Clinton’s remarks on the Reagans and Aids demand more than apology

It is hard but important for those who care about Aids to blame the frontrunner of the Democratic party, who takes the support of lesbian voters for granted

Talking about former first lady Nancy Reagan on MSNBC on Friday, current leading Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton credited chairperson and Mrs Reagan in particular, Mrs Reagan, for having started a national conversation about Aids.

Aids historians, LGBT activists and anyone who cares about little things like the truth were subsequently enraged at Clintons false claims. Ronald and Nancy Reagan were no more leaders discussing Aids in the 1980 s than Republicans are at championing abortion access today.

It may be hard for your viewers to recollect, Clinton said, how difficult it was for people to talk about HIV/ Aids back in the 1980 s.

She didnt lie there. Indeed, it was difficult to talk about Aids throughout the 1980 s largely because of the stillnes from the White House. In April 1987, activists unveiled a poster that said Silence= Death a month before Reagan would eventually devote a speech to the years-long epidemic. That slogan would become the motto of the group Aids Coalition To Unleash Power( ACT-UP ), and according to their website, the slogan was asking Why is Reagan silent about Aids? What is really going on at the Center for Disease Control, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Vatican?

Its easy to denounce Reagan out of office for 27 years and dead for more than a decade with the distance of history. Its also easy to blame Republicans continuing love of abstinence-only sex education and opposition to gay rights as a continuing attempt to erase faggot people today.

But for those of us who care about Aids and LGBT people, it is much harder and important to blame the frontrunner of the Democratic party, who takes the support of lesbian voters for awarded. Why, in 2016, did the Democratic frontrunner engage so blithely in the erasure of the people who actually did start the national conversation about Aids? Was it because they were gay humen of the in-your-face variety of activism many of whom succumbed of the virus?

When Clinton said the Reagans led the way on Assistances when nobody wanted to do anything about it, she is erasing these people from history in an ugly and dismissive manner. People initially get HIV in this country through IV drug use, blood transfusions and sexuality. But while the Reagans looked the other route even when a friend asked for help it was was queer activists who were loud as hell in New York and San Francisco who forced the nation to face the plague.

Clinton said she could really appreciate Nancy Reagans very effective low-key advocacy that penetrated the public conscience on Aids. But current realities is, the people who really started the conversation are still not low-key. They were not polite. They were not quiet in any way. They staged die-ins. They shut down streets. They threw the cremated ashes of their loved ones, already killed by Aids, over the fence of the White House to demand action.

Clinton subsequently apologized, saying she misspoke about the Reagans on HIV/ Aids. But what was she trying to gain by praising the Reagans in this way in the first place? I fear that she was engaging in a kind of dog-whistling, utilizing the moment of Nancy Reagans death to appeal to voters who nostalgically loved the Reagans and dream of morning in America again. I fear by invoking a false Aids history, she was appealing to those who want a simpler time before homosexuals get uppity. Perhaps she wants to peel off some of the white men voting for Sanders in the primary. Perhaps she is trolling for Reagan Democrats who might consider her over Trump in building America great again.

I have been frightened for some time that the crisis of AIDS is not over, especially for black America, and yet it has again largely been erased from our national political consciousness. Aids, which is projected to infect one in two black lesbian American men, is virtually invisible from the presidential race. And now even the Democratic frontrunner has diminished Aids history herself.

Will gay voters and political groups, especially the Human Right Campaign( which endorsed the other HRC months ago) demand that Clinton do more than say sorry, but demand that she audibly start their own nationals conversation on Aids in America in 2016 a day when it is still hard to talk about HIV? Will they question her praising Reagans Aids policies as a harbinger of deadly incremental things to come, devoted her claims to pragmatically run across the aisle in a manner that is she says Bernie Sanders never, ever could? Will they hold their own, in this time, to as high a standard as they do the deceased leader of their opposition party especially given her own pathetic past opposition on lesbian rights? This would be the only sincere way to begin to undo the damage Clinton has done to the men and women who fought, and still fight, Aids in the vacuum of political leadership.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Sumner Redstone fights to answer at trial but musters indecencies about ex

During first day of competency trial former Viacom boss clearly answers question about plaintiff, his ex Manuela Herzer, calling her a fucking bitch

The trial to determine the mental fitness of one of the most powerful media executives in the world began Friday with a videotaped witness statement from Sumner Redstone himself, in poor health, aided by an interpreter and at times unable to communicate at all.

In the transcript of his testimony, the 92 -year-old Redstone remained silent when asked about his birth name, which was changed in 1940, and did not say when he last saw his granddaughter Keryn.

Over 20 minutes, Redstone appeared to struggle with yes-or-no queries from lawyers representing Manuela Herzer, an ex-girlfriend who is suing to prove Redstone was not competent to remove her from his advance healthcare directive a role that dedicated her power to build the media nobles medical decisions. Redstone also changed his will to cut out Herzers reported $ 70 m bequest.

Redstone is head of National Amusements, the organization that controls Viacom, a conglomerate that runs Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures, and broadcast network CBS. Among Tv brass he is famous both for his quick temper and his repeated proclamations that he will live forever.

The case has shaken Wall Street, which continues to balk at Viacoms declining fundamentals and to question the leaders of Philippe Dauman, CEO of the company and Redstones estate lawyer. Dauman replaced Herzer as Redstones medical decision maker.

Redstone remains the controlling shareholder of Viacom and CBS.

According to time stamps on the transcript, ODonnell asks the issues to When Manuela lived here, did she help with your healthcare? from 10.59 am to 11.04 am with no response recorded from Redstone, who occasionally attempted to spell the words of his answers. His interpreter said he pointed to the letter L at one point; ODonnell moved on without an answer.

But there are some aspects of the case on which Redstone was very clear: I want to ask you some questions, asked Pierce ODonnell, counseling for Herzer. Who is Manuela Herzer?

After an inaudible answer, Redstones interpreter asked him to repeat his himself: She is Manuela is a fucking bitch.

Redstone recurred the description of his former partner several times. His lawyer argued that Herzer had tried to ingratiate herself with the businessman as a means to enjoy his wealth.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

‘It’s all fentanyl’: opioid crisis takes shape in Philadelphia as overdoses surge

Nationally, over the past three years, fentanyl-related demises have increased by 540%, and the epidemic is felt acutely in Philadelphias Kensington area

A young woman lies unconscious, propped against the wall of a drug detox center in Kensington, Philadelphia.

” She’s wasn’t inhaling ,” says Danielle, a 26 -year-old woman wearing a baseball hat and jeans.” I found her half under a automobile. Somebody robbed her. They could have robbed her and called 911 …”

Paramedics arrive and administer Narcan, the nasal form of naloxone used to counter opioid overdoses. The female comes round and rejects farther treatment.

Minutes afterward, a man staggers and collapses. His breathing is shallow: the line between intoxication and overdose neared but not intersected. Paramedics get him back on his feet. It’s a grim dance, one that continues night and day in this rundown segment of the city.

Laura,
Laura, 28, another long-term addict who has made a home on Emerald Street, shoots six pouches every few hours. Photo: Edward Helmore for the Guardian

” It’s busiest at six in the morning when people are out are seeking to get a fix so they don’t get sick ,” said Patrick Trainor, a special agent with the Philadelphia division of the Drug Enforcement Administration( DEA) who has monitored this neighborhood for two decades.

Kensington’s street users know Trainor- at least they know his unmarked auto- and eye him warily. But it’s not DEA business to bust them, only to keep an eye on the narcotics reaching the street. A surge in fatal overdoses, blamed on the powerfulsynthetic opioid fentanyl and its analogs, is changing the decade-long opioid crisis from rural areas to cities.

Last week, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention( CDC) released figures indicating that a sharp rise in narcotic overdose demises, which many attribute in part to fentanyl, is causing a drop in American life expectancy. Opioids killed almost 64,000 people in 2016. The figure for 2017 is likely to be higher again. In October, Donald Trump proclaimed a public health emergency.

On the street of Kensington, a crisis is taking shape that an anti-drug advertising campaign proposed by Trump may do little to ease.

” Fentanyl has drastically changed the landscape ,” Trainor said.” Sixty-four percent of fatals in Philadelphia County are fentanyl-related. There’s no dope out here now, it’s all fentanyl. Even the old timers are scared of it .”

In Kensington, many addicts congregate in a small park. It has become busier since authorities fenced off and filled in” the Tracks”, an aptly named encampment near train lines where residents once set up tables and mirrors to aid fixing in the neck. Others moved to an underpass on Emerald Street, known as Emerald City.

In either area, even junkies now carry Narcan. It’s an optimistic gesture, but barely.

Nationally, over the past three years, fentanyl-related demises have increased by 540 %. For the first time, the majority of fatal overdoses are fentanyl-related, accounting for” nearly all the increases in drug overdose deaths per 2015 to 2016″, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. In Philadelphia, a city previously known for pure and relatively inexpensive heroin, there have been nearly 800 fentanyl overdoses this year.

Used
Utilized needles litter the ground in the Kensington section of Philadelphia on 2 February 2017. Photograph: Michael Bryant/ AP

‘ Dropping like flies ‘

The drug behind this surge in fatalities has been used by anesthesiologists for decades. Several years ago, the DEA noticed illicitly made fentanyl appearing as a cut for low-quality Mexican heroin. Then relevant agencies began assuring fentanyl itself, originating from laboratory in China and Mexico.

What started as a trickle is now a inundation. Up and down the eastern seaboard, fentanyl seizures are rising. Unlike heroin, which has a raw opium base that must be harvested in remote mountain valleys, fentanyl is constructed in clandestine laboratory use relatively inexpensive chemicals.

About 80% of fentanyl seized in the New York area appears to be linked to Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel. In Philadelphia, the drug is more likely to have come from lab in China, some of it shipped through Mexico.

Fentanyl
Fentanyl in a hospital. Photo: Joe Amon/ Denver Post via Getty Images

In November, Trump alerted Chinese leaders over the production of fentanyl. The attorney general, Jeff Sessions, traveled to New York’s JFK airport, to satisfy customs agents.

” With synthetic drugs flooding our streets, medications are now more powerful, more addictive and even more dangerous than ever ,” Sessions said.” Fentanyl is the number one killer drug in America. And as deadly as it is, you can go online and order it through the mail .”

Over four days last month, DEA confiscated 40 kg of fentanyl from Dominican traffickers, all of it destined for the Philadelphia market, in Trainor’s terms” an insane sum if you calculate each kilo yields 330,000 doses “. Local press reported that a single kilo was enough to kill half the residents in the district.

The economics of fentanyl trafficking are straightforward. The chemicals needed to produce a kilo cost no more than $5,000 and there is no need to wait for the poppy harvest. At $55,000 – $60,000 per kilo delivered, fentanyl is the about the same price as heroin but yields far more once it is cut and packaged for the street.

” You’re paying the same for something that’s roughly 100 times more powerful, so why would you buy heroin ?’ Trainor said.” The demand is for the most powerful thing they can get. Heroin will never be able to compete with fentanyl. It merely can’t .”

Customers, however, are dying. Danny, a long-term Kensington drug user, said high OD rates were initially caused by traders not knowing how to handle fentanyl. According to police one brand, AK-4 7, caused nine deaths in 36 hours and was part of a batch that left 35 people dead.

” When fentanyl came on people didn’t know about it ,” Danny said.” They didn’t know what they were messing with. They OD-ing all over. Once the merchants insured people falling like flies, they were going,’ Wow, we’re doing something wrong .’ Now they getting the cut right.

” Nowadays, if anyone’s dying its largely visitors who just got out of incarcerate or rehab. They think they can do three containers. They can’t … they’re done .”

Street dealers compete for customers, selling high-purity drugs.

” We’ve seen purity of heroin leap from 63 to 93%, which is insane ,” said Trainor.” There’s no greater endorsement for a trafficker than when his product kills somebody. That’s not mythology. We see it all the time. We’ve had wiretaps of drug traffickers bragging how many people their narcotics killed .”

Another longtime Kensington resident and junkie, also named Danny, countered:” They blame the merchants but it ain’t them. The people are doing to themselves. It’s people coming down here from outta district believing they can do whatever they want .”

Authorities only started to take notice, he said, when people starting coming to Kensington and dying: people from other neighborhoods, people with money, white, maybe politically connected.” When one of them children from the other hoods OD, suddenly they make a big deal ,” he said.” When it was just Kensington people they didn’t give a shit …”

Kensington is a harsh place. For many girls there, run entails sex run. For men it’s pimping or, for the cost of got a couple of$ 5 bags, acting as a guide to clients from elsewhere. Some sell Suboxone pills from legitimate prescriptions, or clean needles for a dollar each.

‘There’s no one person controlling it’

Besides fentanyl’s frightening strength, two related factors are causing problems for the authorities: a lack of a dominant trafficker and the ease with which variants of the narcotic can be produced.

In the past, drugs coming into any area would probably be controlled by a single, relatively predictable trafficker or trafficking household. That’s not the case with fentanyl. It’s coming from China, ordered over the dark web, or coming up from Mexico.

” There’s no one person controlling it coming in, and there’s more than we know what to do with ,” Trainor said.

Because it is synthetic, fentanyl is relatively simple to modify. Each subtle change in formulation maintains DEA analysts playing catch-up.

At the top end is carfentanil, used as a painkiller for elephants and other large mammals and estimated based 10,000 times stronger than morphine. It’s still rare on the street but it has shown up in four ODs at the Philadelphia medical examiner’s office. A carfentanil overdose can take several doses of Narcan to counteract. Police and medics are warned that even touching carfentanil powder can cause intoxication.

” It used to be just fentanyl but now we’ve noticed eight different analogs in this area and around 40 nationally ,” Trainor said.” Our chemists estimate there could be 200 additional variants .”

Fentanyl is marketed in stamped bags: White House, Dynamite, Colt 45.” Right now Colt 45 is the strongest thing ,” said one Kensington resident struggling with active craving.” It’s straight-up fentanyl. You can OD on half a suitcase .”

Whatever romanticism was ever associated with opium, or later morphine and heroin, it is lacking with fentanyl. It is painful to use because it burns the vein. Some taken the decision to put the solution for the purposes of the skin, despite an elevated risk of absesses, to reduce the risk of overdose and prolong the high.

Compared with heroin, junkies say, a fentanyl rushing is intense and immediate. Overdoses come along almost instantaneously, the comedown is abrupt and withdrawal long and uncomfortable. Since tolerance builds up speedily, dependency escalates rapidly. The drug is so strong that a user who has overdosed can slip back under after the short-acting Narcan wears off.

Laura, 28, another long-term junkie who has made a home on Emerald Street, shoots six pouches every few hours.

” With fentanyl you get a strong rush but it dies away and you get sick ,” she said.” The withdrawal is much different. You can kick heroin in five or six days but with fentanyl it takes 45 to 60 days. It’s longer, it’s the chemicals in it, and it’s just worse .”

Some junkies say fentanyl had persuaded them to get into a programme.” I didn’t want to die ,” said Michael, who recently entered a methadone programme. This could ultimately prove the silver lining to fentanyl’s devastating marching – it’s ultimately only too strong and too dangerous to use.

” This is a very dangerous period for someone struggling with substance employ disorder with all of the fatal overdoses that are occurring in Philadelphia ,” said Trainor.” Law enforcement is increasingly working with public health and treatment agencies to address this crisis and to save lives, and that’s a win .”

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Kratom has been saved- for now. Make sure the government hears your voice | Paul Pelosi Jr

The DEAs reversal on kratom is a major victory. But the final judgment on its legal status is still to come, and your views could make all the difference

As director of the American Kratom Association, I know that huge numbers of people in this country have legally use kratom as an alternative to pharmaceutical drugs in order to relieve ache, ease symptoms of opiate withdrawal and treat PTSD. Kratom is a natural botanical substance, removed from a tree which belongs to the coffee family and working is native to south-east Asia. The herb merely attained headlines, however, on 30 August, when the Drug Enforcement Agency( DEA) announced its intention to schedule kratom as an illegal substance.

In response to the DEAs move, an impressive alliance of veterans, congresspeople, senators, consumers and human rights activists raised their voices. It is a relief the DEA has now decided to listen to public commentaries. It will review those comments and continue to consult until 1 December, before making a final scheduling decision.

This DEA action is a major victory. Reversing the intended outlaw on kratom can be viewed as the first step towards undoing the harm caused by four decades of the area of combating medications. Since 1961, the official solution to narcotic usage problems has been to criminalize personal medication possession rather than investing resources in programs to decrease the risk associated with drug use and provide voluntary therapy options for people struggling with dependency. This must stop.

The government is now severely reviewing scientific research which I believe demonstrates that kratom is a safe medical alternative to opioid use. Further study will probably prove our position, confirming that kratom has medical benefits. As a outcome, Americans will have at their disposal a tea-like beverage, rather than powerful prescription drugs, that could help reduce pain, anxiety, PTSD, and addiction.

I have expended day with US army veteran David Dasilma, who explained how his own life dramatically improved when he switched to kratom from exorbitantly overpriced prescription drugs. He “re not alone”. Veterans who have been pumped full of opioids and built up tolerance to traditional methods of pain management have found kratom to be a great solution.

The DEA reversal on kratom are in accordance with statements constructed recently by President obama. For too long we viewed drug addiction through the lenses of criminal justice, he said. The most important thing is preventive therapy for our veterans, inducing it as public health concern and not a criminal problem.

The government has shown signs of changing towards a new practice of cautiously governing and aggressively researching other herbs in order to understand the benefits and hazards before making any determinations. One instance is that the Veteran Administration is now considering marijuana as an alternative technique of easing pain. Many believe, as I do, that kratom is also a potential solution for many veterans.

I urge you to make an official comment via government channels before 1 December, here. It is time to support veterans and others right to choose their own pain relief, anxiety and dependency supporting protocol.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

The Bernie Sanders-wing scares Democrat. But they’ll lose without it | Ross Barkan

If the Democrats want to build a serious, dominant party, they must proffer more than Clinton-era banalities and neoliberal gut-punches

The newest notion circulating among the very smart people who report and commentate on American politics is that the Democratic party, so enfeebled in the age of Donald Trump, might be in danger of veering too far left. While Bernie Sanders tries to foment his revolution in different regions of the country, many Democratic elected officials and operatives are wary that candidates too steeped in socialism will blow it in the more moderate and conservative-seeming precincts of the country. They point to the losses of Sanders-backed candidates, fretting that the partys fiery wing will burn away the real voters they need.

For most Democrats aligned with the establishment, the dream is Jon Ossoff.A 30 -year-old first-time nominee invited to take part in a special election for a suburban Georgia congressional district once held by Trumps Health and Human Services secretary, Tom Price, Ossoff has shattered fundraising records and holds results in the polls over his Republican opponent.

Once viewed a long shot, Ossoff has a real chance of winning on 20 June. Though hes creating cash like a Sanders clone, his politics are well to the right. He has said he will never support single-payer healthcare or creating taxes. His campaign messaging is rather milquetoast: he promises, as a political outsider, to go against the grain in Washington.

Nine times out of ten, anyone who says theyll be an independent in DC gets swallowed up by the swamp soon enough. Maybe Ossoff is different. What he represents, however, is a seeming compromise between the two paths offered up for Democrats a style to raise gobs of fund from the grassroots without stumping on the issues that could alienate the partys influential donors and power brokers.

The hazard for Democrats, however, is guessing Ossoff-like nominees moderates with poll-tested prescriptions point the easy route forward. Liberals of all stripes, desperate for ways and means to resist the Trump presidency, are pouring their money and attention into a well-timed special election which may foreshadowed an anti-Trump wave next year. The appeal of flipping a red district blue merely amplifies that.

Party strategists are right to argue that candidates cant be one-size-fits-all, ultra-leftists checking off every box for a Democratic purity exam. But they must understand it is Sanders right now who is offering a viable path to resurrection. It is Sanders though technically not a Democrat who remains the most popular Democratic figure in America by far, a frontrunner for the 2020 nomination if he decides to run.

If hes healthy, age is no hurdle, because political rules like that dont exist any more. Trump was older than Ronald Reagan when he took office and even his worst foes couldnt accuse him of seeming lethargic.

Its the message, as always, that matters most. There may be a backlash against Trump-like candidates slovenly, know-nothing celebrities but a centrist resurgence is not exactly imminent. Hillary Clinton won the nomination in 2016 running far to the left of her former president husband, and she still demonstrated insipid in the end because she offered no unified, compelling vision for the country , no real reason to vote for herself except as a vessel to stop Trump. As of now, that is the only plan for Democrats in 2018: we are not Trump, so put us in office.

In the short term, that might be enough. Thats how congressional elections, far more nationalized than they once were, work these days. But limiting the Democratic party to an anti-Trump wing preoccupied with Russia promises little in long-term fruit.

Franklin Roosevelt attained generations of Americans Democrats by creating the New Deal and indicating even the countrys right wing that government can play the role played by defender, assuring dignity and safety for the most vulnerable. Sanders and his acolytes now carry that torch, fighting for a desperately-needed social safety net that other first-world democracies guaranteed to their citizens long ago.

Not every Sanders-backed candidate wins. That misses the point. If the Democrats want to build a serious, dominant party in the years to come, they must speak to the overwhelming nervousness of the working class and poor and proffer more than Clinton-era cliches and neoliberal gut-punches.

Globalization, automation and the decline of organized labor has permanently eviscerated a crucial layer of the safety net already. To not have an answer to this suffering is to backslide further into irrelevance, which the Democrat already know something about.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Kratom has been saved- for now. Make sure the government hears your voice | Paul Pelosi Jr

The DEAs reversal on kratom is a major victory. But the final judgment on its legal status is still to come, and your views could make all the difference

As director of the American Kratom Association, I know that huge numbers of people in this country have legally employed kratom as an alternative to pharmaceutical narcotics in order to relieve pain, ease symptoms of opiate withdrawal and treat PTSD. Kratom is a natural botanical substance, removed from a tree which belongs to the coffee family and is native to south-east Asia. The herb only attained headlines, however, on 30 August, when the Drug Enforcement Agency( DEA) announced its intention to schedule kratom as an illegal substance.

In response to the DEAs move, an impressive coalition of veterans, congresspeople, senators, consumers and human rights activists raised their voices. It is a relief the DEA has now decided to listen to public remarks. It will review those comments and continue to consult until 1 December, before making a final scheduling decision.

This DEA action is a major victory. Reversing the intended prohibition on kratom can be viewed as the first step towards undoing the harm caused by four decades of the area of combating medications. Since 1961, the official solution to narcotic utilization problems has been to criminalize personal medication possession rather than investing resources in programs to decrease the risk associated with drug use and offer voluntary therapy options for people struggling with dependency. This must stop.

The government is now seriously reviewing scientific research which I believe be shown that kratom is a safe medical alternative to opioid use. Further study will probably demonstrate our position, confirming that kratom has medical benefits. As a result, Americans will have at their disposal a tea-like beverage, rather than powerful prescription drugs, that could help reduce ache, nervousnes, PTSD, and addiction.

I have expended day with US army veteran David Dasilma, who explained how his own life dramatically improved when he switched to kratom from exorbitantly overpriced prescription drugs. He “re not alone”. Veterans who have been pumped full of opioids and built up tolerance to traditional methods of pain management help find kratom to be a great solution.

The DEA reversal on kratom is consistent with statements induced recently by President Barack Obama. For too long we viewed drug addiction through the lenses of criminal justice, he said. The most important thing is preventive therapy for our veterans, stimulating it as public health fear and not war criminals problem.

The government has shown signs of changing towards a new practise of cautiously governing and aggressively researching other herbs in order to understand the benefits and dangers before making any determinations. One example is that the Veterans Administration is now considering marijuana as an alternative technique of easing pain. Many believe, as I do, that kratom is also a potential solution for many veterans.

I urge you to make an official comment via government channels before 1 December, here. It is time to support veterans and others right to choose their own pain relief, nervousnes and dependence subsistence protocol.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Gay humen can’t donate blood to victims of the Orlando shooting. That’s absurd | John Paul Brammer

Everyones first response after an inhumanity like this is to ask how they can help. Gay and bisexual men are stymied in their attempts to do so by an outdated law

Last night at Pulse, an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida, 50 of our LGBT brothers and sisters were taken from us.

Today, like so many others in my community, I am overcome with a sense of helplessness. I am overcome with the advise to do something, anything, to help the victims and their families. Many in Orlando feel a similar urge. People are lining up to give blood in the wake of the massacre.

But gay and bisexual men who want to give today are encountering an obstacle: the FDA requires a year of celibacy before men who have sex with humen can donate blood.

These new rules were put into practice in late 2015. They were presented as an end to the ban on homosexual humen blood but they are continuing mean even gay men who have been in a wholly monogamous relationship for a year are barred from donating.

Regulations against gay blood reached in 1983 in response to the panic surrounding the HIV/ Aids epidemic. The American Medical Association called for an aim to the ban in 2013, saying it was discriminatory and without a sound scientific basis. HIV-positive donors can be screened out and merely one in 2m HIV infections are caused by transfusions .

In short, the prohibition on lesbian blood is unjustified. Other countries, such as Argentina, have already done away with it.

Misinformation spread on social media Sunday, saying that the ban on homosexual blood has been temporarily lifted in Orlando because of high require. This is actually false, as local donor service OneBlood corroborates.

It is an outrage that our blood can be spilled but not donated. It is an outrage that, despite the facts and despite calls to lift the ban from experts in different regions of the country, homophobia and lesbian panic keeps it in place. Thank God for groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, one Muslim group mobilizing support to keep blood furnishes up.

As we celebrate Pride and yes, we will celebrate even in the wake of tragedy, as we always have let us remember our revolutionary roots. Above all, Pride is a gala of resistance. It is a gala of our audacity to exist.

And so, in the spirit of Pride, in the spirit of Stonewall, in the spirit of our LGBT family members who have been stolen from us too soon, let us continue to resist.

Today is a painful reminder that there are still so many combats left for us to battle. The oppressive, outdated policy on faggot blood is one, and it must come to an end. I look forward to a future where we can express our solidarity with those who are harmed or in need through our required donations.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Madonna raises $7.5 m for Malawi and criticises Trump at Miami show

Singer says predicament of Native Americans constructs her ashamed to be an American at benefit performance and auction

Madonna has repeatedly criticised Donald Trump and said she is ashamed to be an American, in a performance and auction in Miami that raised more than $7.5 m( 5.9 m) for her Malawi foundation.

Images of the president-elect appeared behind her as she sang the line You know that youre toxic from her covering of the Britney Spears hit.

The singer also disclosed she had once been in Trumps bed for a magazine photoshoot when the tycoon was not at home. She took a shot at his cheap sheets, saying: They wont be Egyptian cotton because we all know how he feels about Muslims, dont we?

Madonna covers Toxic

Madonna also spoke about the plight of Native Americans and asked why their land was being destroyed. It just really induces me feel ashamed ashamed to be an American, ashamed to be a human being, actually, she said before performing her 2003 hit American Life.

The benefit show, billed as an evening of music, art and mischief, assured Madonna resurrect her cabaret display, Tears of a Clown, first performed in Australia earlier this year.

It was one of the many parties held during Art Basel Miami Beach, the biggest art carnival in North America, which attracts super-rich art collectors and celebrities from across the world. Guests, who paid at least $5,000 to attend, included Leonardo DiCaprio, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, former boyfriend Alex Rodriguez, Courtney Love and James Corden.

Before her hour-long performance, Madonna auctioned pieces from her personal art collecting, including a Tracey Emin print that sold for $550,000 and three Herb Ritts photographs from her 1985 wedding to Sean Penn that fetched $230,000.

Other lots included a Damien Hirst painting, a private performance by the magician David Blaine, who also attended, and a week-long stay at DiCaprios home in Palm Springs that went for $140,000.

Penn bid on several items when the auction stalled. At one point, Madonna walked into the audience, climbed on tables and gave one man a lap dance. She abruptly stood up at another point, grabbed the chair on which she had performed and said she also wanted to auction it , noting $600 could send a girl in Malawi to secondary school. The chair sold for $10,000.

Madonna adopted her 11 -year-old son, David, from an orphanage in Malawi more than a decade ago. At the time, she said she didnt know where Malawi was. David had pneumonia and malaria. His mother died in childbirth and his siblings were also dead.

He was at the event to introduce the singer, telling the audience: I realise Im one of the lucky ones.

Madonna demonstrated videos of Malawi, asking for help to build a paediatric surgery and intensive care unit at a hospital there. Half the population are under the age of 15, according to her foundation, Raising Malawi.

As well as political statements and corny clown jokes, Madonna lamented the fact she was very single and had not had sexuality for some time.

The Associated Press contributed to this report .

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Bald eagles: scientists decry overturn of ban that would save American emblem

The national bird is threatened by toxic bullets that wind up in the animals it fees, but the Trump administration overturned a rule to stop it

His head twisted virtually upside down and his body all but paralyzed, the bald eagle sat on its haunches, talons clenching, while two humans neared to put him in a cage. They could not save the bird from result.

The eagle was the third this year to succumb from lead poisoning at the Blue Mountain Wildlife center, in north-east Oregon, where Lynn Tompkins has helped rehabilitate sick and injured birds for 30 years. They eat things that have been shot, Tompkins said, whether its big game like deer or elk or coyotes or ground squirrels.

The poisoned birds suffer paralysis, dont eat and struggle to stand. As with mammals, lead causes blindness, brain damage and organ failure.

One of the most recent eagles, Tompkins said, had 622 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood in its body, and a second had 385. The Center for Disease Control recommends immediate medical intervention for children whose blood tests at 45. Many birds, Tompkins said, exam at 5-10 micrograms, too low to present symptoms, but the same degree of leading seen in the children in Flint, Michigan.

The short answer is that no level of lead is acceptable for living things eagles, condors and people, said raptor biologist Glenn Stewart.

Bald eagles have rebounded across the US since 1972, when the government banned the pesticide DDT. But 10 -1 5% of bald eagles die during the first year because of result poisoning, Stewart said, in part because the young birds almost exclusively eat carrion.

An
An bald eagle that died from lead poisoning in north-east Oregon this month, after testing procured it had 385 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood in its body. Photograph: Lynn Tompkins

Last week, virtually 30 doctors and scientists sent a letter to the department of the interior to strongly support the standard rules that Ryan Zinke, Donald Trumps new interior secretary, revoked on his first day in the post. The rule, enacted by the Obama administration on its last day, would have banned lead ammo across 150 m acres of national wildlife refuges.

It worries me to think about hunting and angling becoming activities for the land-owning elite, Zinke said.

On the other side of the spectrum, Jonathan Evans, senior lawyer at the Center for Biological Diversity, a preservation group, said: We shouldnt be killing our national symbol because were too lazy or too concerned with past types of ammunition to switch. The National Rifle Association( NRA) has already been sued over attempts to phase out lead ammunition for hunting.

Biologists hesitate to estimate how many animals die from lead per year, but analyzes suggest the numbers are significant. A 2014 survey found that of nearly 3,000 eagles killed over 30 years, about 25% died from poison, most often lead. In 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that people who feed game meat tend to have higher levels of lead in their blood.

The science is overwhelming, said Dr Myra Finkelstein, a toxicologist who examines result poisoning in condors. The answer is so clear that I wish we could just attain the switching and protect human and wildlife health.

Every year, one in five condors suffers result poisoning so severe they need therapy, she said, and although the birds are the largest flyers in North America, a fingernails worth of lead can kill one. Result poisoning appears to have stalled the species recovery in the wild.

This has nothing to do with peoples right to hunt, she said. We took lead out of gas and out of home paint. That doesnt mean you dont drive a car or paint your home. Its about employing something thats safe for you and your family as well as an animal that comes upon it.

The solution, according to scientists and a growing alliance of hunters, is non-lead ammunition. Im a hunter, too, so Im kind of stuck in the middle, said Chris Parish, who called himself a redneck biologist with the Peregrine Fund, a nonprofit tracking raptors in Arizona and Utah. Parish and Leland Brown, a biologist with the Oregon Zoo and himself a hunter, was contended that hunters and scientists are natural allies to study, manage and preserve wildlife together.

Its not just good for the sport but ties immediately into the tradition of taking care of the landscape, of being good stewards for wildlife, Brown said.

Parish pointed to a small, voluntary program in Arizona and Utah that has managed to convince 87% of its hunters to either employ non-lead bullets or haul out contaminated guts. Do x-rays on carcass and show hunters the gut piles, he said. This is real conservation that induces sense.

But Parish said that politics have paralyzed many country agencies, hunters and scientists. The three groups should band together, he said, separate from government or political activists, and support programs that promote copper and steel ammunition.

Read all the politics you want, but heres the real dope. Heres what we need you do to, and heres a box of bullets to dedicate it try, he said. The condor could stand as a symbol of what were capable of , not just another endangered species program nagging you.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Russian spy attack: Johnson welcomes allies’ support

Foreign secretarys remarks precede Trump sacking of Tillerson, who had criticised Moscow

The UK has been encouraged by the “strength of support” from allies to taken any steps against Russia after the nerve agent attack on a former spy and his daughter, Boris Johnson said just hours before the US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, was sacked by Donald Trump.

Tillerson, who spoke to the foreign secretary on Monday afternoon, had told reporters the attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal” clearly came from Russia” and would have consequences.

His remarks went farther than those of Theresa May, who told the House of Commons on Monday it was ” highly likely” Russia was behind the two attacks. The White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, had stopped short of pointing the thumb at Russia.

Just hours after Johnson had welcomed US support, Trump tweeted that he had replaced Tillerson with the CIA director, Mike Pompeo. The sacking may not be linked to Tillerson’s comments on Russia; relations between the pair are believed to have been deteriorating for some time, especially over the Iran nuclear deal and Trump’s announcement that he would meet the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

It is unclear when Tillerson learned that his dismissal was imminent. It was first reported he had known since Friday, which was was rejected by sources, and a state department spokesman later said Tillerson” did not speak to the president and is unaware of the reason” and later indicated he had read the news on Twitter.

The US president said he would speak to the British “ministers ” about the Salisbury poisoning on Tuesday.

Trump said:” It voices to me like they believe it was Russia … I would certainly take that finding as fact .” But he added:” If we get the facts straight we will denounced Russia, or whoever it might be .”

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Downing Street is hoping for a strong statement of support from Trump when he speaks with May on Tuesday, having previously been encouraged by such direct disapproval from Tillerson.

Skripal and his daughter remain in hospital in a critical condition while the Wiltshire police detective sergeant Nick Bailey is in a serious but stable condition.

Bailey is making good progress, Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism police officer said. Delivering an updated report on the police investigation outside New Scotland Yard on Tuesday, the Metropolitan police deputy assistant commissioner, Neil Basu, said 38 people were find by medical staff in the aftermath of the” reckless, despicable and targeted” attack.

Of those, 34 have been assessed and discharged and one more person is still being monitored as an outpatient but is not showing signs of illness. Previously, police had said 21 people had been affected.

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Theresa May: highly likely Russia is behind Salisbury spy attack- video

In an interview earlier on Tuesday, Johnson recurred May’s ultimatum to the Kremlin that it must explain by midnight on Tuesday if it was behind the two attacks, or if it had allowed the deadly nerve agent novichok to get into the incorrect hands.

” If they can come up with a convincing rationale, then plainly we will want to see full disclosure of that to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague ,” Johnson said.

The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said Russia had requested access to the substance to perform its own checks but the request had been refused. May’s spokesman hit back at Lavrov’s suggestion that Britain could be transgressing the chemical weapons convention.

” The UK fully complies with all of its obligations under the chemical weapons convention ,” the spokesman said.” Under the chemical weapons convention, countries have the mechanism to consult but there is no requirement to do so .”

Quick guide

What is novichok?

Novichok refers to a group of nerve agents that were developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970 s and 1980 s to elude international restrictions on chemical weapons. Like other nerve agents, they are organophosphate compounds, but the chemicals used to stimulate them, and their final structures are considered classified in the UK, the US and other countries. By making the agents in secret, from unfamiliar chemicals, the Soviet Union aimed to fabricate the substances without being impeded.

” Much less is known about the novichoks than the other nerve agents ,” said Alastair Hay, an environmental toxicologist at the University of Leeds who investigated the use of chemical weapons against Iraqi Kurds in Halabja in 1988.” They are not widely used at all .”

The most potent of the novichok substances are considered to be more lethal than VX, the most deadly of the familiar nerve agents, which include sarin, tabun and soman.

And while the novichok agents work in a similar way, by massively over-stimulating muscles and glands, one chemical weapons expert told the Guardian that the agents do not degrade fast in the environment and have “an additional toxicity”. ” That extra toxicity is not well understood, so I understand why people were asked to clean their clothes, even though it is it was present only in tracings ,” he said. Treatment for novichok exposure would be the same as for other nerve agents, namely with atropine, diazepam and potentially medications called oximes.

The chemical structures of novichok agents were made public in 2008 by Vil Mirzayanov, a former Russian scientist living in the US, but the structures have never been publicly confirmed. It is thought that they can be made in different forms, including a dust aerosol that would be easy to disperse.

The novichoks are known as binary agents because they become lethal only after mixing two otherwise harmless components. According to Mirzayanov, they are 10 to 100 times more toxic than the conventional nerve agents.

The fact that so little is known about them may explain why Porton Down scientists took several days to identify the compound used in the attack against Sergei and Yulia Skripal. While laboratories around the world that are used to police chemical weapons incidents have databases of nerve agents, few outside Russia are believed to have full details of the novichok compounds and the chemicals needed to build them.

Photograph: Matt Cardy/ Getty Images Europe

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