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Dan Savage: Clinton crediting Nancy Reagan for helping AIDS victims is a ‘f*cking lie’

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Dan Savage speaks to CNN on March 8, 2015.

Columnist and LGBT activist Dan Savage ripped Hillary Clinton on Friday for saying that former First Lady Nancy Reagan helped start “a national conversation” about the HIV virus.

“This is a f*cking lie,” Savage wrote in The Stranger. “You could only say the Reagans started “a national conversation” about AIDS if terrified, desperate, and dying people screaming “WHY AREN’T YOU SAYING OR DOING ANYTHING ABOUT AIDS!” at the Reagans counts. It does not.”

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The former secretary of state, who is running for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, made her remarks earlier in the day before Reagan’s funeral.

“Because of both President and Mrs. Reagan — in particular Mrs. Reagan — we started a national conversation when before nobody would talk about it, nobody wanted to do anything about it,” Clinton said in an interview with MSNBC. “And you know that too is something that I really appreciate with her very effective, low-key advocacy but it penetrated the public conscience. And people began to say, ‘Hey, we have to do something about this too.'”

Savage argued that Clinton “needs to walk this back immediately or she risks losing the votes of millions of queer Americans who survived the plague. We watched our friends and lovers die by the tens of thousands while Nancy and Ronnie sat silently in the White House.”

He also stated that he was “literally shaking” as he composed his criticism of Clinton.

“There are no words for the pain Clinton’s remarks have dredged up,” Savage wrote. “I’m supposed to be writing a column—it’s way overdue—but all I can think about right now are all of my dead friends, lovely guys who might still be with us if Nancy and Ronald Reagan had started a national conversation about HIV/AIDS. Or done something about it.”

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Clinton’s description regarding Reagan also runs counter to analyses published by The Guardian and Towleroad, among others, as well as a Buzzfeed report last year stating that she refused family friend Rock Hudson’s request for help when he sought experimental treatment for the disease in France.

Update, 4:45 p.m. EST: Clinton released a short statement apologizing for her remarks.

“While the Reagans were strong advocates for stem cell research and finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, I misspoke about their record on HIV and AIDS,” the statement read. “For that, I’m sorry.”

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Clinton’s remarks can be seen below.

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2020 Election

‘So, so cruel’: Rights advocates sound alarm about immigration agenda Stephen Miller is crafting for Trump’s 2nd term

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Immigrant rights advocates along with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his supporters responded with alarm to reporting this week that Stephen Miller, a senior adviser to President Donald Trump, is plotting how to "rev up Trump's restrictive immigration agenda" and is ready to "unleash executive orders deemed too extreme for a president seeking reelection" in the event of a Biden loss next week.

NBC News reported Friday that Miller, speaking as an adviser to the president's campaign, laid out four top priorities in a 30-minute call Thursday: "limiting asylum grants, punishing and outlawing 'sanctuary cities,' expanding the so-called travel ban with tougher screening for visa applicants, and slapping new limits on work visas." Implementing these policies would require a mix of legislation and executive action.

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2020 Election

REVEALED: Far-right extremists are circulating plans to lock down Arizona streets if Trump is re-elected

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On Saturday, The Arizona Republic reported that far-right paramilitary groups are circulating plans to lock down neighborhoods in the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area in the event that President Donald Trump is re-elected, supposedly to police left-wing protesters.

"In Arizona, the head of the Prescott-area chapter of the Oath Keepers group, which recruits military and law enforcement officers, has warned residents to be prepared to protect their neighborhoods from feared extreme left-wing protesters who would be upset should President Donald Trump be re-elected," reported Richard Ruelas. "Part of that the pro-Trump group'splan involved closing streets and assigning monitors to control access, according to a planning document shared with The Republic."

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2020 Election

America’s crimes against humanity aren’t on the ballot this year — but they should be

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The 2020 presidential election is a life-and-death decision for thousands of people vulnerable to COVID-19, for a globe under the assault from the climate crisis, and for the future of American democracy. And yet for all the urgency, the political campaign still suffers under the weight and stench of bullshit.

This article first appeared in Salon.

Philosopher Harry Frankfurt warns in his bestselling pamphlet "On Bullshit" that "bullshit" is more injurious than the blatant lie. One reason among many is that bullshit blurs the line between reality and fiction, offering a manipulative incorporation of truth to strengthen its own capacity to persuade. Absolute falsity, in contrast, is obvious to anyone with minimal awareness of the facts. When the Trump administration recently declared that one of its grand achievements was "ending the pandemic," most people laughed in disbelief. This is a lie fit for consumption only from inhabitants of a collective similar to the Rev. Jim Jones' notorious People's Temple settlement in Guyana.

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