Miss a day, miss a lot. Subscribe to The Defender's Top News of the Day. It's free.

Twitter’s Jack Dorsey Has Quit as CEO and Now Censorship on Social Media Will Likely Get Even Worse

Fox News reported:

Independent thinkers beware: censorship on social media is likely to get even worse.

That depressing forecast is the only reasonable conclusion from the news Monday that Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s chief executive, is leaving the company he co-founded in 2006.

Dorsey spoke passionately for years about Twitter’s role in serving free speech. “We believe our purpose is to serve the public conversation,” Dorsey said in an interview with Wired magazine in 2018. “And that does take a stance around freedom of expression and defending freedom of expression as a fundamental human right.”

Unfortunately, Twitter no longer believes in free speech.

Government Nears Weekend Shutdown as Republicans Take Aim at Vaccine and Testing Mandates

The Washington Post reported:

The U.S. government on Wednesday teetered one step closer to a potential weekend shutdown, as Republicans seized on a fast-approaching fiscal deadline to mount fresh opposition to President Biden’s vaccine and testing mandates.

At least one Republican in the Senate — Utah’s Mike Lee — threatened to block swift debate on the measure. GOP leaders on Wednesday found themselves bracing for others to join, either by stalling the process or trying to force a vote on an amendment to defund the vaccine and testing mandate.

“We’re opposed to the mandate,” said GOP Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.). “We don’t want the federal government to be able to fund them in any way shape or form.”

Judge Halts Biden’s COVID Vaccine Mandate for Healthcare Workers Nationwide

Forbes reported:

A judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked the federal government from mandating COVID-19 vaccines for workers at Medicare- or- Medicaid-funded healthcare facilities, the latest legal setback in the Biden Administration’s effort to require vaccines in many workplaces.

Louisiana-based federal Judge Terry Doughty issued a preliminary injunction Tuesday evening, prohibiting the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services from enforcing its healthcare worker vaccine mandate while a legal challenge brought by several Republican-led states works its way through the federal court system.

The injunction applies to 40 U.S. states — in a separate ruling Monday, a federal judge in Missouri temporarily blocked the CMS vaccine mandate in the other 10 states.

Judge Blocks Biden’s COVID Vaccination Mandate for Federal Contractors in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee

Business Insider reported:

The Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement for federal contractors received another blow from US District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove, who granted a request Tuesday to block the federal mandate in three additional states: Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee.

By issuing the mandate, Tatenhove determined that Biden exceeded his authority under the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act, even for a “good cause” like slowing the spread of COVID-19.

The decision is the latest in a string of rulings against the vaccination mandate.

National Guardsmen Without COVID Vaccine to Have Pay Withheld, Barred From Federal Drills

Newsweek reported:

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has announced that National Guard members who decline the COVID-19 vaccination will be banned from drills and training that are required to maintain their guard status, losing their pay, retirement funds and other federal benefits.

Under Federal law, members of the National Guard must assemble for drills and participate in training a specific number of days per year.

Austin’s announcement comes after Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt requested that his Guard members be exempt from the vaccine mandate, arguing that as governor he has authority to allow members of his state’s Guard to avoid the vaccine while they are under state control, not federal.

U.S. Moving to Toughen Testing Requirement for Travelers

Associated Press reported:

The Biden administration is moving to toughen testing requirements for international travelers to the U.S., including both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, amid the spread of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a Tuesday statement that it was working toward requiring that all air travelers to the U.S. be tested for COVID-19 within a day before boarding their flight. Currently those who are fully vaccinated may present a test taken within three days of boarding.

Waterville Doctor Suspended for Spreading COVID Misinformation

Portland Press Herald reported:

Dr. Paul Gosselin, who operates the Patriots Health clinic on Kennedy Memorial Drive in Waterville, was suspended from the practice of medicine and prescribing medication in a Nov. 19 decision by the state’s Board of Osteopathic Licensure. The suspension is effective until Dec. 18, but it could be lifted or extended following an adjudicatory hearing.

The decision came after state regulators reviewed multiple vaccine exemption letters Gosselin signed. They also received reports from other medical providers who were concerned Gosselin was spreading misinformation about the coronavirus, although the board’s notice of suspension does not specify what misinformation he shared.

The decision also does not explain why the vaccination exemption letters were questionable.

COVID: Why California Is Moving Forward With Firing Vaccine-Resistant Healthcare Workers

Times-Herald reported:

Healthcare providers across California are closing in on firing possibly hundreds of workers who have let the clock tick down on a requirement to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The dismissals come in the Golden State despite a federal judge late Tuesday blocking — at least temporarily — the Biden administration’s attempts to require healthcare workers nationwide to be vaccinated by January.

That’s because California has its own vaccination order, issued earlier this year, applying to workers at healthcare facilities — from hospitals to nursing homes and clinics to dialysis centers. The order doesn’t just cover nurses and doctors but security guards, housekeeping staff and other workers.

LA Sheriff Refuses County’s COVID Testing Over Alleged China Connection to Test Provider

Newsweek reported:

A letter sent Monday by LA County Sheriff Alex Villaneuva stating his department would not be using the county’s coronavirus testing provider due to its alleged ties to the Chinese government was not intended for public circulation.

In the letter, Villaneuva insisted that his department would not be participating in COVID-19 registering or testing with Fulgent Genetics Corporation because the DNA data obtained by the technology company, he claimed, “is not guaranteed to be safe and secure from foreign governments and ‘will likely be shared with the Republic of China’.”

Villanueva said that he was contacted on November 24 by the FBI‘s Weapons of Mass Destruction coordinator briefing county leaders on “very concerning information” they had obtained regarding COVID-19 testing of employees.

Hundreds of NYC Jailers Face Suspension Over Vaccine Mandate

Associated Press reported:

New York City’s troubled jail system is facing more turmoil: the suspension of potentially hundreds of corrections officers for failing to meet a Tuesday night deadline to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The city’s Department of Correction reported 77% of its staff had gotten at least one vaccine dose as of 5 p.m. Monday, the lowest of any city agency, meaning about 1,900 employees had yet to comply with the mandate. It was delayed a month for jail workers because of existing staffing shortages.

NorthShore May Take Action Against Workers With Religious Objections to COVID Vaccine Mandate as Case Is Underway, Judge Decides

Chicago Tribune reported:

NorthShore University HealthSystem may take action against workers with religious objections to getting COVID-19 vaccinations, for now, while a case over the matter is underway, a federal judge decided Tuesday.

Fourteen NorthShore employees are suing the hospital system alleging that NorthShore won’t let them keep their jobs because of their religious objections to getting COVID-19 vaccines.

The judge’s decision Tuesday effectively means that NorthShore may fire those employees or put them on unpaid leave while the case is pending, if it chooses.

EU Must Consider Mandatory COVID Jabs, Says Von Der Leyen

The Guardian reported:

The EU must consider mandatory vaccination in response to the spread of the “highly contagious” Omicron COVID variant across Europe, the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, has said.

In a call to action, Von der Leyen said the EU’s 27 member states should rapidly deploy booster doses and a commission communique backed countries that opted to temporarily enforce pre-travel PCR tests even within the bloc’s borders.

U.S. Government Agencies Bought Chinese Surveillance Tech Despite Federal Ban

TechCrunch reported:

At least three U.S. federal agencies, including the military, have purchased China-made video surveillance equipment banned from use in the federal government.

Purchasing records seen by TechCrunch and video surveillance news site IPVM show the agencies collectively spent thousands of dollars on purchasing video surveillance equipment manufactured by Lorex, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dahua Technology.

Dahua is one of several China-based companies banned from selling to the federal government under a 2019 defense spending law over fears that the technology could help the Chinese government conduct espionage.

Qualcomm’s New Always-On Smartphone Camera Is a Privacy Nightmare: Next Year’s Android Smartphones Will Be Watching You

The Verge reported:

“Your phone’s front camera is always securely looking for your face, even if you don’t touch it or raise to wake it.”

That’s how Qualcomm Technologies vice president of product management Judd Heape introduced the company’s new always-on camera capabilities in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor set to arrive in top-shelf Android phones early next year.

For those of us with any sense of how modern technology is used to violate our privacy, a camera on our phone that’s always recording images even when we’re not using it sounds like the stuff of nightmares and has a cost to our privacy that far outweighs any potential convenience benefits.