This is Garrison Hardie with your CrossPolitic Daily News Brief for Thursday, November 16th, 2023.
Pub Membership Plug:
Public Houses, or Pubs, are not just places to drink beer, wine, cider or even something a little stronger. It is also a unique social centre, very often the focus of community life in villages, towns and cities throughout the length and breadth of the world. We here at CrossPolitic hope to emulate that for you and yours. That’s why you should grab yourself a pub membership with CrossPolitic! We have a lot of big projects we’re working on behind the scenes here at CrossPoltiic. Projects like This America, our rowdy Christian Guides, our new and improved Fight Laugh Feast App, with more to come… and we need you on this ride with us. So pull up a chair, grab a pint, and join us on this ride at fightlaughfeast.com – that’s fightlaughfeast.com.
New Jersey Parents File Federal Class Action Lawsuit Challenging State’s Secret Retention of Newborn Blood for 23 Years
A group of New Jersey parents teamed up with the Institute for Justice (IJ) to file a federal lawsuit challenging New Jersey’s practice of keeping blood samples taken from newborn babies for 23 years, all without parents’ knowledge or consent. Not only does New Jersey hold onto the blood, it can use the blood samples in any manner it chooses.
When babies are born in New Jersey, state law requires that blood be taken from the newborns and tested for diseases such as cystic fibrosis, hormonal deficiencies, and other immunity issues. All states perform similar tests.
But, after the testing is over, New Jersey’s Department of Health keeps the leftover blood for 23 years. The state does not ask parents for their consent to keep their babies’ blood, failing to even inform parents that it will hold on to the residual blood. The only way parents could learn about such retention is by proactively looking it up on one of the third-party websites listed on the bottom of the card they’re given after the blood draw. And, once the state has the blood, it can use it however it wishes, including selling it to third parties, giving it to police without a warrant, or even selling it to the Pentagon to create a registry—as previously happened in Texas.
“Parents have a right to informed consent if the state wants to keep their children’s blood for decades and use it for purposes other than screening for diseases,” said IJ Senior Attorney Rob Frommer. “New Jersey’s policy of storing baby blood and DNA and using that genetic information however it wants is a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment rights of all New Jersey parents and their newborns.”
The plaintiffs challenging this law are two Boonton parents, Erica and Jeremiah Jedynak, and Hannah Lovaglio, a Cranbury mother of two.
“It’s not right that the state can enter an incredibly intimate moment, the tender days of childbirth, and take something from our children which is then held on to for 23 years,” said Hannah. “The lack of consent and transparency causes me to question the intent and makes me worried for my children’s future selves.”
“As a mother, I deserve the right to decide whether or not the government takes blood from my son and holds onto it for decades past its claimed use.”
Although all 50 states and the District of Columbia require blood screening for newborns, whether a state will destroy leftover newborn blood, return it, or keep it with a form of parental consent varies on a state-by-state basis.
“What makes New Jersey’s program so uniquely disturbing is the complete lack of safeguards for future abuse and the lack of consent, which leave the program ripe for abuse,” said IJ Attorney Christie Hebert. “Parents should not have to worry if the state is going to use the blood it said it was taking from their baby to test for diseases for other, unrelated purposes.”
New Jersey is not alone in facing legal issues for the lack of consent when obtaining blood and over what the state does with the blood. Texas, Minnesota, and Michigan have all faced lawsuits over their retention of blood samples without informed consent from the parents. The 2009 lawsuit in Texas resulted in the state destroying 5.3 million blood samples, and now, all blood samples obtained after 2012 must be destroyed after two years. A 2014 settlement in the Minnesota lawsuit resulted in 1.1 million blood samples being destroyed. In 2022, Michigan agreed to destroy 3 million blood spots, but that lawsuit continues to move forward.
“It’s incredibly misleading for the state to tell parents they are simply drawing blood from their babies to test for diseases when it could be sold to third parties or used by other government agencies to build invasive databases or registries,” said IJ Attorney Brian Morris. “As Texas and other states have shown, these concerns aren’t hypothetical.”
Biden-Xi meeting to seal deals on fentanyl, military communications, White House says
Wednesday’s meeting between President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping will address hard issues such as fentanyl supplies coming in from Asia and a lack of military communication, the White House said.
Fox News spoke with NSC Coordinator for the Indo-Pacific Kurt Campbell this week — Campbell was just recently nominated to become deputy secretary of state.
“I can tell you that President Biden intends to make very clear to President Xi to get ready. He’s going to be dealing with President Biden for the next five years,” Campbell told Fox News Digital.
“These are tough diplomatic encounters,” he continued. “President Biden has a lot of experience. They’ve known each other a long time. This is an important meeting. It’ll be intense.”
Biden and Xi shook hands in San Francisco Wednesday. One key talking point for the two world leaders is the ongoing fentanyl crisis in the United States.
“The president tasked us several months ago to try to come up with some sort of progress on one of the most terrible things that is a blight on America, the fentanyl crisis,” Campbell told Fox News Digital. “So we’ve worked over the course of several months with Chinese interlocutors demanding progress on cutting off support from precursors that are produced by Chinese companies and then shipped largely to Latin America. And then they make their way up into the United States.”
“We’re going to have to see how it’s implemented,” Campbell continued. “But so far, we believe the Chinese are going to take consequential steps that will essentially help us get a handle on really one of the most terrible drug epidemics the United States has ever faced. There’s a back and forth on this. If they, in fact, make these arrests and shut down these companies, then we will be lifting a few sanctions.”
Another major concern to be addressed between Biden and Xi is the trend of increasingly common incidents between the Chinese and U.S. military. Government officials have reported that communications between China and U.S. military commands has become difficult, with Chinese military leaders refusing to meaningfully converse with their U.S. counterparts.
“We seek to establish responsible mechanisms that can deal with communications in a crisis to prevent escalation and inadvertence. And I believe that the Chinese will come around to see that some of this is also in their best interest as well,” Campbell added.
Teacher’s Union That Encouraged Teacher Strikes Now Faces Its Own Employee Rebellion
The National Education Association (NEA) has a labor strike on its hands as its 48 employees protest low wages, Axios reports.
The NEA, which represents 3 million educators, has encouraged several massive teacher strikes in past. Now, its own employees have voted unanimously to strike, claiming that wages have not risen to meet surging inflation in recent years.
Thousands of NEA-affiliated Portland teachers went on strike in October over low pay and large class sizes, among other issues. The strike is ongoing. Teachers in Massachusetts and Columbus enjoyed NEA support while they went on strike last year.
“The NEA is going to have step up and honor the values of the organization,” the bargaining chair for the union representing the NEA’s staff, LaToya Johnson, said.
Johnson said she hoped that the organization would give their employees the same benefits they fought for the teachers they represent to have.
“NEA has engaged in negotiations in good faith,” an NEA spokesperson told Axios. “[A]nd continues to apply a solutions-based approach to resolve the outstanding issues in a manner that addresses articulated priorities of AFSE while also balancing the strategic priorities of NEA and its members.”
The NEA, along with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), collaborated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to decide on when and how in-person education would be allows after the COVID-19 pandemic, according to emails obtained by Americans for Public Trust.
As ‘The Marvels’ Bombs, Disney Doubles Down on Pushing LGBTQ Streaming Shows
The Walt Disney Company is rolling out more LGBTQ content as its latest superhero movie The Marvels crashed and burned at the box office on its opening weekend.
The Disney+ drama series Culprits focuses on a gay domestic relationship between two men played by Nathan Stewart-Jarrett and Kevin Vidal. The show focuses on Joe (Stewart-Jarrett), whose past criminal life threatens to re-emerge and disrupt the quiet suburban existence he has built with his male fiancé Jules (Vidal)
The series — which is streaming on Disney+ in the U.K. and Hulu in the U.S. — also stars drag queen comedian Eddie Izzard, who now apparently goes by the name “Suzy Eddie Izzard.”
In December, Hulu is set to debut the new documentary We Live Here in the Midwest — a look at gay, transgender, and “non-binary” families that live in small towns and cities throughout America’s heartland.
Among the families profiled in the documentary are those with transgender parents. “What my dad was feeling and why she felt like she did, was more than just her. There are more people out there who are like this,” said one child whose father transitioned to become a “woman.”
In another scene, a “non-binary” student discussed how she is treated in class.
“The students believe that ‘non-binary’ do not exist,” she said. “I’m here right now so we do exist.”
We Live Here in the Midwest is set to debut on December 6.
Disney has embraced LGBTQ messaging in its entertainment aimed at children and families.
As Breitbart News reported, Disney along with Netflix put out more LGBTQ content than any other studio in Hollywood in 2022, according to a GLAAD report.
GLAAD said Disney released 59 films in 2022, and 24 of them were so-called “LGBT inclusive films.”
In the past two years, Disney has fought Florida over its anti-grooming Parental Rights in Education law, created multiple transgender characters for its children’s shows, put gay characters at the center of its big-budget movies, and even launched an LGBTQ-themed apparel line.
This year, Disney eliminated 7,000 jobs worldwide as its profitability cratered. CEO Bob Iger is planning on slashing an additional $2 billion in spending in the months ahead.