Why did AIDS protestors have to take off their clothes in Boehner's office

Rick Moran
The demonstration yesterday by AIDS activists in Speaker Boehner's office where they removed their clothes to demonstrate against potential budget cuts to AIDs programs in the fiscal cliff scenario will go down as one of the weirest, most self-indulgent demonstrations in recent memory.

First of all, their claim that 600,000 people afflicted with AIDS would die if the cuts went through is so over the top, so incredibley, hysterically exaggerated, that the entire purpose of their demonstration was made silly by it.

Also silly - and incomprehensible - taking off their clothes. For 30 years we've been told that AIDS is not about sex and now all of a sudden the protestors are stripping to say...what? Republicans don't like sex so that means they hate AIDS patients? George Bush spent more on AIDS research and treating the disease than his three predecessors combined. He did more for treating AIDS in Africa than any president in history.

What is the problem with these people?

Seven people entered House Speaker John Boehner's office on Tuesday, stripped their clothes, and began chanting to protest anticipated budget cuts to HIV/AIDS programs if a deal is not reached to avoid the "fiscal cliff." The protest ended with the arrest of three of the protesters, all women, for indecent exposure.

"We grabbed attention by illustrating the naked truth and by showing how people with AIDS have had, literally, all of the clothes off of their backs taken away by these guys in Congress," one of the protesters, Jennifer Flynn, said.

[...]

"The reality is that these draconian budget cuts will actually result in the conservative loss of 600,000 people with AIDS' lives around the world," Flynn said moments before being arrested, referring to several federal programs aimed at fighting AIDS here and around the world. "We're talking about killing 600,000 people around the world if we let these budget cuts go into effect. And that's just one year."

Simple minded nonsense. First of all, the cuts haven't even happened yet, moron. And then there's the matter of "killing 600,000 people." The Washington Blade reported a few weeks ago:

The Washington Blade reported in October that doing nothing about the "fiscal cliff" could result in devastating cuts for HIV/AIDS programs and other federally funded initiatives affecting the LGBT community. According to a report from the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee, as many as 12,219 people receiving drugs from ADAP would lose access to medicine.

Note they don't say that 12,219 people would die, only that they might lose access to medication.

This would certainly be a tragedy and would result in their eventual death if they failed to find other funding for their meds, but where in the Wide Wide World of Sports are these protestors getting the number "600,000" dead as a result of budget cuts? I tried googling that number with "fiscal cliff," "AIDS dead," and "fiscal cliff AIDS dead" and could find no reference to that number except in stories about the demonstration in Boehner's office.

The protestors appear to have pulled the number out of thin air. If someone has a link to a reputable publication that quotes a reputable scientific organization using that number, I'd be happy to include it in an update to this post.

It appears the protestors got their wish; massive coverage of their ugly, naked bodies. If acting like a freak in a circus side show is the only way to get their point across, they've already lost the battle.



The demonstration yesterday by AIDS activists in Speaker Boehner's office where they removed their clothes to demonstrate against potential budget cuts to AIDs programs in the fiscal cliff scenario will go down as one of the weirest, most self-indulgent demonstrations in recent memory.

First of all, their claim that 600,000 people afflicted with AIDS would die if the cuts went through is so over the top, so incredibley, hysterically exaggerated, that the entire purpose of their demonstration was made silly by it.

Also silly - and incomprehensible - taking off their clothes. For 30 years we've been told that AIDS is not about sex and now all of a sudden the protestors are stripping to say...what? Republicans don't like sex so that means they hate AIDS patients? George Bush spent more on AIDS research and treating the disease than his three predecessors combined. He did more for treating AIDS in Africa than any president in history.

What is the problem with these people?

Seven people entered House Speaker John Boehner's office on Tuesday, stripped their clothes, and began chanting to protest anticipated budget cuts to HIV/AIDS programs if a deal is not reached to avoid the "fiscal cliff." The protest ended with the arrest of three of the protesters, all women, for indecent exposure.

"We grabbed attention by illustrating the naked truth and by showing how people with AIDS have had, literally, all of the clothes off of their backs taken away by these guys in Congress," one of the protesters, Jennifer Flynn, said.

[...]

"The reality is that these draconian budget cuts will actually result in the conservative loss of 600,000 people with AIDS' lives around the world," Flynn said moments before being arrested, referring to several federal programs aimed at fighting AIDS here and around the world. "We're talking about killing 600,000 people around the world if we let these budget cuts go into effect. And that's just one year."

Simple minded nonsense. First of all, the cuts haven't even happened yet, moron. And then there's the matter of "killing 600,000 people." The Washington Blade reported a few weeks ago:

The Washington Blade reported in October that doing nothing about the "fiscal cliff" could result in devastating cuts for HIV/AIDS programs and other federally funded initiatives affecting the LGBT community. According to a report from the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee, as many as 12,219 people receiving drugs from ADAP would lose access to medicine.

Note they don't say that 12,219 people would die, only that they might lose access to medication.

This would certainly be a tragedy and would result in their eventual death if they failed to find other funding for their meds, but where in the Wide Wide World of Sports are these protestors getting the number "600,000" dead as a result of budget cuts? I tried googling that number with "fiscal cliff," "AIDS dead," and "fiscal cliff AIDS dead" and could find no reference to that number except in stories about the demonstration in Boehner's office.

The protestors appear to have pulled the number out of thin air. If someone has a link to a reputable publication that quotes a reputable scientific organization using that number, I'd be happy to include it in an update to this post.

It appears the protestors got their wish; massive coverage of their ugly, naked bodies. If acting like a freak in a circus side show is the only way to get their point across, they've already lost the battle.