders have handled abortion policy, while 39% approved. Garza disclosed her pregnancy on the day the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a challenge to Mississippi's abortion law, which bans abortion services after 15 weeks. Unlike the Texas law, which was written to evade federal review by placing the onus on private citizens, advocates believe the Mississippi case could lead to the court overturning Roe v. Wade. In a court briefing, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch wrote that the precedent protecting abortion "out-of-date.""Innumerable women and mothers have reached the highest echelons of economic and social life independent of the right endorsed in those cases," Fitch continued. "Sweeping policy advances now promote women's full pursuit of both career and family."Protesters march down Congress Ave outside the Texas state capitol on May 29, 2021, after the governor signed a bill banning most abortions.Sergio Flores/Getty ImagesGarza seemingly embodies Mississippi's argument. With a supportive husband, she has leveraged her legal practice into a political career. All while pregnant.But in Garza's view, individual success does not erase the constitutional right to reproductive care or persistent systemic inequities. For Garza, abortion rights go hand in hand with expanding access to healthcare, child care,  and family leave. Texas has one of the highest rates of uninsured and one of the highest rates of children living in poverty. The maternal mortality rate is above the national average. After a state committee recommended the state expand Medicaid coverage to pregnant people from 60 days to one year, the state legislature extended coverage to six months.  At Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing, Garza invoked her client, Jane Doe: "She was alone and completely under the physical control of the federal government and at the mercy of decision-makers that knew nothing of what it was like to be her." 'They have the confidence'Garza hails from one of the poorest counties in Texas, the daughter of two teachers. Her father, the son of farmers, later became a state district judge. Her great-grandmother was a mid-wife and country doctor, informally trained to attend to people living on nearby farms. At Garza's ancestral house where red chili plants bloom in the front yard and pomegranates ripen from the vine, Garza's uncle Jesus Reyes Garza, a Vietnam Veteran, searches for a thread about the women in his family, and says matter-of-factly, "legends."Garza's campaign is built around taking on what she views as the entrenched structural inequities that transfer power into the hands of the few. Jesus Reyes Garza, the candidate's uncle.Verónica G. Cárdenas for InsiderJust one Latina, Lena Guerrero Aguirre, has ever held statewide office in Texas, according to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials – and she was appointed. Most of the state's top officials are white, even though white and Latino Texans account for about the same percent of the population.There are structural impediments to any Latina who seeks office in Texas, and researchers have found that women of color "fare worse" in statewide contests. In addition to the redistricting maps that come from the Republican-controlled state legislature, politics experts say that Latina Democrats who run for office must also overcome a host of impediments, including from their own party. "Democratic party leaders may not coalesce around a candidate of color out of fear of alienating white voters,." she writes, Kira Sanbonmatsu, a senior scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics in "Why Not a Woman of Color?: The Candidacies of US Women of Color for Statewide Executive Office." Texas Democratic consultant, James Aldrete, places Garza among the small but growing ranks of Latina maverick candidates that also includes Harris County judge Lina Hidalgo, who unseated a veteran incumbent to become the administrator of a county that includes Houston. "No one encouraged Lina, no one recruited her. She won and she is amazingly talented," said Aldrete. "If we are going to change things in Texas, it's going to take courage." There are also generational differences at play that can impede Latina voters from coalescing being a Latina candidate.Sharon A. Navarro, a professor of political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio, says some of this harkens back to the civil rights era, before Roe vs. Wade, when Latinas were expected to volunteer with grassroots causes while the men ran for political office. "When they meet older generation Latinas they often get asked the question, 'who is taking care of your children?'" she said. "The younger Latinas are ready. They have that confidence, they have law degrees. They are just the missing support and that structure."Rochelle Garza (second from right) talks to voters in Brownsville, Texas during her congressional campaign on Sept. 24, 2021.Eric Gay/AP PhotoGarza is the only woman and only Latina in a crowded March 1 Democratic primary. She is expected to face off against Galveston mayor, Joe Jaworski, who launched his campaign a year ago, and civil rights attorney Lee Merritt who represented the family of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was murdered by white vigilantes while he was jogging in Georgia. While right-to-life groups that have sounded the alarm about Garza's candidacy, Garza is likely the least well-known. This week, Emily's List, which supports candidates who back abortion rights, endorsed Garza.  Former state supreme court justice Eva Guzman, also a Latina, is running on the Republican ticket. Guzman has billed herself as a tough law enforcement officer whose life history is rooted in an aspirational immigrant story. She is challenging Paxton, alongside candidates that includes George P. Bush, the Latino son of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and the nephew of George W. Bush, the former president and Texas governor. University of Houston researcher Brandon Rottinghaus, author of the report "Six Myths of Texas Latinx Republicans," says the party has expanded its Latino constituency, in part, by side-stepping issues of inequity, to appeal to aspirational and pro-business sentiment. "Republicans never talked about racial impact of policy or how structural racism exists in many policies that exist," he said. Garza says that her pregnancy has made the disparities more evident. She noticed the pregnant women working at the grocery store, the ice cream shop, the fast-food drive thru. In them she thought about issues of access to health care, family leave, and child care that cut across class and race. "We expect women to bear children, rear children and maintain jobs," said Garza. "But we don't expect that job to be Attorney General of Texas and that's obviously wrong and that's why we get laws that are harmful to women and that's what I'm trying to change." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 12th, 2021

US federal appeals court halts Biden"s COVID-19 vaccine and testing mandate for businesses

There are potentially "grave statutory and constitutional" issues at play with Biden's mandate, a ruling from the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit said. The federal government has provided COVID-19 relief in numerous forms, from free vaccines to economic programs. Reuters A US federal appeals court temporarily halted President Biden's COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The court stay freezes the requirement that all businesses with at least 100 employees require vaccination or weekly testing. When Biden announced the vaccine order in September, it immediately drew criticism from Republicans. A US federal appeals court on Saturday froze President Joe Biden's mandate that all businesses with at least 100 employees require COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly testing.There are potentially "grave statutory and constitutional" issues at play with Biden's mandate, a ruling from the New Orleans-based US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit says.The panel of judges stated that "the Mandate is hereby STAYED pending further action by this court."Biden's mandate was originally expected to take effect January 4.The court gave the government until Monday at 5 p.m. to respond to the plaintiffs' motion for a permanent injunction.Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Utah are among the states contesting the legality of the federal vaccination mandate, which has created an uproar among Republican politicians across the country, with more than half of all US states filing or joining lawsuits in opposition.The rule from the federal government stipulated that employers with over 100 workers had to require vaccination against the coronavirus or conduct weekly testing, which would affect about 80 million Americans. The broader mandate would also affect about 17 million healthcare workers who are employed by hospitals that accept Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, along with federal employees and contractors.Critics have argued that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lacks the statutory authority to enforce such a rule."This mandate is unconstitutional, unlawful, and unwise," said a lawsuit filed by Missouri and 10 other states in the US Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit."Its unlawful mandate will cause injuries and hardship to working families, inflict economic disruption and staffing shortages on the States and private employers, and impose even greater strains on struggling labor markets and supply chains," the filing from a coalition of attorneys general led by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt stated.The lawsuit led by Florida, Alabama, and Georgia in the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit also argues that the rule requirements clash with the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act."This unlawful mandate is yet another example of the Biden administration's complete disregard for the Constitutional rights afforded to our state and our citizens," said GOP Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr in a statement. "The federal government has no authority to force healthcare decisions on Georgia's companies and its employees under the guise of workplace safety. We are fighting back against this unprecedented abuse of power to stop this mandate before it causes irreparable harm to our state and its economy."The White House, Democratic lawmakers, and many public health officials have maintained that the mandate is a way to move the country forward from the coronavirus pandemic, which has left nearly 750,000 thousand dead in the US in less than two years. The pandemic has also wreaked havoc on the global economy and supply chains, snarling trade, forcing the closures of businesses and a triggering a shift in the US labor market.Mandates for COVID-19 vaccines, which are proven to effectively reduce the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, will help turn the tide to the pandemic, the nation's top infectious disease expert has maintained.Dr. Anthony Fauci has also said he expects more colleges, univesities and smaller businesses will continue to institute their own vaccine mandates.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 6th, 2021

Into The Abyss We Go...

Into The Abyss We Go... Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog, Why won’t our politicians ever listen?  Just two days after voters made it exceedingly clear that they hate mandates, the Biden administration has announced that the nationwide OSHA mandate will go into effect on January 4th.  Are Biden and his minions this dense, or do they just not care what the American people think?  It has been estimated that the new OSHA mandate will cover approximately 80 million Americans, and it could potentially result in millions of highly qualified workers losing their jobs in early 2022. What the Biden administration is trying to do is completely unconstitutional, and red states are already challenging it in court.  Many people may not realize it yet, but this is one of the most important turning points in U.S. history. From an economic standpoint, this new mandate is going to be absolutely disastrous.  We are already in the midst of the worst worker shortage in all of U.S. history, and we are currently dealing with a supply chain crisis of epic proportions.  Forcing millions of Americans out of their jobs right in the middle of the upcoming winter will take both the worker shortage and the supply chain crisis to entirely new levels. But Biden is going to do it anyway. On Thursday, we learned that January 4th has been set as the official deadline for compliance with the new OSHA mandate… Tens of millions of Americans who work at companies with 100 or more employees will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4 or get tested for the virus weekly. The new government rules were issued Thursday. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says companies that fail to comply could face penalties of nearly $14,000 per violation. If the company that you work for has 100 or more employees, you are covered by this mandate. Needless to say, many employers will be frightened into submission by the extremely high financial penalties.  Those companies that are deemed to be “repeat offenders” could potentially “face a maximum fine of $136,532”… Repeat offenders or those found to be willfully noncompliant could face a maximum fine of $136,532. It is not immediately clear what constitutes a repeat offender. Of course many businesses across the country have no intention of ever complying with this new mandate. Realizing this is the case, the Biden administration will be secretly sending out OSHA spies to conduct surprise inspections… OSHA staffers will be doing random inspections to check if businesses are complying and employees could have to pay for their own tests out of pocket. The agency is using emergency orders that usually deal with workers exposed to ‘grave dangers’ to enforce the standards. GOP lawmakers responded with fury and said some unvaccinated Americans were being forced to decide between putting food on the table or getting the shot, while retailers said the new rules will put an ‘unnecessary’ burden on businesses before the holiday season. It’s official. We now live in a dystopian nightmare. And many local regimes are also choosing to become increasingly authoritarian.  For example, just check out the new rules for children that will soon be implemented in San Francisco… San Francisco will soon require children as young as 5 to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination to enter certain indoor public spaces like restaurants, entertainment venues and sporting events, public health officials said this week. The local mandate already requires children and adults over the age of 12 to show proof that they are vaccinated before entering those places. Now, city health officials are planning to extend the health order to children ages 5 to 11, the group newly eligible for the shot. America used to be the “land of the free”, but that is clearly not true anymore. The months ahead are not going to be pleasant.  As mandates choke the life out of our economy, the ongoing shortages are going to get even worse and prices are going to go a lot higher. In fact, we are already being told to brace ourselves for “sticker shock” when we go to buy meat… For America’s meateaters, this is a problem. Some cuts have soared 25 percent over the past year, while others are fetching near record prices, making meat one of the biggest contributors to pandemic inflation. And industry experts expect meat to keep gaining through the holidays and beyond. “The sticker shock is what we all need to be prepared for,” said Bindiya Vakil, chief executive officer of supply-chain consultant Resilinc. “This is here to stay, at least through the summer of 2022.” The good news is that nobody in this country is starving at this point. The bad news is that food prices around the world continue to escalate dramatically, and this is pushing millions upon millions of people in poorer countries into hunger.  This week, we learned that global food prices shot up another 3 percent in the month of October… A United Nations index tracking staples from wheat to vegetable oils climbed 3% to a fresh decade high in October, threatening even higher grocery bills for households that have already been strained by the pandemic. That could also add to central banks’ inflation worries and risks worsening global hunger that’s at a multiyear high. As I have been relentlessly warning, a plethora of factors have combined to create a “perfect storm” for food prices… Bad weather hit harvests around the world this year, freight costs soared and labor shortages have roiled the food supply chain from farms to supermarkets. An energy crisis has also proved a headache, forcing vegetable greenhouses to go dark and causing a knock-on risk of bigger fertilizer bills for farmers. Many of these factors will continue to intensify in 2022. So be thankful for what you have, because in some parts of the world things are already starting to get quite crazy. For example, in North Korea citizens are now being encouraged to eat black swan meat due to the “crippling food shortage” in that nation… North Korea has started touting the “exceptional” health benefits of consuming black swans after breeding them, while also farming rabbits as the country battles a crippling food shortage, according to state media. “Black swan meat is delicious and has medicinal value,” the ruling party newspaper Rodong Sinmun said in an article published Monday. I have been warning that this was coming, and things are only going to get worse from here. So I would stock up while you still can, because food prices are only going to go higher. If you are one of those that may lose a job in the months ahead, I want you to know that our prayers are with you. Don’t give up, and don’t lose hope. I know that things are really dark right now, but sometimes the darkest valleys in life are where the light shines the brightest. *  *  * It is finally here! Michael’s new book entitled “7 Year Apocalypse” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon. Tyler Durden Fri, 11/05/2021 - 22:20.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytNov 5th, 2021

Supreme Court Declines To Block Maine COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate For Health Workers

Supreme Court Declines To Block Maine COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate For Health Workers Authored by Mimi Nguyen Ly via The Epoch Times, The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday rejected an emergency request by health care workers seeking a religious exemption to the state of Maine’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The court’s decision not to grant the immediate relief for the health care workers until it decides to review the case, means the state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate will take effect while litigation continues in lower courts. The Supreme Court did not explain its action—typical in emergency appeals. But three conservative-leaning justices provided a dissenting opinion saying they would have granted the emergency request. Maine is not offering a religious exemption to its COVID-19 mandate in hospital and nursing homes, which means if workers opt to not take the vaccine, they risk losing their jobs. The deadline for health care workers to be vaccinated in the state was by the start of October, but the state government said it would not enforce the mandate until Friday. “This case presents an important constitutional question, a serious error, and an irreparable injury. Where many other States have adopted religious exemptions, Maine has charted a different course,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in a dissenting opinion (pdf), joined by Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito. “There, health care workers who have served on the front line of a pandemic for the last 18 months are now being fired and their practices shuttered,” he added. “All for adhering to their constitutionally protected religious beliefs. Their plight is worthy of our attention.” Justice Amy Coney Barrett in a concurring opinion said that the court has “discretionary judgment” about whether to take up an emergency appeal, adding that she believes the case at hand, which is the first of its kind, would benefit from a full briefing. “Were the standard otherwise, applicants could use the emergency docket to force the Court to give a merits preview in cases that it would be unlikely to take—and to do so on a short fuse without benefit of full briefing and oral argument,” she wrote in an opinion joined by Justice Brett Kavanaugh. “In my view, this discretionary consideration counsels against a grant of extraordinary relief in this case, which is the first to address the questions presented.” Since 1989, Maine had required health care workers be vaccinated against various diseases. But state removed all non-medical exemptions, including religious exemptions, from mandated vaccines in 2019 because of falling vaccination rates. A referendum challenging the law in 2020 was rejected. Lawyers for the health care workers who challenged the vaccine mandate in Maine argued that having no religious exemption was a violation of their right to free exercise of religion under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. They said their objection was in part because the vaccine was developed with the involvement of “fetal cell lines that originated in elective abortions.” While published data of the composition of the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines show no fetal cells, the companies used fetal cell lines in either the testing stages for production stages of their vaccines. The Liberty Counsel, which filed the lawsuit, says it is representing more than 2,000 Maine health care workers, some of whom were fired from their jobs Friday. There are nine unnamed plaintiffs in the suit. A federal judge had earlier rejected the bid for an exemption, and later, a three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier in October let the ruling stand. Apart from Maine, two other states—New York and Rhode Island—have vaccine mandates for healthcare workers that do not have religious exemptions. Liberty Counsel, in a statement, noted that the states’ executive orders banned employers “from even considering the sincere religious beliefs of employees.” The group said that Maine Governor Janet Mills “threatened to revoke the business license of any employer that granted an employee a religious exemption.” “Gov. Mills has ordered employers to disobey the federal law known as Title VII. However, states do not have the authority to order employers to disobey Title VII federal employment law that prohibits religious discrimination,” the group said Friday. Mills, a Democrat, said in a statement in August when announcing the vaccine mandate, “Health care workers perform a critical role in protecting the health of Maine people, and it is imperative that they take every precaution against this dangerous virus, especially given the threat of the highly transmissible Delta variant. “With this [COVID-19 vaccine] requirement, we are protecting health care workers, their patients, including our most vulnerable, and our health care capacity.” Gorsuch, in his dissent, challenged the state’s mandate, writing, “No one questions that protecting patients and health care workers from contracting COVID–19 is a laudable objective. But Maine does not suggest a worker who is unvaccinated for medical reasons is less likely to spread or contract the virus than someone who is unvaccinated for religious reasons. “Nor may any government blithely assume those claiming a medical exemption will be more willing to wear protective gear, submit to testing, or take other precautions than someone seeking a religious exemption.” Tyler Durden Sat, 10/30/2021 - 09:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 30th, 2021

Biden"s "Come On, Man" Defense Will Not Fly On Religious Freedom

Biden's "Come On, Man" Defense Will Not Fly On Religious Freedom Authored by Jonathan Turley, Below is my column on the President’s dismissal of any objections to the Covid vaccine and his call for mass firings of first responders who remain defiant. The comments reflect a growing call for states and the federal government to reject any religious exemptions for vaccination. Here is the column: “Come on, man,” seems to be President Biden’s signature response to any uncomfortable question. The phrase is meant to be both dismissive and conclusive in ending inquiries, frequently used to counter reporters before often walking away. Indeed, it is so often repeated that it appears on T-Shirts or coffee mugs and in remixes. This week, however, it was not the pesky press but freedom itself that got hit with a version of the comeback. When asked during a CNN town hall program about those still objecting to taking COVID vaccines, Biden mocked them and their claimed rights with “Come on, ‘freedom.’ ” He then called for any police officers, firefighters, medical personnel or other first responders to be fired en masse if they refuse to be vaccinated. Biden’s response to the question was applauded by the CNN audience, as if to say “Freedomm Ptff, that is so last century.” And he reduced any vaccine refusals to claiming “I have the freedom to kill you with my COVID.” He is not alone in such rhetoric. Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot declared that police officers refusing to take vaccines are insurrectionists. The problem is that the courts already recognize some religious exemption arguments. Those arguments are based on both the constitutional protection of religious values but also laws like Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §2000e-2(a), which declares unlawful any “employment practice for an employer … to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of such individual’s … religion.” The federal government also is subject to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which prohibits the government and other covered entities like the District of Columbia from “substantially burden[ing]” a person’s exercise of religion. Under RFRA, there is no “Come on, man,” defense. Instead, the federal government must show that the burden imposed furthers a “compelling governmental interest” and is “the least restrictive means” of furthering that interest. There is a move in many states to refuse to allow such exemptions, but courts have pushed back. In New York, the state is appealing a preliminary injunction against its refusal to allow religious exemptions to its vaccine mandate. A lower court found the governor’s mandate “has effectively foreclosed the pathway to seeking a religious accommodation that is guaranteed under Title VII.” Likewise, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals this month affirmed such a preliminary injunction against Western Michigan University. The university allowed students to ask for individual exemptions but failed to grant religious exemptions under its discretionary policy. The issue reached the Supreme Court this week when health workers challenged a similar law in Maine allowing for medical but not religious exemptions. Justice Stephen Breyer rejected an emergency motion but too much has been made over that order, which was not based on the merits of the claim. The appellate court was already expediting review of the case, and the dismissal was “without prejudice.” The health care workers can refile if circumstances change or if the appellate court rules against them.  They also can refile if the lower court has not reached a decision by Oct. 29, when the vaccine requirement is scheduled to go into effect. Previously in the term, Justice Amy Coney Barrett similarly declined to grant a request for emergency relief on behalf of eight students at Indiana University against a vaccine mandate. That mandate previously was upheld by conservative judge Frank Easterbrook, who wrote for an unanimous Seventh Circuit panel that “each university may decide what is necessary to keep other students safe in a congregate setting.” He cited the Supreme Court’s 1905 ruling in Jacobson v. Massachusetts, upholding a state small pox vaccine mandate. However, there was one major difference in Klaassen v. Trustees of Indiana University: Indiana University allows for medical or religious exemptions. Various commentators and activists are pushing states to follow the lead of New York and refuse to recognize any religious objections to vaccines. This week, Jessica Levinson, a clinical professor of law at Loyola Marymount Law School in Los Angeles, wrote a column for MSNBC entitled “Covid Vaccine Religious Exemptions Should Not Exist.” Professor Levinson, however, refutes an argument not made in these cases. Courts have long rejected the notion that “each person would be in charge of which laws she wanted to comply with and when.” In 1990, it was Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative icon, who wrote the opinion rejecting the use of peyote under religious claims. Levinson quotes the Supreme Court from an 1879 case, asking: “Suppose one believed that human sacrifices were a necessary part of religious worship; would it be seriously contended that the civil government under which he lived could not interfere to prevent a sacrifice?” It was a curious choice of support. The question was asked in Reynolds vs. United States, one of the most religiously intolerant opinions in Supreme Court history. Most people would recoil from the prejudice that comes out of the case, which denounces the Mormon church for adopting a practice “almost exclusively a feature of the life of Asiatic and of African people.” Ironically, Reynolds defended Western and Christian morality against non-Christian values. Professor Levinson is correct, of course, that religious claims are balanced against the interests of the state in public health cases. That, however, is precisely what these litigants are seeking to raise. Most states allow for such exemptions while many private employers impose alternative measures, like daily testing or remote-working conditions. States like Maine and New York offer no recognition, let alone accommodation, for religious objections to the Covid vaccine. Again, religious objections can be recognized as valid but still fail to overcome countervailing arguments or simple accommodations. In Boston, for example, a Muslim objected to the flu vaccine in 2011 due to the use of pork ingredients; the hospital prevailed because it offered a vaccine free of such ingredients. Moreover, even if there are exemptions to vaccines, it does not mean people cannot face other limitations, like remote learning or workplace conditions. The point is simple: Just as religious individuals do not have the absolute right to refuse any obligation as citizens, governments do not have an absolute right to impose any obligations on citizens. Vaccines seem to have become the latest battleground for our age of rage; there is little willingness to recognize countervailing arguments or values. People who object to vaccines are deemed “insurrectionists,” while raising religious freedoms is now likened to claiming “the freedom to kill you with my COVID.” It is the same dismissive response that is often given to objections under other rights like free speech: Those are just abstractions. As Biden said in an earlier call for greater censorship, free speech is “killing people,” so come on, man. The categorical rejection of any religious-exemption case runs against the grain of the Constitution as well as federal statutes. If the Justice Department goes into court with the president’s dismissive position, it could find itself on the wrong side of the next “Come on, man,” moment. Tyler Durden Tue, 10/26/2021 - 18:10.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 26th, 2021

10 Things in Politics: Dems nervously eye Virginia

And Texas' abortion law will stand for now. Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. Sign up here to receive this newsletter. Plus, download Insider's app for news on the go - click here for iOS and here for Android. Send tips to bgriffiths@insider.com.Here's what we're talking about:Virginia governor's race shaping up as test of state's Democratic strength and BidenINVESTIGATION: TSA staffers are angry, working 2nd jobs, and ready to retire earlyTexas' strict abortion law will stand for nowWith Phil Rosen. The Virginia gubernatorial candidates Terry McAuliffe, left, and Glenn Youngkin. AP Photo/Cliff Owen 1. ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL: The Virginia governor's race always serves as a key barometer for the midterms. The current race between former Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the Republican Glenn Youngkin is shaping up as a test of the state's Democratic strength and President Joe Biden.Here are the key things to watch in the final closing weeks:McAuliffe appears to be in the lead: The former governor led by 5 percentage points in the latest Fox News poll among likely voters (11 points among all registered voters). Respected political handicappers like Sabato's Crystal Ball are also still giving McAuliffe the edge.Who's rocking in the suburbs?: Democrats have been ascendant in the commonwealth for over a decade. Explosive growth in northern Virginia, home to the state's fastest-growing suburbs, has powered presidential victories in a state the GOP once dominated. Both McAuliffe and Youngkin, a former co-CEO of Carlyle Group, call the area home.Experts say Youngkin's background may help him try to woo voters back to the GOP: "He's not hated as much as Trump is here - that's for sure," J. Miles Coleman, the associate editor of Sabato's Crystal Ball, told Insider. "He kind of has an uplifting life story, and I think he's probably better positioned to appeal to some of those suburban voters who used to be Republicans but now vote for Democrats."RELATED: Ex-Carlyle chief and Virginia GOP gubernatorial hopeful Glenn Youngkin talks to Insider about his days as a Wall Street kingpinBiden looms large: McAuliffe himself has pointed to Biden's dipping approval nationally and in the state as reasons for concern. (Biden's approval was slightly above water in the Fox News poll). Former President Barack Obama and other top Democrats are expected to stump in the state in a closing show of force before November 2.Read more about the state of the race.2. TSA agents have had it: Nearly 20 years after their agency's creation, TSA screeners, known as transportation security officers, told Insider they were burned out by low wages, high turnover, conflicts with management, angry travelers, and, since the onset of the pandemic, the threat of COVID-19. "They're angry, they're violent, they want to fight, they want to throw things," an Atlanta TSA officer said of unruly passengers. One officer said passengers had even worn underwear on their faces in an effort to flout federal mask mandates. Read more about why TSA staffers think they are "the bastard children of the federal government."3. Texas' abortion law will stand for now: A federal appeals court sided with Texas in refusing the Justice Department's request to reinstate a temporary ban on the state law that effectively bans abortion in the state, The Washington Post reports. The 2-1 order, which is expected to be appealed to the US Supreme Court, did not state the reasoning for the decision. More on the ruling and what's expected in the fight over abortion. Anthony Klotz coined the phrase The Great Resignation. His next prediction: a wave of quitters returning to their previous employers. Samantha Lee/Insider 4. People who quit during the pandemic are starting to ask for their old jobs back: The next chapter of the Great Resignation is upon us as "boomerang employees" return to work. Anthony Klotz, a professor of management at Texas A&M, is predicting a wave of quitters to make a comeback. And he doesn't see it as a bad thing: Read about the next pandemic workplace trend.5. Democrats say they don't know what Sen. Kyrsten Sinema wants: A major holdup in the talks over the party's massive $3.5 trillion spending plan is said to be opposition by Sinema to any tax increases for individuals and large corporations. Such a position threatens to deprive the package of over $700 billion in revenue to finance the bulk of Biden's agenda. Progressives recently assailed Sinema and a fellow centrist, Sen. Joe Manchin, for not being clear in laying out their priorities. More on how Sinema is vexing her party as it tries to pass Biden's agenda.6. Moderna boosters are one step closer to happening: A panel of independent experts convened by the Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously to recommend a Moderna booster shot for certain people who got their shot at least six months earlier. Moderna is seeking to use a lower dose for its booster than for the first two shots. Here's what still needs to happen before shots can go into arms.7. Biden's SCOTUS commission is split on court expansion: Commissioners wrote in a draft report that they were divided on whether it "would be wise" to add more justices to the US's highest court. Biden's support for a presidential commission to study the court's future came during the 2020 Democratic primaries amid an intense pressure campaign on presidential hopefuls to commit to adding more justices. More from the draft report, including why commissioners say expanding the Supreme Court could further inflame the confirmation battles.8. Capitol riot panel moves to hold Steve Bannon in contempt: Rep. Bennie Thompson, who chairs the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, said the panel "will not tolerate the defiance of our subpoenas" and was moving forward with holding Bannon in criminal contempt for his refusal to cooperate. Lawmakers on the panel have rejected Bannon's assertion that former President Donald Trump's claim of executive privilege means he can't testify. Biden's White House has moved to waive such claims. More on where the investigation stands.9. Bill Clinton was hospitalized with a non-COVID infection: A spokesman for the former president said Clinton was "on the mend" after being admitted to the University of California Irvine Medical Center. Clinton, 75, is being closely monitored at the hospital and was administered IV antibiotics and fluids. More on the news. "The Simpsons." Fox 10. Want to make some D'oh while binging "The Simpsons"? A company is hiring a "Simpsons series analyst" to watch all 706 episodes of the legendary television series and write reports on happenings that might predict the future. The pay is $6,800 for eight weeks. The show has built a reputation for predicting real-life events years ahead of time. Plus, the company is offering free doughnuts. Mmmm, doughnut.Today's trivia question: Speaking of "The Simpsons," which first family briefly feuded with the classic show? The president in question even used Springfield's best-known family as a campaign punch line. Email your answer and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.Yesterday's answer: President Jimmy Carter's brother, Billy, is responsible for the creation of Billy Beer, though the president's brother would often acknowledge he really drank PBR at home.That's all for now. Have a great weekend!Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 15th, 2021

Judge Overrules NY Governor - Says Employers Must Grant Religious Exemptions To Healthcare Workers

Judge Overrules NY Governor - Says Employers Must Grant Religious Exemptions To Healthcare Workers A federal judge in New York ruled on Tuesday that State Health Officials must allow employers to grant religious exemptions to a Covid-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers while a lawsuit challenging the mandate proceeds through the courts, according to the NY Times. "The question is whether the State’s summary imposition of § 2.61 conflicts with plaintiffs’ and other individuals’ federally protected right to seek a religious accommodation from their individual employers," wrote Judge David N. Hurd, a Bill Clinton appointee. "The answer to this question is clearly yes. Plaintiffs have established that § 2.61 conflicts with longstanding federal protections for religious beliefs and that they and others will suffer irreparable harm in the absence of injunctive relief," reads the 27-page ruling, which offers a reprieve for thousands of unvaccinated doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers who would have otherwise been fired or prevented from working on Tuesday if the ruling had gone the other way. Hurd issued a preliminary injunction preventing the NY Department of Health from acting against any employer who grants religious exemptions, adding that the plaintiffs were likely to succeed in their case. "The Department of Health is barred from interfering in any way with the granting of religious exemptions from Covid-19 vaccination going forward, or with the operation of exemptions already granted," reads the ruling. New York Governor Kathy M. Hochul indicated that the state would appeal. "My responsibility as governor is to protect the people of this state, and requiring health care workers to get vaccinated accomplishes that," she said. "I stand behind this mandate, and I will fight this decision in court to keep New Yorkers safe." In late-August, Hochul's administration overrode a religious exemption contained within former Gov. Cuomo's original vaccine mandate - prompting 17 healthcare workers to sue the state in federal court, claiming that the mandate conflicted with their religious beliefs "because they all employ fetal cell lines derived from procured abortion in testing." "With this decision, the court rightly recognized that yesterday’s ‘front line heroes’ in dealing with Covid cannot suddenly be treated as disease-carrying villains and kicked to the curb by the command of a state health bureaucracy," said Christopher Ferrara of the Thomas More Society. Tuesday's order technically extends an earlier temporary restraining order which applied to religious exemptions filed in mid-September onward - effectively allowing many healthcare workers to continue working even after the mandate went into effect. In the federal case, titled Dr. A et al v. Hochul, the 17 health care workers argued that they could not consent to be inoculated with vaccines “that were tested, developed or produced with fetal cell lines derived from procured abortions.” Pope Francis has said that Catholics may get the Covid-19 vaccines; most of the health care workers suing in the case are Catholic. But Judge Hurd did not question whether the health care workers were correct in their religious objections. Instead, he focused on their broader constitutional right to have their religious beliefs considered, and when possible, accommodated. -NYT Now do cops, firefighters, teachers, and other professions. Tyler Durden Tue, 10/12/2021 - 15:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 12th, 2021

UC Irvine Director Of Medical Ethics Placed On "Investigatory Leave" Over Challenge To Vaccine Mandate

UC Irvine Director Of Medical Ethics Placed On 'Investigatory Leave' Over Challenge To Vaccine Mandate The University of California, Irvine has placed their Director of Medical Ethics, Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, on 'investigatory leave' after he challenged the constitutionality of the UC's vaccine mandate in regards to individuals who have recovered from Covid and have naturally-acquired immunity. Last month Kheriaty, also a Professor of Psychiatry at UCI School of Medicine, filed a suit in Federal court over the mandate. "Natural immunity following Covid infection is equal to (indeed, superior to) vaccine-mediated immunity. Thus, forcing those with natural immunity to be vaccinated introduces unnecessary risks without commensurate benefits—either to individuals or to the population as a whole—and violates their equal protection rights guaranteed under the Constitution’s 14th Amendment," Kheriaty wrote in a Sep. 21 blog post. "Expert witness declarations in support of our case include, among others, a declaration from distinguished UC School of Medicine faculty members from infectious disease, microbiology/immunology, cardiology, endocrinology, pediatrics, OB/Gyn, and psychiatry," the post continues (click here to read the rest). ...there is now considerable evidence that Covid recovered individuals may be at higher risk of vaccine adverse effects compared to those not previously infected (as seen in studies here, here, and here, among others). -Dr. Aaron Kheriaty In a Wednesday update, Kheriaty writes that he's been placed on 'investigatory leave' over his failure to comply with the mandate: Via Human Flourishing: Here is the latest move by the University of California in response to my lawsuit in Federal court challenging their vaccine mandate on behalf of Covid-recovered individuals with natural immunity. Last Thursday Sept 30th at 5:03 PM I received this letter from the University informing me that, as of the following morning, I was being placed on “Investigatory Leave” for my failure to comply with the vaccine mandate. I was given no opportunity to contact my patients, students, residents, or colleagues and let them know I would disappear for a month. Rather than waiting for the court to make a ruling on my case, the University has taken preemptive action: You might be thinking, a month of paid leave doesn’t sound so bad. But the language is misleading here, since half of my income from the University comes from clinical revenues generated from seeing my patients, supervising resident clinics, and engaging in weekend and holiday on-call duties. So while on leave my salary is significantly cut. Furthermore, my contract stipulates that I am not able to conduct any patient care outside the University: to see my current patients, or to recoup my losses by moonlighting as a physician elsewhere, would violate the terms of my contract. It came as no surprise that, since my request for a preliminary injunction was not granted by the court, the University would immediately begin procedures to dismiss me. However, in the complicated legal game of three-dimensional chess I did not anticipate this particular development: the current administrative designation, where I am neither able to work at the University nor permitted to pursue work elsewhere, was not a development I had anticipated. The University may be hoping this pressure will lead me to resign “voluntarily,” which would remove grounds for my lawsuit: if I resign prior to being terminated by the University, I have no legal claim of harm. I have no intention at this time of resigning, withdrawing my lawsuit, or having an unnecessary medical intervention forced on me, in spite of these challenging circumstances. You may be wondering about the CA Department of Public Health vaccine mandate mentioned in the University’s letter above: yes, I am subject to two mandates, the UC mandate as a faculty member and the CA State mandate as a healthcare provider. Regarding the latter mandate, I filed a similar lawsuit in Federal court last Friday against the State Public Health Department. I will post more later on that case as it develops. Although this is a challenging time for me and my family, at this time I remain convinced that this course of action is worthwhile. I am grateful for your ongoing encouragement, prayers, and support. I want my readers to know that am taking legal action not primarily for myself, but for all those who have no voice and whose Constitutional rights are being steamrolled by these mandates. As I wrote in my first post: In my position, I came to see the importance of representing those whose voices were silenced, and to insist upon the right of informed consent and informed refusal. I have nothing personal to gain by this lawsuit and a lot to lose professionally. In the end, my decision to challenge these mandates came down to this question: How can I continue to call myself a medical ethicist if I fail to do what I am convinced is morally right under pressure? Many of you have asked how you can support me and my efforts to challenge coercive mandates. My first answer is to consider becoming a paid subscriber to this newsletter if you are not already, and share this newsletter with others who are interested in following these issues. In the coming weeks I will be expanding my work on this Substack platform with live podcasts and audience Q&A for paid subscribers. (Subscribe here) For those who may wish to contribute more: I serve as Senior Fellow and Director of the Program in Health & Human Flourishing at the Zephyr Institute in Palo Alto, California. For the foreseeable future, the Program I direct there will focus on gathering and supporting experts, scholars, and leaders who are questioning various aspects of our response to this pandemic, and who are offering more effective solutions to the challenges we are facing. You can contribute to my work at the Zephyr Institute by making a donation HERE and specifying that you want your gift to support “Dr. Kheriaty’s work in the Health and Human Flourishing Program.” This legal fight is important not only to set appropriate limits to vaccine mandates. It is also important for the future that—now in this crucial moment—we refuse to allow our institutions to set dangerous and unjust precedents. Today’s precedents could later facilitate even more coercive mandates and infringements on civil liberties by unelected officials, done during a declared “state of exception” or emergency that has no defined terminus—a dangerous precedent for a democratic society. I want to thank all of you for being a part of this movement and for engaging with and encouraging my work on this issue. I could not do this without you. *  *  * Kheriaty's situation is similar to that of Canadian ethics professor, Dr. Julie Ponesse, who made headlines last month after filming a now-viral tear-filled statement before she was fired by Huron University College in Ontario.  I am going to speak bluntly. Physicians who speak out are being actively hunted via medical boards and the press. They are trying to deligitimize and pick us off one by one. This is not a conspiracy theory - this is a fact. Please wake up. This is happening globally. — Robert W Malone, MD (@RWMaloneMD) October 7, 2021 Tyler Durden Thu, 10/07/2021 - 11:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 7th, 2021

Whitehead: The Police State"s Reign Of Terror Continues... With Help From The Supreme Court

Whitehead: The Police State's Reign Of Terror Continues... With Help From The Supreme Court Authored by John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead via The Rurtherford Institute, “Rights aren’t rights if someone can take them away. They’re privileges.” - George Carlin You think you’ve got rights? Think again. All of those freedoms we cherish—the ones enshrined in the Constitution, the ones that affirm our right to free speech and assembly, due process, privacy, bodily integrity, the right to not have police seize our property without a warrant, or search and detain us without probable cause—amount to nothing when the government and its agents are allowed to disregard those prohibitions on government overreach at will. This is the grim reality of life in the American police state. In fact, in the face of the government’s ongoing power grabs, our so-called rights have been reduced to mere technicalities, privileges that can be granted and taken away, all with the general blessing of the courts. This is what one would call a slow death by a thousand cuts, only it’s the Constitution being inexorably bled to death by the very institution (the judicial branch of government) that is supposed to be protecting it (and us) from government abuse. Court pundits, fixated on a handful of politically charged cases before the U.S. Supreme Court this term dealing with abortion, gun rights and COVID-19 mandates, have failed to recognize that the Supreme Court—and the courts in general—sold us out long ago. With each passing day, it becomes increasingly clear that Americans can no longer rely on the courts to “take the government off the backs of the people,” in the words of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas. When presented with an opportunity to loosen the government’s noose that keeps getting cinched tighter and tighter around the necks of the American people, what does our current Supreme Court usually do? It ducks. Prevaricates. Remains silent. Speaks to the narrowest possible concern. More often than not, it gives the government and its corporate sponsors the benefit of the doubt, seemingly more concerned with establishing order and protecting government interests than with upholding the rights of the people enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. Rarely do the concerns of the populace prevail. Every so often, the justices toss a bone to those who fear they have abdicated their allegiance to the Constitution. Too often, however, the Supreme Court tends to march in lockstep with the police state. As a result, the police and other government agents have been generally empowered to probe, poke, pinch, taser, search, seize, strip and generally manhandle anyone they see fit in almost any circumstance. In recent years, for example, the Court has ruled that police officers can use lethal force in car chases without fear of lawsuits; police officers can stop cars based only on “anonymous” tips; Secret Service agents are not accountable for their actions, as long as they’re done in the name of “security”; citizens only have a right to remain silent if they assert it; police have free reign to use drug-sniffing dogs as “search warrants on leashes,” justifying any and all police searches of vehicles stopped on the roadside; police can forcibly take your DNA, whether or not you’ve been convicted of a crime; police can stop, search, question and profile citizens and non-citizens alike; police can subject Americans to virtual strip searches, no matter the “offense”; police can break into homes without a warrant, even if it’s the wrong home; and it’s a crime to not identify yourself when a policeman asks your name. Moreover, it was a unanimous Supreme Court which determined that police officers may use drug-sniffing dogs to conduct warrantless searches of cars during routine traffic stops. That same Court gave police the green light to taser defenseless motorists, strip search non-violent suspects arrested for minor incidents, and break down people’s front doors without evidence that they have done anything wrong. The cases the Supreme Court refuses to hear, allowing lower court judgments to stand, are almost as critical as the ones they rule on. Some of these cases have delivered devastating blows to the rights enshrined in the Constitution. By remaining silent, the Court has affirmed that: legally owning a firearm is enough to justify a no-knock raid by police; the military can arrest and detain American citizens; students can be subjected to random lockdowns and mass searches at school; police officers who don’t know their actions violate the law aren’t guilty of breaking the law; trouble understanding police orders constitutes resistance that justifies the use of excessive force; and the areas immediately adjacent to one’s apartment can be subjected to warrantless police surveillance and arrests. Make no mistake about it: when such instances of abuse are continually validated by a judicial system that kowtows to every police demand, no matter how unjust, no matter how in opposition to the Constitution, one can only conclude that the system is rigged. By refusing to accept any of the eight or so qualified immunity cases before it last year that strove to hold police accountable for official misconduct, the Supreme Court delivered a chilling reminder that in the American police state, “we the people” are at the mercy of law enforcement officers who have almost absolute discretion to decide who is a threat, what constitutes resistance, and how harshly they can deal with the citizens they were appointed to ‘serve and protect.” This is how qualified immunity keeps the police state in power. Lawyers tend to offer a lot of complicated, convoluted explanations for the doctrine of qualified immunity, which was intended to insulate government officials from frivolous lawsuits, but the real purpose of qualified immunity is to rig the system, ensuring that abusive agents of the government almost always win and the victims of government abuse almost always lose. How else do you explain a doctrine that requires victims of police violence to prove that their abusers knew their behavior was illegal because it had been deemed so in a nearly identical case at some prior time? It’s a setup for failure. A review of critical court rulings over the past several decades, including rulings affirming qualified immunity protections for government agents by the U.S. Supreme Court, reveals a startling and steady trend towards pro-police state rulings by an institution concerned more with establishing order, protecting the ruling class, and insulating government agents from charges of wrongdoing than with upholding the rights enshrined in the Constitution. Indeed, as Reuters reports, qualified immunity “has become a nearly failsafe tool to let police brutality go unpunished and deny victims their constitutional rights.” Worse, as Reuters concluded, “the Supreme Court has built qualified immunity into an often insurmountable police defense by intervening in cases mostly to favor the police.” For those in need of a reminder of all the ways in which the Supreme Court has made us sitting ducks at the mercy of the American police state, let me offer the following. As a result of court rulings in recent years, police can claim qualified immunity for warrantless searches. Police can claim qualified immunity for warrantless arrests based on mere suspicion. Police can claim qualified immunity for using excessive force against protesters. Police can claim qualified immunity for shooting a fleeing suspect in the back. Police can claim qualified immunity for shooting a mentally impaired person. Police officers can use lethal force in car chases without fear of lawsuits. Police can stop, arrest and search citizens without reasonable suspicion or probable cause.  Police officers can stop cars based on “anonymous” tips or for “suspicious” behavior such as having a reclined car seat or driving too carefully. Police can forcibly take your DNA, whether or not you’ve been convicted of a crime.  Police can use the “fear for my life” rationale as an excuse for shooting unarmed individuals. Police have free reign to use drug-sniffing dogs as “search warrants on leashes.” Not only are police largely protected by qualified immunity, but police dogs are also off the hook for wrongdoing. Police can subject Americans to strip searches, no matter the “offense.” Police can break into homes without a warrant, even if it’s the wrong home. Police can use knock-and-talk tactics as a means of sidestepping the Fourth Amendment. Police can carry out no-knock raids if they believe announcing themselves would be dangerous. Police can recklessly open fire on anyone that might be “armed.” Police can destroy a home during a SWAT raid, even if the owner gives their consent to enter and search it. Police can suffocate someone, deliberately or inadvertently, in the process of subduing them. To sum it up, we are dealing with a nationwide epidemic of court-sanctioned police violence carried out with impunity against individuals posing little or no real threat. So where does that leave us? For those deluded enough to believe that they’re living the American dream—where the government represents the people, where the people are equal in the eyes of the law, where the courts are arbiters of justice, where the police are keepers of the peace, and where the law is applied equally as a means of protecting the rights of the people—it’s time to wake up. We no longer have a representative government, a rule of law, or justice. Liberty has fallen to legalism. Freedom has fallen to fascism. Justice has become jaded, jaundiced and just plain unjust. And for too many, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, the American dream of freedom and justice for all has turned into a living nightmare. Given the turbulence of our age, with its government overreach, military training drills on American soil, domestic surveillance, SWAT team raids, asset forfeiture, wrongful convictions, profit-driven prisons, corporate corruption, COVID mandates, and community-wide lockdowns, the need for a guardian of the people’s rights has never been greater. Tyler Durden Wed, 10/06/2021 - 00:05.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 6th, 2021

Policing Pronouns: How "Misgendering" Is Becoming The New Battleground Over Discrimination

Policing Pronouns: How "Misgendering" Is Becoming The New Battleground Over Discrimination Authored by Jonathan Turley, Below is my column in the Hill on growing conflicts over “misgendering” in the use of pronouns. Both governmental agencies and academic institutions are increasingly treating misgendering as a form of hate speech or discrimination. That is triggering major free speech fights in this county and abroad. Here is the column: This past week the American Civil Liberties Union honored the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the one-year anniversary of her death — by rewriting her famous defense of a woman’s right to abortion to remove offensive language. The offensive language? References to women and female pronouns. While Ginsburg herself likely would have made short work of such “woke” revisionism, the incident highlighted a critical crossroads reached in politics and academia in the treatment of “misgendering” as a form of hate speech or discrimination. Across the country, universities are ramping up misgendering rules for faculty and students. The most recent is Point Park University in Pittsburgh, which notified students that its Office of Equity and Inclusion will enforce rules against misgendering, pronoun misuse and deadnaming for individuals who do not use their classmates’ preferred pronouns. The university sent an email to students that states “any individual who has been informed of another person’s gender identity, pronouns, or chosen name is expected to respect that individual.” Students were informed that using the wrong pronoun was a violation and “action could be taken.” Many of us have no objection to using a student’s preferred pronouns. Indeed, many faculty members try to avoid using pronouns altogether in class, rather than look up a student’s designated pronoun. Confirming the right pronouns can be challenging in the middle of a fast-moving class. Students today identify from a growing list of gender identities including, but not limited to, genderfluid, third-gender, amalgagender, demigender, bi-gender, pansgender, and a-gender. Pronouns can include, but are not limited to: He/She, They/Them, Ze/Hir (Ze, hir, hir, hirs, hirself), Ze/Zir (Ze, zir, zir, zirs, ze), Spivak (Ey, em, eir, eirs, ey), Ve (Ve, ver, vis, vis, verself), and Xe (Xe, xem, xyr, xyrs, xe). Pronouns are fast fading from common discourse under the threat of pronoun penalties. Cities, too, are enforcing misgendering rules; for example, the New York City Human Rights Law allows for fines if employers, landlords or professionals fail to use a preferred name, pronoun or title. Yet some people have religious beliefs against following the new order and using such pronouns. As a result, there are serious free-speech and religious-freedom objections to mandatory usage rules. We are seeing a new stage in the fight over pronouns, where usage is mandatory and misgendering is a sanctionable offense. In other countries, it can be a violation of the criminal code. In England, a woman, Kate Scottow, was arrested following a debate on twitter over transgender policy. A transgender activist charged Scottow with harassment and “deadnaming,” or using the prior name or gender of a transexual person. It is not just religious conservatives objecting to misgendering and new identification rules. Some feminists have objected that the movement endangers feminist values and undermines advances for women. In Scotland, feminist activist Marion Millar was charged with “malicious communication” due to tweets criticizing gender self-identification. She has been labeled a “TERF” (trans-exclusionary radical feminist). Will misgendering in the United States be treated as actual hate speech or discriminatory speech? To protect students from misgendering, universities and agencies would have to compel speech. This already is being litigated in some lower courts. In Loudon County, Va., a school board is fighting the courts in its effort to fire teacher Byron “Tanner” Cross, who was suspended for speaking against gender policies in a public board meeting. Cross refused to use required pronouns and told the board: “It’s lying to a child, it’s abuse to a child, and it’s sinning against our God.” The courts, including the state supreme court, ruled for Cross, noting that he could keep his job, adhere to his faith and satisfy the policy by avoiding pronouns altogether. Notably, the school’s rule extends to students themselves, who are required to use correct pronouns, and mandates punishment for those who “intentionally and persistently refuse to respect a student’s gender identity by using the wrong name and gender pronoun.” Religious families have said such a rule would require them to leave the public school system as a threshold exclusionary condition for public education. In Ohio,  Shawnee State University Professor Nicholas Meriwether, won a major appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit which reversed a lower court that initially upheld his punishment for using a student’s designated pronoun choices. The school had refused Meriwether’s suggested compromises to just use the last name of the complaining student or use chosen pronouns after adding a personal disclaimer on the syllabus. The same objections are being heard in other areas. Recently, a California court ruled that misgendering patients is protected despite a landmark LGBTQ+ rights bill. The appellate court ruled that the 2017 law unconstitutionally restricted “freedom of speech” by classifying “willful and repeated” misgendering and deadnaming as a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 or imprisonment of up to 180 days. The court stated that “we recognize that misgendering may be disrespectful, discourteous, and insulting, and used as an inartful way to express an ideological disagreement with another person’s expressed gender identity. But the First Amendment does not protect only speech that inoffensively and artfully articulates a person’s point of view.” Now, as shown by the ACLU, past pronoun offenses are being scrubbed away even for feminist icons like the “notorious” Ginsburg, for referring to the right of “women” to have abortions. Activists like Charlotte Clymer insisted that “trans men and non-binary folks need abortion access.” The result is deepening rather than closing the divide in our society. It is possible to allow for the adoption of alternative pronouns and the recognition of different gender identities without seeking to compel others to do so. We need to find a place of common accommodation and respect in our society. Religious people, conservatives and “TERFs” also are part of the diversity that we should seek to protect. In the end, a degree of mutual understanding and tolerance could produce greater integration of all of these groups. Justice Ginsburg herself may have said it best when she advised people to “fight for the things you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” Tyler Durden Thu, 09/30/2021 - 17:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 30th, 2021

Starbucks, others must pay California workers for tasks done after clocking out: court

California's top state court said on Thursday that employers must pay their workers for small amounts of time they spend on work tasks after clocking out, in a ruling that will likely lead to the revival of a lawsuit against Starbucks Corp......»»

Category: topSource: reutersJul 26th, 2018