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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

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

The 46 best fantasy books to escape into this summer, from the classics to new highly anticipated sequels

Whether you like fantasy books with a dash of drama, historical fiction, romance, or science fiction, these novels are sure to become favorites. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Whether you like fantasy books with a dash of drama, historical fiction, romance, or science fiction, these novels are sure to become favorites.Amazon; Alyssa Powell/Insider Fantasy books are delightfully filled with magic, creatures, and new worlds. This list ranges from classic fantasy novels to exciting new releases. We looked at bestsellers, award-winners, and reader recommendations to find the best fantasy books. Fantasy books are a blissful escape from reality into worlds of magical creatures, mythological heroes, and folklore come to life. They are where we can discover new worlds where heroes and heroines face brutal beasts, travel across distant lands, and unearth forgotten kingdoms. From epic high fantasy to magical realism, the fantasy genre is expansive. Fantasy can include countless different types of magic, characters, and adventurous pursuits and many of these novels intertwine with other genres, especially science fiction and romance. To compile this list of best fantasy books, we looked at all-time fantasy bestsellers, award-winners, and new releases about which readers are raving. So whether you're looking to find a magical first fantasy read or delve deeper into a sub-genre you already love, here are some of the best fantasy novels to read this summer. The 46 best classic and new fantasy books to read in 2022:A historical fantasy retelling of an ancient Indian epicAmazon"Kaikeyi" by Vaishnavi Patel, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.54For fans of "Circe," "Kaikeyi" is the historical fantasy tale of a young woman who discovers her magic while looking for deeper answers in the texts she once read with her mother. When Kaikeyi transforms into a warrior and a favored, feminist queen, darkness from her past resurfaces and the world she has built clashes with the destiny the gods once chose for her family, forcing Kaikeyi to face the consequences of resistance and the legacy she may leave behind. A new exciting fantasy sequelAmazon"Fevered Star" by Rebecca Roanhorse, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $23.49"Fevered Star" is the highly anticipated sequel to "Black Sun," and continues as sea captain Xiala finds new allies with the war in the heavens affecting the Earth. Meanwhile, avatars Serapio and Naranpa must continue to fight for free will despite the wave of destiny and prophecy they face in this fantasy novel loved for its unique cast of characters and incredible world-building. The first epic fantasy novel in an upcoming trilogyAmazon"The Woven Kingdom" by Tahereh Mafi, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.99"This Woven Kingdom" intertwines fantastical Persian mythology and rich romance in the first novel of an upcoming fantasy trilogy about Alizeh, the long-lost heir to the kingdom for which she works as a servant. Kamran, the crown prince, has heard the prophecies his kingdom is destined to face but couldn't imagine the strange servant girl would be the one to uproot everything he's ever known. The most classic fantasy you can getAmazon"The Hobbit" by J. R. R. Tolkien, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.37An introduction to the mystical world of "The Lord of the Rings," "The Hobbit" is one of the most charming adventure fantasies in history. It's the timeless story of Bilbo Baggins meeting Gandalf as they set out to raid the treasure guarded by a dragon — indisputably a classic fantasy novel, and a must-read for any fantasy lover. A fantastical retelling of Chinese mythologyAmazon"Daughter of the Moon Goddess" by Sue Lynn Tan, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.19Inspired by the legend of Chang'e, the Chinese moon goddess, "Daughter of the Moon Goodess" follows Xingyin as her existence is discovered by the feared Celestial emperor and she must flee her home and leave her mother behind. In this mythological retelling, Xingyin must learn archery and magic in the very empire that once exiled her mother and challenge the Celestial Emperor with her life, loves, and the fate of the entire realm at stake. A steamy fantasy retelling of "Beauty and the Beast"Amazon"A Court of Thorns and Roses" by Sarah J. Maas, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.49In this wildly popular series, Feyre is brought to a magical kingdom on the crime of killing a faerie where both she and the secrets of her captor are closely guarded. This series is known for its careful pacing, beautiful romance, and nightmarish fantasy creatures. The final book was just released, so now you can binge-read straight to the end. A historical fantasy that you won’t soon forgetAmazon"The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue" by V.E. Schwab, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.19In 1714, Addie LaRue accidentally prays to the gods that answer after dark and curses herself to a life in which she cannot be remembered. This book spans 300 years as Addie lives without a trace until one day, she meets a boy who remembers her name. Contrary to the premise, Addie's story is one that stays with you long after you finish this book. This was my favorite book of 2020 and remains in my top five of all time. A fantasy book that begins with "It was a dark and stormy night"Amazon"A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $5.35This is one of the few books from my childhood that has stood the test of time and remained on my bookshelf to this day. Meg Murry — along with her mother and brother — rushes downstairs in the middle of the night to find a strange visitor in the kitchen, launching an adventure through space and time to save Meg's father and the world. I was whisked away by the magic in this story, along with so many other readers. A fantasy story that will take you to a new worldAmazon"The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.64Though chronologically second, this was the first "Chronicles of Narnia" book to be published and therefore should be read first. It tells the story of three siblings who step through the door of a wardrobe and find themselves in the magical land of Narnia, enchanted by the evil White Witch. They team up with a lion and join the battle to save Narnia. C.S. Lewis wrote: "Some day, you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again," and that resonates with so many readers who pick this book up and hold it close to their hearts forever.A fantasy series that's quickly become a modern classicAmazon"A Game of Thrones" series by George R. R. Martin, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $26.93The "Game of Thrones" series is hailed as an undeniable classic even though it was just published in 2005. The entire series is iconic. It's about families caught in a never-ending war over who rules over the seven kingdoms. In these books, the good guys don't always win and the heroes don't always live. There are highly complicated characters, tons of subplots, and every kind of conflict imaginable. A powerful and diverse fantasy with contemporary issuesAmaozon"Legendborn" by Tracy Deonn, available at Amazon and Bookshop, $16.29"Legendborn" has quickly become a favorite amongst fantasy readers since it was published in September 2020. It weaves issues of grief, racism, and oppression with Arthurian-inspired magic. Bree enrolls in a college program for gifted high schoolers after an accident that left her mother dead. When an attempt to wipe Bree's memory after she witnesses a magical attack fails, her own magic and memories begin to return to her and leave her wondering if her mother's death was truly an accident. An enchanting, magical fantasy adventureBookshop"The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea" by Axie Oh, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.99Mina's homeland has been devastated by storms for generations so every year, a maiden is sacrificed to the sea in the hopes the Sea God will take a true bride and end the villages' suffering. When Shim Cheong, her brother's beloved, is chosen for the next sacrifice, Mina throws herself into the sea in her place and is swept into the Spirit Realm where she seeks to wake the Sea God, confront him — and save her homeland before her time in the realm runs out. A feminist fairy tale classicAmazon"Ella Enchanted" by Gail Carson Levine, available at Amazon and Bookshop, $7.35Whether or not you've seen the hilarious Anne Hathaway movie, this is one to pick up. It's the story of Ella, enchanted as an infant with the "gift" of obedience. It quickly turns into a curse as Ella can't help but do what she's told no matter who orders her or how silly (or dangerous) the order may be. When Ella finds she might be in danger, she sets out to undo the curse and ends up on an adventure with ogres, elves, even the classic pumpkin carriage. I thought this book was just as amusing as the movie and I probably read it a dozen times as a teen. A deadly fantasy tale of three royal sistersAmazon"Three Dark Crowns" series by Kendare Blake, available at Amazon and Bookshop from $14.99In every royal generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born. They are each equal heirs to the throne and possess one of three magics: control of the elements, affinity to nature and animals, or immunity to poison. When the girls turn sixteen, the fight for the crown begins and will only end once only one queen remains. In this dark series about strong women, the tension and twists build with each novel until the action-packed and intensely satisfying ending. The magic in these books is easy to understand and really entertaining to read. I loved seeing this sisterhood grow and change over the four books.A bloody fantasy epic of warrior womenAmazon"The Gilded Ones" by Namina Forna, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.39Deka is already different from the rest of her village, but when she bleeds gold — the mark of a demon girl — during a ceremony, she faces consequences worse than death. She is soon offered a choice: to stay and face her fate or leave and fight in an army of girls like her. This story moves swiftly with a mix of dystopian fantasy, horror, and a touch of romance. It can be quite violent at times, as demon girls suffer death after gruesome death. If you've ever been hesitant about picking up YA fantasy, this is one that won't disappoint. A dark fantasy that's perfect for a rainy dayAmazon"Neverwhere" by Neil Gaiman, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.29While you are probably more familiar with "Coraline," "Neverwhere" is a Neil Gaiman book that just can't be passed over. On the streets of London, Richard Mayhew stops to help a bleeding girl and ends up in Neverwhere — a dark version of London where monsters lurk in the shadows. After finishing this, you'll ask yourself why you haven't read more of his novels. Gaiman also has a series on MasterClass that deconstructs his storytelling yet somehow adds more magic to every book. A classic fantasy novel full of magicAmazon"A Wizard of Earthsea" by Ursula K. Le Guin, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $6.79When Ged was young, he was the reckless Sparrowhawk. Now he's grown into the most powerful sorcerer in Earthsea, but he must face the consequences of the power-hungry actions of his younger self. This book (and the entire six-book series) continues to enchant fantasy readers 50 years after its first publication. Through graceful writing and impeccable character development, Le Guin challenges us to know and embrace our true selves.A high seas pirate adventure storyAmazon"Fable" by Adrienne Young, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.69Fable is a trader, a fighter, and a survivor. Four years ago, she watched her mother drown in a ruthless storm and her father abandon her on an island of thieves. Relying on the skills her mother taught her, Fable enlists West to help her confront her father and demand a place on his crew. When she finally makes it off the island, Fable learns how much more dangerous her father's work has become and finds that the island may have been the safest place for her after all. This is a gritty story with a strong feminist lead and (thankfully) a sequel that was just released.A fantasy series where light and dark magic exist in parallel worldsAmazon"A Darker Shade of Magic" by V.E. Schwab, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.99Kell is a smuggler and one of the last magicians able to travel between parallel Londons: red, white, grey, and (long ago) black. After being robbed and then saved by Delilah Bard, the two set out on an adventure to save themselves and the worlds through which they travel. Schwab is a masterful world-builder and you will absolutely travel right along with this pair. Because of this series, I have become a sucker for a parallel universe trope. The fantasy story of a forced marriage between a witch and a witch hunterAmazon"Serpent & Dove" by Shelby Mahurin, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.59In Belterra, witches are feared and burned at the stake by ruthless witch hunters. For two years, Louise hid her magic to stay alive until one mistake set in motion a story of impossible choices, an enemies-to-lover romance, and a tangled battle between right and wrong. With how compelling the writing is, you'd never guess it is a debut novel. I bought this one just for the gorgeous cover and had no idea how extraordinary it would be.A criminal account of a steampunk band of anti-heroesAmazon"Six of Crows" by Leigh Bardugo, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.99Kaz is a professional criminal, offered an alluring heist that he can't pass up, but he can't pull off alone. This story is completely brilliant, gritty, and a little messy. With six main characters, "Six of Crows" is a fast-paced heist, a story that leaves you constantly surprised as you'll never fully know any one character's intentions due to its third-person point of view.The fantastical tale of a magical unicornAmazon"The Last Unicorn" by Peter S. Beagle, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.99This is a beautiful fairy tale with poems and songs set throughout the pages. In this book, a unicorn who lives alone in a forest protected from death decides to find what happened to the others. Helped by a magician and a spinster, the unicorn sets out on a journey of love and destiny, faced with an evil king who aims to rid the world of the final unicorn. The life lessons woven throughout this book are bittersweet, but also real and honest. A cherished chronicle of magical children and guarded secretsAmazon"The House in the Cerulean Sea" by T.J Klune, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.29This is one of the few books I refer to as "beautiful." Linus Baker is a quiet caseworker for the Department of Magical Youth — and has just been charged with investigating a highly secretive case that requires him to travel to an island where six dangerous magical orphans (including the actual son of Satan) live under the care of Arthur Parnassus. This book is all about family, filled with comforting magic as you come to care for fictional characters. Plus, reading about a child who is trying to be a good kid while also being the literal Anti-Christ is absolutely hysterical and was the highlight of this book for me.A dark, horror-fantasy book about occult magicAmazon"Ninth House" by Leigh Bardugo, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.55Alex Stern is recovering in the hospital after surviving an unsolved homicide when she's mysteriously offered a full ride at Yale University. The only catch: she has to monitor the activities of the school's secret societies that practice dark magic. Alex, a high school dropout from LA, has no idea why she's been chosen but by the time she finds out, she'll be in too deep. This book won the Goodreads Choice Awards "Best Fantasy" category in 2019 and it absolutely lives up to the hype. It's intense, bloody, and powerful as dangerous magic weaves itself into an everyday school setting. A truly fun Greek mythology storyAmazon"The Lightning Thief" by Rick Riordan, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $5.98Deeply loved, the Percy Jackson books are just as regarded as "The Hunger Games" or "Divergent." Percy has no idea that he is a demigod, son of Poseidon, but he's having trouble in school, unable to focus or control his temper. Percy is sure that his teacher tried to kill him and when his mom finds out, she knows she needs to tell him the truth about where he came from. He goes to a summer camp for demigods and teams up with two friends to reach the Underworld in order to prevent a war between the gods. Percy makes a great hero and it's so easy to root for him as he pushes through his journey, the pages filled with Grade-A characters, action scenes, and monsters. A West-African inspired fantasy world of danger and magicAmazon"Children of Blood and Bone" by Tomi Adeyemi, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.99After a ruthless king left the world without magic and her mother dead, Zélie finds she has only one chance to save her people. On a dangerous journey to restore magic to the land before it is lost forever, Zélie's greatest danger may be herself. Readers agree that the best parts of this book are the characters, who all go on a transformative journey as they fight for peace. This is in TIME's Top 100 Fantasy Books of All Time, which is a huge deal. A captivating vampire fantasy novelAmazon"Crave" by Tracy Wolff, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $11.51It's easy to draw a comparison between "Crave" and "Twilight," especially since the moment "brooding vampires" is mentioned, everyone's first thought is Edward Cullen. Plus, the cover looks like it's part of Stephanie Meyer's famous saga. But the "Crave" series is more sophisticated and literary while embracing the inherent cringe that now seems to accompany any vampire story. This is an engaging read because it blends nostalgia with something fresh and new. Open this book when you're ready to have fun with reading — the cheesy moody vampire moments are absolutely present amongst turf wars, a gothic academy, and dragons. A dark urban fantasy where people hunt the godsAmazon"Lore" by Alexandra Bracken, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.99Greek mythology meets "The Hunger Games" in this world where every seven years, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by those eager to steal divine power and immortality for themselves. Lore wants to leave this brutality behind when her help is sought out by two opposing participants: a childhood friend she thought long dead and a gravely wounded Athena. The world created in this standalone is thorough and complex. But if you love crazy twists and that "just one more chapter" feeling, you should give this a shot.An iconic fantasy book that checks every boxAmazon"The Princess Bride" by William Goldman, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.11"The Princess Bride" is a modern classic that has something for everyone: action, beasts, true love, and a whole lot of fighting. A beautiful girl, Buttercup, and her farm boy, Westley, have fallen madly in love. Westley sets off to claim his fortune so he can marry her before he's ambushed by pirates. Thinking he's dead, Buttercup marries an evil prince as Westley plans to return to her. It's riddled with narration from the author that really adds to the passion and humor of this book.A 200-years-later fantasy sequel to "Cinderella"Amazon"Cinderella is Dead" by Kalynn Bayron, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.63200 years after Cinderella found her prince, girls are required to appear at the annual ball where men select their wives. If a girl is not selected, she is never heard from again. Sophia would much rather marry her love, Erin, so she flees the ball where she runs into Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella. Together, they decide to bring down the king once and for all. This book gathered attention for its Black and queer lead characters that have no intention of waiting for a night in shining armor to save them. It's a story of bravery, anger, and fighting for love.A fantasy that's all about booksAmazon"Inkheart" by Cornelia Funke, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.29Meggie's father is reading to her from a book called "Inkheart" one night when an evil stranger from her father's past knocks on their door. When Meggie's dad is kidnapped, she has to learn to control the magic to change the story that's taken over her life, creating a world that she's only read about in books. It's a story about magic, for sure, but also about the unwavering bond between Meggie and her father — a truly heartwarming love that you'll feel as a reader.  A darker collection of fairy talesAmazon"The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales" by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $4.95The German brothers who wrote this book aimed to collect stories exactly how they were told. This led to a collection of fairy tales that we all know and love, minus the obligatory "happily ever afters." It has all the classics like "Cinderella" and "Rapunzel" that haven't been softened or brightly colored for younger audiences. This is great for anyone who loves the feeling of discovering all the secrets behind the stories or movies we loved when we were young.A fantasy re-telling of "Romeo and Juliet," set in 1920s ShanghaiAmazon"These Violent Delights" by Chloe Gong, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.99In 1926, a blood feud has left the city starkly divided, Juliette the heir to the Scarlet Gang and Roma the heir to the White Flowers. They were each other's first love, separated by their families and long ago (but not forgotten) betrayal. Now, as a mysterious illness is causing the people to claw their own throats out, Roma and Juliette must put aside their differences to save their city. This one features a river monster, a serious amount of blood and gore, and nods to the original "Romeo and Juliet" throughout. A fantastical tapestry of legends and rivalriesAmazon"The Priory of the Orange Tree" by Samantha Shannon, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.24Told from four points of view, Queen Sabran IX must conceive a daughter, for the legends say that as long as a queen rules, the monster beneath the sea will sleep. But as the assassins close in, the eastern and western kingdoms of Virtudom refuse to unite, even against an ancient and monumental threat that could kill them all. This is 800 pages of high fantasy, charged by dragons, queer representation, and a large cast of characters — but don't worry, you can find a glossary and character list in the back to help you keep it all straight. It's been hailed as "A feminist successor to 'The Lord of the Rings'" and decidedly embraces that praise.A fantasy novel hailed for its romanceAmazon"From Blood and Ash" by Jennifer L. Armentrout, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.67While this absolutely falls into the fantasy genre, it actually won the Goodreads Choice Awards for "Best Romance" in 2020. Poppy is the Maiden, chosen to fulfill a destiny that has never been fully explained to her, living the life of a recluse and awaiting to ascend to prove she is worthy to the gods and can protect her land from the curse. When she can't stand it anymore, she sneaks away from the kingdom and meets Hawke, spurring a desperate secret romance. The beginning of the first book is slow, but the momentum builds quickly. It ends on a huge cliffhanger but the second one has already been released and the third is out on April 20, 2021. A classic Arthurian taleAmazon"The Sword in the Stone" by T. H. White, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.50Before the famous King Arthur, there was a boy named Wart, a wizard named Merlin, and a sword stuck in a stone. In this story, Merlin helps Wart learn valuable coming-of-age lessons as he grows up. It feels both medieval and modern, with an emotional ending as Wart finally faces the sword. If you loved the Disney movie, you should still read this, since they're very different. The witchy prequel to “Practical Magic”Amazon"The Rules of Magic" by Alice Hoffman, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.30Franny, Bridget, and Vincent are growing up in the 1950s, aware that they are different but held under strict parental rules to keep them safe and away from magic. When they visit their Aunt Isabelle in Massachusetts where their family name holds great history, the Owens siblings learn to embrace their magical sides. You don't need to have read "Practical Magic" to love this story of sibling love and finding your identity. The book is simply delightful and the whole thing feels like a cool autumn in Salem. A fantasy series that you'll hold close long after the final bookAmazon"Throne of Glass" series by Sarah J. Maas, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $6.59This entire eight-book series has insanely high reviews, with a ton of fantasy readers picking up anything Sarah J. Maas writes. It follows Celaena Sardothien, an assassin who is offered a chance to serve as the King's Champion and earn her freedom after serving in a camp for her crimes. Celaena is drawn into a series of battles and a deeply woven conspiracy, discovering secrets about the kingdom and herself. This is an epic, powerful, and brilliant journey that might just become your new favorite series.The first in a new "Shadowhunter" seriesAmazon"Chain of Gold" by Cassandra Clare, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.49Cordelia is a Shadowhunter, a warrior who has trained all her life to battle demons. On a mission to prove her father's innocence, she travels to London where she meets James, a childhood friend. She's whisked into his secret and dazzling life when a series of demon attacks hit London. These new monsters seem impossible to kill as they hide in plain sight and close off the city. The characters are what drives this book and if you've read other "Shadowhunter" novels by Cassandra Clare, you'll love getting to know family members you've heard about before. A portal fantasy that all begins with a girl finding magic in a bookAmazon"The Ten Thousand Doors of January" by Alix E Harrow, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.99While serving as the ward to a wealthy man, January finds a strange book that tells a story of secret doors, adventure, and danger. As she reads, January is taken on an imaginative journey of discovery as a book she thought was fiction elaborately bends her reality. It's a portal story of love and enchanting adventure, a book about a book that will mercilessly break your heart but gracefully put it back together. A wintery fairytale story, loosely based on “Rumpelstiltskin”Amazon"Spinning Silver" by Naomi Novik, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.99Miryem quickly earns a reputation for being able to spin silver to gold after setting out to save her family from poverty, capturing the attention of the Ice King. This is a woven story of three women, three mothers, and three marriages. Naomi Novik does an incredible job of helping you follow each story, creating some amazingly strong female protagonists. This is not your typical fairytale, but it's still full of whimsical writing, familial bonds, and tons of charm.  A deep-sea fantasy journey with seven kinds of magicAmazon"All The Stars and Teeth" by Adalyn Grace, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.89In a kingdom where you can choose your magic, Amora knows that to be queen, she must master the dangerous but fickle soul magic. When her demonstration fails, Amora flees and strikes a deal with a pirate: she will help him reclaim his magic if he can help her prove that she's fit to rule. "All the Stars and Teeth" is an epic adventure-driven fantasy featuring mermaids, sea monsters, and a kingdom in danger. A fantasy book that will pull you in from the first lineAmazon"A Curse So Dark and Lonely" by Brigid Kemmerer, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.89Set in the parallel land of Emberfall, a cursed Prince Rhen has become a destructive, murderous monster. Harper, a regular girl with cerebral palsy, was mistakenly kidnapped and is now the prince's only hope. Yes, this is the second "Beauty and the Beast" retelling in this roundup but they are both so different and so loved. Readers come for the complexity of Rhen and Harper and stay for the snarky, hysterical bickering between the two.A fantasy story of a darkly magical school where you graduate or dieAmazon"A Deadly Education" by Naomi Novik, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $17.41At Scholomance, magically gifted students must survive to graduate — and failure means death. There are no teachers, no breaks, and only two rules: don't walk the halls alone, and beware of the monsters that lurk everywhere. El has no allies, just incredibly strong dark magic that could save her — but might kill all the other students. El's evolution and hilarity during this story plus Novik's thoughtful world-building and extremely diverse cast of characters are what make this a favorite. A fae-centered high fantasyAmazon"The Cruel Prince" by Holly Black, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.9910 years ago, Jude and her sisters were kidnapped after their parents' murder and taken to the land of Faerie, where they are mortal humans amongst fantastical but cruel creatures. In order to belong, Jude must win a place in the high court which will require her to defy the youngest prince. Holly Black (crowned the supreme Faerie-world writer) creates a world so real, you'll forget its magic. A new fantasy duology of a world of enchanted injusticeAmazon"Spellbreaker" by Charlie N. Holmberg, available at Amazon and Bookshop, $8.49There are two kinds of wizards in the world: those who pay for the power to cast spells and those born with the ability to break them. Elise was born a spellbreaker but her gift is a crime. While on a mission to break the enchantments of aristocrats, Elise is discovered and must strike a bargain with an elite wizard to protect herself. It's a fun fantasy mystery with plenty of twists and danger that are sure to keep you intrigued.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsider3 hr. 54 min. ago

N.Y. Will Soon Require Businesses to Post Salaries in Job Listings. Here’s What Happened When Colorado Did It

Colorado is the only state with pay transparency statutes, but New York City plans to follow Job hunting can be exhausting and full of unknowns. Over the past year, Alaina, a 31-year-old biotech sales associate in Denver, Colo., started looking at job listings online, but she was able to scratch out at least one unknown: salary. In Jan. 2021, Colorado took the unusual move of instituting a law, the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act (sponsored by four female Democrats in the General Assembly), that requires online job listings to include compensation information, right there on the post. It is the only state in the U.S. that mandates this type of transparency, but on Nov. 1, 2022, New York City plans to follow in its footsteps with its own pay disclosure law, requiring companies with more than four employees to post salary ranges. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] The New York law was initially set to take effect on May 15, 2022, but after pushback from businesses in late April, the city council delayed the start date to November 2022, and amended the law to only apply to hourly and salaried positions that are physically performed in New York City—showing how controversial this type of legislation can be. But for job seekers like Alaina, who asked to go by her first name as she continues her job hunt, the transparency is a boon. It makes the search more efficient—and clarifies some big question marks well in advance of putting together a cover letter and going through an interview process. A new report from workforce analytics companies XpertHR and Gapsquare showed that over 80% of U.S. employers who undertook pay equity audits found equity gaps in their organizations, reinforcing the need for legislation to help balance the scales. For businesses and HR departments, pay transparency is a needed reminder to keep equity at the fore—but, as companies in Colorado have discovered, it’s also a big operational headache. Ben Wright founded Velocity Global eight years ago as “kind of an Airbnb” for helping businesses set up the structure for international workforces. “We’ve got the platform to ensure that you are hiring, paying, onboarding people, literally anywhere on the planet, 185 countries, all 50 United States,” he says over the phone from his home base in Denver, Colo. Velocity Global employs about 1,000 people globally itself—many based in Colorado, which Wright describes as “generally a business-friendly state.” Pay equity has been central to his business since the get-go, he says, so when the law came into being, he fully understood the intent. But the way it needs to be applied has been frustrating. “Out of the gates, suddenly, every job posting had a salary, right? You cannot paint every single person in every single job with that same brush,” he says. “Maybe you’ve got somebody on board who is less experienced or had a change of career. So we’re not necessarily going to pay as much. But you’ll earn your way into a better salary if you succeed.” With the new law, that flexibility is limited. “It just created so much angst and anxiety across the board. We lost some good people because of it,” he says; some employees exited after adjustments were made. “Frankly, we actually limited our ability to go get people at higher compensation, who we would have wanted to be in those roles, because they look at it and you have to pick a standard pay for that role,” he says. And, as remote work has become the norm for many companies, the Colorado law seems too far-reaching, Wright suggests. “What you pay somebody for a job in Denver is completely different from what you pay somebody in London is completely different from what you pay somebody in Kuala Lumpur,” he says. Plus, Wright says most countries don’t have similar regulations—even worker-friendly populist states like Brazil and France. (Canadian companies based in the province of Ontario are required to share salary ranges on listings, however, and the EU is considering similar legislation this year. Other countries have made a push for transparency in gender pay equity, and some like Norway have made existing salary information available upon request.) Over at the Colorado Chamber of Commerce, President and CEO Loren Furman shares some of Wright’s concerns. “This statute has probably caused some of the most consternation to Colorado employers, more than many of the laws that we’ve seen over the last couple of years,” she says. The bill itself has good intentions, she says, calling it “fairly innocuous” in its early stages in 2019, especially in a pre-pandemic environment where remote work was less of a norm. “When the statute got interpreted through rulemaking, it got a lot more complicated and stringent on employers, and a lot more requirements than I think any of us anticipated,” she says. In the most recent legislative session, the Chamber was working with the governor’s office to change the statute to make it less onerous for employers to adapt to. In a tough hiring market, “it’s a workforce problem for the state of Colorado,” Furman says. The ultimate impact, however? “It increased compensation, on average, across the board,” Wright says of his employees’ new conditions. “If they win, we all win. That’s all great. But you know, it’s also within the confines of whether the organization can continue as a profitable enterprise.” He says Velocity Global is “slightly less profitable” as a result. They had to invest more in HR hiring to manage the transition, too, and they lost some employees along the way. “Equal pay is important. I just think there’s more thoughtful ways to go about implementing such a thing,” he says. While Wright says that the business leaders he’s spoken with have been “quite upset” about the legislation, a sentiment echoed by Furman, not all companies begrudge the change. StoneAge Tools is a rarity: the industrial cleaning provider is a fully employee-owned operation with an employee stock ownership plan, or ESOP. Based in the small town of Durango, Colo. (“Go to the middle of nowhere and hang a left,” jokes director of human resources Betsy Fitzpatrick), it’s the type of company that has always been unusually transparent in its finances, with about 160 employees. “I initially viewed the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act as a negative, but I now appreciate the accountability it creates,” says CEO Kerry Siggins. They made an effort to benchmark every position at the company to ensure they were complying with the new act, and found a discrepancy in wages for lower-paid workers. They increased wages and set a new minimum of $20 an hour. “I am proud of these changes,” Siggins says. For HR director Fitzpatrick, the work of adjusting to the new law has been worth it. “I had already been anticipating it for a couple of years,” Fitzpatrick says. Her advice to HR managers preparing for changes: “Don’t be reactionary, be proactive.” She recognizes that the intention is to “correct a very long legacy of discrimination and unequal treatment in the workplace. And so for me, I don’t begrudge work that is of that nature. So embrace it.” The legislation also narrowed the focus of their candidate pool when recruiting and hiring. Siggins says that candidates tend to “self-select” when they have the available compensation information. Pay conversations now happen within the first round of interviewing, rather than second or third. “They’re not going to waste their time with us, and we’re not wasting our time either,” she says. That’s certainly been the case for Alaina, the biotech sales job seeker. In her case, salary expectations were already fairly standard in the industry. “I really, really, really like this law,” she says. “Companies are now having a really hard time keeping Millennials. We have been screaming from the top of our lungs for the last five, ten years that we don’t feel appreciated.” This helps level the playing field between employers and employees, she says. “It makes workers feel like they’re not getting the short end of the stick.” Pay conversations have become much more normalized amongst her peers over the past few years, and this just adds to that trend. Plus, for Alaina at least, the bottom line is that her next job will be a step up. Her job hunt is winding down: she expects to sign a new contract shortly. “And I will be making a lot more,” she says, proudly. New York City may have delayed its law, but when it finally comes into effect next fall, many workers may find themselves in similar positions to Alaina: equipped with extra knowledge, and able to bargain for more......»»

Category: topSource: time10 hr. 20 min. ago

Meet The Globalists: Here Is The Full Roster Of Davos 2022 Attendees

Meet The Globalists: Here Is The Full Roster Of Davos 2022 Attendees The infamous World Economic Forum (WEF) will host its annual meeting in Davos this week, and Jordan Schachtel,via 'The Dossier' Substack, is going to make sure you know who is attending the invite-only gathering. For those of you who are new to this nefarious organization: The World Economic Forum (WEF), through its annual Davos conference, acts as the go-to policy and ideas shop for the ruling class. The NGO is led by a comic book villain-like character in Klaus Schwab, its megalomaniac president who articulates a truly insane, extremist political agenda for our future. Heard one of your politicians declaring support for the “Build Back Better” agenda? How about the “Great Reset?” All of those bumper sticker political narratives were popularized by the World Economic Forum. Have you read about the ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) movement? That’s also a WEF favorite. Davos 2022 includes the usual components of WEF’s “you’ll own nothing and you’ll be happy” totalitarian eco statist agenda. Topics discussed and panels at the 2022 meeting will include: Experience the future of cooperation: The Global Collaboration Village Staying on Course for Nature Action Future-proofing Health Systems Accelerating the Reskilling Revolution (for the “green transition”) The ‘Net’ in Net Zero The Future of Globalization Unlocking Carbon Markets And of course, a Special Address by Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine The American contingent will include 25 politicians and Biden Administration officials. US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo will join Climate Czar John Kerry as the White House representatives there. They will be joined by 12 democrat and 10 republican politicians, including 7 senators and two state governors Without further delay, I’ve provided the entire list of attendees who are showing up to Davos next week. I’ll list the Americans below and the rest are linked below that in an attached document. Gina Raimondo Secretary of Commerce of USA USA John F. Kerry Special Presidential Envoy for Climate of the United States of America Bill Keating Congressman from Massachusetts (D) Daniel Meuser Congressman from Pennsylvania (R) Madeleine Dean Congresswoman from Pennsylvania (D Ted Lieu Congressman from California (D) Ann Wagner Congresswoman from Missouri (R) Christopher A. Coons Senator from Delaware (D) Darrell Issa Congressman from California (R) Dean Phillips Congressman from Minnesota (D) Debra Fischer Senator from Nebraska (R) Eric Holcomb Governor of Indiana (R) Gregory W. Meeks Congressman from New York (D) John W. Hickenlooper Senator from Colorado (D) Larry Hogan Governor of Maryland (R) Michael McCaul Congressman from Texas (R) Pat Toomey Senator from Pennsylvania (R) Patrick J. Leahy Senator from Vermont (D) Robert Menendez Senator from New Jersey (D) Roger F. Wicker Senator from Mississippi (R) Seth Moulton Congressman from Massachusetts (D) Sheldon Whitehouse Senator from Rhode Island (D) Ted Deutch Congressman from Florida (D) Francis Suarez Mayor of Miami (R) Al Gore Vice-President of the United States (1993-2001) (D) Full list of confirmed attendees of 2022 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Here’s the PDF File in case the link goes down. There is one member of the 'elites' that is not going to be there (and never has). As Mohamed El-Erian writes in an op-ed at Bloomberg, Davos meetings are full of potential but rarely full of solutions. I have never taken up the opportunity to attend the Davos meeting and I will pass again this year. That, however, does not mean that I do not follow its evolution and outcomes. I am certainly interested in what could emerge from a meeting that brings together so many leaders of governments, civil society and business. In an ideal world, this year’s meeting would prove catalytic in two important ways.  First, it would trigger greater awareness of ongoing watershed developments in the global economy and draw attention to how differently these are viewed around the world. And second, it would point to ways in which an increasingly “zero-sum” view of international coordination can be reshaped to contribute to collective resilience and inclusive prosperity. The list of ongoing watershed developments in the global economy is long, extending well beyond the horrific war in Ukraine and the associated human tragedies. Here is an example of what is on such a list: Due to the convergence of food, energy, debt and growth crises, a growing number of poorer countries face a rising threat of famine — and this is but one part of the “little fires everywhere” phenomenon undermining lives and livelihoods around the world. Inflation at 40-year highs in wealthier countries is undermining standards of living and growth engines, hitting the poor particularly hard, fueling political anger, eroding institutional credibility, and undermining the effectiveness of economic and financial policy. The inability to deal with critical secular challenges, including climate change, is seeing short-term distractions compound what already are meaningful long-term challenges. Private- and public-sector efforts to strike a better balance between highly interconnected supply chains and national/corporate resilience are complicated by a global economy that lacks sufficient momentum for this to be done in an orderly fashion. The western weaponization of international finance, while effective in bringing the eleventh largest economy in the world to its knees, has been pursued without a global framework of standards, guidelines and safeguards. I suspect that, while the vast majority of Davos participants will agree on this list (and, indeed, add a few more items), there will be quite a bit of disagreement on the causes and longer-term consequences. Such disagreement is problematic in two ways. First, it undermines the shared responsibility needed to address challenges with important international dimensions; and second, it erodes even more trust in the existing international order. Unless the disagreements can be resolved, the damaging effects will deepen and spread.  On paper, the upcoming Davos meeting would be perfectly suited for resolving these conflicts. History, however, does not provide much encouragement or optimism. Time and time again, Davos has fallen victim to a lack of focus and actionable unifying vision. Individual and collective interests have remained unreconciled. Distractions abound. As a result, the output has been, at best, backward-leaning. Given the multiple crossroads facing the global economy, this would be a particularly good time for Davos to fulfill its considerable potential — to look ahead, not back. To identify solutions instead of just problems. Otherwise, the forum will evolve even more into a network and social club that is, and is widely perceived to be, even more decoupled from the realities of many and the challenges of most. Tyler Durden Mon, 05/23/2022 - 02:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge18 hr. 6 min. ago

Oklahoma passes near-total ban on abortions after "fertilization" that goes even further than Texas" law

Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, is expected to sign the legislation that is modeled after Texas' controversial anti-abortion law. Oklahoma Gov. Kevin StittSue Ogrocki/AP Oklahoma is one step closer to having one of the most anti-abortion laws in the nation. The state's legislature passed a bill banning almost all abortions from the point of "fertilization." Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, is expected to sign the latest legislation into law. The Oklahoma legislature on Thursday based a near-complete ban on abortions after "fertilization," a move that shows just how far Republican-controlled states are will to go to ban abortions as they expect Roe v. Wade to be overturned by the Supreme Court.The legislation, HB 4327, is modeled after Texas' controversial anti-abortion law that is based on civil rather than criminal enforcement of a ban on abortion. But Oklahoma's bill goes further than Texas by banning abortion from the moment of "fertilization" while Texas' ban begins at roughly six weeks of pregnancy.Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, has repeatedly pushed for his state to be the most anti-abortion in the country. He is expected to sign HB 4327 into law. According to The Oklahoman, only two Republicans broke ranks on the final vote.Over the weekend, Stitt defended a move away from excepting abortions in the case of rape, incest, or the health of the pregnant person. Every Republican president from Ronald Reagan, including Donald Trump, supported such exceptions."I have daughters, I can't even imagine what it would be like in that hardship," Stitt told Shannon Bream on Fox News Sunday. "That is a human being inside the womb, and we're gonna do everything we can to protect life and love both the mother and the child. And we don't think killing one to protect another is the right thing to do either."HB 4327 does provide exceptions in the case of rape or incest if the alleged crime is reported to authorities. It also contains specific exceptions for the use of Plan B or similar so-called "morning-after" pills. The bill also does not include the removal of ectopic pregnancy under its definition of an abortion.Otherwise, the legislation largely mirrors Texas' law. That means that private citizens could bring civil suits against anyone who "aids or abets" an abortion, which would include both physicians as well as anyone who pays for an abortion. Also, like Texas' law, the bill would bar insurance providers from covering any part of the cost of an abortion.Chief Justice John Roberts previously slammed Texas' law, writing last year that decision to delegate enforcement to private individuals was part of "an array of stratagems designed to shield its unconstitutional law from judicial review." But Roberts' plea went unheeded. The court allowed Texas' law to go into effect while a legal challenge to it worked its way through federal courts.Republican-controlled states have rushed to pass anti-abortion laws.Their efforts have been buoyed by a leaked draft Supreme Court opinion. In the draft opinion published by Politico, Justice Samuel Alito writes for a majority of justices,gutting federal abortion rights by explicitly overturning Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. A final ruling from that case, which is based on Mississippi's anti-abortion law that effectively bans most abortions at 15 weeks of pregnancy, is expected to be released later this summer. In the meantime, Roe and Casey remain in effect.If the landmark decisions were struck down, states would have much more free rein to restrict or legalize abortion rights absent congressional action. Democrats in Congress have thus far failedto codify a federal abortion right into law.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 19th, 2022

Racanelli Construction Company, Inc. Completes Construction of The Brotherhood Sister Sol Community Center in Harlem

Racanelli Construction Company, Inc. (Melville, NY, www.racanelliconstruction.com), a leading construction management, general contractor and design/build resource for commercial, industrial, retail, medical, pre-engineered and multi-unit residential projects, recently completed the construction of the Brotherhood Sister Sol Community Center in Harlem, New York. The 22,000 square foot facility also serves as the... The post Racanelli Construction Company, Inc. Completes Construction of The Brotherhood Sister Sol Community Center in Harlem appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. Racanelli Construction Company, Inc. (Melville, NY, www.racanelliconstruction.com), a leading construction management, general contractor and design/build resource for commercial, industrial, retail, medical, pre-engineered and multi-unit residential projects, recently completed the construction of the Brotherhood Sister Sol Community Center in Harlem, New York. The 22,000 square foot facility also serves as the headquarters for the Brotherhood Sister Sol (BroSis) organization. BroSis is a nonprofit organization founded over 27 years ago with a mission to promote social justice, education, organizing, and training focused on Black and Latinx youth. Located on W. 143 rd Street between Amsterdam and Broadway, the building consists of five stories and one basement. Racanelli served as the General Contractor on the project which began on June 20, 2019 and was completed May 5, 2022. The project entailed the construction of the state-of-the-art community center incorporating a full commercial kitchen, rooftop basketball court paid for by the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation, dance and art rooms, Light Room that overlooks a community garden, and rear yard terrace with custom trellis and greenhouse. The building structure is comprised of structural steel framing with concrete slabs on metal decks supporting rain screen siding, Bendheim glazing, curtainwall storefront windows, Nana Wall moveable glass walls and a Greenwall shading system on the property’s south elevation. All aspects of the architectural design are intended to inspire the community’s youth to expand their aspirations and have an environment in which to flourish. In a statement about the project, BroSis Co-Founder and Executive Director Khary Lazarre-White was quoted as saying, “When this project began, I challenged our architects from Urban Architectural Initiatives to design a building that’s about the enlightenment of children. Architecture tells you things. It speaks to the value of what’s happening within that space.” Among the challenges that had to be overcome was constructing the building during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as integrating the various design visions into a constructable finished product. The project also required approvals from the New York City Department of Building, the Fire Department of the City of New York, the Department of Transportation, and Special Inspectors. The new community center, valued at $20 million, was made possible through private donations, government grants and the good will of the local neighborhood. Serving on the project’s team from Racanelli were Project Executive Nicholas Racanelli, Project Manager Jeff Kopping, Project Superintendent Anthony Mish, Assistant Project Manager Michael Aniboli, and Project Coordinator Jude Gluck. The post Racanelli Construction Company, Inc. Completes Construction of The Brotherhood Sister Sol Community Center in Harlem appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklyMay 18th, 2022

High-profile candidates endorsed by Trump lost their primaries, showing the limits of his power over the party

Trump is staking his political future on the power of his endorsement, but Republican primary results Tuesday show that it has its limits. Pennsylvania Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz joins former President Donald Trump onstage during a rally in support of his campaign at the Westmoreland County Fairgrounds on May 6, 2022 in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.Jeff Swensen/Getty Images Tuesday's GOP primaries were major tests of Donald Trump's endorsement power. On paper, Trump came out the winner, with most of the 26 candidates he endorsed victorious.  However, many were running unopposed, and high-profile allies were defeated.  Donald Trump has wielded the power of his endorsement in his bid to maintain his control over the GOP, and one of the first serious tests of its power came in the Republican primaries Tuesday. The results were mixed, but several high-profile Trump allies slumped to defeat.Most of the 26 Trump-backed candidates on the ballot Tuesday were running in safe seats, meaning that on paper, the results validated the former president's endorsement power. But in other competitive races, the results were less positive for Trump. In North Carolina, Rep. Madison Cawthorn, who has built his political career on being one of Trump's most ardent congressional supporters, lost the primary to stand for reelection. Cawthorn has been mired in controversy in recent weeks. After claiming he was invited to drug-fuelled orgies by members of Congress, a series of damaging leaks about his personal life have eroded his support. In Idaho, Trump-backed Lt. Governor Janice McGeachin was defeated in her bid to unseat the current Gov. Brad Little. McGeachin has backed Trump's bogus election fraud claims and built her political reputation on defying measures to control the coronavirus over which she clashed with Little. And in Ohio, Trump-endorsed TV star Dr. Oz is locked in a dead heat with rival David McCormick in a race shaken up by a late surge by political newcomer Kathy Barnette. Dr. Oz has staked his campaign on his closeness to Trump. There were also notable successes for Trump-backed candidates Tuesday. In Pennsylvania, Trump-endorsed gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, an ardent backer of Trump's baseless claims victory was stolen from him in the 2020 presidential election, won the primary. Politico reported that GOP critics fear Mastriano's views could be too extreme for many voters, and he faces a tough battle against Democrat Josh Shapiro. In North Carolina, Trump-endorsed candidate Ted Budd won the US Senate primary and will face Cheri Beasley, the first black woman to serve as chief justice of the state supreme court, in what is expected to be a competitive race. In March, Insider reported that candidates seeking election in the mid-terms were clamoring for the former president's endorsement, and negotiating a series of challenges to secure it. Despite leaving office tainted by scandal in the wake of the January 6 insurrection, Trump is idolized by the GOP base. But Republican critics believe that Trump's fixation on candidates who back his election fraud claims could damage them in the mid-terms, and alienate moderate supporters. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytMay 18th, 2022

How Evangelicals came to dominate the political and cultural debate on abortion policy since Roe v. Wade

"White evangelicals, as a whole, needed to be educated to kind of care about abortion because the primary actors in the build-up to Roe were Catholics," a historian said. Fetus dolls are seen in a basket at the pro-life Carolina Pregnancy Center.NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images Conservative evangelicals have been at the heart of the abortion debate for 50 years.  Evangelicals are now bracing for one of the biggest anti-abortion wins in decades. Experts told Insider how abortion became a uniting conservative framework.  For decades since the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, evangelicals have had an outsized impact on abortion policy from the White House to state legislative battles.The ruling could now be overturned by the Supreme Court's conservative majority — most of which were appointed by former President Donald Trump, who has been a hero for evangelicals and opposed abortion during his time in office with exceptions for incest, rape, or if the mother's life is in danger. Local religious leaders pray alongside President Donald Trump during an "Evangelicals for Trump" rally in Miami, FL on Friday, Jan. 3, 2020.Photo by Scott McIntyre/For The Washington Post via Getty ImagesEvangelicals are now bracing for one of the biggest anti-abortion wins in decades after a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion revealed that the court could likely reverse Roe v. Wade. Walter Kim, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, said if the draft opinion "remains unchanged and becomes law, we will celebrate that citizens will have greater opportunity to engage in creating policies that impact women and children."Abortion becomes a uniting conservative frameworkIn the late 1960s, abortion was an issue primarily taken up by Catholic Democrats. Republican-leaning evangelical Protestants were not initially involved in the public debate, Joshua Wilson, a political scientist at the University of Denver, told Insider. "White evangelicals, as a whole, needed to be educated to kind of care about abortion because the primary actors in the build-up to Roe, and the time immediately after Roe, were Catholics," Wilson said. The shift to abortion becoming an evangelical issue slowly came in the late 1960s through to the 1970s. This was the result of many things, including a tumultuous political and social environment in the US at the time, experts told Insider."The change kind of runs through a bunch of different avenues, but the way that I tend to talk about the story is that it's coupled with a larger story of the creation of white Evangelicals as a political constituency," Wilson told Insider. "That also is a concurrent story with the rise of conservatism within the Republican party," That conservatism, Wilson explained, began to bubble under the surface decades before, during Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt's tenure. He said Republicans had been working for a while on a strategy to undo the New Deal coalition, which was a cross-section of minority and blue-collar voters along with rural white Southerners, that was formed under Rossevelt. "If they wanted to have electoral power, they needed to start pulling away voters from the New Deal coalition," he said, referring to Republicans. Abortion became an issue that helped flip those New Deal coalition voters to the GOP.Andrew Lewis, a political science professor at the University of Cincinnati who studies the intersection of religion and politics, said evangelicals slowly began joining the conversation on abortion in the 1970s and since then they were a larger demographic and easier to mobilize. "Importantly, is the fact that it's political alignment. You end up with a group that's very concentrated in one political party, which gives greater, I would say, political weight -- the ability to mobilize politically," Lewis said. Evangelicals had long "heavily valued pregnancy and families," Lewis explained, but prior to the mobilization in the 1970s "there was not clear teaching or understanding religiously about" core issues like abortion. "There were some debates among theologians and differences among pastors and how they talked about those issues but increasingly you got people who were influential in that [evangelical] world, speaking out on the issue and saying, 'oh no, this is how we should view it' and tying it to some of their other religious views," Lewis said. According to The Yale Law Journal, Republicans campaigning for GOP President Richard Nixon used abortion at that time to win the support of Catholic Democrats.  Historian Daniel K. Williams, in his 2011 article "The GOP's Abortion Strategy: Why Pro-Choice Republicans Became Pro-Life in the 1970s" noted that while Republicans thought it would a temporary political "ploy" to get Catholic Democrats on their side, it ended up becoming a "rallying cry for social conservatives" who used abortion to "build a religiously based coalition in the GOP." As this was happening, there was also an emergence of evangelical Protestant leaders reshaping and discussing religious and moral views on abortion. By the 1980s, the evangelical fundamentalist groups like Focus on the Family, Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority, and a network of churches and television stations owned by Pat Robertson, pushed the issue of abortion as a cornerstone for conservatives and the GOP, according to The Guardian.A coinciding spread of the theological and moral perspective on abortion combined with the political effort to galvanize Evangelicals as a voter group helped transform the conversation in the US, Wilson said."I mean, opposition to abortion really worked well with opposition to the equal rights amendment and the women's rights movements and the sexual liberation movement that were all going on and conservative Protestants, conservative Catholics too were opposed to those. And so it all kind of worked, it worked together in the 1970s, and that in some sense, changed and broadened the anti-abortion movement," he said. Evangelicals push to make abortion a state-level issue "Evangelicals for Trump" rally in Miami, FL on Friday, Jan. 3, 2020.Photo by Scott McIntyre/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)Evangelical groups say that overturning Roe v. Wade would put the issue of abortion at the state level where they say it belongs. "We believe fully that if and when Roe v. Wade goes that it will return properly the issue of abortion and its regulation to the statehouses where the issue can be debated, discussed and relegated ultimately to representative government and the voting process," Sarah Parshall Perry, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, told Insider. Following the leaked draft opinion, other religious groups, including Jewish organizations, said the potential ban could be a violation of their First Amendment rights. Judaism permits abortion, and in some instances — for example, if the mother's life is endangered — requires it. Perry told Insider that she doesn't think overturning Roe v. Wade would encroach on civil liberties because it's the states who would ultimately decide on the issue. "All individuals who have a stake in the outcome here can deal with that outcome at the level closest to representative government," she said. Reverend Jacqui Lewis says a prayer during ACT FOR ABORTION in front of the Supreme Court of the United States on January 22, 2022 in Washington, DC.Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Act For AbortionRev. Jacqui Lewis, a senior minister at New York-based Middle Church, told Insider that conservative religious groups should not be the only ones dictating a political stance on abortion. Lewis described her congregation as "a diverse, welcoming, artistic, inclusive and bold community of worship, justice and the arts that believes that God is Love.""I've learned over time in my Christian work that I don't get to tell other people how to believe in God. It's not my business to tell the world how to be a faithful person. That's an individual journey that you end up doing in the community," Lewis said. "So how dare any of the Christian sects think that it's our job to police this nation and to tell this pluralistic many faith nation, what we think it means to be 'good' 'just' 'moral' 'ethical.'Lewis said she grew up in a household heavily influenced by the notion of "What does the Bible say?" But as an adult, she doesn't proselytize. The evangelical sect of Christianity, she said, has "come to believe its job is to police the nation."The issue of abortion was never really about religion, she added, but a way to unite conservatives and keep America "white, straight, Republican, and powerful."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytMay 16th, 2022

Trump"s campaign committee dodges penalty as federal watchdog deadlocks on complaint it laundered hundreds of millions of dollars

The ruling by the Federal Election Commission, which the agency has not yet made public, does not offer reasons for the bipartisan body's decision. Insider reported in December 2020 that Jared Kushner, helped create a shell company that secretly paid President Trump's family members and spent $617 million in reelection cash.Andrew Harnik/AP Photo The Federal Election Commission has "evenly divided" on a case involving Donald Trump's 2020 re-election committee. A complaint alleged that Trump's campaign hid the true sources of its payments. Trump continues to face significant legal peril in other realms. Federal regulators have deadlocked on a complaint that Donald Trump's 2020 White House campaign laundered hundreds of millions of dollars in spending through corporate entities closely tied to the ex-president and his family, according to a ruling document obtained by Insider.The ruling by the Federal Election Commission, which the agency has not yet made public, does not offer reasons for the bipartisan body's decision on an arrangement detailed in late 2020 by Insider. The six-member commission was "equally divided" on several legal questions it considered, according to a letter it sent Monday to the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, which had filed a formal complaint.Had the FEC ruled against the Trump campaign, Trump's committee could have faced significant fines. The Campaign Legal Center alleged that the Trump campaign routed funds through two firms — American Made Media Consultants and Parscale Strategy — to conceal its spending in the 2020 presidential election. The Trump campaign, it further contended, had failed to keep an "arm's length relationship" with American Made Media Consultants, citing Insider's reporting in December 2020 that Jared Kushner, the then-president's son-in-law and advisor, helped create a shell company that secretly paid the president's family members and spent $617 million in reelection cash.In the complaint, the Campaign Legal Center said Trump's campaign funneled millions of dollars to American Made Media Consultants and Parscale Strategy, which then paid sub-vendors. In addition to Kushner's involvement, the lawsuit notes Insider's reporting that American Made Media Consultants' board included family members of Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence. The other firm, Parscale Strategy, is run by former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale.The Campaign Legal Center filed an initial complaint in July 2020 and a supplement to its complaint in January 2021, following Insider's reporting on Trump's campaign operations.In March, the Campaign Legal Center sued the FEC in federal court, alleging that the commission was slow-walking its complaint against Trump's operation."The FEC is responsible for protecting voters' right to know how politicians are raising and spending money, but the FEC has abdicated its responsibilities for years — particularly when it comes to enforcing the law against the Trump campaign — so the FEC's deadlock over the campaign's massive concealment scheme is shameful but not surprising," Adav Noti, the Campaign Legal Center's vice president and legal director, told Insider.A Trump spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment on the latest FEC ruling. The FEC did not immediately respond to an inquiry.More legal trouble for TrumpAn adverse ruling from the Federal Election Commission would have only added to Trump's legal woes.Democratic Reps. Ted Lieu of California and Kathleen Rice of New York in December 2020 had asked both the FBI and FEC to investigate the shell company created by Kushner, in response to Insider's investigation. They argued that Trump's campaign may have violated laws barring the spending of campaign cash for personal use and public disclosure requirements when it spent its money through American Made Media Consultants.Separately, Rep. Mark Pocan, a Democrat of Wisconsin, wrote in a December 2020 letter to then-Attorney General Bill Barr and then-FEC Chairman Trey Trainor: "If Mr. Kushner's American Made Media Consultants did in fact spend $617 million as reported, he and his associates — which include additional Trump family members as well as the Vice President's nephew — could face penalties amounting to more than one billion dollars."Trainor, one of three Trump-nominated commissioners currently on the FEC, worked as a lawyer in service of Trump's 2016 re-election effort.In New York, Trump is facing investigations into his namesake business, with the Manhattan district attorney and the state attorney general mounting parallel inquiries. While the district attorney's investigation appears to be winding down, the New York Attorney General Letitia James' office has repeatedly signaled in recent months that it has a bounty of evidence against the Trump Organization.During a court hearing Friday, an assistant New York attorney general said James' office had amassed a "substantial amount of evidence" that could support an enforcement action against against Trump's business. James had previously stated that her office has "uncovered significant evidence that suggests Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization falsely and fraudulently valued multiple assets and misrepresented those values to financial institutions for economic benefit."Trump is also facing continued scrutiny over his conduct in the White House. The New York Times reported last week that federal prosecutors have opened a grand jury investigation examining whether classified White House documents taken to Trump's home in Florida were mishandled. That inquiry stems from the National Archive's discovery that, at the end of his four-year term, Trump took 15 boxes from the White House that contained government documents, mementos, gifts and letters.Meanwhile, the special House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol has been preparing for public hearings that are likely to address Trump's conduct leading up to the insurrection. The House panel recently subpoenaed five Republican lawmakers, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, all of whom are close allies of the former president.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytMay 16th, 2022

Greenwald: The Demented - And Selective - Game Of Instantly Blaming Political Opponents For Mass Shootings

Greenwald: The Demented - And Selective - Game Of Instantly Blaming Political Opponents For Mass Shootings Authored by Glenn Greenwald via greenwald.substack.com, At a softball field in a Washington, DC suburb on June 14, 2017, a lone gunman used a rifle to indiscriminately spray bullets at members of the House GOP who had gathered for their usual Saturday morning practice for an upcoming charity game. The then-House Majority Whip, Rep. Steven Scalise (R-LA), was shot in the hip while standing on second base and almost died, spending six weeks in the hospital and undergoing multiple surgeries. Four other people were shot, including two members of the Capitol Police who were part of Scalise's security detail, a GOP staffer, and a Tyson Foods lobbyist. “He was hunting us at that point,” Rep. Mike Bishop (R-MI) said of the shooter, who attempted to murder as many people as he could while standing with his rifle behind the dugout. Buffalo Police on scene at a Tops Friendly Market on May 14, 2022 in Buffalo, New York. At least 10 people were killed after a mass shooting at the store with the shooter in police custody. (Photo by John Normile/Getty Images) The shooter died after engaging the police in a shootout. He was James T. Hodgkinson, a 66-year-old hard-core Democrat who — less than six months into the Trump presidency — had sought to kill GOP lawmakers based on his belief that Republicans were corrupt traitors, fascists, and Kremlin agents. The writings he left behind permitted little doubt that he was driven to kill by the relentless messaging he heard from his favorite cable host, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, and other virulently anti-Trump pundits, about the evils of the GOP. Indeed, immediately after arriving at the softball field, he asked several witnesses whether the people gathered "were Republicans or Democrats.” A CNN examination of his life revealed that “Hodgkinson's online presence was largely defined by his politics.” In particular, “his public Facebook posts date back to 2012 and are nearly all about his support for liberal politics.” He was particularly "passionate about tax hikes on the rich and universal health care.” NBC News explained that “when he got angry about politics, it was often directed against Republicans,” and acknowledged that “Hodgkinson said his favorite TV program was 'The Rachel Maddow Show' on MSNBC.” Indeed, his media diet was a non-stop barrage of vehement animosity toward Republicans: "His favorite television shows were listed as 'Real Time with Bill Maher;' 'The Rachel Maddow Show;' 'Democracy Now!’ and other left-leaning programs.” On the Senate floor, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) divulged that Hodgkinson was an ardent supporter of his and had even “apparently volunteered” for his campaign. A Sanders supporter told The Washington Post that “he campaigned for Bernie Sanders with Hodgkinson in Iowa.” The mass-shooter had a particular fondness for Maddow's nightly MSNBC show. In his many Letters to the Editor sent to the Belleville News-Democrat, reported New York Magazine, he “expressed support for President Obama, and declared his love for The Rachel Maddow Show". In one letter he heralded Maddow's nightly program as "one of my favorite TV shows.” While consuming this strident and increasingly rage-driven Trump-era, anti-GOP media diet, Hodgkinson “joined several anti-GOP Facebook groups, including ‘Terminate The Republican Party’; 'The Road to Hell Is Paved With Republicans’;, and 'Join The Resistance Worldwide!!'" Two of his consuming beliefs were that Trump-era Republicans were traitors to the United States and fascist white nationalists. In 2015, he had posted a cartoon depicting Scalise — the man he came very close to murdering — as speaking at a gathering of the KKK. Once Trump was inaugurated in early 2017, the mass shooter's online messaging began increasingly mirroring the more extreme anti-Trump and anti-GOP voices that did not just condemn the GOP's ideology but depicted them as grave threats to the Republic. In a March 22 Facebook post, Hodgkinson wrote: “Trump is a Traitor. Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It's Time to Destroy Trump & Co." In February, he posted: “Republicans are the Taliban of the USA.” In one Facebook post just days before his shooting spree, Hodgkinson wrote: “I Want to Say Mr. President, for being an ass hole you are Truly the Biggest Ass Hole We Have Ever Had in the Oval Office.” As NBC News put it: “Hodgkinson’s Facebook postings portray him as stridently anti-Republican and anti-Trump.” Despite the fact that Hodgkinson was a fanatical fan of Maddow, Democracy Now host Amy Goodman, and Sanders, that the ideas and ideology motivating his shooting spree perfectly matched — and were likely shaped by — liberals of that cohort, and that the enemies whom he sought to kill were also the enemies of Maddow and her liberal comrades, nobody rational or decent sought to blame the MSNBC host, the Vermont Senator or anyone else whose political views matched Hodgkinson's for the grotesque violence he unleashed. The reason for that is clear and indisputable: as strident and extremist as she is, Maddow has never once encouraged any of her followers to engage in violence to advance her ideology, nor has she even hinted that a mass murder of the Republican traitors, fascists and Kremlin agents about whom she rants on a nightly basis to millions of people is a just solution. It would be madness to try to assign moral or political blame to them. If we were to create a framework in which prominent people were held responsible for any violence carried out in the name of an ideology they advocate, then nobody would be safe, given that all ideologies have their misfits, psychopaths, unhinged personality types, and extremists. And thus there was little to no attempt to hold Maddow or Sanders responsible for the violent acts of one of their most loyal adherents. The same is true of the spate of mass shootings and killings by self-described black nationalists over the last several years. Back in 2017, the left-wing group Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) warned of the “Return of the Violent Black Nationalist.” In one incident, “Micah Xavier Johnson ambushed Dallas police officers during a peaceful protest against police brutality, killing five officers and wounding nine others.” Then, “ten days later, Gavin Eugene Long shot six officers, killing three, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.” They shared the same ideology, one which drove their murderous spree: Both Johnson and Long were reportedly motivated by their strong dislike of law enforcement, grievances against perceived white dominance, and the recent fatal police shootings of unarmed black men under questionable circumstances, specifically the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling of Baton Rouge and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota . . . Needless to say, the ideas that motivated these two black nationalists to murder multiple people, including police officers, is part of a core ideology that is commonly heard in mainstream media venues, expressed by many if not most of the nation's most prominent liberals. Depicting the police as a white supremacist force eager to kill black people, “grievances against perceived white dominance,” and anger over “the white supremacism endemic in America’s system of governance from the country’s founding” are views that one routinely hears on MSNBC, CNN, from Democratic Party politicians, and in the op-ed pages of The New York Times and The Washington Post. Yet virtually nobody sought to blame Chris Hayes, Joy Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Jamelle Bouie or New York Times op-ed writers for these shooting sprees. Indeed, no blame was assigned to anti-police liberal pundits whose view of American history is exactly the same as that of these two killers — even though they purposely sought to murder the same enemies whom those prominent liberals target. Nobody blamed those anti-police liberals for the same reason they did not blame Maddow and Sanders for Hodgkinson's shooting spree: there is a fundamental and necessary distinction between people who use words to express ideas and demonize perceived enemies, and those who decide to go randomly and indiscriminately murder in the name of that ideology. Since that 2017 warning from the SPLC, there have been many more murders in the name of this anti-police and anti-white-supremacist ideology of black nationalism. In June of last year, the ADL said it had “linked Othal Toreyanne Resheen Wallace, the man arrested and accused of fatally shooting Daytona Beach Officer Jason Raynor on June 23, to several extremist groups preaching Black nationalism." He had “participated in several events organized by the NFAC…best known for holding armed marches protesting racial inequality and police brutality.” He had a long history of citing and following prominent radical Black anti-police and anti-White ideologues." Also in June of last year, a 25-year-old man named Noah Green drove a car into a Capitol Hill Police Officer, killing him instantly. The New York Times reported that he follows black nationalist groups, while a former college teammate “recalled that Mr. Green would often talk to fellow players about strategies to save and invest, emphasizing the need to close the wealth gap between white and Black America.” Just last month, a self-identified black nationalist named Frank James went on a terrifying shooting spree in the New York City subway system that injured dozens. He had “posted material on social media linked to black identity extremist ideologies, including the Nation of Islam, Black Panthers, Black Liberation Army, BLM and an image of black nationalist cop-killer Micah Johnson.” Angie Speaks, the brilliant writer who voices the audio version of the articles for this Substack, reported in Newsweek that James had “posted prolifically on social media and hosted a YouTube channel where he expressed Black Nationalist leanings and racial grievances." In 2019, The New York Times reported that “an assailant involved in the prolonged firefight in Jersey City, N.J., that left six people dead, including one police officer, was linked on Wednesday to the Black Hebrew Israelite movement,” and had written “anti-police posts.” Most media outlets and liberal politicians correctly refused to assign blame to pundits and politicians who spew anti-police rhetoric, or who insist that the U.S. is a nation of white supremacy: the animating ideas of these murders. Yet in these cases, they go much further with their denialism: many deny that this ideology even exists at all. “The made-up 'Black Identity Extremist' label is the latest example in a history of harassing and discrediting Black activists who dare to use their voices to call out white supremacy,” claimed the ACLU in 2019. PBS quoted a lawyer for an advocacy group as saying: “We're deeply concerned about the FBI's 'black identity extremist' designation. This is mere distraction from the very real threat of white supremacy...There is no such thing as black identity extremism.” The same year, The Intercept published an article headlined “The Strange Tale of the FBI’s Fictional ‘Black Identity Extremism' Movement,” which claimed over and over that there is no such thing as black extremism and that any attempt to ascribe violence to this ideology is a lie invented by those seeking to hide the dangers of white supremacy. It is virtually impossible to find any ideology on any part of the political spectrum that has not spawned senseless violence and mass murder by adherents. “The suspected killer of Dutch maverick politician Pim Fortuyn had environmentalist propaganda and ammunition at his home,” reported CBS News about the assassin, Volkert van der Graaf. Van der Graaf was a passionate animal rights and environmental activist who admitted “he killed the controversial right-wing leader because he considered him a danger to society.” Van der Graaf was particularly angry about what he believed was Fortuyn's anti-Muslim rhetoric. As a result, “some supporters of Fortuyn had blamed Green party leader Paul Rosenmoeller for "demonizing Fortuyn before he was gunned down in May just before general elections.” In other words, simply because the Green Party leader was highly critical of Fortuyn's ideology, some opportunistic Dutch politicians sought absurdly to blame him for Fortuyn's murder by Van der Graaf. Sound familiar? During the BLM and Antifa protests and riots of 2020, an Antifa supporter, Michael Reinoehl, was the leading suspect in the murder of a Trump supporter, Aaron J. Danielson, as he rode in a truck (Reinoehl himself was then killed by federal agents before being arrested in what appeared to be a deliberate extra-judicial execution, though an investigation cleared them of wrongdoing, as typically happens when federal agents are involved). In 2016, The New York Times reported that “the heavily armed sniper who gunned down police officers in downtown Dallas, leaving five of them dead, specifically set out to kill as many white officers as he could, officials said Friday.” The Paper of Record noted that many believed that anti-police protests would eventually lead to violent attacks on police officers: it “was the kind of retaliatory violence that people have feared through two years of protests around the country against deaths in police custody.” Then there are the murders carried out in the name of various religions. For the last three decades at least, debates have been raging about what level of responsibility, if any, should be assigned to radical Muslim preachers or Muslim politicians when individuals carry out atrocities and murders in the name of Islam. Liberals insist — correctly, in my view — that it is irresponsible and unfair to blame non-violent Muslims who preach radical versions of religious or political Islam for those who carry out violence in the name of those doctrines. Similar debates are heard with regard to Jewish extremists, such as the Israeli-American doctor Baruch Goldstein who “opened fire in the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, killing 29 Muslim worshippers.” Many insist that the radical anti-Muslim speech of Israeli extremists is to blame, while others deny that there is any such thing as “Jewish terrorism” and that all blames lies solely with the individual who decided to resort to violence. To be sure, there have been a large number of murders and other atrocities carried out in U.S. and the West generally in the name of right-wing ideologies, in the name of white supremacy, in the name of white nationalism. The difference, though, is glaring: when murders are carried out in the name of liberal ideology, there is a rational and restrained refusal to blame liberal pundits and politicians who advocate the ideology that animated those killings. Yet when killings are carried out in the name of right-wing ideologies despised by the corporate press and mainstream pundits (or ideologies that they falsely associate with conservatism), they instantly leap to lay blame at the feet of their conservative political opponents who, despite never having advocated or even implied the need for violence, are nonetheless accused of bearing guilt for the violence — often before anything is known about the killers or their motives. In general, it is widely understood that liberal pundits and politicians are not to blame, at all, when murders are carried out in the name of the causes they support or against the enemies they routinely condemn. That is because, in such cases, we apply the rational framework that someone who does not advocate violence is not responsible for the violent acts of one's followers and fans who kill in the name of that person's ideas. Indeed, this perfectly sensible principle was enshrined by the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark 1982 unanimous free speech ruling in Claiborne v. NAACP. That case arose out of efforts by the State of Mississippi to hold leaders of the local NAACP chapter legally liable for violence carried out by NAACP members on the ground that the leaders’ inflammatory and rage-driven speeches had “incited” and “provoked” their followers to burn white-owned stores and other stores ignoring their boycott to the ground. In ruling in favor of the NAACP, the Court stressed the crucial difference between those who peacefully advocate ideas and ideologies, even if they do so with virulence and anger (such as NAACP leaders), and those who are “inspired” by those speeches to commit violence to advance that cause. “To impose liability without a finding that the NAACP authorized — either actually or apparently — or ratified unlawful conduct would impermissibly burden the rights of political association that are protected by the First Amendment,” ruled the Court. This principle is not only a jurisprudential or constitutional one. It is also a rational one. Those who express ideas without advocating violence are not and cannot fairly be held responsible for those who decide to pick up arms in the name of those ideas, even if — as in the case of James Hodgkinson — we know for certain that the murderer listened closely to and was influenced by people like Rachel Maddow and Bernie Sanders. In such cases, we understand that it is madness, and deeply unfair, to exploit heinous murders to lay blame for the violence and killings on the doorsteps of our political adversaries. But when a revolting murder spree is carried out in the name of right-wing ideas (or ideas perceived by the corporate press to be right-wing), everything changes — instantly and completely. In such cases, often before anything is known about the murderer — indeed, literally before the corpses are even removed from the ground where they lie — there is a coordinated effort to declare that anyone who holds any views in common with the murderer has “blood on their hands” and is essentially a co-conspirator in the massacre. A very vivid and particularly gruesome display of this demented game was on display on Saturday night after a white 18-year-old, Payton Gendron, purposely targeted a part of Buffalo with a substantial black population. He entered a supermarket he knew was frequented largely by black customers and shot everyone he found, killing 10 people, most of them black. A lengthy, 180-page manifesto he left behind was filled with a wide variety of eclectic political views and ideologies. In that manifesto, Gendron described himself as a "left-wing authoritarian” and “populist” (“On the political compass I fall in the mild-moderate authoritarian left category, and I would prefer to be called a populist”). He heaped praise on an article in the socialist magazine Jacobin for its view that cryptocurrency and Bitcoin are fraudulent scams. He spoke passionately of the centrality and necessity of environmentalism, and lamented that “the state [has] long since heavily lost to its corporate backers.” He ranted against “corporate profits and the ever increasing wealth of the 1% that exploit the people for their own benefit.” And he not only vehemently rejected any admiration for political conservatism but made clear that he viewed it as an enemy to his agenda: “conservatism is corporatism in disguise, I want no part of it.” But by far the overarching and dominant theme of his worldview — the ideology that he repeatedly emphasized was the animating cause of his murder spree — was his anger and fear that white people, which he defines as those of European descent, were being eradicated by a combination of low birth rates and mass immigration. He repeatedly self-identified as a "racist” and expressed admiration for fascism as a solution. His treatise borrowed heavily from, and at times outright plagiarized, large sections of the manifesto left behind by Brenton Tarrant, the 29-year-old Australian who in 2019 murdered 51 people, mostly Muslims, at two mosques in New Zealand. Gendron's manifesto included a long list of websites and individuals who influenced his thinking, but made clear that it was Tarrant who was his primary inspiration. Other than extensive anti-Semitic sections which insisted that Jews are behind most of the world's powerful institutions and accompanying problems, it was Tarrant's deep concern about what he perceived is the disappearance of white people that was also Gendron's principal cause: If there’s one thing I want you to get from these writings, it’s that White birth rates must change. Everyday the White population becomes fewer in number. To maintain a population the people must achieve a birth rate that reaches replacement fertility levels, in the western world that is about 2.06 births per woman…. In 2050, despite the ongoing effect of sub-replacement fertility, the population figures show that the population does not decrease inline with the sub-replacement fertility levels, but actually maintains and, even in many White nations, rapidly increases. All through immigration. This is ethnic replacement. This is cultural replacement. This is racial replacement. This is WHITE GENOCIDE. Within literally an hour of the news of this murder spree in Buffalo — far too little time for anyone to have even carefully read all or most of Gendron's manifesto, and with very little known about his life or activities — much of the corporate press and liberal pundit class united to reveal the real culprit, the actual guilty party, behind this murder spree: Fox News host Tucker Carlson. So immediate and unified was this guilty verdict of mob justice that Carlson's name trended all night on Twitter along with Buffalo and Gendron. Twitter trending topics, May 14, 2022 The examples of liberal pundits instantly blaming Carlson for this murder are far too numerous to comprehensively cite. “Literally everyone warned Fox News and Tucker Carlson that this would happen and they fucking laughed and went harder,” decreed Andrew Lawrence of the incomparably sleazy and dishonest group Media Matters, spawned by ultimate sleaze-merchant David Brock. “The Buffalo shooter… subscribed to the Great Replacement theory touted by conservative elites like Tucker Carlson and believed by nearly half of GOP voters,” claimed The Washington Post's Emmanuel Felton. “See if you can tell the difference between [Gerdon's manifesto on 'white Replacement’] and standard fare on the Tucker Carlson show,” said Georgetown Professor Don Moynihan. “The racist massacre in Buffalo rest [sic] at the feet of Donald Trump, Tucker Carlson, and the GOP,” decreed Hollywood's nepotism prince Rob Reiner. The shooter was inspired by “a white nationalist conspiracy theory that Tucker Carlson has defended on his show,” was the verdict of The Huffington Post's Philip Lewis less than six hours after the shooting spree began. And on and on. That Carlson was primarily responsible for the ten dead people in Buffalo was asserted despite the fact that there was no indication that Gendron even knew who Carlson was, that he had ever watched his show, that he was influenced by him in any way, or that he admired or even liked the Fox host. Indeed, in the long list of people and places which Gendron cited as important influences on him — “Brenton Tarrant, [El Paso shooter] Patrick Crusius, [California Jewish community center killer], John Earnest, [Norwegian mass murderer] Anders Breivik, [Charleston black church murderer] Dylann Roof, etc.” — nowhere does he even allude to let alone mention any Fox News host or Carlson. To the contrary, Gendron explicitly describes his contempt for political conservatism. In a section entitled “CONSERVATISM IS DEAD, THANK GOD,” he wrote: "Not a thing has been conserved other than corporate profits and the ever increasing wealth of the 1% that exploit the people for their own benefit. Conservatism is dead. Thank god. Now let us bury it and move on to something of worth.” In this hated of conservatism, he copied his hero Brenton Tarrant, who also wrote that “conservatism is corporatism in disguise, I want no part of it,” adding about conservatives: They don’t even BELIEVE in the race, they don’t even have the gall to say race exists. And above all they don’t even care if it does. It’s profit, and profit alone that drives them, all else is secondary. The notion of a racial future or destiny is as foreign to them as social responsibilities. So desperate and uncontrolled was this ghoulish attempt to blame Carlson for the Buffalo shootings that my email inbox and social media feeds were festering with various liberal pundits demanding to know why I had not yet manifested my views of this shooting — as though it is advisable or even possible to formulate definitive opinions about a complex mass murder spree that had just taken place less than five hours before. “Still working on your talking points to defend your buddy Tucker or are you holding off on trying out your deflections until the bodies get cold?,” wrote a pundit named Jonathan Katz at 6:46 pm ET on Saturday night in a highly representative demand — just four hours after the shooter fired his first shot. Demands to assert definitive opinions about who — other than the killer — is to blame for a mass murder spree just hours after it happened can be called many things; "journalistic” and "responsible” are not among them. As it happened, I was on an overnight international flight on Saturday and into Sunday morning; I deeply apologize for my failure to monitor and speak on Twitter twenty-four hours a day. But even if I had not been 40,000 feet in the air, what kind of primitive and despicably opportunistic mindset is required not only to opine so definitively about how your political opponents are guilty of a heinous crime before the corpses are even taken away, but to demand that everyone else do so as well? In fact, Katz was particularly adamant that I opine not just on the killings but on the list of pundits I thought should be declared guilty before, in his soulless words, “the bodies get cold” — meaning that I must speak out without bothering to take the time to try to understand the basic facts about the killer and the shootings before heaping blame on a wide range of people who had no apparent involvement. But this is exactly the morally sick and exploitative liberal mentality that drives the discourse each time one of these shooting sprees happen. Rachel Maddow had far more known connections to Scalise's shooter James Hodgkinson than Carlson has to Gendron. After all, as Maddow herself acknowledged, Hodgkinson was a fan of her show and had expressed his love and admiration for her. His animating views and ideology tracked hers perfectly, with essentially no deviation. And yet — despite this ample evidence that he was influenced by her — it would never occur to me to blame Maddow for Hodgkinson's shooting spree because doing so would be completely demented, since Maddow never told or suggested to anyone that they go out and shoot the political enemies she was depicting as traitors, Kremlin agents, plotters to overthrow American democracy and replace it with a fascist dictatorship, and grave menaces to civil rights and basic freedom. The attempt to blame Carlson for the Buffalo shootings depended entirely on one claim: Carlson has previously talked about and defended the view that immigration is a scheme to “replace” Americans, and this same view was central to Gendron's ideology. Again, even if this were true, it would amount to nothing more than a claim than the shooter shared key views with Carlson and other conservative pundits — exactly as Hodgkinson shared core views with Maddow and Sanders, or the numerous murderers who killed in the name of black nationalism shared the same views on the police and American history as any number of MSNBC hosts and Democratic Party politicians, or as Pim Fortuyn's killer shared core views with animal rights activists and defenders of Muslim equality (including me). But nobody is willing to apply such a framework consistently because it converts everyone with strong political views into murderers, or at least being guilty of inciting murder. But all bets are off — all such principles or moral and logical reasoning are dispensed with — when an act of violence can be pinned on the political enemies of liberals. If a homicidal maniac kills an abortion doctor, then all peaceful pro-life activists are blamed. If an LGBT citizen is killed, then anyone who shares the views that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had until 2012 about marriage equality is blamed. If a police officer unjustifiably kills a black citizen, all police supporters or those who dissent from liberal orthodoxy on racial politics are decreed guilty. But liberals are never at fault when right-wing politicians are murdered, or police officers are hunted and gunned down by police opponents, or an anti-abortion group is targeted with firebombing and arson, as just happened in Wisconsin, or radical Muslims engage in random acts of violence. By definition, "moral reasoning" that is applied only in one direction has nothing to do with morality and everything to do with crass, exploitative opportunism. Though it does not actually matter for purposes of assigning blame, it is utterly false to claim that Carlson's ideology — including on “replacement” — is the same as or even related to the views expressed by the killers in Buffalo or New Zealand. Indeed, in key respects, they are opposites. Both Tarrant and Gendron targeted citizens of the countries in which they carried out their murder spree. They justified doing so on the ground that any non-white citizen is automatically an "invader," regardless of how long they have been in the country or how much legal status they have. “It would have eased me if I knew all the blacks I would be killing were criminals or future criminals, but then I realized all black people are replacers just by existing in White countries,” Gendron wrote. To claim that Carlson ever said anything remotely like this or believes it is just an outright lie. Indeed, with great frequency, Carlson says that the priority of the U.S. Government should be protection of and concern for American citizens of all races. Tarrant and Gendron believe and explicitly say that any non-white citizen of a European country is automatically an “invader” who must be killed and/or deported to turn the country all-white. Carlson believes the exact opposite: that the proper citizenry of the United States is multi-racial and that Black Americans and Latin Americans and Asian-Americans are every bit as much U.S. citizens, with all of the same claims to rights and protections, as every other American citizen. His anti-immigration and "replacement” argument is aimed at the idea — one that had been long mainstream on the left until about a decade ago — that large, uncontrolled immigration harms American citizens who are already here. There is no racial hierarchy in Carlson's view of American citizenship and to claim that there is is nothing short of a defamatory lie. But even if these liberal smear artists were telling the truth, and Carlson's view of immigration and “replacement” were similar or even precisely identical to Gendron's, one could certainly say that Carlson holds immoral and despicable views. But he would still no more carry blame for the Buffalo murders than liberal pundits have blood on their hands for countless massacres carried out in the name of political causes they support and theories they espouse, whether it be animus toward the police or anti-imperialism or opposition to Israeli occupation of the West Bank or the belief that the United States is a fundamentally racist country or the view that the GOP is a fascist menace to all things decent. The distinction between peaceful advocacy even of noxious ideas and those who engage in violence in the name of such ideas is fundamental to notions of fairness, justice and the ability to speak freely. But if you really want to claim that a public figure has "blood on their hands" every time someone murders in the name of ideas and ideologies they support, then the list of people you should be accusing of murder is a very, very long one indeed. To support the independent journalism we are doing here, please subscribe, obtain a gift subscription for others and/or share the article Tyler Durden Sun, 05/15/2022 - 18:30.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytMay 15th, 2022