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There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.

Cracktoberfest Part One: Constructing the Crack

Cracktoberfest Part One: Constructing the Crack "Epidemic"

Mon, 03 Oct 2022 04:01

Robert and Prop sit down to talk about an epidemic that wasn't.

A five part series

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I'm Rachel Adams-Therd. I'm a reporter for Bloomberg News and host of Intrust, a new series from Bloomberg and I Heart Radio. More than a century ago, the Osage Nation negotiated something unique that brought a lot of money to its people. In this new series, I look at who ended up with a lot of that land and oil money and how the Osage Nation is fighting to get it back. Listen to Intrust on the I Heart Radio app Apple Podcast or wherever you get your podcast. Oh crap! Sophie! Yep. Hey, what's the word homie? You know, I'm a big fall guy. I love pumpkin spice. I love walking through falling leaves, you know, the color start to change. Yep. What do you say this fall? We all get together as buddies and we spend like seven or eight hours talking about the crack epidemic, the CIA, Iran Contra, the Gary Webb story that broke it all that then had him hounded into self-destruction by the CIA and the New York Times. What do we just did that for the first entire week of October? Wouldn't that be a hoot? I feel like I feel like this would be a good time because it kind of matches all the stuff that kind of happens when we sit around the table anyway. Mm-hmm. Talk about crack. What should we call what should we call this? Well, you know, the Germans have a holiday during this period in time and I feel like if it's German, we're allowed to co-opt it. So why don't we call it cracktoberfest? Listen, I'm with it. You know what I'm saying? Don't over cracktober because Octoberfest to me is a little too late a hoes it for my. Yes. There will be no leaderhosen, but there will be whatever CIA agents wear. Honestly, probably like Patagonia vests. I like khaki slacks. Yeah, khaki slacks Patagonia vests. Yeah. Hell of a lot of those. Well, this is serving as a general introduction to the series. Prop, you have done a blistering two-parter on the Iran Contra scandal. I am covering the crack epidemic in the CIA and all sorts of good stuff. But I think people are going to be happy. I think you're all going to have a good eight-ish hours learning about everything there is to know about how the CIA actually, because like that's like the thing everybody like says jokingly says like the CIA brought crack to the inner cities. Like there's an actual story there and it's actually kind of worse than than than than just like the quick summaries people give. It's worse than the street lore. It really is what you get into it. And I've really felt like, you know, we're always looking for ways to collab. You know what I'm saying? There's obviously there's a lot of mutual friendships, symbioticness between our two podcasts. But it was like shows. So there's that. We share a Sophie. But I feel like finding that perfect venn diagram, that perfect, you know, meme of the two guys holding hands. Yeah. What movie is that from Rambo, right? Um-hum. Command O. What movie is that from Rocky? Oh, that's from Predator actually. It's from Predator. I knew it was one of them. But Arnold is from Command O. So it's understandable. Okay. So it's from Predator. Yeah. When they that perfect like where both our stories meet, it couldn't have met better than the crack epidemics he was having right now. And how we even got there. Perfect, perfect storm. And so this so so this is episode one of five because we're going to be doing cracktoberfest all week. And you can listen to all five episodes either and you they're available in the hood politics speed and the behind the bastards feed. Listen to them. Where where wherever you get your pocket. So I officially apologize to all the other podcasts you listen to. You can go ahead and go to those fees now and tell them you subscribe. I'm just burn them off of your phone. In fact, throw that old phone away. Get a new phone. Keep it pure. Just the politics of the bastard. Yeah, exactly. All right. All right. Here's. Come. What's mandatory my minimums? I'm Robert Evans host of B behind the bastards. Wow, wow. That was powerful. Powerful. Prop. What's up, man? How are you doing? How are you doing, buddy? Hey, homie. You know, I'm saying trickling down quick in the Reaganomics over here. You feel me? Hmm. Beautiful. Now prop. Yeah, this is our special week. We had it. We did this introduction the last one. I'm not sure which of these episodes will introduce it on. But you and I are tackling the crack epidemic, the CIA, Iran contra, all of which are individual stories that are fucking wild and all of which also kind of deserve to be told together because they they're interwoven. Just a bowl of gumbo of bastards, man. Yeah. Which I feel like is like the perfect, a perfect analogy because everything in gumbo is great by itself. Yeah. And then when you put it together, it's still amazing. Yeah. That's what I think when I think about the crack epidemic, I think wow, that was great by itself. It's perfectly fine by itself without anything else around it. Yes. A plus prop. Yeah. How do you how do you how do you feel about crack? Man. That doesn't seem like the right way to start this. Let's let's yeah. Yeah. It's what crack. It's so interesting how it went from like there was a time where it was like hip hop was couldn't I feel like it's one of the proof proof of concept that if hit like hip hop is given the right information, it does the right thing because it was it was the butt of a joke to be like, you do crack. Don't do crack crack is wet. You know, and then the self destruction and we're all in the same game was about like, you know, you shouldn't do crack, you know, and then all so there was a moment where crack was terrible in our in our culture or the butt of every joke. And then the crack sellers became all the rappers. And then it was just yeah, it became the coolest thing to sell crack. Right. And it was like, yeah, but I'm a crack dealer like, oh, wait. So it's cool again. Yeah. But yes, was a do crack. You're supposed to sell it. Yeah. I think maybe a place I might want to start here is do you recall the first time you learned like it is that it about like crack the first time you remember the two years, the first time. Yeah, you had to talk about it with anyone. I do remember the time. I do remember all the after school specials. I remember all of the like, you know, sort of the dare program, all the stuff around crack. But I think really it was whether it was the movie New Jack's wing, I mean, I knew Jack's wing, New Jack City. But really it was like being in Los Angeles and like, what is wrong with that guy? Like, and just like seeing what a crack head was and being like, yo, this is different. You know what I'm saying? So I mean, as young as a child as I was like a very young child during this time, like really, really like baby. But just being like, this is different. You know, so I think my and then just be somebody explaining, oh, that's crack. You, you know, you smoke it like this or you shoot it up. You know, I'm saying it just people figuring out like what that was. I remember my first syringe. You're stepping over my first syringe, which isn't crack per se. But like a crack pipe and just knowing what all that stuff was was like, yo, this is bad. Matter of fact, now that I'm talking, I know, bad, you, this is a lot. But now that I'm talking, my neighbor, dang, I haven't thought about this in years. So we grew up, you know, in the part of town I was in my, my neighbor, you know, like I said, I grew up in like, Cholo neighborhood. So like my neighbor, they were, you know, in a live hardcore or whatever, but they were just, they're just some of the most loving like people would ever write. So anyway, they move, right? And when they moved for whatever reason, the next family that came in, I remember didn't turn the electricity on. And like, they never turned on any of the like utilities. And I just remember being like, odd as weird. And then the two little boys who were a little bit younger than me used to always come over like right at dinner time. Like you know what I'm saying? And just all the end like they always smelled a little bit like they weren't clean or whatever. And my parents would like, my parents knew was going on. I know it was going on, but my parents knew was going on. They would let him in. They'd be like, dang, okay, they didn't feed him no more. You know, and then once they put it all together, it, and then you know, again, people all hours at a night going in and out the house. And then finally, I realized I live next door to a crack up. It was like it was this slow roll of like, wait, what? Like, why do they, why do they have so many candles? It's like, oh, it's kind of camping. They cook with candles, you know, and just, yeah, and then just realize the power. Yeah. Yeah. Like, no, it's crack. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, and obviously for me, it was a much more distant thing, right? Crack was a thing that like, number one, crack was before anything else. For me, like a euphemism. Yeah. Or like something is addictive. Or also someone is silly. Yeah. Like you're cracked out. Yeah. Exactly. Crack. Crack. Crack. Yeah. And it was, the adults talked about crack like it was a plague. Like it was a disease that it hit certain areas. And the kids talked about crack like it was a euphemism, right? Yeah. It was like a, yeah, just kind of an, an, an, an explanative term that you could throw in. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Like, yeah, you're smoking crack, bro. We're going to talk today about the crack epidemic and how it happened and what happened as a result of it. All cocaine type drugs, all cocaine derived drugs, which include crack, good old fashioned blow, also tinctures of cocaine, which is how people used to take it back in the past come from the leaves of the coca tree. And the coca tree grows mostly in Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru on their own. Naturally, the leaves can be chewed generally with something like pot ash for a mild to moderate stimulating effect with a little bit of euphoria thrown in for good measure. I've gotten to chew coca leaves in a couple of occasions and it's very nice. It's a really unpleasant. And it's also pretty hard to have be a problematic drug. You, you, you should think about coca the way we think about pot or the way we think about like opium poppy, right? Opium poppy is on their own. Some people do have problems with that as a more serious drug, but it's nothing compared to what happens when she start making heroin. Yeah. Or morphine marijuana as it grows naturally, almost impossible to hurt yourself with. Yeah. Then now people start making it into shatter and stuff and they're blowing up trailer parks and yeah, burning their brains out and shit, right? Yeah. You know, that's kind of the way to think about the way. And this is the way in which indigenous people used coca, one of them for probably thousands of years, right? I know we have evidence of coca use going back and it's as long, pretty much as long as there have been people in the area. Yeah. It's, it's, it's, it's got to be the most like naive thing to think that like, you know, these just plants that just grew outside that somebody didn't chew it and go, ooh, you know, and, and, and that that was just a normal part of life and maybe the roles of shamans and profits and they've probably been chewing wild plants forever. Yeah. It's the same thing with, you know, coffee, which comes from Ethiopia, the aroma of people were kind of the first people using the coffee plant. Mm-hmm. A big part of what a major way it was used is for like hunters, right? To keep you going during the hunt. That's probably a big part of how coca leaf was used early on. Yes. Like, right, we're out in the, we're out in the woods or the jungle or whatever for a couple of weeks, you know, this should all keep us moving. Um, and also this is interesting. Most people don't know this. Coca leaf is an oral anesthetic. It numbs your mouth. So we, one of the things that's always been kind of interesting is that in a lot of kind of Latin American areas, you have early history of pretty advanced dental work being done in some areas and maybe that had an impact on it. The fact that they had access to a really effective oral anesthetic. Oh my gosh. Yeah. It's actually a, it's a fucking amazing plant, obviously. Oh, okay. Yeah. It gets a bad fucking rap. Well, Nova Cane, yeah, I was from the coca leaf. That's where it comes from. Yeah. Yeah. Nova Cane and cocaine. He didn't get the song reference it's okay. It's okay. I did. I didn't get the song reference. But I'm glad that you brought up Nova Cane because we get Nova Cane from the coca leaf. See? Yeah. It's just, it's a bafflingly useful plant. Um, and it's the root of Nova Cane and light a cane and crack cocaine. Um, they all come from the same thing, right? Um, what kind of cane you want? Yeah. Yeah. No, I'll start to Cain. Yeah. Um, Europeans really figured out what was up with coca in 1850 55. They'd noticed people in the areas they were colonizing using it for a while. Um, but it wasn't until 1855 that pure cocaine was extracted from the leaps for the first time. Again, you've got this bafflingly useful plant that's doing great stuff. And then some white people come in and are like, you know what we could do? Make a drug that makes people insufferable at parties out of this. Let's, we're going to ruin a lot of raves. Like, uh, yeah. No, you already, you nailed the joke already. There's no other way. Yeah. Yeah. That's exactly it. Yeah. If you're going to snort a drug and a party, kids, Ketta means a lot better. Anyway, uh, so obviously the fact that they're not co-signed. Fistually. Yeah. Legally, no one is co-signing that. Yes. So this is a huge moment in medical science. Obviously, like I joked about them ruining it. But actually a lot of really cool number one cocaine. There are some, we're some early medical uses for it. We get anesthetics like Novakaine and Lytocaine. This is a big deal. And we don't talk again. This is something that people don't think about. But it was not we're we're we're at about like 150 years or so of effective anesthetics be a widespread available, right? That is not a thing in surgery prior to this. If you don't live in a place where there's a good natural oral anesthetic, um, and there's a couple cocaine. Coke is not the only one. Also, um, yeah, Kava, which, uh, Hawaiian people, I believe have been using Polynesian people been using for a long time, works really well for that purpose. But if you don't live somewhere with that plant and you need a tooth taken out, you're probably downing half a handle, a liquor and then someone's ripping a bone out of your skull, right? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Then you're then you're looking like a medieval movie. Yeah. Really real gnarly. Yeah. I was listening to a, uh, um, uh, I think was that a kind of pod was that, uh, radio lab, the science one from, uh, WNYC, but anyway, they were talking about like, figuring out molecules for new medicines and stuff, right? So if you figure this thing out, um, you know, you're also looking at like side effects. So like the difference between like a poison, like an arcautic or a medicine, you know, I'm saying a poison. And one of the researchers from China was like, well, they're just molecules. Like, you know, and that, that bifurcation, the difference between like a good molecule and a bad molecule is like, it's a very new and sort of Western way to look at this. It's like they all have strengths and weaknesses, you know, I'm saying and ways to abuse and not abuse. You know, so even the way that you're talking about, you know, the coca leaf is like, yeah, I'm pretty sure somebody, you know, in the ancient past, like chew that thing and then his buddy was like, hey, bro, you got a chill, man. You know, I'm saying and, uh, you know, and was like, yeah, man, I was too far. You know, I'm saying like there has to have been because again, I feel like the point you're making at this stage and in the stories, you can't stress enough. It's just a plant. It's just a plant and at some point, some people figure out how to like supercharge it, right? And so at the same time as you get these early anesthetics, you start getting pure cocaine. Yeah. Right? Usually sold as a tincture. So you just get a fucking dropper of cocaine water. Right? You can now you can shoot that stuff up. It a lot of people injected it. I believe Sherlock Holmes injected cocaine, I think with heroin. Um, this is what guys like Freud are doing, right? Most of them are not doing lines, you know, um, they are, they are taking it as a pure like distilled tincture. You can pick this shit up at the, at the drugstore. Um, now this causes problems because cocaine is incredibly addictive. Um, and also not great for your body, especially if you're taking it a lot of it every single day because a doctor told you it's good for you. That actually hurts you a lot, right? You can chew coca leafs all day long and it's probably not, well, not all day long, but you could chew coca leafs on a regular basis and you're not dealing with too huge of a problem. You're doing cocaine every day. People are going to notice because it's going to destroy you. Yeah. Yeah. Um, yeah. I think so. I'm going to notice all the time. Yeah. It's going to be like, Hey, man, you know, I mean, I'm just doing my good. Yeah. You're going to get really into white snake and yeah, then your heart's going to explode. Hey, bro, so you're making an album. Hey, man, hey, pro, we should make an album. You want to make an album tonight? Yeah. Oh, man. Let's cut. Well, we got to bring back fucking prog rock, man. That's what I want to fucking here right now. Um, so Europeans 1855, if we get cocaine, 1914 is when the US government decides, all right, that's enough. That's enough cocaine being available. We got out. We got out. We got to lock this one up. So we get the Harrison act. Um, and, and that makes it, that's, that restricts the sale of cocaine, right? It makes it a lot harder to get people aren't buying it over the counter anymore. And then in 1922, another law gets passed, which is one of the very first anti drug laws in the United States that effectively stops legal US extraction of cocaine. But of course, the drug and various forms continue to flow into the United States from Latin America up through its land and sea borders. In the 1970s, cocaine caught on big time as a drug for the rich and the upwardly mobile party sell yes sometime in the late 70s. And obviously, there's a lot of history in other countries, especially in Europe outside of the US, I'm focusing on the US here sometime in the late 1970s or very early 1980s. We don't exactly know when this happens because it's happening illegally, right? And there's no, if we had the internet, then you would have a fucking reddit post the day people figured out how to make fucking Chris. But we don't know exactly when it happened. But sometime between the very end of the 1970s and the start of the 1980s, some drug chemists figure out that you can take powdered cocaine and you can dissolve it in water and then mix in baking powder and cook it down into rock-like chunks. Now, this is easy to smoke, which makes it convenient, right? It's easier to take. But it's also much purer than powder cocaine, right? Which is often 45% filler or more. Crack is around 80% pure. And it's significantly cheaper because of the way your manufacturing. The purr, exactly. The purdose cost is a lot less than it is with cocaine. So from kind of similar amounts of raw product, more people can get high more often for less money. So here's where I fill in pop culture for you. So the legend is that it was a dude in Oakland that figured it out. Oh, yeah, that's the legend. We don't know. But that's the legend, right? And once it hit Cali, it threw freeway Rick and just something. It starts to hit and it starts it hits hard and ruins the crimson bloods. But that's the, but we'll get to that. But I think what you're talking about as far as how to make crack, all of half of the slaying that gets appropriated from hip hop into the zygice, there comes out a black culture is actually its crack slaying. So like cooking in the kitchen, you know, chef, chef's been, look at the flick of the wrist. All of that is about spinning crack over, you know what I'm saying? It's all crack slaying. You know, a huge piece of internet slaying right now that Garrison and I say probably more than is good for our health is based, right? It's crack. The term, it comes from freebase, right? Like that's the origin. Yes. And briefly the right wing tried to take it in order to mean like ideologically pure. And now it's just a general term for cool. Yes. And they'll be in the base. Yeah. Yeah. They'll be being the base. Like all these things, like I think it's going to happen as this is going like I'm going to keep pointing out rap lyrics to you to be or just slaying and being like, that's about crack. Yeah. It is great. And I really love that you point this out because from a from a cultural standpoint, yes. Crack is like on the level of the simpsons. In terms of how it's influenced the way people talk. Yes. Yes. Yes. We're rappers. We're people caught at rappers athletes. They caught themselves chefs because they're cooking in the kitchen, which is where you make crack. You know what I'm saying? Right. Right. Yeah. So I want to quote from the New York Times here to kind of go over the economics of this new drug as it starts to hit the market. Quote, the $10 sale price made crack accessible to poor people who could never have come up with 200 or more than affluent users paid for a gram of powder. Yes. Crack produced an intense but fleeting high that pushed many users to buy again and again until they ran out of money. And that is one of the things about crack is that like it hits harder and faster. Yes. Generally, the case when you free base something, then railing it or insufflating to use the scientific insufflation is the scientific term for snorting something. Tell me something. So like, so for example, if you're taking like a powdered hallucinogenic psychedelic like a 2C or something, if you eat it in a pill, right, which is the way most people take that sort of drug, it could take an hour for you to come up. If you snort it, it comes up much faster and then insufflating like if you're actually free basing something. Yeah. And I don't think you can free base most of those drugs, although I don't know that anyone's tried, but free basing hits you faster. Like for example, DMT, which is the drug, you know, that all of the tech gurus talk about. Yeah. The way in which they tend to take it in like the ceremonies that they're kind of co-opting from indigenous Latin Americans as ayahuasca. Yeah. You're drinking it as a tea. It takes a while to come up. You vomit a lot. Yeah. But you can also basically, you can basically free base DMT if you just take the straight crystals out and you turn it into a crystal and you smoke it in a crack pipe and it hits right the fuck away. Yeah. But it's much shorter, right? Yeah. Most of the people that I do know that either got hooked and got off, that you can communicate with, you know, I'm saying who figured out a way, fought their way through to get off the stuff. That's what they say. They were like, there's, honestly, there is nothing like that hit. It is so fast and so intense and that's why you get hooked immediately and you'll give up everything for it because he's like, they like, the homies would explain to me. It's like, I'm glad I'm off it now, but I'm telling you that high, that first high, you know what I'm saying? It's like you never really reached that other high, that high again, but that first high, they're like, there are no words for it. That's why it's so. I mean, you also, I do want to focus on the economics here because another thing is that not only is the high so intense, but it's achievable. It's achievable. So you're looking at, if you've got, if you're someone who uses cocaine and you're looking at, well, it's going to, it, a night of coke is going to be 200 bucks, right? Yeah. We're probably not going to do that. Some people do get that addicted, but for most people, it's like, okay, so I will occasionally buy 200 bucks in cocaine for a night to party. Yeah. Cracks 10 bucks a hit. Yeah, it's $10 a hit. It gets cheaper. And that's how it, that's how cheap it is at the start. It gets a hell of a lot cheaper. So that's something, you're having a bad day, shits rough, you're feeling bad. You know any time for pocket dollars, you can fucking on any corner again, right? Yeah. Any corner any corner. Yeah. Obviously, this becomes a problem. Yes. So obviously, this of course leads to overdoses. Another problem is that it is actually kind of hard unless you're being really ridiculous with cocaine to overdose just by snorting it with actual like quality cocaine. It's harder to do that than it is smoking freebase because you can burn a shitload of crack really fast, right? And it's difficult for you to tell what you're getting and the cooking like, you know, the, the, the strength can vary and stuff. So people start accidentally consuming a lot more of the drug than they'd been used to. Obviously, the other issue is that smoking freebase is so much harsher on the body than just inhaling powder. You know, it's not good for you. Obviously, this is not cocaine and there's issues like deviated septum and stuff. Health issues you get from that. But you're not ruining your lungs when you're smoking when you're when you're inhaling cocaine, right? It's not good for you, but you're not destroying your lungs in addition to fucking with your heart. Crack is, it's, it's, it's all the worst parts of cigarettes and all of the worst parts of cocaine, superchar. It's like, it ages you. Yeah. Yeah. They're, yeah. Like that, that used to be like, for me, one of the biggest like deterrents, it wasn't, it wasn't none of them commercials. It wasn't a song. It was the site of someone you went to school with that now looks like your grandparent and it was just and the fact that like and just that nothing else mattered. Like, how are you, you're just sitting it like if you ever hopefully, Robert, you've never walked into a crack house. Now, I don't know if that's true, but hopefully maybe in some, maybe somewhere in Prague, knowing yo ass, but like, out here, like the site, it's, it is probably the most heartbreaking site you can imagine because you're just like, I know these, I know y'all, like you, how did you become this? Yeah. So I think the point that we built to here is that crack is indeed a hell of a dress. Yeah. And obviously people get better, very quickly get better at making it. I think you, you know, I, I, there's no proving where it came from. Oakland's a pretty good guess in terms of the first people to figure that the shit out of that, that, that, that make, would make total sense to me. Yeah. Obviously the Bay Area is where innovation comes to innovation, right? You know, resistance. Everything. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. But you know who else is constantly innovating? Ooh. The sponsors of this podcast. Well, yes. pharmaceutical companies, aka, joint dealers. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And in a much also, the thing I don't want to be doing here is like demonizing, and we'll talk more about this is demonizing crack because it is addictive. It is a drug that has serious physical consequences. Yeah. There's nothing about crack cocaine that is worse than pain killers than like the oxy, there's no direct. Yes. There's no difference. Yeah. Yeah. And when we get to any wheeze instances, we can talk about. Yes. We can talk about why that's so problematic. Yeah. We'll be talking about that now. But first, here's the crack of products for you. This is a story about land and oil, about family, about wealth, about the stories we passed down, and the stories we don't. More than a hundred years ago, the Osage Nation negotiated something unique that brought a lot of money to its people. For the past year, I've been trying to figure out who ended up with that wealth and how they got it. The truth has got to come out, you know, and it's it's not always pretty and it's not always flattering. This is interest, an investigative podcast about a massive transfer of wealth out of Osage hands and into white ones, and how the Osage Nation is fighting to get it back. Interest is a new series from Bloomberg and I Heart Media reported and hosted by me, Rachel Adams-Herd. Listen on the I Heart Radio app, Apple Podcast, or wherever you get your podcasts. Oh, we're back. So there's a lot of misinformation and moral panic and it is tough to kind of seriously talk about how fucking gnarly crack is for a lot of people and also not go to the moral panic shit that you get about it, which is what we're about to talk about now. So I want to talk before we start talking about the crack epidemic and the moral panic it causes. I want to talk about the struggles that Black American families were going through as the 1970s gave away to the swing in 80s. So from the post-World War I era to the 1960s, Black Americans migrated from rural parts of the United States to cities across the United States and unprecedented numbers. This is probably the most significant demographic shift that has ever occurred in the history of the United States. Great migration. Right, great. Huge fucking thing that happens. Yes, the great migration and my family is wonderful. Yeah. Right, yeah. Yeah, and yeah. So because there's all sorts of bullshit restrictions on where, and which are many of which are legally enforced, but a lot of which were just sort of like, guys will show up outside of your house and fuck with you and your family if you do this, on where you can live as a Black person in this period. A lot of the people who are doing this great migration are forced into crowded neighborhoods with underfunded serve. Obviously prop like, elephant in the room, you know all this. Yes. Like I'm not explaining it. We're the only ones sitting for the first step. Right. Right. This is a thing to go over because it's, yeah. It's history that for certain, I didn't encounter in school in anything more than the Vegas terms. Yeah. I don't want to feel like I'm not explaining anything. You're not explaining anything. You were doing something. Did you know? Yeah. You know that this happened to you? Yes, I do know. Yeah. Again, again, to add some color to this, like you'll probably get to this also too, but like my family, you know, my father's side, how we got to California was through Texas. That was and traditionally between Texas and Oklahoma, most families from there probably got there because of the chance to become a cowboy, where you could work for yourself. And that was, you know, almost all of 90% of the food on your neck. Yeah. 90% of American cowboys were actually free slaves, you know. And then from there, we all went to Los Angeles, Oakland, and San Diego because of these, these housing projects, like the Watts towers that, that, these housing vouchers that brought specifically Jason Petty's family to California, you know what I'm saying? Yeah. And that's like, that's what happens to most, to a huge chunk of people. And they get forced into these neighborhoods like Watts, right? And there's other neighborhoods in other parts of the United because this is, this is happening a lot in Southern California. This is also happening just a shitload. And the place it's primarily happening to is like the Eastern sea and chunks of the mid, chunks of the urban Midwest, right? Great Lakes region stuff, Minneapolis, you know, this is when all of this is happening. And across the board, these black families are being forced into not just these crowded neighborhoods with underfunded services, but low paid insecure industrial jobs. Often they're being brought in to deal with because unionized white workers are too expensive, right? So they're being brought in as as strikebreakers and stuff. And this is, and then as soon as that happens, right? You have, so you have that being done by these capitalists and then we get nafta, right? So suddenly what jobs they had start to fall out from under, right? As manufacturing and shit moves across the border. It's also worth noting that a ton of these, of the particularly the black men working these industrial jobs are doing so in dangerous, like, being exposed to like deadly chemicals, like in horrific ways that would have been a, that were illegal, but it happened, you know? So while all this is going on, white families are considering their, you know, flight to suburban areas at an unpret, that takes off too. And, you know, these suburban houses that cost about as much as three good lunches due today, they start moving into and accumulating wealth. They go up hundreds of thousands of dollars in value by the time the owners reach retirement age. Now, when the civil rights movement wins its major victories, obviously a lot had gotten better for black families. But this has what one journal of social welfare paper paper I read called a quote, perverse unintended impact on the inner city. And I want to quote from that now, successful African Americans move their families to newly integrated communities, leaving an even higher concentration of poverty in the predominantly African American inner city. Based on an extensive literature review, Small and Newman 2001, identified the increasing concentration of poverty during the 1970s and into the 1980s, particularly among African Americans, as primarily the result of three phenomena. Black middle-class flight continued residential discrimination, especially against less wealthy African Americans, and that a part of low-skilled jobs from the Northeast and Midwest cities. And again, one of the reasons why this is so devastating is when the black families that make money leave these inner city neighborhoods because of the way the tax system is set up in the United States, all of the income they had that was going to schools in the inner cities leaves. Right? And it's a big part of it. So the 1970s are a challenging decade for many people in the United States. The economic stagnant, and this is across the board, right? This is why Jimmy Carter loses reelection. The economy shits the fucking bed. There's gas lines. Everything's fucked up. But obviously, where everyone is suffering, nobody suffers worse than black people in the inner cities. That is the hardest hit region of the country. As a more globalized economy, ships factory jobs off to foreign countries, advancing technology meant that what good working class jobs remained required computer literacy and other training that folks who'd grown up in economically disadvantaged schools didn't have access to. Everything just builds upon itself. So poverty and long term unemployment are associated with a variety of other negative things. Overcrowded housing, PTSD, teen pregnancy, school dropout, violence, crime, and drug and alcohol abuse. As poverty worsens in the inner cities, all these things grow more common for black families. For a variety of reasons, black kids since emancipation have been more likely than white kids to grow up in a one-parent household. The rate of two-parent households was stable among black families from emancipation up to the 60s. It was around 70%. About 70% of black kids grow up in two-parent households. For white kids, it's 90%. So it's lower for black families in up to the 1960s. But still, the vast majority of kids are growing up in two-parent households. Once you hit the 70s, the late 60s really, that number starts to drop like a fucking stone. By the mid-1900s, only a third of black American children lived in two-parent households. I was unaware of how fucking sharp that drop it. There's pinning on how hotep you are. There's a lot of answers to that. But I do think that this moment is so pivotal and so underreported in the sense that it's like so much of our culture now is came out of this moment. So this is this inner city you're talking about, especially along the eastern seaboard. This is the Bronx, the movie Warriors. It's this moment. It's this overcrowding, underfunding, being a city of rubble and that there was broken down buildings everywhere. Because if you're a slum lord, it's cheaper to just destroy the building and get the insurance, then try to fix it or be a responsible landlord. Just burn it down and just let the rubble happen. A big power outage in New York, which is what actually happened, which is what the movie Warriors takes place in. But it's ultimately, it is this moment that DJ Coolhark from Jamaica moves over. You know what I'm saying? And plugs his turntable into a power line and does the first park jam, which creates hip hop. You know what I'm saying? It was out of this time. This is what creates all this shit. You know what I'm saying? It was this moment and it was, but it's important to understand. It's like, oh yeah, it was cool. There were thrown parties in the park. Well, they were living in rubble. Yeah. I'm saying because we were forced to with no music programs in our schools. You know what I'm saying? Nothing provided. No money for that. There's no money. It's also, yeah, you talk about the rubble. It's not just, and I want to really hit on this because this ties directly back into crack. It's not just, you know, shady landlords. It's not just that things are underfunded. It's that we talk about this in a Robert Moses episodes. Black neighborhoods are bulldozed in a bunch of, literally bulldozed in a bunch of countries, sometimes with like the military essentially helping to do it in order to make way for shit like overpasses that effectively then walls those areas off in the rest of the city. And what's important here, why I'm going over this is that this is a 30-ish year, you know, obviously goes back further than that. But this specific process, all of these things, these massive drops in wealth, this collapse of, you know, the rate of two parent households in the black community, all of these things are the result of 30, 40-year-long trends, right? Where things happen very steadily over that period. They hit their height right as crack becomes a thing. And so all of them get blamed on crack, right? Because it's easy to say that, well, this community, all these black people got hooked on crack and that's why everything fell apart. Shit was falling apart due to specific policy decisions with decades and it hit its height during the crack. And that's critical to know. Otherwise, you're going to wind up blaming crack for everything. It's not to blame for everything. Yes. It just is not. Obviously, it sure doesn't help. You know, like it does not reverse the of these trends. But that's like if it's like somebody has a heart attack while they're like during a fucking run and then you hit them in the head when they finish it and it's like, well, you know, they were having problems before you hit them on the head. Yes, exactly. I don't know. That's a bad way to, that's a stupid way to describe. But I don't know. We're getting somewhere. Yeah. So, yeah, during, we're going to be talking about crack today. Obviously, and it plays a role in this. But again, this is going on for a long time. And I want to quote again from that paper I read from earlier. Social policy may have inadvertently contributed to the decline in marriage during the 1960s. Many states denied AFDC payments, aid to families with dependent children, the single mother suspected of living with a man. These types of eligibility requirements were struck down by the Supreme Court in 1968. However, even under the revised welfare policy, poor couples had an incentive to cohabit instead of marry in order to maintain welfare eligibility. And there's a, this is one of the things that crack gets blamed for is the destruction of the of the black family, all of these black men who abandoned their families, right? This is the, this is the right wing lion on what happens. And no, in the 1960s, 20 years before we've got crack on the street, US states are denying aid to families to single mothers who are suspected of living with a man. And what usually happens before marriage is you cohabitate, right? So suddenly, you're penalized for that if you're not already married. See, that's what I'm in by like depending on how hotep you are because that's in a lot of like the, like, like, the lot of the black activist circles is like, that was a process of demasculating and devaluing the black man even further by being like, uh, well, if y'all need help, you can't have no daddy in the house. You know what I'm saying? So it's like, well, dang. And then what they talk about among our community is like what it might have done to our psyche. Not, I don't think this is very fair. But their argument is what has done our psyche to look at our women and be like, you chose to check over me. You know what I'm saying? And I think that's a, that's a very, that's a very manosphere way to look at it. But that being said, the idea that like, it do kind of feel like the government pitted us against each other. Joe, man. Uh, I mean, and that, that move right there, a strong case can be made. Yes. It does a lot more damage than crash, right? Yes. There's a really good documentary. If people want to know more about this and like the kind of the human side of this called the Pruitt I go myth, uh, Pruitt I go was a government housing development in St. Louis, um, during this kind of period of time, I think 50, 60s. And that documentary does a good job of explaining how the way in which benefits were handled, um, led to the dissolution of a lot of families and like kind of incentivize that. It's a very dark story. But I, that documentary, I found, I felt did a really good job of it. Um, so obviously the cause of all of these problems is complicated and goes on for a while. But where the credit comes as far as the media is concerned and as far as US politicians are concerned, all of this is the fault of crack cocaine, which starts to enter US inner city communities in 1981, primarily in Southern California, although where it would take off the most and do the most damage is the huge dint cities of the northeast places like fucking Baltimore. Right. Um, so crack is immediately big business. A lot of it gets sold to people and live, who live in this communities. But and this is often ignored much if not most of the money comes from people who lived elsewhere outside of the inner city, often in more affluent areas, who would drive into inner city communities to bike, crack. And what this actually is means, there's a graph going around Twitter right now that shows where money moves within kind of a graph of an urban area. And it all comes from the inner city out to the suburbs. Yeah. Right? Because where are the people who live, who own the buildings that poor people in the inner city live out in the fucking suburbs? Right. So one of the things that crack represents is money coming from affluent suburbs and entering the inner city. Right. Nothing else is due. There's no way, like really not other meaningful ways money is coming from outside into the inner city. Yeah. So that's part of why this is a big deal. We've talked about how negative the impact is on people. One of the things this means is that there's fucking money coming now. So of course, the fortunes to be made meant that a lot of money was on the table for people who were willing to be more violent than other people who wanted that money. So you do get a lot of, as there always is, when cash is on the table in those quantities, murders over matters of profit and to keep their operations safe from the police. There are of course significant social costs due to the use of the drugs. There's people who neglect their kids and mistreat their partners and spend money that are needed for other things, but narcotics. And the statistics on this are pretty bleak. And I don't want to stray away from those either. So I'm going to quote from an analysis in Chicago Booth University. The rise in crack use from 1984 to 1989 is associated with a doubling of the number of murdered black males aged 14 to 17, a 30% increase for those aged 18 to 24, and a 10% increase for those 25 and over. Thus, crack accounts for much of the observed variation in homicide rates over this time period. In addition, the proportion of black children and foster care more than doubled, fetal death rates and weapons arrests of rack of blacks rose by more than 25% and black babies with low birth weights increased by 5%. Now, this is really bad, but what's happening in the media as this massive murder surge happens is crack is being associated as a drug that makes people murder, right? A drug that makes people lose their mind. That is not what it's not. It's the money. Yes, it's normal economics that happens everywhere else. It's really like what you're explaining, I think, again, is like if you just under just an understanding of economics in general, like what we're doing is this is an influx of venture capital. You know, why like what fun did it's like you're going to go to the bank and let them white boys tell you know, you know, I'm saying you're going to keep you have to keep you know, dressing up and kind of shucking in jiving for these people to come investing your things or it's like you go get it out the mud, you go get it, go get it on your own corner, you invest in your own. So the thought was like, I mean, I mean, it's literally the narrative of every Jay-Z's album, right? It's like, I invested in myself. How I did it is I sold crack, got out the game and invested in us. You know, I'm saying it's it's nipsy hustle. It's like so like you said, like you can have this media narrative of like, you know, all this is terrible. You did it on the backs of each other, which might be true. You know, I'm saying, but that being said, it's like where else is there any other influx of capital that like that is self generated and that I don't owe and it's like where I mean, where you think where you think we got that from we got it from the mafia. Like yeah, you would really you learn from the mafia. That's what they did. You know, it's like, oh, well, that's okay. That's how you get it. That way you don't ask somebody else. You keep it in a family, you know, I mean, and it's it's a this is I mean, again, the point that we're making here is that crack, there are specific things and as we'll talk about like babies with low birth with us. That's a that's a part of that. There are specific problems that are just due to the inherent like characteristics of crack. But the massive increase in murders and the proportion of kids who go into foster care and large part because they've lost parents, that is due. The thing that has entered the community that has caused that violence is fucking cash, right? Yeah. That's what when we're the crack epidemic is a fucking yeah, cash epidemic. It's a gold rush. Yeah. That's what it's like. It's a gold rush. Yeah. Exactly. So this is all fucked up. But obviously one of probably even debatably the thing that winds up being most toxic from all of this is the moral panic that follows a 1985 article. And this is where the moral panic of her crack starts. There is a 1985 article in the New England Journal of Medicine, which goes viral among the media of the time, which is just starting to kind of transition into the 24 hour news cycles that we've got now right where in the early stages of that with TV media, the author of this article is a guy named Dr. Ira Chasnov and he claimed based on a couple of cases that children of mothers who used crack were smaller, sicker and less social than other infants. Now to his credit, Chasnov was like, Hey, we only have a few people in the study. This is very small. It is imperfect. This is I'm doing this because I think there might be a problem in this small batch study means that we should do a larger study to determine if there is a serious population-wide problem, right? Which is how you do science. I don't think he's doing anything wrong here. But the problem, and this is again, an early, we start seeing this stuff. We've all lived through this shit the last couple of years, right? With these, you get these little studies about, Oh, Iver Mectin or whatever. There's this. And then suddenly that gets blown up to a bunch of guys, people taking fucking fish medicine or whatever. And there's people dying and stuff. This is one of the first times that happens because nobody listens to Chasnov being like, so this is a really tiny study and we need to do more research before we draw any conclusions. No, they lose their fucking minds. By the way, the people losing their minds are the Goddamn, the mainstream media, the legacy media. And I'm going to quote from the fucking New York Times here. As a medical writer, Harriet Washington wrote of this period in her book, Medical apartheid, Dr. Chasnov's provisional research was swallowed whole, then regurgitated, in a racialized form by newspaper magazine and even medical accounts. Americans were told on the nightly news that crack exposure in the womb destroyed the unique brain functions that distinguish human beings from animals, an observation that no one had connected to the chemically identical powdered form of the drug that affluent whites were shoveling up their noses. The legal scholar Dorothy Roberts argues in her reproductive history, killing the black body that by focusing on maternal use of a drug associated with black people, the press promoted the notion that the monstrous crack-smoking mother was typical of black women. And this is where the real hurting starts. This is what actually, this is crack, gnarly drug. A lot of people get hurt because chemically what crack does. The money that comes in brings a lot of murder with it. The thing that's most devastating is right here. It comes as a result of this fucking moral pain. The crack ain't the bastard of the story. No, no, it sure is not. It's a Jason to the bastard. And you know what's a Jason to behind the bastards? The politics, the well-politic, deeply intertwined, especially this week. Yeah. But also the products and services that support this podcast. So check this out and purchase this. Thanks. This is a story about land and oil, about family, about wealth, about the stories we passed down and the stories we don't. More than a hundred years ago, the Osage Nation negotiated something unique. That brought a lot of money to its people. For the past year, I've been trying to figure out who ended up with that well and how they got it. The truth has got to come out, you know, and it's not always pretty and it's not always flattering. This is intrust, an investigative podcast about a massive transfer of wealth out of Osage hands and into white ones and how the Osage Nation is fighting to get it back. Intrust is a new series from Bloomberg and I Heart Media reported and hosted by me, Rachel Adams heard. Listen on the I Heart Radio app, Apple podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Ah, we have returned. What a fight on the crack, give away. I love Dave's pill reference. Yeah, of course, of course. So I want to continue that quote from the New York Times about kind of how how this all works. Legal scholar Dorothy Roberts argues in her history killing the black body that all this focus on the specific danger to black babies helped push a notion of the monstrous cracks moking mother in the media. Washington post columnist Charles Krauthammer, famous for having never once been right, wrote a popular column in which he alleged that black women were spawning a bio underclass of impaired children, whose biological inferiority is stamped at birth. Crowdhammer wrote, the dead babies may be the lucky ones. Oh my god. Yeah. This guy still gets paid to write shit. Oh man. Fucking Charles Krauthammer. Again, never been right in his entire life. What kind of name is it? Let me nod your accent. Stupid. Fuck him. Yeah, but um, yeah, I just uh, again, when you are when you write the words bio underclass. Yeah, come on, fam. You should wonder, am I doing a fronology? Have I just have I just started? Have I reinvented race sciences? Am oral panic? Yeah. Maybe that's not. Am I doing the thing that Minnan Wigs did 100 years ago? Yes. Yes. Yes. You are Charles Krauthammer. Yes, man. So. Yeah. Um, um, yeah, anyway, um, all this concern over unborn babies and crack fed nicely into the Christian extremist movement that had gotten Reagan elected. Again, we've talked about this in our episodes on, uh, focus on the family on Phyllis Schlafly. Um, this all feeds into each other, right? This is all happening at the same time. You've got the religious right is a thing and they have just now, because they started out the religious right gets initially involved because they're angry that schools have been integrated, right? That Bob Jones University has been forced to take in black people because it gets federal funding. Um, you can't segregate your schools, but that's not popular. So they turn to abortion as like the real thing to hit. Um, and right as they're really getting the anti abortion movement churning up, there's all this concern of her unborn babies and crack, which, which really gels great. Um, and I'm going to quote from the times again here. News organizations embraced far fetched ideas like the one advanced by doctors who believed they could discern babies who had been exposed in the womb by the tone of their cries. In 1990, Time magazine argued that the case for limiting the, the rights of women and elevating the rights of fetuses was gaining strength based on the fact that maternity words around the country were ringing quote with the high pitched cat cries of crack babies who may face lifelong handicaps as a result of their mother's drug use. Man, there's so much cynist like I, I, I, I, I mourn like the amount of this we internalized and kind of like weaponized against each other and just hearing it now so many years later, it was like you mother fuck, you know what I'm saying? And, and the reality of like, yeah, dog like, yo, this you shouldn't be doing crack right? You pregnant fam. You know what I'm saying? And like, yeah. And just, but just all of that sort of together, it's just, it makes it even more sinister to be like, you know, we even actually like, even among our own community petal, some of this shit, you know what I'm saying? And that, that, that kind of hurts me also, you know? Yeah. Yeah. Um, and this, so, so this, and, and this New York Times article I'm quoting from is a modern one where they are kind of taking themselves in the past to task for what they did. And the New York Times is a huge, it's dope. It's also like, this isn't the only time that happens New York Times. It seems like you guys actually often because of these fucking opinion columnist assholes that you bring on start arguing for like terrible shit that has nightmarish consequences on the world. And then 20 years later, the, the, the good journals will be like, oh, turns out we had a huge fall like, like, we, we were largely responsible for this nightmare. So the Times amplifies what gets called the damaged generation theory. Their editorial page argues in 1989 that it's going to cost more than $700 million to prepare 20,000 children in the state of Florida for school because of like, how damaged they were from crack. There's zero evidence of this. That's just a lie. That's just fucking nonsense. Yeah. The former executive editor of the New York Times, again, named Abe Rosenfall, writes a column titled The Poisoned Babies where he, he asks authorities to suspend parental rights for women who are addicted to crack. Um, now, there's evidence as to what happens when you do that. And it causes women who are addicted to crack and pregnant not to seek medical treatment that allows them to provide adequate care for their babies, which is what does the harm more than the crack. It is not, look, controversial ground here. Obviously not good to smoke crack while you are pregnant. Not good to drink while you're pregnant. There's a number of things you ought not do while you're pregnant. Also, human beings for thousands of years in many cultures, drink alcohol regularly with babies. And those babies came out and were fine and learned things. Yes. Right. Um, now, it's not good. There are health consequences associated to smoking crack in the womb. The data suggests the real harm comes from driving these women away from treatment and adequate medical care, which is what causes problems for the baby more than anything else. The data scare. Yeah. Yeah. Again, I mean, not good to smoke crack with the baby. No. We're supposed to do what we did. I mean, it's the same like, it's such a, uh, just a like, a parallel for even immigration issues. Like if I know, you know, I'm saying that I, you know, a very minor, completely treatable thing is if I would just go to the clinic, you know, go to the county, you know, hospital, it'll be fine. But if there are ice agents at there, I'm not going to go. You know, I'm saying. And even when, even with the, uh, even during the whole like sort of crack down, you know, under President Trump about federal, you know, you that mandatory reporting to like immigration from the police, why the police was like, I'm not doing that. And they're like, and it's not like I'm patting the police on the back. But I'm just, just being logical here. And they were being logical. They're like, well, then no one's going to report anything because why would I, so then it's like, well, no, I'm not going to tell, I'm not going to report nothing because if I do, you might deport me or think I should be deported. You know, I'm saying. So it's like that, that, that, uh, policy exacerbates the problem is what I'm saying is like in up in, in, in so many other areas of culture, it's the same thing. It's like, I'm not going to shoot. I'm not going to do that. I'm not telling y'all nothing because if you do, that's going to happen. And that, and then that avoidance exacerbates the problem. I said that already. But yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And that's, that's where the issue comes from. In 1990, the New York Times's coverage peaked in a front page story that warned of an onslaught that fall of the quote first big wave of children exposed to crack in the womb. The journalist who wrote that article now acknowledges it is both alarmist and unsubstantiated, which is again, nice. But one of the things this does is that police, uh, in police unions or whatnot and political figures start flipping out about crack babies. Like they're like, like, like it's a, like it's an alien life form coming to the planet earth to do us harm. And we have to ready our fucking guns to fight the invaders, right? That is how they talk about this. And as the paper of record, it was the Times's job to lead credence to these claims. So that police and political figures can how, including Joseph Biden, by the way, can howl about super predators and justify harsh new mandatory minimum sentences to stop the raging danger of drug crime. Yep. As the panic reached its peak, Congress passed a bill that included the 100 to one rule. This made it mandatory to assign a 10 year sentence to anyone caught with 50 grams of crack, which is about as much crack in terms of weight as you would get in a fun sized bag of chips. For comparison, someone caught with cocaine would need a full suit case worth of a high grade cocaine to qualify for the same penalty. Yep. So this is what quote unquote, destroy the generation to the extent that that actually happened. This is what does it. And I'm going to read a quote from an AP right up here. An associated press review of federal and state incarceration data shows that between 1975 and 2019, the US prison population jumped from 240,593 to 1.43 million Americans. Among them, about one in five people were incarcerated with a drug offense listed as their most serious crime. The racial disparities reveal the war is uneven toll. Following the passage of stiffer penalties for crack cocaine and other drugs, the black incarceration rate in America exploded from about 600 per 100,000 people in 1970 to 1800 and 8,000 in 2000, to 1800 and 8,000, sorry, the 1800 and 8 in 2000. In the same time span, the rate for the Latino population grew from 208 per 100,000 people to 615. Well, the white incarceration rate grew from 103 people per 100,000 to 242. So you're looking at number one, the rate at the start of this process, the rate of incarceration for blacks in America is six times what it is for Americans. And then it triples. Yeah. It's so. Yeah. I think like for the listeners say, let's let me go back to the 100 to 1 ratio in that. Like, so what we're saying is one ounce of crack gets the same amount of jail time as a hundred pounds of cocaine. Like I or a hundred ounces. I mean, so one ounce of crack, same amount of jail time as a hundred. So if you asked, so if you, so just, I mean, come on, guys, put your thinking caps on. You got a one ounce of crack versus a hundred ounces. Okay, which one of y'all you think is going to distribute the stuff? Well, you think the sales person. You don't say versus just the user. Like, you tell me we get the same jail time. Do you know how much money you have to have to have a hundred ounces of cocaine? Like, yeah. So just like, like, like, Kierhaus Sinister and purposeful. This is like, we're not making this shit up. Like, this, isn't it? It's not a conspiracy. These are laws. Yeah. Part of the reason why, because this one of the things that's happening here is we talk about in our bill Cooper episodes is that a lot of the black community in this, some of this happens through hip hop is embracing a set of conspiracy theories. And we'll talk about that more. But part of why they're doing it, because we talk, there's some stuff in there. There's some, especially the bill Cooper stuff that gets adopted by hip hop. That's not at all accurate. But part of why people would believe in conspiracies is that you could not seek to damage a community more than they, then happens here, right? Like, this, it's surgically targeted. Yeah. To hurt black communities, black inner-city communities. Like, it's like, it's like somebody dropped a bomb. Yeah. And when you're saying these laws are real. Yeah. And you're saying, like, am I taking crazy feels? I feel like we being targeted. Like, no, you're not. You just not, listen, you're fine. You're fine. You just, you don't have any fathers in your home. You know what? You just, you're just like, no, I feel like, well, no, you guys are just violent. Look, I mean, this is what's happening. You guys die more than us. Isn't it? You're in jail more than, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. But I'm trying to tell you, fam, like, it just don't feel the same. And it's like, it's like, well, there's got to be something going on here. Yeah. And it's worth noting too that this surge in arrests that we've just talked about, there is no increase in addiction treatment resources in these communities that follows the surge in arrest. Zero. I found an article in the Chicago Booth review that analyzed a recent study measuring the impact of crack cocaine by University of Chicago professors Steven Levitt and a bunch of other smart college guys. It attempted to determine what actual harms could be laid at the feet of crack as opposed to things like the legal climate around it. They concluded, quote, the destructive effects of crack cocaine were because of the prohibition itself rather than the usage. If crack were legal, the authors argue there would not have been as much violence. Levitt himself added all the evidence suggests that the violence is closely tied to the fact that the suppliers of crack, the gangs, were killing each other because they could make huge profits. Suppliers were competing. It seems that the consumption effects of crack weren't that bad in comparison to the violence. And therefore, while the effect of crack is not negligible, it is not as large as some of the doom sayers of claim. It is not the problem was not crack. If people, if, if all drugs had been legal, right, if we've never had a prohibition culture in a 1981, an entrepreneur, some Mark Zuckerberg type, right, in Oakland had been like, I've invented crack and, you know, has his apple type announcement for crack cocaine. There's some lives that'll be negatively effective, right? Some, some families will be harmed. It's not good. Crack is, again, I'm not a prohibitionist, but it's a gnarly drug. It's not good for you to do, but what you wouldn't have is any of this shit. You would have some specific people that have problems with it and some specific areas probably where it's more common than others. And there would be some gnarly shit as a result of that. But you don't have neighborhoods destroyed. I was going to say, like, again, the lure around here is that like crack, there's, there's, there's the, the crypts before crack, and there's the crypts after. You know, and the the pre, like we talked about this in the, in the, when we first met in the, um, like Panther episode. Black Panther. Yeah, there's like, there are just the children, Chris were the children of the, of the Panthers. You know what I'm saying? And knuckle in up, you know, fist fights rough, rough, out and protecting their turf. It crack is brought the guns. Yeah. And, uh, and yeah. So like you saying that like is a, yeah, it's a big, that's, that's so important to, to understand that nuance. And it's, I have to, I want to emphasize here, like, we had a, in 2020, this, this might be a good way to explain it, a bunch of, because of the mix of this suddenly, this social justice movement inspired by the murder of George Floyd is, is everywhere is huge. There's protests. There's also a lot of need as a result of the pandemic, as a result of issues relating from the protests. And you get a bunch of different community organizations and a bunch of different states raising huge amounts of money through crowdfunding, right? And there's a shitload of drama that comes from that. And a drought, we're talking drama because 100 grand came in suddenly. So people who have never seen that much money, money in their lives had a plan for it originally. And then shit gets gnarly between people because that's what happens when you introduce a bunch of money suddenly, right? With crack, you're talking about suddenly groups like the crypts and the bloods who were very different organizations prior to crack looking at 30, 40 million dollars that you can put down in a, in a few months, right? Like, you can make that money fucking quim immediately. Of course, of course, people get murder. Yeah, I know, right. Like, yeah, it's, it's, there's no other way for that to have gone. Now, what's most interesting about the crack epidemic to me is what stopped it. After 1995, the link between crack and adverse social outcomes for black Americans disappears statistically. The only exception is the homicide rate for black men aged 18 to 24, which remains elevated because now a bunch of different groups, the crypts and the bloods and other groups like that have gotten used to selling drugs for money and making that a very gnarly business, right? And so, yeah, people keep murdering each other. Yeah. But the other stuff we've talked about, including like infant birth weight and stuff, that goes away. Crack use in terms of overall quantity remained stable. So the number of people, the amount of crack consumed does not decline after 95, but the negative effects due to it on a societal basis among the black community stop. And what's interesting is that because this is because the, there's no expansion in the number of people smoking crack. What researchers find is that people who had been smoking crack don't stop, right? They continue to smoke, but new users stop doing the drop. So the people who are already addicted, stay addicted because it is crack cocaine and it's very addicted, addictive. But after 95, new people don't really start in significant population amounts. New people are not coming into the ranks of people using this drug. The reason that the overall amount consumed remains stable is that there's a breakthrough in crack manufacturing, which makes the price plummet. So users are able to afford more and thus the total amount consumed is stable. But the amount of new people who are doing crack stops expanding. Levitt points out that the expansion of crack in the black community is halted not due to arrests or the fear mongering, but from social learning. Yes. What happens is the first generation of people who got addicted, it's bad. It's really bad for them. Yes. And yeah, they're younger siblings, their cousins, their kids see this and are like, wow, seems like I shouldn't do crack. I am because that's what I was explaining before. I am the product of that where I was like, oh, yeah. I don't know if we should do that. And like I said, hip hop got together and was like with songs like self-destruction and like making sure we made use hip hop we I wasn't those five years old, but hip hop made using crack not cool. In a lot of ways, you know what I mean? Yep. Yeah. And that's yeah. That's that's what happens. Right. And so you get, you know, suddenly, the you know, the crack baby panic goes away because it was never really real. And because the age of crack users goes steadily up, right? The same amount of people are smoking, but they're not having kids anymore because they're older. As profitability drops on a per-hit basis, violent crime around crack fell as well. It simply was not worth killing for the dollar amount of crack that people were likely to have on them, right? And the same amount is worth $10 instead of $250. Well, maybe it's not worth throwing down. You know? And so in spite of everything the government had actually done, the problem got better in part because crack got cheaper and more available. Right? Yes. That is for the people who are like, if all of this stuff had been legal from the start, we wouldn't have had a problem. That's strong evidence, right? Like crack gets cheaper and the crack epidemic gets less bad. That's not the only thing. Again, a lot of this, as you said, is cultural. It's the it's the community taking agency. It's people talking to each other. It's people making wise decisions in their own self-interest. And it's people trying to talk to their fellows to get them to stay away from this stuff that's pretty bad for you. And it's one of those things. Everything gets better in spite of the government, which if Ronald Reagan was a guy who actually meant anything that he said, right? Because he's the guy who's like, I'm the scariest words in English language or I'm from the government and I'm there to help. Yes. If you're actually believing anything is a conservative, this is a perfect example of things, right? Oh, the government just made this worse. Yeah. Exactly. Like here's your proof. Yeah. Actually, the free, the free market did kind of solve this one. Credit where it's due. This is a case of kind of work. Tushay. So the crack epidemic is well past its height by 1995, but it remained a common subject in the news and part of the repeated attempts by guys like Joseph Robinette Biden to expand the prison industrial complex. Black inner city communities were well in recovery by this point, but cracked was a fact crack. Sorry. Was a fact of life now as were the tens of thousands of young black men serving decades of time for possession. And it was into this climate in August of 1996 that I and again, 96 is right when the crack epidemic is cooling off. Things are starting to get better. The black community is starting to breathe a little bit, right? August of 1996, a young journalist named Gary Webb publishes a massive three-part investigation under the title, Dark Alliance, the story behind the crack explosion. Now, his employer is the San Jose Mercury, which is a scrappy new upstart paper. They had only a fraction of the budget of the LA Times, which is like the fucking New York Times for Southern California, right? It's a big, it is a national level outlet, even though it's called the LA Times. But obviously, you know, they've got only a little bit of the LA Times as budget and they've got none of the cash. But what they do have is a working understanding of this thing that's probably going to be a big deal in the future called the internet, right? San Jose Mercury figures out that the internet is where journalism can go viral. And there, maybe you could argue the very first outlet who ever figures this out in a meaningful way. Matt Drudge is kind of right around the same time and gets a lot of this piece of shit, but he is kind of along those lines. But the San Jose Mercury publishes this whole investigation, Dark Alliance, simultaneously online and in print, which is again kind of the first time this has been done for a big investigation. This 1997 write-up from the Columbia Journalism Reviews Peter Cornblues summarizes what happens. The long three-part series covered the lives and connections of three career criminals. Freeway Ricky Ross, perhaps LA's most renowned crack dealer in the 1980s, Oscar Denilo Blandon-Rays, a right-wing Nicaragua and ex-patriot described by one US assistant district attorney as the biggest Nicaraguan cocaine dealer in the United States, and Juan Norvin, Norvin in some documents, Menenzes, Cantorero, a friend of the fallen dictator and Estesia Somosa, who allegedly brought Blandon into the drug business to support the conscious and supplied him for an uncertain amount of time with significant quantices of cocaine. The first installment of the series, headline Crack Plagues Roots are in Nicaraguan war, opened with two dramatic statements, and this is quoting from the original article now. For the better part of a decade, a San Francisco Bay area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to the crypts and blood street gangs of Los Angeles and funneled millions in drug profits to a Latin American guerrilla army run by the Central Intelligence Agency. The second paragraph, which captured even more public attention, read, this drug network opened the first pipeline between Colombia's cocaine cartels and the black neighborhoods of Los Angeles, a city now known as the Crack Capital of the world. So if you have ever heard either in a conversation or most recently in a prominent TV show, The Boys, the claim that the CIA introduced Crack to the inner cities, this is the origin point. This is 100% where that comes from. You made it. It all comes out of this article, right? Because this article is the first time that you have someone saying in a very condensed clear form, the CIA brought Crack to the inner city by in order to fund the contrast, right? That is the way this is now. That's actually not what the article says, because the CIA is not bringing Crack anywhere with the CIA is doing is allowing Nicaragua and drug dealers to bring cocaine into the United States so that they can sell it to fund a right wing paramilitary in Nicaragua. That cocaine is then being turned into Crack because that's happening at the same time. But yeah, the claims web made in his article are a bit different from the version of the story that spreads kind of viral. What he provides is evidence to support the assertion that quote, a cocaine for weapons trade supported US policy and undermined black America. Now, while the article did not show the article, did not show any direct stated intention of the CIA to spark a crack epidemic, it did lay out how the agency supported cocaine smugglers in order to fund the contras. We're going to talk that in a minute, but the third article doesn't touch on the CIA at all. It covers what we've just talked about in terms of sentencing discrepancies between black and white people for cocaine trafficking and how that harms the community. Web pointed out that Ross, who was black, received a life sentence without parole. Brandon, a Nicaraguan man, had smuggled cocaine in whereas Ross had sold Crack and Brandon serves just two years and then gets a bunch of money from the feds to be an informant. So the primary gotcha the story had was that it connected the two right wing dealer Nicaraguan's to the FD in freedom fighters and showed that they somewhat inexplicably had escaped a prosecution for a weird number of crimes. And this is the point at which I think we're going to have to bring things to a close for the day because we've got, we'll be talking about in part two Nicaragua, the contras, all of this, how the actual crack and co, well, the cocaine trend. Because again, this is, if you want to, it's one of those things where like the inaccurate version of the story is the CIA brought crack to the inner cities. The act, perfectly accurate version is the CIA allowed cocaine to be trafficked in mass into Southern California, which was then turned into crack. And that's what caused the crack epidemic. And then as payment, the other accurate, yeah, as payment for all of the stuff we talked about in my episodes. Yeah. Yeah. It's one of those things where if you don't understand it, you might just say the CIA smuggled crack into the inner city. If you really understand it, the summary is still the CIA brought crack to the inner city. It's just a little more detailed. But yeah, yeah. There's a few more steps in between. But the CIA did this. Yeah. Yeah. The CIA is a bit, well, but also, I mean, and here's the thing, one of the things that I do think is frustrating, because we're going to, we're about to talk in part to all about the CIA and some other groups, is, yeah, the CIA's got a lot of blame for this. But where I'm standing, not more than the New York Times. Ooh, right. That's, that's where I'm fucking standing here. And if not in not more than Congress, right? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That's where I'm fucking standing. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Oh, yeah. It looks like to me. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Multiple bastards. I love it, man. So, yeah, well, I don't love it. But you know what I mean? That's awful. That's the crack epidemic. In brief. Yeah. Um, prop. You got anything to plug here? Maybe hood politics show that we're doing. Yeah. This partnership with this way. Yeah. This is, this is definitely like a, you know, a little newbie thing where we're doing like, you know, a collaboration on this where, uh, this story takes place in the context of the stories that we're talking about on hood politics. I'm Rachel Adams-Therd. I'm a reporter for Bloomberg News and host of Intrust, a new series from Bloomberg and I heart radio. More than a century ago, the O.C. Nation negotiated something unique. That brought a lot of money to its people. In this new series, I look at who ended up with a lot of that land and oil money and how the O.C. Nation is fighting to get it back. Listen to Intrust on the I Heart Radio app Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcasts.