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, which targets LGBTQ people and especially gay and bisexual 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.”
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‘This Is Insane’: Experts Blast McCarthy After He Approves George Santos Attending Classified Briefing on China
U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-NY), under multiple state and federal investigations, and even a criminal fraud investigation in Brazil, recently stepped down from his committee assignments pending House ethics investigations, but on Thursday he will be allowed to attend a classified briefing by the Pentagon on threats from China.
Santos is facing numerous investigations, including ongoing, pending, or possible investigations from the U.S. Dept. of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Nassau District Attorney, the Queens District Attorney, the New York State Attorney General, along with the House Ethics Committee.
CNN’s Manu Raju Wednesday afternoon reports: “Asked Speaker McCarthy if he’s OK with George Santos attending tomorrow’s classified briefing on China. ‘Yes,’ he told me.”
Experts are expressing outrage, and are calling allowing Santos to gain access to classified information a “threat to our national security.”
“George Santos should not be getting access to classified information,” the government watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) immediately responded.
Last month CREW published a report that states: “George Santos should not get intelligence information.”
“Santos’s misrepresentations of large swaths of his background have proven his tendency to lie for power and personal gain. It is clear that he has not demonstrated the trustworthiness necessary to guard our country’s most closely guarded secrets,” it reads.
“Santos’s serial misrepresentations of the truth about a vast array of subjects have demonstrated an astonishing level of untrustworthiness,” CREW President Noah Bookbinder says in the report. “It would be a threat to our national security to allow him to serve on any committee where he would gain access to national intelligence.”
Retired U.S. Naval War College professor Tom Nichols, an academic specialist on international affairs including Russia, nuclear weapons, and national security affairs, tweeted: “This is insane.”
Just last month Speaker McCarthy banned two top House Democrats, Eric Swalwell and Adam Schiff, from returning to the Intelligence Committee. While he claimed it was for national security reasons, some believe it was retribution for their roles in prosecuting Donald Trump’s impeachments.
“I cannot put partisan loyalty ahead of national security, and I cannot simply recognize years of service as the sole criteria for membership on this essential committee. Integrity matters more,” McCarthy wrote in a letter.
Marjorie Taylor Greene During House Hearing: It’s ‘Against the Law’ to Ban My Twitter Account
Members of Congress have access to vast resources to conduct the people’s business, including on-staff attorneys and the ability to contract experts, yet on Wednesday U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) appeared to shun those assets while appearing before the TV cameras while misrepresenting federal law. She falsely declared that Twitter banning her personal account was “against the law,” and a violation of her First Amendment rights as she made clear she will use her newly-restored committee assignments to spread falsehoods, misinformation, and disinformation.
Greene now sits on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee. During its third hearing of the year, “Protecting Speech from Government Interference and Social Media Bias: Twitter’s Role in Suppressing the Biden Laptop Story,” Greene appeared determined to extract vengeance for her personal Twitter account being permanently “suspended” – banned –before Elon Musk purchased the company and restored accounts of countless extremists.
At the beginning of her remarks Greene mentioned the witnesses, including former Twitter executives, and said: “You can consider your speech canceled during my time because you permanently canceled mine.”
“You see, you permanently banned my personal Twitter account, and it was my campaign account also, so let’s talk about election interference, shall we?”
“Let’s explain 52 United States law 10101: ‘No person shall intimidate, threaten or coerce or attempt to stop any other person for the purpose of interfering with their rights to vote or to vote as you may choose,'” Greene said, reading inaccurately from 52 U.S.C. 10101.
For reasons unknown, Congresswoman Greene decided that federal voting rights law applies to Twitter. It does not.
“You didn’t shadow ban or permanently ban my Democrat opponent,” Greene charged. “No, you did that to me. And that was wrong and it was against the law.”
It is not against the law for Twitter to shadow ban or permanently ban anyone, even a Member of Congress and their personal Twitter account.
“You see, not only that, was it was it me, that you violated my First Amendment rights, you violated countless conservative Americans,” she said, which again is false. The First Amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Greene pushed forward.
“These were doctors that were trying to tell the truth about COVID,” she said, of people spreading false or misleading information and disinformation. “Doctors that were having success treating people with ivermectin that you all would not allow to be talked about.”
The FDA has made clear ivermectin is not a treatment for COVID-19: “The FDA has not authorized or approved ivermectin for use in preventing or treating COVID-19 in humans or animals. Ivermectin is approved for human use to treat infections caused by some parasitic worms and head lice and skin conditions like rosacea.”
“These were parents complaining about their school boards, teaching gender lies in their schools, biological males entering their daughter’s bathrooms and sports,” she complained. “These were also people questioning the 2020 election. And guess what? That’s Americans’ First Amendment right. These were people talking about voting machines. You know what? Democrats did that in 2019 before the 2020 election,” she claimed.
Watch below or at this link.
Marjorie Taylor Greene thinks (wrongly) that Twitter broke the law by suspending her account for violating the terms of service pic.twitter.com/xKugHRHZ1F
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 8, 2023
Republicans ‘Acting Like Jackasses’ Because Biden Nailed Them on Social Security: Morning Joe
The president urged Congress to protect the broadly popular social programs, saying “some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset,” which prompted literal howls from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and a handful of GOP lawmakers, but the “Morning Joe” host said Biden’s claim was on the mark.
“If you’re at home an you’re not as much of a nerd as me and you don’t follow all this stuff, let me tell you something, they were booing reality, Republicans,” Scarborough said. “Joe Biden said that one administration raised the debt more than first 220 years of president, we can say to you on the show, that’s a truth, the debt went up 25 percent. When he said Republicans raised the debt ceiling three times during the Trump administration — wait, why are they booing? They did it. They’re booing themselves for doing that.”
“Then, this is the one that gets me, talking about sunsetting Social Security and Medicare every five years, nobody dreamed that up — that was the head of the Republican Senate Campaign Committee,” Scarborough added. “He won’t say his name, I will say his name. Say his name: Rick Scott, the most powerful Republican in the United States Senate for running campaigns. So they’re acting like jackasses because they can’t deal with the truth, can’t deal with the truth, and they make themselves look foolish.”
House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was seen at several points trying in vain to shush the hecklers in his caucus, and Scarborough said the reward structure in GOP politics gave the noisiest lawmakers outsized influence.
“Here is the problem being a leader of Republicans right now is Marjorie Taylor Greene just gave a gift to Joe Biden, gave a gift to the Democratic Party, gave a gift to every Democrat that is running against Republicans who won in Biden districts,” Scarborough said, “and yet the incentive structure is such that Marjorie Taylor Greene will raise a million dollars by calling the president a liar. So you have all of these extremists that are raising a ton of money while damaging their party and they just don’t care. So if you’re Kevin McCarthy, what do you do?”
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