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Trump Announces Yet Another Anti-LGBT Cabinet Pick, Budget Director Mick Mulvaney

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S.C. Congressman Used Sleazy Anti-Gay Robocall In 2008 State Senate Race

President-Elect Donald Trump announced on Saturday that he plans to nominate South Carolina GOP Congressman Mick Mulvaney for budget director. 

Mulvaney is best known as an anti-establishment, obstructionist fiscal hawk, but he also happens to be a staunch social conservative. 

First elected in the tea party wave of 2010, Mulvaney has received a score of zero on the Human Rights Campaign’s Congressional Scorecard for each of his two completed terms in the House.

Mulvaney was a relatively early co-sponsor of the so-called First Amendment Defense Act, the horrific anti-LGBT religious freedom measure Utah GOP Sen. Mike Lee plans to refile in 2017. Earlier this year, when Democrats introduced an amendment to prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination by federal contractors, Mulvaney called it “a political move designed to shipwreck the appropriations process.” 

In his 2008 state Senate race, Mulvaney reportedly was responsible for a fake, sleazy robocall attacking his Democratic opponent, Mandy Powers Norrell. The robocall purported to be a from a group called “The Alliance for the Advancement of Gays and Lesbians,” which didn’t exist, and touted Norrell’s support for “homosexual unions and abortion rights.” Here’s a transcript:

Hi, this is Allison calling from the Alliance for the Advancement of Gays and Lesbians.

We are a pro-gay rights, pro-choice grassroots organization.

I am calling to let you know that we are supporting Mandy Powers Norrell in the state Senate. 

A proven Democrat, Mandy Powers Norrell supports homosexual unions and abortion rights. We can count on Mandy Powers Norrell to promote a progressive agenda in the state Senate and to fight the right wing fringe at every turn.

Again, this is Allison with the Alliance for the Advancement of Gays and Lesbians asking you to vote for Democrat Mandy Powers Norrell on Tuesday, November 4. Thank you.

If Mulvaney is confirmed to oversee the Office of Management and Budget, he would be responsible for guiding Trump’s budget requests through Congress, including “a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, a tax overhaul and a huge investment in the nation’s infrastructure,” according to The New York Times. 

Mulvaney was among those who refused to back the 2011 deal to raise the debt limit, bringing the US to the brink of default and financial crisis. 

“He’s a tremendous talent, especially when it comes to numbers and budgets,” Trump said in a statement.

Trump’s other anti-LGBT picks for key cabinet posts include Jeff Sessions for attorney general, Betsy Devos for Education secretary, and Ben Carson for secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

GLAAD recently launched its Trump Accountability Project to track the many anti-LGBT actions and statements of Trump’s cabinet picks and others in his incoming administration. 

 

 

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Trump White House to Tell Americans to Wear Cloth Masks in Public to Protect Against Coronavirus Transmission

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The Trump White House is expected to urge Americans to wear cloth face masks when in public to help slow the transmission of coronavirus, in a reversal of current guidelines. The CDC says there is increasing evidence asymptomatic coronavirus carriers may be spreading the virus more than first believed, The Washington Post reports.

But studies going back weeks or longer made clear people who show few or no symptoms are “shedding” more of the virus – spreading it – at a rate higher than some who are fully symptomatic.

“In light of these new data, along with evidence of widespread transmission in communities across the country, CDC recommends the community use of cloth masks as an additional public health measure people can take to prevent the spread of virus to those around them,” the guidance says, according to a copy obtained by The Washington Post.

Social distancing and the stay at home policy are still recommended as the top methods to slow the spread of the virus. The cloth masks would protect others from the virus, not the wearer.

On Wednesday Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp came under fire for falsely claiming asymptomatic spreading had just been discovered “the last 24 hours.”

Image via Shutterstock

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HERO WHO DID HIS JOB

Navy to Relieve ‘Hero’ Captain Who Urged Help for 100 Sailors With Coronavirus: Report

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The U.S. Navy will relive from duty a nuclear powered aircraft carrier Captain after he sent a letter to his superiors urging help after more than 100 sailors tested positive for coronavirus.

The official reason will be loss of trust and confidence.

“Capt. Brett Crozier, who commands the Roosevelt, an aircraft carrier with a crew of nearly 5,000, will be relieved of his command, but keep his rank and remain in the Navy,” NBC News reports.

We are not at war,” Capt. Crozier wrote in a letter that was subsequently leaked to the media. “Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our sailors.”

On Wednesday the Navy let it be known Capt. Crozier would not be disciplined or discharged.

“The fact that he wrote the letter to his chain of command to express his concerns would absolutely not result in any time of retaliation,” Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly said.

That appears to have changed.

Four Star US Army General Bary McCaffrey (Ret). a former Joint Commander of SOUTHCOM, weighed in yesterday:

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FDA Changes Gay Blood Ban From 12 to 3 Months of No Sex Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

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The Food and Drug Administration has changed its ban on LGBTQ people donating blood, now requiring men who have had sex with men to abstain from sex for three months instead of 12 months before donating blood or plasma.

Plasma donations from those who have coronavirus antibodies are especially vital right now, as this popular HuffPost story shows, given the current pandemic. There are also shortages of blood across the nation.

The FDA’s “loosened” guidelines, which are now in effect due to “the public health emergency related to COVID-19,” are not necessarily permanent. They cover a lengthy list of people who should not donate blood. In addition to men who have had sex with a man or men within the past three months, it recommends a ban of those who fall in to the following categories:

Women with “a history in the past 3 months of sex with a man who has had sex with another man in the past 3 months,” donors with a “history in the past 3 months of syphilis or gonorrhea, or treatment for syphilis or gonorrhea,” donors with a “history in the past 3 months of a tattoo, ear or body piercing,” donors with a “history in the past three months of exchanging sex for money or drugs,” and donors with a “history in the past three months of non-prescription injection drug use.”

The ban on gay men is unscientific and discriminatory, given the ability to test for HIV infection, and given that men who have sex with women can still acquire HIV.

For example, a man who is married to a woman but has random or anonymous sexual encounters regularly with other women is fully eligible to donate blood. A man who is married to a man in a monogamous relationship still cannot.

Calling the new guidelines “imperfect,” GLAAD, which has been working on eliminating the gay blood ban since 2015 issued a statement from its President and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis saying, “LGBTQ Americans can hold their heads up today and know that our voices will always triumph over discrimination.”

“This is a victory for all of us who raised our collective voices against the discriminatory ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood. The FDA’s decision to lower the deferral period on men who have sex with men from 12 months to 3 months is a step towards being more in line with science, but remains imperfect. We will keep fighting until the deferral period is lifted and gay and bi men, and all LGBTQ people, are treated equal to others.“

Anthony Michael Kreis, a Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at Chicago-Kent College of Law tells NCRM, “I’m glad that the FDA has liberalized their policy, but it does not really address the concerns about the stigma of blood donations and sexual orientation. Is there a good public health justification for excluding HIV-negative men in monogamous same-sex relationships? Is there a science-based rationale for excluding gay and bisexual men who are HIV-negative and using PrEP? These are important questions that need to be answered in the coming weeks because each raise significant questions about what’s driving this policy— the fit seems to be overbroad and, as a consequence, needlessly stigma-perpetuating.”

 

Image by Peltier Chevrolet via Flickr and a CC license

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