Sanders campaign again attacks top AIDS activist; LGBT community livid

The LGBT community wanted a war on AIDS, so Bernie Sanders gave them a war on AIDS activists instead.

For the second time in a week, the Sanders campaign has launched an oddly personal attack on Peter Staley, one of America’s top AIDS activists.

Coincidentally, Staley, who has played a pivotal role in the HIV/AIDS movement for nearly 30 years, will be making an appearance in this week’s “AIDS Crisis” episode of CNN’s series “The 1980s.”

The attack came once again from Sanders’ senior policy adviser Warren Gunnels, who falsely accused Staley, who has committed his life to HIV activism, of selling out people with AIDS to the pharmaceutical industry.

American AIDS activist Peter Staley.

American AIDS activist Peter Staley.

The Sanders campaign became enraged with Staley and other AIDS activists, including many who are (or were) Bernie Sanders supporters, after the activists called Sanders out for lying about his meeting with the activists last week. In that meeting, the activists raised their concerns about a drug initiative taking place in California, and sponsored by an anti-PrEP organization. When the meeting finished, Sanders issued a press release claiming the activists had joined the Vermont Senator in supporting the initiative.

In response to Sanders’ false claim, the attendees, both Bernie and Hillary supporters, issued a public letter to Sanders. Sanders’ staff responded by questioning Staley’s integrity:

sanders-attacks-aids-activists

The Sanders campaign subsequently deleted Gunnels’ tweet about Staley, only to resurface the attack this week, which means this was a conscious decision made at the highest levels of the campaign. Sanders’ argument is that Staley used pharmaceutical educational grants to finance his life-saving HIV/AIDS resource site. A fact that Staley freely admits, as it was the only funding available at the time, came with no strings attached, and without it the site would have ceased to exist.

by default 2016-06-01 at 9.53.27 PM

Sanders is no stranger to controversy over HIV/AIDS. His campaign was criticized two months ago for not including even a mention of HIV on the campaign Web site’s LGBT page; and it was only after such criticism that Sanders finally came out with a last-minute plan to fight HIV should he become president. Sanders further enraged the AIDS community when he backed out of a meeting with them last month, at the last minute, and refused to reschedule, giving the appearance that he no longer saw any political gain in listening to the AIDS community’s concerns. It was the rescheduled meeting that Sanders then lied about in his press release.

Staley posted the latest exchange with the Sanders campaign on Facebook, and putting aside for a moment the propriety and wisdom of Sanders’ incessant effort to take down one of America’s top AIDS activists, it was particularly interesting to read the comments the post received from others in the LGBT and HIV activist community. Apparently, the AIDS community’s relationship with drug companies like Gilead is complicated to say the least. A nuance that Sanders has missed entirely.

First off, Staley notes that the Web site he used to run, AIDSmeds.com, wouldn’t have survived without the unrestricted educational grants they received from drug companies. In other words, people would have died without the critical information the site was providing for people with AIDS back in the earlier days of the Internet.

Here’s Staley on Facebook:

At AIDSmeds.com, we didn’t have ads before the merger with POZ. We survived on unrestricted educational grants from pharma. We never held our tongue, and lost a sponsor — Abbott — for joining the boycott over their Norvir price increase. AHF [the anti-PrEP group that Sanders has aligned himself with] joined the boycott too, and agreed to drop it after negotiating a huge grants with Abbott.

AIDSmeds was a bare-bones operation. No offices. Just me and freelancers like Tim Horn and Spencer Cox and programmers, etc. No one got rich by providing this highly admired and free website to people living with HIV.

A number of others weighed in, agreeing with Staley, while being highly critical of Sanders:

by default 2016-06-01 at 10.33.14 PMby default 2016-06-01 at 10.31.33 PM by default 2016-06-01 at 10.31.06 PM by default 2016-06-01 at 10.31.50 PM  by default 2016-06-01 at 10.31.21 PM by default 2016-06-01 at 10.31.59 PM

As I’d mentioned in my earlier story, Staley’s involvement in HIV/AIDS activism goes back nearly to the beginning. He joined the movement in the 1980s, and has been a vocal leader ever since. I remember first hearing of Staley when he joined a group of ACT-UPers in unfurling a banner at the New York Stock Exchange.

On September 14, 1989, Staley and six other activists staged another demonstration to protest the rising cost of [AIDS drug] AZT, this time in the New York Stock Exchange. Dressed in suits and carrying fake credentials, they chained themselves to a balcony above the trading floor before unfurling a banner that read “Sell Wellcome”, drowned out the opening bell with airhorns, and dropped fake $100 bills that read, “Fuck your profiteering. We die while you play business,” on the traders below. Within days, Burroughs Wellcome lowered the price of AZT by 20%.

That’s Peter.

I spoke with Alan Klein, a founding member of ACT UP/NY; co-founder of Queer Nation; and a partner atPublic Impact Media Consultants, about the latest in the ongoing controversy:

Peter is getting attacked for saying what other activists, including Bernie supporters, have also been saying about the meeting with Sanders.

A famous AIDS button from the late 80s, early 90s. My friend Paul Clark had a t-shirt with this design that he used to love wearing in Billings, MT in 1991. Paul got a chuckle out of the fact that people would complement him on his “Mickey Mouse” shirt without having a clue what it actually meant.

A famous AIDS button from the late 80s, early 90s. My friend Paul Clark had a t-shirt with this design that he used to love wearing in Billings, MT in 1991. Paul got a chuckle out of the fact that people would compliment him on his “Mickey Mouse” shirt without having a clue what it actually meant.

As for the attacks on Peter’s credibility, the Sanders campaign isn’t showing any understanding about drug prices, about what the AIDS activist movement has done to save lives, nor does it show any recognition of what we did collectively to force drug companies to develop drugs that actually saved people’s lives.

I remember in the late 1980s, when Peter first walked in to an ACT UP meeting at the then- Gay & Lesbian Center in NYC. 350 eyes turned to this cute young guy wearing a really expensive suit, looking like he’d just walked in from Wall Street (he had). We actually wondered if he’d gotten lost. Peter immediately got involved, became a very influential and productive member of ACT UP, and ended up leading our fundraising efforts.

I asked Klein, who has not publicly endorsed either Hillary or Bernie, why he thought the Sanders campaign keeps attacking Staley:

I think they’re really confused. It shows a profound and baffling lack of understanding of HIV/AIDS and the AIDS activist movement, and for that matter the LGBT community – they simply don’t understand what’s important to us.

What policy is Sanders pushing here? He wants to say that AIDS activists have not been the driving force in getting drugs to people who need them in order to keep them alive? The Sanders campaign has clearly abandoned the LGBT vote on the eve of the CA primary — which makes absolutely no sense at all.

Apparently now even AIDS activists are establishment. Where will the purge end?

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis  — Win a pony! (not really)


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in New York City, and is the cofounder of TimeToResign.com. Bio, .

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  • Spring Texan

    Yeah, very misleading headline. I’m not livid either.

  • cinorjer

    Since Bernie is not anti-gay in any way or form maybe the people who claim the entire gay community is livid about criticisms of this one person should stop and wonder why this guy keeps butting heads with the Bernie folks.

  • Bill_Perdue

    No, but the jokes on hilbots and their mirror image trumpbots.

    Sayonara.

  • quax

    Do you also write for the Onion?

  • Margaretmquick4

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  • hiker_sf

    Yeah, constantly red-baiting Sanders is part of ‘intelligent discussion.’
    Oh, and just where in my comment is the threat? Vowing not to forget?

  • Machine Gun Kermit

    Well said and well said without threats, insults, personal attacks or demagoguery which are the modus operandi of Sanders supporters.

  • Machine Gun Kermit

    That was uncalled for. Until you Sanders supporters can learn to have an intelligent discussion without threats, name calling and insults, your opinions do not matter.

  • Machine Gun Kermit

    As BeccaM mentioned, criminal charges require criminal intent. It’s quite obvious Trump is a business fraud, has been for years. It’s ironic, gay hating Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s name is surfacing in relation to taking $25,000 in campaign contribution bribes to dismiss claims against Trump University in Florida. If there’s any such thing as karma, it would be befitting that Pam Bondi will be locked up like the common criminal she is.

  • Click on “are online” above – that is the link.

    Please quote where Sanders states, “We’re all in agreement.”

    Concentrate on what he said. You don’t get to invent quotes and criticize him for “saying” them.

    Also, here’s some breaking news: no initiative of any kind has every faction and:or interest group completely on board.

  • I’m about up to here with the “John Aravosis is biased” mantra. This is a blog, not Reuters. And even Reuters has its biases, they’re just less obvious.

    There’s this thing called “critical thinking.” They don’t like it in places like Texas. It means, simply, you don’t take anything at face value, you ask questions, and you check sources or demand substantiation. (I’ve even been known to fact-check myself when posting on my own blog — and my biases are hanging out in plain view.) Given the state of the media these days, not to mention the wide range of viewpoints online, I don’t want to let myself fall into the trap of accepting one statement, particularly about politics, as pure fact.

    Yes, Aravosis has biases. He makes them obvious. It’s not his responsibility to cater to anyone’s expectations of “fair and balanced.” It’s the reader’s responsibility to filter his comments through a wider perspective.

  • Sorry, but it doesn’t take a crystal ball to figure out that the AIDS organizations aren’t necessarily on board with that initiative. To transform that to “We’re all in agreement that this is a good thing,” however, takes more than sleight of hand.

  • triggerspace

    This site really doesn’t like Bernie much, does it. #neverhillary

  • Badgerite

    Hmmmm. Hookers for Hilary vs Kim Jung Un. Let me think. Hmmmm.
    I think I would prefer Hookers for Hilary. They are a better group of people.
    What’s more I’m sure that that has pretty much no implications on the world stage. Whereas Trump saying that he thinks US should withdraw its troops from South Korea unless we are paid a certain sum of money ( and actually that is what we call here on planet Earth extortion ) and expressing admiration for Kim Jung Un ( probably because he can shoot anyone who poses any problem for him) is, of course, why Kim Jung Un expressed an opinion as to his preferred outcome in the presidential election in the first place. You see normally a person who has secured the presidential nomination of one of the two major parties in American politics supports the basic alliances that the United States has had since WWII. So, of course, one of our enemies abroad would have no preference as the differences between the candidates with respect to whether or not one can admire Kim Jung Un or the advisability of withdrawing troops from South Korea. But of course this year that is not the case. in fact, apparently some Republican congress people felt the necessity of taking a trip to South Korea to assure them that The Donald is ‘just kidding’ about that.
    http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/06/2/on-asia-trip-republican-senators-assure-us-allies-that-donald-trump-won-t-do-what-he-says-he-will
    So 1) Donald Trump got Kim Jung Un’s endorsement because he made flattering statements about him and 2) stated that he would remove US forces from the Korean Peninsula unless South Korea was willing to pay the US what he wanted. This is what brought the endorsement.

  • Blogvader

    “Today the Supreme Court fulfilled the words engraved upon its
    building: ‘Equal justice under law.’ This decision is a victory for
    same-sex couples across our country as well as all those seeking to live
    in a nation where every citizen is afforded equal rights. For far too
    long our justice system has marginalized the gay community and I am very
    glad the Court has finally caught up to the American people.”

    -A man who obviously hates gay people and AIDS victims.

  • Blogvader

    Max,

    You can’t let a person’s record dissuade you from a good narrative.

  • perljammer

    That whooshing sound was the point (candidates have no control who endorses them) going by.

    What’s the relevance of “One’s made up and the other one is REAL”? If you think the Hookers for Hillary endorsement is made up, I suggest you check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hookers_for_Hillary.

    The US (by way of the UN) went into the Korean conflict because WE GAVE what became North Korea to the Soviet Union in return for the Soviets declaring war on Japan at the end of World War II, and 5 years later, right after Mao’s glorious victory in the revolution, the Soviet Union repaid the US by joining with China in helping North Korea invade the South (who could have seen that coming?).

    And you’re right. Our soldiers in Korea did not die so that Donald Trump can prance around making “deals” on the world stage that make the Godfather look generous and benevolent. They died in part so that Bill Clinton could prance around making aid deals in return for nuclear concessions that North Korea repeatedly reneged upon.

  • I am not attacking Hillary, nor have ever. And I actively defend her from attackes – especially untrue ones similar to the recent trumped-up charges (pun intended) of “lying” about his meeting [his statement was 100% accurate] and of using homophobic songs at his rallies [which simply did not happen].

  • Bill_Perdue

    The increasingly bitter sectarian partisanship of supporters of the Dixiecrat Empress Presumptive can’t be overstated as a key factor that will help tear the DP that apart just as it tearing apart the RP.

    Another and equally critical factor is the hard right turn of Democrats supporting Dixiecrat Empress Presumptive on every question. Sanders did not force the Dixiecrat Empress Presumptive to pretend not to be a hardened rightist.What did that is the palpable and awe inspiring rage of working people at the economic conditions created by Bill Clintons disastrous imposition of NAFTA, deregulation and his racist gutting of welfare. His policies led to the 2007 collapse which forced high unemployment and devastated the standard of living of most working people.

    The end of lesser evil politics is on the horizon as scores of millions contemplate a fight between two equally major evils. The plummeting levels of distrust and hatred of HRH Trump and the Dixiecrat Empress Presumptive are proof positive. As the left and the independent minded labor left grow new alternatives to the twin parties or war, racism and imposed poverty are going to be able to use elections to promote a radical working class program.

  • timncguy

    It amazes me how the Sanders supporters continue to warn Clinton supporters that they must not attack Sanders for fear of turning off the Sanders supporters. In your case, you call it attacking 1/2 the Democratic Party. While at the same time the entire Sanders campaign, its surrogates and supporters are attacking the other 1/2 of the Democratic Party and feel completely justified in doing it. You cannot expect to continue to attack Clinton and the “establishment” and not expect to receive some back in return.

  • Phil in FLL

    It’s true that Trump’s case is farther along because he’s already been indicted, and Hillary hasn’t been indicted yet. If it’s just a pitch to voters, Trump’s case looks worse because it’s obvious business fraud, which has been extensively documented. In Hillary’s case intent to break laws would be difficult to prove. Hence, Trump’s campaign is in a weaker position than Hillary’s. BTW, Hillary just gave a barn burner of a speech on foreign policy in San Diego. CNN is even running fact-checking captions in parentheses on their TV newscasts:

    Trump: I Never Said Japan Should Have Nukes (He Did)

    Even so, it wouldn’t be a bad idea at all for Hillary and Bernie to mend fences. Underestimating Trump has proven to be a mistake.

  • Badgerite

    What’s the old saying? One’s made up and the other one is REAL.
    Kim Jung Un was responding to the Fraudster Trump’s proposal to extort money from South Korea or leave that country unprotected from the likes of the Korean dictator to the North.
    South Korea is a democratic country full of freedom and life. And North Korea is, how shall we put this, NOT. Our soldiers in Korea did not die so that Donald Trump can prance around making “deals” on the world stage that make the Godfather look generous and benevolent.

  • Hue-Man

    Mr. Sanders has been in Congress since 1991 (if wiki got that right). Over that quarter century, I would have expected someone seeking political office on the left of the political spectrum to have studied LGBT issues quite intently; fumbling around in June, 2016, isn’t a sign of someone who has done his homework. I’m not saying LGBT issues are the highest priority but the LGBT community doesn’t quietly wait around for things to happen.

    BTW, I don’t have a horse in this race. The Liberal platform for last October’s election had LGBT promises some of which have been delivered. http://www.liberal.ca/lgbtq2/

  • Hillary Clinton is NOT facing federal indictment on criminal charges. Even conservative prosecutors have said that at worst this was negligence. Criminal charges require criminal intent, and that can’t be established beyond the reasonable doubt it’d take for a grand jury to hand down indictments. This isn’t to say investigations aren’t ongoing and could turn out badly, but in a sane world there aren’t going to be campaign-destroying indictments on this issue in the next six months — not unless there’s some GOP rat-fuckery underway. Mainstream media speculation sounds exactly like that, because they want their horse-race and poor Trumpy seems to be imploding. So some of ’em have to drag Clinton down into the mud.

    Trump’s case is way different. There, the indictments already exist and the case referred to a federal judge. Discovery is underway and hearings already scheduled.

  • ” an eventual unification”

    Hmmmm. Do you get that your ugliness and pandering to Sanders-bashers is far more of a threat to that happening?

    Your blog has become so toxic it’s threatening to turn people – that at least used to be on our side – off of voting for Hillary at all, which is (as everyone says) a vote for Trump right there.

    I know because I’m one.

    You are a great attack dog, John. But you’re attacking 1/2 of the Democratic Party and are probably doing more damage right now than Breitbart or Malkin or Colter or Limbaugh because it’s just so thuggish and uncalled-for (especially this latest string of things that aren’t even true, like Bernie “lied” or his campaign played an anti-gay song.)

    Your Republican background gave you a lot of strengths, and you clearly learned messaging, rhetoric and attacking from some of the best I’m sure (Roger Stone? Lee Atwater?)

    However, you forgot to learn that it’s best to not target your own (at least not with that destroy them all intensity).

  • Until six weeks ago, I was going to do the same thing: Vote for Sanders in my state’s June 7th primary (early voting already open), but support the likely nominee in the general election.

    I never wavered from my vow to vote for whichever of the two was the nominee — and all of the down-ballot Dems — and generally preferring Sanders for being more obviously progressive.

    Two things changed on April 26th. One had nothing to do with Sanders or his campaign, but the simple fact after that date, winning the nomination by a majority of pledged delegates stopped being a realistic hope or expectation. The other thing, unfortunately, was that same night when Sanders basically gave his supporters affirmative permission not to support Clinton in the general election. I couldn’t forgive that. Not that my one primary vote here in NM would really matter, but last week I cast it for Clinton.

    In a way, I took Sanders at his word when he said it wasn’t up to him to tell his supporters how to vote, that we should think for ourselves. Well, I did. I decided the message I needed to send was no longer “Hillary, be more left” but “Bernie, please concede on June 7th.”

    The big problem back in ’08 was the positions were reversed. Clinton was the candidate who wouldn’t recognize when the nomination was out of reach. Some of her surrogates were openly race-baiting, suggesting Obama was unelectable because America wasn’t ready for an African American president, which was an appalling thing to do. Then there was the whole Michigan delegate debacle, where Clinton — who ran unopposed there — wanted the whole delegation seated because duh, she’d won all of them, but Obama and the DNC had the pre-primary rules on their side which was that Michigan had had their primary too early. (They eventually compromised by giving Michigan dels half a vote each.)

    Both in ’08 and in ’16 here, there passed a point in May when it was clear one of the prospective nominees simply would not win. And when each of the campaigns seemed to begin engaging in party-damaging scorched-earth practices. It’s not good for the party and not good for the presumptive nominees.

  • Phil in FLL

    I just think that a general consensus would form nationally that it would just be too disruptive for Donald and Hillary to campaign for president at the same time as they are appearing before federal courts, grand juries or New York State courts to argue that they shouldn’t be convicted and go to prison. Wouldn’t that be taking multi-tasking a little far?

  • Phil in FLL

    I don’t disagree with any of the points you’ve raised in your comment above. Every one of them is true. If I may summarize, Hillary has won in terms of pledged delegates, total delegates, national popular vote, and every other metric you might propose. To add to my comment below, I’m merely suggesting that, at the very least, Hillary as the nominee would be in a weaker position than Obama was in 2008. Obama was not facing a federal indictment on criminal charges, and for that reason Hillary needs Bernie supporters even more than Obama needed Hillary supporters in 2008. At a minimum Hillary has to explain to voters why, as the editorial board of USA Today put it, she made the reckless decision in 2012 of continuing to use her private server after receiving no less than four warnings in the form of attempted hacks to her private server within a space of six months. That is a politically daunting challenge, and Hillary will certainly need Bernie’s help to overcome that challenge. To be fair, The Donald is also facing the high probability of an indictment on criminal charges from the New York State attorney general.

  • AdmNaismith

    Thank you for the info regarding my previous inquiries on this matter, and thank you for this clarifying post.

    I’m not sure what going on here, on this site. 8 yrs ago, Americablog hated Hillary with the blinding rage of 1000 suns- this time around She’s the unicorn all progressives should vote for.

    Bernie has (had?) a lot of good ideas, and early on pulled Hillary a little more Progressive.
    For that reason I was hoping to vote Bernie in the Primary and Hillary in the General Election. After all of the Bernie Bro nonsense and this AIDS policy dumbfuckery, maybe both votes have to go to Hillary.

  • goulo

    Interesting twists indeed, although “likely to suspend their campaigns” due to possible criminal charges sounds like an optimistic exaggeration to me. Maybe it will come to that for Trump and Clinton, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Privilege has its privileges, after all… “Steal $100 and go to jail; steal $1000000 and become rich and famous and powerful.”

  • Voodoo Chile

    If by the gay community, you mean John Aravosis and David Brock, then sure I guess.

  • Yeah, but y’know, five days from now all of this is going to be irrelevant. I know, I know, Sanders hasn’t conceded yet.

    But the delegate math already has.

    As I’ve seen it as a former (but not embittered) Sanders supporter, their positions on LGBT issues — and HIV/AIDS specifically — for most of the campaign were rather nebulous and generalized. Pro-LGBT to be sure, but lacking in specifics as many of the critics noted. There were also apparently more than a few missed opportunities to meet with LGBT organizers and community representatives; just my guesses here, but it’s because since Sanders didn’t have the massive ground organization Clinton did, he had to spend way more time stumping, fund raising, and doing mass rallies and such.

    Anyway, fast-forward to California’s primary. Sanders needs a landslide win. There’s an issue on the ballot that many would consider an obvious “this is a progressive issue, so let’s push it hard” position. It filled in that blank as a really very specific issue affecting the LGBT community, the cost of prescription drugs (and HIV suppression and prevention ones in particular). Peg drug prices to what the Veterans Administration pays and done, easy-peasy, right?

    Unfortunately, complicated situations don’t always respond well to simple solutions. As I’ve commented before, regardless whether you agree with them or not, some of these HIV/AIDS groups were worried that by imposing strict price controls on live-saving meds, the Pharma companies would restrict supplies in California and possibly do away with the numerous voluntary discounting programs already in place. Having a different opinion as to the risks of the California initiative is not necessarily “selling out” to the Pharma companies.

    So there’s this finally-held long-delayed meeting between the Sanders campaign and 19 representatives of 19 different groups who were also representing dozens more. They wanted a far-ranging discussion on a large variety of LGBT-related topics, including health care in general.

    But one important thing they wanted communicate to the Sanders campaign — which was brought up only at the very end of the meeting — wasn’t to urge them to abandon their support for the California drug price initiative, but to let them know there was not a 100% consensus among the HIV/AIDS groups on whether this was a good initiative or a bad one. (Staley was one of those on the “it’s not good” side.)

    When the Sanders campaign issued their press release about the meeting, they mentioned NOTHING but the initiative and in the language used made it sound like the pro-initiative position was universally supported by all the attendees. The anger was that these groups felt like they’d been used not as sources of policy input, but as campaign props.

    The Sanders campaign could’ve issued a simple follow-up and soon forgotten “more issues than the initiative were discussed; not all groups support the measure” press release. Just a simple mea culpa.

    Instead they went on the attack, and especially attacking Peter Staley, which was unnecessary and unwise. I’ve noticed that most of the vitriol comes from Gunnels, the senior Sanders campaign policy director, which leads me to suspect the problem isn’t Sanders himself but Gunnels and whatever personal issues he has with those he met with. In short, you don’t pick fights with people whose support you need.

  • hiker_sf

    It’s over. What I will never forget is how sleazy Clinton supporters. John continue to ‘red-bait’ – now using the word purge.

    John is this era’s Roy Cohn.

  • hiker_sf

    It’s no wonder the talented Mr. Green left.

  • Phil in FLL

    Off-topic (my apologies). The Donald might be forced to suspend his campaign in the event the New York State attorney general indicts him on criminal charges. The New York attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, called Trump University “really a fraud from beginning to end” (the link to the Politico article is here). Here is the attorney general’s money quote on “Good Morning America”:

    “In New York, we have laws against business fraud, we have laws against consumer fraud.” When asked which specific laws the Manhattan mogul broke in New York state, which filed a lawsuit against Trump in 2013. “We have a law against running an illegal unlicensed university.”

    Hillary’s chances of completing her campaign are equally in doubt. The mainstream press today is openly speculating that the FBI may indeed recommend an indictment on criminal charges. The lawsuits under the Freedom of Information Act are too numerous too keep track of at this point, including a federal judge who today ordered the Obama administration to release yet another batch of emails. Hillary and everyone else has now dropped the claim that the private server was “allowed.” The crucial point, regarding criminal charges, is whether Hillary set up her server with the intent of hiding State Department emails from both the White House and the public. An article in the Huffington Post a couple days ago argues that the government could make a compelling case that Hillary indeed intended to hide State Department emails from the White House and the public (link here). The editorial board of USA Today have come to the same conclusion (link here), noting that Hillary ignored a series of warnings during the first half of 2012 in the form of attempted hacks to her private server and decided to continue using the private server anyway. The USA Today editorial board asks “how she could make such a reckless decision.” It’s sounding less and less like a matter of “convenience.”

    John, I understand that Bernie and some honored AIDS activists have serious differences, but they may have to patch up those differences. Of the three candidates still running for president, two are likely to suspend their campaigns due to federal indictments. The third candidate is named Bernie Sanders. Could Hillary or Donald really continue running in the middle of a criminal court case as the nation waits for the court to determine their innocence or guilt? Just sayin…

  • Webster

    @2karmanot:disqus, John is all-in for Hillary no matter what, there’s no reasoning with him (she could shoot someone in the middle of 5th Avenue and he’d still defend her). On Twitter, he blocks people right and left and center who disagree with him or present him with facts that don’t fit the agenda.

    He’s decided to turn AmericaBlog into an echo chamber for his cause. His reasons are his own — I suspect, connecting the dots, he desperately needs and is hoping for a position with the Hillary Administration should it come to pass.

    Whatever … he doesn’t want reasoned dialogue or a discussion about policies, or a lively give-and-take exchange on the issues — he wants Hillary to win, period, full-stop, and if smearing Bernie and fanning the flames of discord does that, then that’s what he’ll do.

    The fact is, there is no other candidate better on LGBT issues, on HIV/AIDS, or making prescription drugs affordable than Bernie. Bernie’s record and his policies prove that. I have a cousin and two friends who are HIV+ and they’re all strong Bernie supporters — all of them have donated, and two of them phone-bank a couple of hours a day. The issue is very important to them — and they know who the better candidate is and who will fight for them.

    And it’s not over until it’s over…

  • As you’ll recall, Sanders made clear again yesterday that Hillary is not the nominee and there will be no nominee until the end of July. So long as he remains in the race, continues turning his supporters away from an eventual unification, I will write about him. Not to mention, you don’t screw the AIDS community with impunity. Ever.

  • 2karmanot

    Seriously John, if you have any bile (at all) left, direct it toward Trump. Your Bernie hysteria has far surpassed yellow journalism and is heading for Briebart land.

  • perljammer

    LOL re Kim Jung Un’s endorsement of Trump. Of course, Hillary has been endorsed by the group, “Hookers for Hillary”, who put out a press release saying the perceived benefits of a Clinton foreign policy would include avoiding “a repeat of the Secret Service’s Colombian prostitution scandal by making sure that her detail ‘buys American'”.

    What’s the old saying” Politics makes strange bedfellows?

  • Max_1
  • Why don’t you concentrate more on what he said than what he didn’t say?

    He didn’t say the other groups were in attendance.

    He didn’t say all the activists agreed or disagreed with him. [See comment above about what was actually said at the meeting and you’ll realize there’s no way he could know if they did or did not agree because that was never addressed.]

  • OMG! The notes of the meeting are online!

    Here is LITERALLY EVERY WORD about the CA Initiative that the activists don’t officially, 100% endorse:

    SANDERS (in opening statement): Number 2 [editor – of only 2 points he made so some would argue this was a central theme of the meeting?], we need a lot of work, I don’t know if anyone here has been involved personally on the ballot act that will be up in November on the pharmaceutical industry. We have a crisis – drug companies are ripping off the American people in a big way, to the tune of $50 billion in profit. That’s got to be dealt with and I’ll deal with that. I was roundly booed by Pharma at one of their conventions. These are bad news people and need to be taken on. I intend to do that.

    (Much later)
    STALEY: We’ve heard a lot from CA AIDS groups have serious concerns about the wording of the ballot initiative. Could you give us a point person to talk through this concern?

    SANDERS: Sure, but I think if the drug prices come down, that’s a step in the right direction.

    THAT IS IT! LITERALLY EVERY WORD!

    Remember timncguy stated, “I’m reading and re-reading and can find nowhere in the press release that is specifically about the meeting with the activists where it states clearly that the activists he met with do not agree with him on his support for the CA Drug Price Relief Act?”

    Please read and reread the notes and point to where Sanders could (we won’t even get to “would”) deduce that fact. They never say it, but somehow Sanders has a responsibility (or else he lied!) to somehow divine this fact from, “We’ve heard a lot from CA AIDS groups have serious concerns about the wording of the ballot initiative?”

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    I’m not livid. Am I no longer part of the community? BTW – my husband is poz and I am negative. I’ve embraced PrEP. Everyone needs to make that decision for themselves.

  • FloriDUH

    I have been visiting your website for G-d knows how long. I was concerned when you left, and elevated Jon to moderator/administrator. After a few weeks, it became clear that he was a breath of fresh air.

    But, I must admit that you finally got me to overcome my silence here, ever since your return.

    Although I will vote Blue no matter who come November (I would never allow any R to nominate SC justices), I have been consistently disappointed with the venom with which you have attached Bernie Sanders and his campaign since your return. It really makes me wonder whether you are being compensated in some part by the HRC16 campaign, or a supporting SuperPAC.

    Question my sincerity and integrity all you want, but know that ever since your return, I have been left with no choice but to question yours.

  • Gindy51

    That’s been my experience when I ask Bernie supporters how their choice for president is going to actually accomplish his objectives. I usually get a blank face then an angry face followed by you must support hitlery or some such crap as that.
    All I ask is an honest question and get shit on for it. Fuck that.

  • Did you really just write the phrase “AIDSplain”???

  • Where will the purge end?

    Yes, this tweet is just like the pogroms in Odessa, Kisinev and Warsaw!

  • timncguy

    He clearly implied both that groups that do agree with him were in attendance at the meeting and that the activists agreed with him as well by not mentioning the disagreement.

    This is not new behavior from the Sanders team. In the first three contests, IA, NH & NV, his team made claims of endorsements by groups and news organizations that they didn’t actually have. This is very similar by implying agreement with the activists.

  • timncguy

    We are talking about a meeting Sanders had with a group of activists where a MAJOR TOPIC of the meeting was his support for a relief act that they don’t support. Seems only logical that any press release about the meeting by anyone in attendance at the meeting should honestly address that disagreement instead of pretending it doesn’t exist.

  • Ummmm, no. That was for illustrative purposes only.

    She did, however, claim she would be the nominee…

    but she did not inoculate herself from hyperbolic attacks that she “lied by omission” by bringing up anyone – much less everyone – that doesn’t agree with her 100%. Right?

  • Lying by omission? Yeah, go with that… It’s just about the strongest argument you can make since Sanders plainly never claims or even implies the activists agreed with him.

    John, I can’t wait to read all your new articles that include Sanders viewpoint since it will be “lying by omission” to not bring it up when he isn’t in perfect agreement.

    Should be fun, if not exhausting.

  • timncguy

    I’m also unclear here, did Hillary have a meeting with Greenpeace and the League of Women Voters where a major topic of the meeting was super delegates?

  • timncguy

    I think they did put out their own release and that is what caused the Sanders team to attack them in return.

    Further on Sanders statement. Wasn’t the meeting just between Sanders and the activists? Were the Aids Healthcare Foundation and the National Nurses United at this meeting? I don’t think so. But, reading his release, you would think they were part of the meeting. This just further clouds the statement and makes it more misleading. Again, lying by omission, is still lying.

  • Has there ever been a meeting agree everyone agrees on everything?

    Does Hillary go around saying, “Well, Greenpeace and the National League of Women Voters doesn’t agree with the super-delegate system, but I expect to be the nominee?”

    They are free to put out there own release stating they didn’t come to a unified agreement. No be ever does so it’s not exactly breaking news.

    But, for John and/or the meeting members to hyperventilate that Sanders “lied” is pathetic (at best).

  • timncguy

    I’m reading and re-reading and can find nowhere in the press release that is specifically about the meeting with the activists where it states clearly that the activists he met with do not agree with him on his support for the CA Drug Price Relief Act.

    The opening sentence of the release clearly states the topic of his support for the Relief Act was a major part of the discussion. For the press release not to include a clear statement that they came to no agreement on the relief act is, if not directly lying, manipulating the audience into believing they did come to an agreement. The press release is about the meeting. It’s not a release about the relief act in which he casually mentions having met with the activists. So, there is no reason not to address the disagreement.

  • Please AIDSplain this to me…

    Where in Sanders’ press release is he “lying about his meeting with the activists last week?”

    Sanders’ probably “got enraged” because he was attacked with a finicky, fidgety, kinda bitchy “open letter” that is, at its base, a stretch.

    I am sure they are objecting to the statement, “We think it’s a great start and we applaud…” claiming that this means Sanders “included” everyone at the meeting. It perfectly clearly states, in the same paragraph, a paragraph that does not reference everyone at the meeting, “The ballot proposition Sanders supports – the California Drug Price Relief Act – is supported by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and National Nurses United” which is where the “we” obviously came from in that statement. Which is 100% true.

    John, you would’ve shredded them if they’d done this to Hillary. It’s sad to see you damage your brand on Amercablog so thoroughly by gleefully falling for one obviously contrived false story after another.

    Read the release. It is literally 100% accurate and never “makes it look” like they agreed with him unless you read in things that just aren’t there.

    May 25, 2016

    SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Wednesday met with national HIV/AIDS advocates to discuss the epidemic and his support for a California ballot initiative to lower prices for taxpayer-supported AIDS treatments.

    “Let me thank you for the work you do,” Sanders said at the conclusion of the meeting. “The issues you have raised are enormously important and effect millions of people in this country and more around the world.

    “I look forward to continuing to work with you,” the senator added at the meeting hosted by Danny Glover, the activist and actor.

    The ballot proposition Sanders supports – the California Drug Price Relief Act – is supported by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and National
    Nurses United, both headquartered in Oakland, California. The measure would prohibit the state from paying more for a prescription drug than
    the lowest price paid for the same drug by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. It would make sure that state taxpayers will no longer be ripped off by pharmaceutical companies that charge exorbitant prices for AIDS treatments and other prescription drugs. “We think it’s a great start and we applaud the people of California for standing up to the pharmaceutical industry,” Sanders said afterward.

    Sanders’ proposal to provide Medicare-for-all universal health care would also benefit the 1.2 million Americans with HIV/AIDS.

    At the meeting, Sanders noted that he has introduced a plan to lower costs for HIV/AIDS drugs. His measure would establish a prize fund to
    provide incentives for drug makers to develop new treatments. Unlike the current system that lets drug makers charge the highest prices in the
    world for medicine sold in the United States, medical breakthroughs made under the prize fund system would make the new drugs available to the
    public at affordable prices.

    Sanders also agreed to set a national goal of ending the HIV epidemic in the U.S. by the year 2025 so that HIV is no longer a public health
    threat to any community in the U.S. and that people with HIV are able to live long, healthy lives.

    Sanders also has called for expansion of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program which provides HIV-related services. The senator also promised
    to push for stronger civil rights protections for people living with the disease.

  • Eric

    I just honestly and truly don’t get what ‘strategy’ they have here. I have to assume there is none, and they just kneejerk trash anyone who doesn’t become a part of their collective.

  • Badgerite

    Well, when a question is asked or they are called out on anything the campaign has done the standard response of the Sanders campaign, including from the candidate himself, is to attack the integrity of the person doing the asking. And this is one of the reasons I would have reservations about voting for him. That and the idea that core constituencies of the Democratic party should be given less support so as to try to attract the votes of poor southern whites. I’m all for a 50 state strategy, that is compete everywhere, but not at the price of the rights and interests of core constituencies.
    It is one of the reasons I support Hilary Clinton as the better candidate. I think she would make the better president. For me, she is the best person running this election cycle. But of course, in a general……..lamp post vs Donald Trump. Lamp post! Hands down. The Lamp Post hasn’t been ‘endorsed’ by the Korean Madman with the aim of developing a nuclear arsenal, Kim Jung Un.
    I can’t believe that the GOP is alright with this guy. What the FFFFFFF is wrong with them?
    My reservations about The Trump Monster are beyond reservations. I would fear for the Republic.

  • And when you read through the comments on Peter’s Facebook page, from other AIDS activists, you see how badly Sanders misunderstood the underlying issue of the drug companies. Putting aside for the moment the propriety of launching a personal attack on one of the country’s top AIDS activists.

  • John Smith

    Good article! How can a bunch of straight guys who don’t have HIV and don’t need HIV drugs criticize AIDS activists? Oh, because that’s the Sanders campaigns MO. Trash anyone who doesn’t have a Bernie Button.

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