Behind the Bastards

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.

Part One: Ronald and Nancy Reagan: The Bastards Behind the AIDS Crisis

Part One: Ronald and Nancy Reagan: The Bastards Behind the AIDS Crisis

Tue, 09 Oct 2018 10:00

Part One: Ronald and Nancy Reagan: The Bastards Behind the AIDS Crisis

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Hey there. I'm Scott rank, host of the podcast history unplugged. Now, it really is a dream come true to get paid to talk about history without all the stress while still being able to make a living. And I did it with Spreaker from iheart. Not only did they make it super easy to monetize my podcast, but ad revenue is 3 to four times higher with spreaker than with any other host I've worked with. So if you want to turn your passion into a podcast and give this a try, that's get paid to talk about the things you love. Do you love movies? Well, I have the podcast for you. Hey there, this is Mike D from movie Mikes movie podcast your go to source for all things movies. Each episode explores a different movie topic plus spoiler free reviews on the latest streaming and movies in theaters. You'll also get interviews with actors and directors to take a look behind the scenes of your favorite movies. Listen to new episodes of movie Mikes Movie podcast Every Monday on the Nashville podcast network, available on the iHeartRadio App, Apple Podcast, or wherever you get your podcasts. Hey, it's Chuck Wicks from love country. Talk to Chuck where we bring you what's really happening in the country music family. We also if you love country, here's the deal. You love country music, you can be on the podcast. So if you're a fan, country music or you can call in anytime you like. I want to talk about this, Hulk Hogan called in. He's like Chuck the hulkster. I love your podcast, Jason Aldean, Jimmy Allen, Carly Pierce, Lauren Elena. Listen to new episodes of love Country. Talk to Chuck every Monday and Thursday on the Nashville podcast network, available on the iHeartRadio App, Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to. Podcast. Hey everybody, I'm Robert Evans, and this is once again behind the ******** the show. We tell you everything you don't know about the very worst people in all of history, and we're just a loud beep in the room. So if he looks scared, is everything OK? Everything's OK. I'm sorry. I had a nuclear device. Ohh you, you need to leave those outside. The guy with the nuke is Andy Beckerman, our guest for today. Andy, how are you doing? I'm as good as anyone can be in this soupy nightmare we live in. Soupy is a good way to describe it. Now, Andy, I'm going to apologize right now because we talked about what I was going to plug for you. And then there was that beep and it flew out of my mind. So why don't you plug the thing that that that we what's the thing? Why? I am a Co host of. There we go. Wonderful couples therapy. Stand up, show and. Podcast here on the How Stuff Works network couples therapy. We have stand ups who are lovers or best friends or siblings do sets together about the relationship and then on the podcast we bring the best sets to you and your cost and that is Naomi Perrigan. Yeah from your episode you did about all the fringe Nazis. Yeah there the non Nazi pieces of **** behind Hitler. She was wonderful and I'm excited to talk with you today if I can push past the rage into a comedy. Well, the good thing about today is that it'll be a rage that's different from the rage that you're feeling about everything in the news. I don't think so. I have a personal stake in this story, I believe. Well, yeah. But like, OK, so we're this is the day after the Kavanaugh hearing. So, so everybody's pretty angry. And this is a thing to be angry about that's involves a lot of the same people but is slightly in the past. Sure. I believe when all this was going on, I was watching Transformers in my, you know, babysitters, living room. Yeah. Yeah, we are. We're talking about a story from the 80s, the story of the Reagans and the AIDS crisis and the death of Optimus Prime. Yeah, well, that is going to play a role here. So, yeah, we did. When I started reaching this, I expected it was going to be a pretty straightforward episode about how homophobia and religious fundamentalism in the halls of American power led to an executive branch that fiddled while thousands of gay people died of a horrible. This is the story I uncovered. Was that? But also somehow even more offensive than that? It was somehow more frustrating than the story I thought I was going to be telling. So great. Yeah, I guess what? I'm ready to go on this roller coaster. Roller coaster from nothing but trouble. You know, the one that grinds you up into bones. Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. That's exactly what we're going to do today. It's the murder coaster. Yeah. From nothing but trouble. It's the opposite of self-care that's today. So let's let's get into it. First, I'd like to start with like, what do you know about Reagan's response to the AIDS epidemic? I know that he ignored it for as long as possible, that they labeled it grids at first so that they could kind of cordon off every everyone who had aids at the OR, you know, HIV. Even was there any kind of scientific connection? I remember the last time, no, no. It seems like it started like that was just the doctors giving it their best name because it wasn't that much later that they were like, no, no, actually aids is a better thing to call it. And like, they can't like, but it it accrued other nicknames around the time that we're even more offensive. So, like, grids was probably the most palatable nickname that it got before it started being called AIDS. But yeah, it was pretty. It's pretty frustrating story. It was definitely, yeah. I mean, let's just get into it. I've got it all broken down here from time or by time. So 1978 is the first year that gay men in Western countries, Sweden and the United States, were the the first countries where Westerners started to get sick with what would become known as AIDS. In 1980, when Ronald Reagan beat Jimmy Carter, only about a couple of dozen Americans, less than 30 had perished. Quote, UN quote. Beat Jimmy Carter. Well, wasn't there some like, I mean, he did, but like the whole October surprise BS? Yeah, there was a lot of shadiness that was done during the election. Some of which we're going to get into in a little bit well, but it was a pretty clean sweep aids. Oh, we're going to. One of the things that's exciting to me about this episode is the numerous opportunities will have to do our rig and voices. Well, can you read the whole thing in a raging voice? That might get a little bit old, but I I definitely two sentences completely old. I think I've picked the right moments to try my Reagan voice out. But you know, maybe we'll have us a Reagan on Reagan conversation because there's two sides of Reagan that you're going to see in this episode, one of which is pretty sympathetic and seems like a guy who could have dealt with this crisis in a a reasonably woke manner and one of which is the Reagan that was actually president. Sure, Reagan isn't the guy that he betrayed everyone in sag and during the McCarthy. Hearings and everything, yeah. Yeah. But I mean a lot of people did that, including Roy Cohn, who was was also a gay man also, yeah, but also a ***** ** **** if I total ***** ** **** from isn't a character in angels in America. Well, he was one of the guys who, when McCarthy was doing the house on American Activities Committee, was asking people, are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party? So he was a anyway. We're getting so far ahead, could trace that, but I'm just saying you can trace the darkness back decades monsters you can trace the. And I think the darkness that you can trace back with Reagan to that. Is his not willing to take any risks that hurt his career? Because I really do think that comes down to it more than ideology in Reagan's case. But we'll see how you feel at the end of this. I'm going to present all the evidence I have. So on June 5th, 1981, the CDC reported that five young homosexual men in Los Angeles had been treated for pneumocystis Carini, which is a. Like a fungal lung infection that can. That's life threatening. And it's only really found in people with very compromised immune systems. And we know now that this is one of those, like, you know, AIDS isn't what kills you when your immune system gets, you know, destroyed. These little things that are always around us that normally we don't get sick from. That's what's got you. And so. Right. And they're in LA, which is a filthy town. So, I mean, that's one of its charms. But yeah, if you want to call it a charm. Two of these men had died by the time the CDC reported it, and on July 4th the CDC reported eight more gay Los Angelenos had been treated for Kaposi sarcoma, which is a rare form of cancer that again only strikes people with crippled immune system, so no one knew what it was at this point, really. But doctors start to recognize in 1981 something really weird is happening, specifically in like, coastal cities, and specifically to the gay populations. What's going on culturally in 1981? What movies are hot ****? This isn't that far from Red Dawn, isn't? Wasn't that 9585? Yeah, yeah. Something like that, I said. Yes, I have. No, I have no idea. I didn't prepare anything on the movies that were ready, but I'm guessing it's Janet Jones, Indiana Jones. That was, what, 82? Our world was hot, so people started dying. From immunodeficiency, it was it was that beautiful era when we thought, boy, if we get three good Star Wars movies, I don't think anyone will ever ask for any more Star Wars movies. That'd be swell. Yeah, yeah, what a time. Anyway, doctors around the country gradually started to realize that something was wrong. 234 people died from AIDS over the course of 1981. When do they like, name it 81? Like they said, like starts in like 82. So like in 1980, one 231 people die. President doesn't say anything. At this point, it's small enough that, like most presidents, probably wouldn't have addressed the thing that's like, it's it's it's still really little at this point. But on May 11th, 1982, doctors identified the bloodborne pathogen behind all these deaths. So they realized that they're not like a bunch of different things. There's one thing connecting these all, and they called the new disease, as you mentioned, gay related immune deficiency syndrome. So grids 853 Americans died during 1982, and a couple of months after that, in June of June 27th, 1982 is when the term aids. Communities. So the medical community corrected pretty quickly. They started off, you know, with the definitely bigoted position of like, well, let's just lock this down as a gate disease. But within a couple of months, doctors were like, well, OK, that's not what's happening and we've made a mistake and they correct it. But at this time, the more common names that were used were yet people called it the gay plague or gay cancer like. So that was the more common term. And grids definitely reinforced that attitude. Go to reference for a character who's a. Disgusting homophobe. And also old. Hmm. He's got the gay plague. Yeah, grids will. This plague just came sweeping through the coasts. Not by the way. Not a lot of opportunities to to riff on. No, no, not really. People dying of what turned out to be a horrific, horrific disease. I mean, it doesn't we don't have to riff because this can just be like a heartbreaking conversation where we're both emotionally exhausted at the end of it. Yeah, well, I mean, that's life at this point, right? Yeah. The the guiding principle of this podcast is that, like, you have these horrible stories that are important that nobody's going to like after a week, like this week. We're like, you hear about all this **** going on in our actual government right now. Very few people are going to sit down and be like, well, I'm going to read about. You know how the government ignored the AIDS epidemic? But it's important that people know this. So maybe if you you put a little bit of frosting, make a couple of Reagan jokes and whatnot, do some accents and stuff, then people hear the story and it sticks in their head and they don't go home and drink bleach because they're just so sad. That's the goal I've got. In my mind is Reagan sitting in his chair in the Oval Office, just like shoveling Jelly beans as is into his mouth, as his mind just deteriorates. Jelly Bean today, like you could see the pieces of his brain like as dust, like fly out of his ears and a trail is that. That's the picture of my head right now. Well, now that we've lost the conservative listeners. No, no, I mean this was never going to be the episode that they grabbed onto. Do you have conservative listeners? I assume so they leave really angry reviews whenever we talk about the Reagan. OK, I'll, I'll say, I'll say, I'll give a real message to conservative listeners. There is an example in this podcast we'll be talking about, about a Christian, very far right wing conservative who was a legitimate hero of the AIDS epidemic. So we're going to be giving his story alongside Reagans. So we're not biased on this like we're not biased, yeah. We're all biased, but you can talk about how the Reagans act, and you can talk about how other people who were even more extreme in their beliefs still did the right thing during the epidemic, which I think is important because, like, people are going to believe things that I don't like, no matter what. It doesn't mean you have to ignore hundreds of thousands of people dying of a disease. Well, I think what's interesting is there is a time in our country where conservative people, there was some kind of moral compass attached to their existence, whereas now, if you are on the right wing, I I really do. I feel like at this point, you knew who Trump was when you voted for him. He was not unapologetic about being a racist and a white supremacist and a monster. He announced his candidacy by calling Mexicans rapists. You knew who he was when you voted for him. I don't think you have an excuse anymore. Maybe during the Reagan era. Yeah, well, the Reagan era was really the first time we start to see a number of things that are now sort of hallmarks of the right wing. For one thing, it was the first time that conservative evangelical Christians voted as a group for a conservative. Candidate because most evangelical Christians had voted for Carter in the election prior and Carter had disappointed them mainly by the fact that he kind of, he governed as more of a moderate because he's he's the same guy he didn't like. You know, he opposed abortion personally, but he didn't like push against it or anything like that. He's an empathetic person. I mean he he builds houses. Building houses for Habitat for Humanity. Like, so they backed him, but they wound up going with Reagan during the 1980 election. And so I it's one of the things that I think is important to recognize now since we're talking about like the past is how weird Reagan's campaign was for the time. Because again, for most of American history, different Christian denominations had voted for different parties. Yeah. Was that like the first? Like big tent? Kind of, yeah. Republican Catholics voted one way. Protestants voted another way. Nobody really cared. But the the Quakers did, but you know, they they made really good butter and that was politics for a couple 100 years in America. So this but this is the beginning of like big tent, that idea that like and this is the beginning of the Christian right voting with the Republican Party. So yeah, Ronald Reagan was this guy who was the first conservative to really effectively reach out to the evangelical right. But he was also a TV and movie star and a former governor of California. He spent most of his life in Hollywood around Hollywood movie stars, those people he socialized with. And so he and Nancy Reagan. Had numerous gay friends in their early life, including the closeted film star Rock Hudson. During the Kennedy years, California Republicans started preparing Ronald Reagan for his first political foray. They kind of picked him before he was even governor and were like, this guy is someone who we can wedge into power. Since Ronald Reagan was going to be getting into politics, the people sort of grooming him for this new that Nancy Reagan was going to need a very carefully crafted look if she was going to be eventually a first lady. So she wound up hiring a bunch of fashion designers and whatnot to kind of help her craft a look, and one of them was a very famous. A fashion designer named Jimmy Galanos working with Jimmy Thrust Nancy deeper into Los Angeles homosexual community and she made a lot of friends. She was regularly seen quote on the arm of a guy named Jerry Zipkin, who was a gay real estate heir and socialite. News clippings at the time refer to him as Jewish. I don't know, I just try to put a picture in my head of like, you know, it's weird. I tried to research this guy because, like, you can't find out much about him. Articles at the time will refer to him as a popular social escort, which is apparently a thing that used to exist to where, like, women would want to go out and go to parties and events and their husband wouldn't be available. And Jerry was a prominent guy that everybody knew was gay, even though it wasn't really talked about. So, like, if he's with your wife at a the opening of a gallery at a movie premiere, it's fine. You know, it's Jerry, she's with Jerry. I'm imagining like thick glasses frames with like tinted. It's the thick frames are what I get from the name Jerry. The tinted lenses are all zipkin. Yes, it's it's both parts of his name complete my belief of his look. We're not going to look that up, we're just going to keep that in our heads. So Nancy and Ronald also became friends with Roy Cohn around this time in the 60s. Cohen was, as we said, kind of a fiercely anti communist lawyer, like a fixer. Yeah, he was a big fixer. He was a big influence on Donald Trump in the early 1980s. They were very close and he was also a close adviser to Ronald Reagan. These are just a phrase for someone who, like, gets people murdered and blackmailed and all that kind of stuff. No, I've used a number of fixtures in my career when I've been working in war zones. They're people who basically, like, know wherever you are better than you and help you do. Like you like, I need, I have this goal in Los Angeles, and I. And he's like, oh, we're going to talk to this person, this person, this person. They can help you out. Or, like, in DC it's the same thing. Like, Oh well, we can make this happen. Like, fixing is a morally neutral term. It's gotten like, we're talking about Trump's fixers in the news right now, so it's very shady. But there are just fixers whose whole job is like, oh, you're trying to accomplish this goal. These are the people you need to make this the the early MGM fixer guy. I forget his name, but I don't know. Yeah, there's been, there's a lot of fixers throughout history. Sometimes they're just called advisors or aides or whatever throughout history. Yeah, that would be a fun thing to do. So Roy Cohn was a famous fixer in this. He was a closeted gay man. It's impossible to say one way or the other if the Reagans knew about his sexuality. We do know they went to a ton of parties with Roy Cohn, and we do know how Roy Cohn behaved at parties. Because some of his friends wrote about those nights, so I'm going to quote now from a life article titled The Snarling Death of Roy M Cohn. Spoilers. At his parties he'd haul people up to their feet to sing God Bless America. Evidently his favorite song. Even though he was a lifelong opera goer. Roy's idea of a good time was to sing patriotic ditties. At a piano bar in Provincetown on Cape Cod, a friend recalled going home early one summer evening and on inquiring the next morning about the rest of the night, being told we all stood around the piano, Roy sang 3 choruses of God Bless America. And got a hard on and went home to bed. What is he, the founder of the Capitol steps? He's just a good American singing the national anthem at drunk as hell with a really big erection. And that's Roy Cohen. How big? I mean, they noticed it and they commented on it in the 60s. So I'm gonna guess like there significant feel like there may be like you know, you know like people never speak I'll of the dead. Like when Nixon died everyone was like what a great guy even though he was just this like rat **** little he was a drunk man with his hand on the button. Yeah screaming the inward regularly so I bet like they're like oh he's dead. Let's just talk about how big * **** he had. I don't think he was dead when this story was related but I don't really know the snarling death was after he was dead. But like this anecdote I think came from an earlier interview. It was hard to tell. Uh, imagine in an interview where you're just like and man the size of that guy's **** let me tell you about the time I saw this man's erection. Roy Cohn was hard for America, OK? The point of that that was itself, yeah, hard for, hard for America. And it was like a penis shaped thing with like the American flag. I was going to say the the lyrics of God Bless America written on the shaft, but different. You know, honest men can can can interpret that differently or like a constitution with someone writing on it. Like, you know, instead of a quilt that it's a penis. If that's how they've signed. No, no, no. We're getting the family podcast. Oh, it's no, it's not at all. Not in any way, shape or form. Don't let your kids listen to. Well, listen to some of this. Let your kids listen to the one about the East India Tea Company. That's important. OK. So Nancy Reagan also desperately wanted Billy Haines, a gay home decorator, to decorate her home. He had decorated the home of some other favorite socialite who was sort of like he. He decorated the home of somebody that that Nancy really admired. And so she wanted this guy to do her house, but Nancy and Ronald did not have enough money. At this point, too higher the guy. So they had what? They were rich. This is like, this is like 6869, something that bedtime for Bonzo 65. No, no, that's not that much money, man. That time for Bonzo, they were just low enough on the totem pole that, like, he could be convinced to go into politics. He was not that big. A star should have gotten a Better Business manager. Well. That's a fair point. So yeah, she wanted this guy to decorate her house, but they couldn't afford it so they hatched a cunning scheme to get the next best thing. So here's a quote from an article in the Advocate called Nancy and the gays that talks about how Nancy kind of finagled her way into kind of having this guy decorate her home without paying for it. She and Ron soon began socializing with the gay couple. In 1967 when Reagan became Governor of California, the Victory Party was held in the home of William Haynes and Jimmy Shields. Haynes is the guy that she wanted to decorate her house. Soon Nancy used Jimmy Shields as partner as her shopping buddy, still unable to afford the high prices and super Swank of the Haynes. Look, she would take Jimmy along on a shopping junket and get his advice and use his articulate tastes. So she basically befriends the husband of the guy that she wants to decorate her house and just takes him shopping with her to get advice on stuff because she's too cheap to hire the guy. So there's a history of them exploiting gay men. Yeah, but in a friendly way. You know, frankly, exploitation and maybe exploitation, they may have actually been buddies. I've read different things on it. Some of them say these people were pretty close to them. I don't know, it does seem like they had some legitimately close gay friends in this period from what I can tell. I will say this, I can't find any evidence of movie star era Ronald Reagan pre politics expressing publicly any homophobic views. In fact, it seems that prior to the fall of 1967 a lot of people might assume he was kind of your best case scenario for a Republican. If you were like a gay person looking like OK, Republicans going to win, what's the least offensive one? Well, it's this guy who's already kind of plugged into the gay community in LA and has shown willingness and like open mindedness and at least in his personal life. So that's how people might have felt in 1967. Now 1967 is the year he took office. And in fall of that year, there was a big series of news articles about a quote, homosexual clique in the Reagan administration because it turned out that a lot of the guys he had high up in his governor's administration were gay men. This was exposed by the news and was seen as a big deal because Reagan had. Campaigned on ending California's moral decline so it was not taken well with his conservative base, and he fired all of the gay men in his administration. He'd been happy to work with him earlier. Obviously. He only jettisoned them because they threatened his career. Might as well, you know? Dump your morals as well, well, see? But this is what's interesting to me, because when I got into this I had thought, OK, he was probably just a really conservative, homophobic person from the beginning, and I don't think that's the case. I don't think he personally had much of an issue one way or the other. I think he just this seems worse. There's a problem, it is worse. That's what I'm instrumentally homophobic as opposed to just like. I mean, all of it is is terribly awful, but it's all bad. I think it is worse, though, if he knows there's nothing wrong with it, really. He doesn't actually care what these people are doing in their private lives. He just wants to stay in power and win more elections, and so he'll jettison whoever he's got to jettison. Now, the Reagans did begin after this period to take stronger public stances against gay people. Nancy still went on her dates with Zipkin, but she would also, in public, call homosexuality a sickness. She called it an abnormality. Also in interviews, she asked him to stop using tinted lenses in his glasses. That's the worst yet. Jerry, please. Hi, I'm Nancy. This is well, well, I love that. If you're going to do the Nancy voice you always get, you're always going to go back to doing the Ronald voice because nobody knows what Nancy Reagan sounded like anymore. Use drugs. I don't even remember if that's accurate. I think I can remember Barbara Bush's voice. But only because I can remember Barbara Bush on The Simpsons. What do, like uptight socialites sound like? I don't know. They're all dead because we don't have social. I mean, like, tighten my ******** real tight, and then, well, this is my hello, you're just doing Lady Reagan. Lady Reagan, my favorite Beatles song. Alright, now we have to, we have to break for some ads right now. But when we get back, we're going to talk about a legitimate stance. Reagan took in favor of gay people while he was governor. And then we're going to talk about the death of 10s of thousands of Americans. So that's all coming up, but first teaser products. In the 1980s and 90s, a psychopath terrorized the country of Belgium. A serial killer and kidnapper was abducting children in the bright light of day. His unspeakable crimes and the incompetence or unwillingness of the police to stop him brought the entire country of Belgium to the brink of revolution. From Tenderfoot TV in iHeartRadio this is la Monstra. The story of abomination and conspiracy that led to the demise of the entire institution of Belgian federal police and rattled the foundations of its government. The story about the man who simply become known as La Monstre. Listen for free on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. This fall on revisionist history, there anything that we haven't talked about or I should have asked you or you'd like to add that seems relevant? You should have asked me why I'm missing fingers on my left hand. A story about sacrifice. I think his suffering drove him to try to alleviate suffering. And the shocking discovery I made where I faced the consequences of writing a book I thought would help people? Isn't that funny? That's not funny at all. It's depressing. Very depressing. Revisionist history is back with more. Listen to revisionist history on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. I've never seen less enthusiasm for a great idea in my life. Being a real estate agent isn't about listing houses, it's about connecting to people. I need to find new buyers every day, so I promote my listings using radio commercials from Now every time I have an open house, it's a full house. A custom radio ad from iheart AD builder is the fast, affordable way to drive customers to your business. Put the power of radio to work for you. Get started now at iheart And we're back. We're talking about the Reagans. We just talked about their history, their friendships with gay people, quote UN quote friendships. I'm pretty sure they really liked Roy Cohn because he's a vicious monster with Rock Hudson, too. But there's nothing to do with his homosexuality in a in 67. Of course he fires all of the gay people in an administration in 1978. So near the end of Reagan's time in office, at the movies are out. Star Wars was year. Star Wars, I thinking, right? Yeah. A conservative lawmaker named. Riggs proposed a California ballot initiative that became known as the Briggs Initiative. If it passed, it would have banned not only all gay people, but all people who supported gay rights from teaching in California schools. So this wasn't even saying you can't talk about homosexuality in school. This is saying if you personally support gay rights, you can't be a teacher in California. So anyway, the initiative was really popular when it started out. It was the focus of one of the first major gay rights campaigns in California, I think, or American history. Harvey Milk was a big part of it. It involved a lot of gay men. Going door to door and talking to people and just being like, hey, we exist in this law sucks. And Reagan took a public stance against the Briggs initiative along with a number of other people. President Carter did as well. The advocates in this case were very successful in turning public opinion around before the vote. And obviously it was defeated. So that's good. And so this is where the log cabin Republicans come from. They were formed in order to fight this initiative. And then other things have happened. And then yeah, what happened? Like, why are there still log cabin Republicans? They started out trying to stop a thing that needed to be stopped. So in this case, they're on the right side of things, although this is a really hard thing to be on the wrong side of. Like, you're really a pretty big ***** ** **** if you're in support of the Briggs initiative at this point. Again, even Reagan was against it prior to running for President. So yeah, this is where I started to realize that, yeah, I had gotten something wrong about the Reagans and started to realize that the real story is much darker because he's clearly capable of being convinced to give a **** about gay people because it happened once, and he has all these friends. So, yeah, this is kind of the high watermark morally that we're going to get into here in the story. And it's all downhill from here. So great. Yeah. In 1983, three years after taking office, Ronald and Nancy hosted interior decorator Ted Graber and his partner Archie case at the White House. Was Reagan shot 828383 right before. So it's right around the corner. Yeah, right around the corner. So they they have Ted Graber and his partner Archie case over to the White House. They celebrated Nancy 60th birthday and stayed the night. And Ted and Archie were probably the first same-sex couple to room together at the White House. So again, we're still at the high moral watermark. I teased that just a second too early, but this is the best part of the rains. So him standing up against the Briggs initiative and having one gay couple at the White House, that's so I want to make sure I'm being fair here. The bar is set very, very low. I mean the sad thing is that's actually not a low bar for 1983, especially after what we're going to get into here anyway. We'll talk about that later when AIDS became a very public and prominent. Probably in 1982, the Reagan should have known it was serious. They had friends who are members of the gay community. They were clearly plugged into Los Angeles. You would have expected something from this administration on the fact that hundreds of Americans were now dying from AIDS. Instead, here's what happened. I'm about to play you audio of the Reagan administration's first official response to the AIDS crisis. This is a clip from a 1982 press conference. Reagan's press secretary Larry speaks, is asked about AIDS, but his name, Larry, speaks with a with an E yeah, I know. It's even weirder than the secretary. Larry speaks, this is Larry speaks. Well, you're getting the job. Clearly your name speaks is my Defense Secretary Tony bombs. It's almost like * **** army kind of name. Like it really is, if they only, they'd all been in the same administration. And then, yeah, he's being asked a question about AIDS by a reporter named Lester Kinsolving. So, all right, let's play it. Now it's from the Center for Disease Control of land of the AIDS is now an epidemic from 600 / 600 cases. Over a third of them died. It's known as gay plague. No, it is. I mean, it's a pretty serious thing that one in every three people that get this have died. And I wondered if the President is aware of that. I don't have it. Or you do. You don't have it. Well, I'm relieved to hear that. Do you? You didn't answer my question. How do you know? My house looks on. This is a great joke. No, I don't know anything about it, Lester. Does anybody in the White House know about this epidemic, Larry? I don't think so. I don't think it's been any. There been no personal experience here, Lester. Talk to your doctor. I checked thoroughly with Doctor Rugi this morning and he's had no. No patience suffered from AIDS or whatever it is. No, I didn't say that. Yeah, I thought I heard you on the State Department over there when you stay over there. Why did the White House know about this epidemic, Larry? I don't think so. I don't think any. There's been no personal experience here, Lester. Talk to your doctor. I checked thoroughly with Doctor Rugi this morning and he's had no. No patience suffered from AIDS or whatever it is. No, I didn't say that. Yeah, I thought I heard you on the State Department over there when you stay over there. Because I love you, Larry. Oh, I see. Well, I just don't put it in those terms last year. Crack down. So I just love how like smirky these ******* are and, like, smug, I mean, it's the same. It's exactly the same today. Like nothing has changed about these elite **** ** *******. Well, I'll tell you what's changed. I'll tell you what changed, because what this is and what this is. Usually, when you this is from like a Vanity Fair, put all these together in a short little documentary, you can find love it linked on the site. This will usually be framed as like, listen to the Reagan administrations, the laughter and stuff that they had over this, which is obviously Reagan's spokesman. Is is laughing about this. And basically his response, this guy bringing it up is, why do you care? Are you gay? I'm not gay. I don't have it. Yeah. It's like gay panic. It's like that. And also, like, I like how they didn't know how to use acronyms. Yeah. Yeah. By the way, are we going to get any information about how much money we're given to NATO? Yeah. It's it's it's. But like, what's notable to that, to me, is that this is not just Reagan people. These are journalists, presumably people who are more like to the left of the spectrum, they're all laughing at it. Like, it's not just the Reagan people, which is something that has happened. I don't think if a disease were to inflict the gay community, I don't think you'd have the press box all making fun of it like that. I don't know. There are a bunch of elite ********* too. I don't know. I feel like it's shocking to me then that you could have. And I I think Lester Kinsolving or Kinsolving is not a left wing general. He's actually conservative right wing guy. He's a pretty homophobic dude. But at the same point is like 1/3 of the people who have this have died. Thousands of Americans are sick. You have to say something. That's one of the things that's interesting to me about this is that you have a number of people who buy, certainly by our standards are really homophobic people like Lester who are still like, but something has to be done. It's not entirely a matter of people's morality was different than because some people who were still pretty bigoted at least did something. He's not using the terminology that you'd want anyone to use today, but he's trying to get the White House to address a plague that's killing people, which is not nothing. And it's interesting to me that he's the only one in that room. Taking it seriously. What is? I mean, sure, OK. I I don't I it's just like, I guess it's his job, too. In some way. But it's all of those journalists job, too, and he's the only one that is something that's worth noting. It's both worth noting because everybody's really ******* homophobic in that video. But it's also worth noting because it's not just the Reagan administration's falling down on this. Mainstream journalism in 1982 considered this worth laughing over. Lester was a cook and a crank for talking about it at all. That's worth noting to me. We shouldn't just be attacking the Reagan administration because it was homophobia at every level of our nation's culture that allowed AIDS to get as bad as it got. And I think that video is emblematic of it. Lester, obviously one of the White House to address this in some way and they don't like, there's no, he just wanted a scoop. I mean, at least he keeps it up. He keeps, he keeps doing this for years like he's he's trying to get them to say something and they refuse like that is important to note, the Reagan administration refused to even address. To even say as much as we're aware that there's a problem, we're monitoring it. They wouldn't even say that much at this point. Part of why they weren't willing to say that much is that 12 days before the 1980 election, Ronald Reagan had received the endorsement of a group called Christians for Reagan. Now Christians for Reagan, or C for R as I'm going to call them to be cool and hip, was an ostensibly politically independent Christian fundamentalist lobbying group. So see for our paid for what Slate describes as a barrage of ads attacking President Carter for catering to gate people quote on one spot, an announcer intoned. Gays in San Francisco elected and mayor. Now they're going to elect a president. Before the ads began, polls had shown that Carter, a born again Christian, still had considerable support among evangelicals. But the hard hitting TV spots were extremely effective and they helped Reagan carry every southern state except Georgia, where Carter had been governor. Partly because the commercials never aired in New York or Washington. Most people outside the South were never aware of them. So this is part of, I think, why the Reagan administration won't even say we are aware that there's a disease because they got elected off the back of people who. We're able to shift support away from Carter via homophobia so that Reagan knows that's part of his like, foundation. Hey, Republicans, wait. We needed racism for the Southern strategy now. We need homophobia so we can keep the evangelicals in line and abortion, so we take that for granted now. But this is the start of that. This is also really the start of abortion being a major factor in American politics. That was not always you go back to like the 1940s. That wasn't a wedge issue. I mean, it wasn't even really on most people's radar. It's in during the Reagan era. That this really kicks both of these things really kick off as major aspects of Republican strategy. So whenever the question of homosexuality came up in Ronald Reagan's political life, he was harsh. When it was, you know, a public statement, he was asked on the campaign whether or not his ballet dancer son was gay and Reagan replied, he's all man. We made sure of that. These *******. Sorry, I have nothing funny. They're just like all *******. No, I mean, I think that means Reagan was hitting his kid, but, but just the first couple continue to socialize and work with gay people behind the scenes. The publicly homophobic Roy Cohn was a close adviser to the Reagan White House. Ted Graber, who spent the night at the White House, also got a contract to do a $1,000,000 renovation job of the family quarters in The West Wing. So clearly Ronnie and Nancy weren't above throwing a friend of bone, even if that friend happened to be homosexual courting taxpayer money. Oh yeah, yeah, absolutely. And that'll be noteworthy in a minute here. According to Steve Weissman, a journalist who covered Reagan's first term for the New York Times quote, the White House wasn't that homophobic because Nancy had friends who were gay. But it was definitely a place where you would hear one staff member. While another staff member, a *** behind his back. Jesus Christ, I just, I love the fact, like, you know, I can't be racist. I have a black friend. Or like that kind of justification is. Yeah, it's a pretty remarkable quote because it's like you just described a pretty homophobic office. Like it's not that sexist. A place we just, you know, do a lot of pinching. Like, well, OK. At this point, federal action to actually stop the spread of AIDS had only been taken by a handful of scientists at the CDC. And at this point being 1982, they, in a small caucus of New York and California congressman, lobbied to get additional funding to fight AIDS. It's worth noting that these congressmen got involved because they all had openly gay staff members who begged them to do something. So these Democratic congressmen who have gay people on their staff who are like, there's a ******* problem, you've got to do something. And so that's why the first real political action starts getting taken. It's because straight lawmakers have gay people who work for them. They were like, dude ***** ****** **. Which is why it's important. Yeah, all of the gay people who were in Reagan's political orbit got excised in 1967. That is a factor in this. So one of the books I did read to prepare for this episode was after the wrath of God. It's an Oxford University Press textbook about how American religion impacted the AIDS crisis. It's very interesting. It tides much, much of the Reagan administration's failure to the fact that gay people didn't have any access to administration officials. Quote the Reagan era ushered in not only a new national leader, but also a new White House staff that included a number of anti-gay conservatives, chief among them Pat Buchanan, Gary Bauer, and William Bennett. The shift consequently curtailed the already limited access that gay and lesbian leaders had to aids within the previous administration. As historian William Turner puts it, rather than having highly sympathetic White House and executive agency staffers serving under a largely indifferent president who supported the basic logic of civil rights, suddenly activists faced hostile staffers serving under a largely indifferent president who opposed the basic logic of civil rights. So one attitude on this is that the Reagans didn't make a huge difference. It was the fact that their staff had zero people who gave a **** about the gay community. They had no control over the staff. I mean, they they did control their stuff, but yeah, I was being sarcastic. But also, I love how, like there's like, maybe one or two sentences in the entire Bible that are like that, even vaguely tied to it, vaguely tied to it. And somehow those two outweigh all of Jesus's discussion of, like, loving thy neighbor and, like, turning the cheek and all this other kind of stuff. That is about love. And I don't know, like what is it with, like, Christian Conservative, what is with their brains, where that somehow, those two little sentences or whatever somehow warps the rest of it? I I think it has very little to do with the Bible. I think it has much more to do with the fact that a lot of these people grew up in a culture where, like, that was the thing that you made fun of, that was the thing you attacked. It was seen as immoral. They didn't really know much about these people. There's a great quote from Senator Henry Waxman, who was like one of the congressmen in a health subcommittee. It was like really active in early fighting back against AIDS and in 1982, he wrote. There is no doubt in my mind that if the same disease had appeared among Americans of Norwegian descent or among tennis players rather than gay males, the responses of both the government and the medical establishment would have been different. And I think that it's a marginalized group that people are used to making fun of. So no one treats it seriously like that's the initial response of the administration. You heard it in that in that audio, it's it's the press secretary joking that a journalist is gay for asking about gay people. I think that's why. It was so ignored because they're just seeing as this sub category of humanity that they don't like is is so far beneath their concern. I I really think that's most of what it is, yes. No, I get that, but I'm just saying that like the thing that's supposed to define these Christian conservatives is the Bible and most of it's about loving everyone. We're going to get into the Bible in a little bit because there are a couple of different ways different Christian conservatives take the Bible as relates to the AIDS crisis. So we're seeing one right now. When we get back, we're going to talk more about the Reagan administration's ****** of the AIDS crisis. That's what we're going to talk about. Well, will the Bible time for some ads. Jesus, Nicaragua. So by now we imagine that you've seen the theories on Tik T.O.K. You maybe even heard the rumors, your friends and loved ones. But are any of the stories about government conspiracies and cover ups actually true? The answer is surprisingly or unsurprisingly, yes. For more than a decade, we hear at stuff they don't want you to know have been seeking answers to these questions. Sometimes there are answers that people would rather us not explore. Now we're sharing this research. With you for the first time ever in a book format, you can pre-order stuff they don't want you to know now. 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Let's break our handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's Get paid to talk about the things you love with spreaker. From my heart. And we're back. 1982 was the first year that something should have been done by the Reagan administration, Visa V AIDS. It was also the year that very little was done. Visa VIE aides well, the National Institutes of Health spent $36,000 per toxic shock death in the US in 1982. They spent only $8991.00 per AIDS death in 1982. Toxic shock, as in keeping in a there's a number of things that can cause the be keeping it. A tampon can cause it. It's it's a it's a less common cause of death. And AIDS was by this point, but it was getting a lot more money, and so was Legionnaires disease. People into soaking, soaking. Legionnaires disease, which killed about 50 people in 1982, got way more funding. Between June 1981 and May 1982, the CDC spent less than $1,000,000 on AIDS and 9,000,000 on Legionnaires disease. So, more than a lobby, there's a Legionnaires lobby. Well, yeah, there have been 50 people killed in that time from Legionnaires disease and 1000 from AIDS. So AIDS gets $1,000,000 and kills 1000 people. Legionnaires disease kills 50 people and gets $9 million in federal funding. So yeah, there's not a lot of money being devoted towards it at this point. Here's a quote from an advocate article I found congressional staffers joke that the NIH really stood for the National Institutes of Health really stood for, not interested in homosexuals. Republican priorities were perfectly clear right from the start of the Reagan government. One of the administration's first official acts was to propose a cut of nearly 50% in the appropriation for the CDC from 327,000,000 to 161 million. So one of the first things the Reagan administration does as a plague is starting to take off is cut CDC funding. Half. At the same time, Reagan asked for an immediate increase of $7 billion in defense spending and an additional increase of 25 billion for the following fiscal year, for a total of $220 billion spent on defense when we cut $150 million out of the CDC's budget. So again, you've got like a perfect storm here, not all of which is related to homophobia, but certainly all of which is related to not really giving a ****. What happens to that money go to like arming, to mining, mining, the harbor in Nicaragua, Nicaragua. And stuff like that. We had to had to get lasers in space that we still don't have. Hey, space Force angers crossed we get it. In 2019 we helped out some nice boys in Afghanistan, and the last time I checked that place has been sailing pretty smooth since the 80s and good times in Afghanistan. So in 1983 the CDC warned blood banks that it believed the blood supply may have been contaminated. Blood banks would be a good name for a like a rich person who owns a like Peter Thiel. That is happening right now. They all should. His name should be informally blood banks. Yeah, or or just Dracula. I mean, the HIV virus was identified and named for the first time in 1983. Ronald Reagan did not say the words AIDS in 1983. As far as we know, he had never uttered the word in his life at that point, even though 2304 Americans died in just 1983 from AIDS. On June 13th, 1983, after roughly 1911's worth of total American deaths due to AIDS, the disease finally came up. Second press conference. You got any predictions about how this one's gonna go? My guess. Longer peals of laughter. Alright, alright, let's see. Like when you peel, you know, an orange or something and you use the thing to get the whole peel off into one little strand. I've never had the patience. That the environmental subscribe to your President's speech on Saturday, the fairy tale is there any reaction to that? Not true. Fairy tales are not true, and this one's true. Lester's ears perked up when you said fairies. Yeah, it's pretty bad interest in that. We need to generate the comments mayor's convention pressed for federal assistance getting at the age problem. Has been involved in in in briefed on the AIDS situation number of months ago in a cabinet meeting and ordered that high priority be given to research matters on it. The Center for Disease Control has been involved for some time. President will continue to be updated. We have recently asked that $12 million be reprogrammed for research on AIDS that's extended the presence involvement which has been does the President think that it might. Help if he suggested that the gays cut down on their cruising. I didn't hear your answer. This was acknowledged in your and your interest in this subject. OK, just cut down on their cruising and we're hoping we're researching if we come up with any. Any? Any research that shed some light on whether gays should cruise or not cruise, we'll make it available to you. The one legitimate piece of progress is ************* is that they use the acronym now. Right now. They understand. You gotta give him credit for that. Sure. Took a year they had an English teacher come in and teach them something. They are still laughing every time anyone says the word fairy. By the way, is everyone in the press pool a 12 year old boy? Yes, this was a time when everyone in the press pool was a 12 year old boy. Well, that makes that was a Reagan era policy, right? Yeah. Which we should go back to, actually, if you've watched Newsies, you know. How funny kids can be with the news. And cholera. I've never watched Newsies. I assume they all die of cholera. Kids die. Yeah, from the darndest things. Most popular show in 1919. So the Reagan administration's first official meeting of the AIDS crisis with representatives of the gay community was held on June 23rd, 1983. It included two members of the National Gay Task Force, a special assistant to the president, and staff members from Health and Human services, the members of the gay Task Force, which was essentially like a gay advocacy group. I wish it was like a it's a cool name, right gay assassin group. Like it was made-up of all gay men and women and they just murdered homophobes. I will tell you, Strom Thurmond would not have lived to be 116 if that. Task Force had been doing it. He's still alive, by the way. Somewhere he's that kind of hatred never quite done. No, no, no, no. I mean, do you think? What? He died. The molecules in his body just like floated off in his infected. Much like much like in the return of optimist prime with the hate virus. I think molecules from him disintegrated off of his body and formed a new hand of estagel hand on the spine of Roger Stone. OK, yeah. So now? They can jerk himself off with both of his hands. That's my theory. Roger Stone can present a pantsless photo of himself to prove it wrong or not, but I believe he has a vestigial hand growing on his thigh. Like quatto. Like quatto, exactly, but just a hand. But just a hand for jerking himself off constantly. Roger Stone, the Babadook himself, by the way, at this point in time is helping Paul Manafort establish the first lobbying group explicitly for dictators, which is pretty cool progress. So there are progressives. Involved in politics. At this point, we should point that out. So the gay task force people asked for things from the Reagan administration like more money for sex Ed at the state level. They wanted a national conversation about condom use, and the destigmatization of AIDS is a gay disease. By the way, where did you grow up? Texas. Texas? I grew up in Pennsylvania. The sex Ed in fifth grade was basically like a nervous gym teacher being like. Ohh, we just got a video. They didn't. They just started the video, walked out of the room and came back in. And when it was done and everyone was very uncomfortable. It was terrible sex Ed, but it was Texas, so I'm. I'm surprised they let us know penises exist. They really like to keep that under wraps in Texas. So yeah, the with the task force wanted was pretty minor and pretty like a big thing for them was just like tell people condoms work to prevent AIDS. They should know that. Maybe give out some condoms. The Reagan administration was not a big fan of this advice. So they had a second meeting about AIDS in August. No representatives that you're really told that one in time, guys. I am. Let's put that on some professional comedy writer. We get that on some T-shirts from the 84 election. I think we can really make a difference. There's got to be like some village in sub-Saharan Africa where everyone's either wearing a moron majority shirt or a Hillary for prison shirt. It's just. We're still fighting your political battles from 10 years ago here in T-shirts. Yeah, and also they've got like Shack T-shirts, a lot of shack T-shirts. It's going to be fun. Lot of kazaam, yeah, whatever. Whatever movie was in Kazaam was the real one. Shazam was the I forget Shazam was the mandala effect one. So late in 1983, nine Republican Congressman wrote a letter to the president. One of these congressmen was Newt Gingrich. Here's Jennifer breyer. Gingrich argued that closing bath houses are mandating reporting of AIDS was a more reasonable policy than trying to provide sex education at bath houses or keeping the names of people who tested positive for HIV anonymous. Here, the common sense arguments betrayed a particular stance on AIDS, one that sought to make the public healthy by restricting the civil rights of those. Believed to be sick so. You'd certainly never hear about anything like that happening again. One of the doctors working tirelessly to treat the epidemic was Marcus Conant. This is Newt Gingrich, the guy who served his wife divorce papers while she was in the hospital, right. Moral paragon Gingrich. Yeah, all these *******. Like, yeah, two to a man. There isn't one of them that isn't just like a dark cathulu like beast in their brains. Like they're all these kind of like non Euclidian garbage creatures. No. Which is why I I think, really, if you want to reform politics in this country, one of the laws that you pass is that in order to be an elected politician at the national level, you wear a camera at all times while you're elected. Everybody sees you go to the bathroom, everybody sees you ****. Everybody sees every conversation. You say you can just log into a stream. You can watch Rand Paul do whatever the **** Rand Paul does at 11:30 at night 0. Privacy for you. Yeah, exactly. And if you once you've got a full look at these people, you decide I want to keep supporting them. I think they're in line with my. Moral values I also why is Ron Paul hollowing a a A6 inch hole out of a copy of The Fountainhead? Ohh man, you hope it's a copy of The Fountainhead shoving all that Vaseline in there. I don't know why, but I when I imagine the thing that Rand Paul had sex with, that's not a person I was imagining, like a decorative gourd. Yeah, I was a magic like he gets was more on brain, gets a real doll of Ayn Rand. You're my mommy. You're still doing the Reagan voice. We're stuck in it. And raise my mommy. The doctors working tirelessly to treat the epidemic in 1983 was Marcus Conant. He was among the first physicians in the country to treat or diagnose AIDS and patients due to his work in UC San Francisco. Doctor Condit met with the Reagan administration three times. First in 1983. Here's the Guardian dot connington his colleagues quote we're going on and on about how this was a disease, an infectious disease, he recalled. Reagan's representative wasn't buying it. Her response was that this was a legal problem, not a medical problem, Conan said. Simply because of who gay men with AIDS were and who their sexual partners were. She told him. These people were breaking the law. So 1983, that's the Reagan administration's stance to doctors. Gay people are breaking the law. The problem is their law breaking, not the fact that there's a disease Ronald Reagan did not address the nation about. Remember when we locked up all those people with typhus? Yeah. Yeah, that was a good time. Ohh, man, we that one lady got out. It was a real problem. I mean, we had tiny handcuffs made for all the lice in the late 1800s. I thought you were talking about tiny handcuffs for children. And I was thinking, that's an industry that had to have taken a hit since the 1800s. Oh yeah. Ever since, like, whenever the labor movement started kicking up in the, like, teens or whatever. So if we have a children's uprising today, the police are not prepared to deal with it. Which kids? Hey, look, they can't cuff you. If you're a business person looking forward to the future, we are going to need children sized cuffs at some point. Children sized cuffs, children sized cages, all sorts of little cute little children sized prison paraphernalia. Guys, guys, it's a growth industry. Capitalism works. Ohh man, a little children's guard uniforms too. Could have all child prison. Oh my God. Oh my God, that would be so cute. Yeah, little Anne Gaddis calendars. Little German Shepherd puppies like just ripping people apart on the ground. Yeah. Ohh man, uh, what a time it's going to be. Anyway, Ronald Reagan did not address the nation about AIDS in 1983. As far as we know. At that point he still had not himself said the word. He certainly hadn't said it in public. His communications director though, Pat Buchanan, wrote an article for the New York Post. Quote from Pat Buchanan the sexual Revolution has begun to devour its children, and among the revolutionary vanguard is gay rights activists. The mortality rate is highest in climbing the poor homosexuals. They have declared war upon nature, and now nature is exacting an awful retribution. Here's how Randy Schlitz, author of the band, played on, sums up Pat Buchanan's articles conclusion and his book. Buchanan concluded by saying that no homosexual should be permitted to handle food and that the Democratic Party's decision to hold their next convention in San Francisco. Would leave delegates, spouses and children at the mercy of quote, homosexuals who belong to a community that is a common carrier of dangerous, communicable and sometimes fatal diseases. Pat Buchanan, everybody. Is he still alive? I think so. I know my dad probably voted for him for president at one point. Ohh God yeah. He was a perennial candidate guy. Kind of like a fringe, right? Dude would always, always run. Oh, you're from Texas again, right? After. Remember that? Yeah, yeah, uh, 4251 Americans died from AIDS in 1984. President Ronald Reagan still said nothing. He did, however, invite his Buddy Rock Hudson over to the White House. Check this out. Oh yeah, look at that. Hudson was really keeping it together at 59. Now he has HIV in that picture. He's starting to get sick, but you can't really tell yet. He's handsome. He is a handsome guy. Very good looking man. He's almost 60 in this picture. 59, I think. That's about 60. Why are you quibbling with me? Well, I you were asked, and I was giving you specifics. He died about a year after this picture was taken, but we'll get to that. In 1984, the Democratic National Convention was held in San Francisco as part of an attempt to get the Reagan administration to give a **** about the disease that was sweeping through the country. More than 100,000 people marched from the Castro in San Francisco to Moscow and center on December 11th, 1984. With more than 4200 Americans dead from AIDS, the disease came up in another press conference. Any guesses about this one? I'm gonna guess a 2 minute, like, applause Break just for AIDS. Yeah, just imagine, like, you know, when Louis CK came back and at the cellar and he got a standing ovation. Something that that dark will happen in this press conference. OK, Lester's beginning to circle. Now he's moving in front. Go ahead. The Center for Disease Control and letter. Estimated. An estimated 300,000 people have been exposed to AIDS, which shouldn't be transmitted through saliva. Will the president as commander-in-chief take steps to protect armed forces, food and medical services from? Age patients or those who run the risk of spreading AIDS and in the same manner that they forbid typhoid fever people from being involved in the health or food services we're going in the water. Is the President concerned about this subject, Larry, that have to expressed concern reaction here? I you know I haven't. It isn't only the Ducks, Lester. Is he sworn off water plus? I mean, is he gonna do anything, Larry? Last time I've not heard him express anything. Sorry. It has. No, no express no opinion about this epidemic. No. But I must confess I haven't asked him about it. Would you ask him? Lawrence, go back into this. Have you been checked? Sorry, I didn't hear the answer. So it's interesting. It's hard work. Lester is clearly angry in that, and this is part of why I think he deserves a lot of credit for his acting this because he's clear, like, he's a homophobe, he's a conservative guy. He's stuck with the questioning. He kept four years trying to bring this up, and by that third video, he's not laughing anymore. The first couple, he chuckles a few times, he's really ******. Now he's like, ******* a couple. 100,000 people are infected, thousands are dead. You have to say something that's worth something to me. The fact that, like, even though this guy had his biases, he. He. Understood. The severity of what was happening and you get credit for doing that when nobody else does. Alright? He got me. Yeah, he did something. It's not nothing, alright? I won't hate him as much as I did. Everyone else in that room deserves to be hated, deserves to be like. Because also that that is representative of what the kind of White House press pool is like. It's a bunch of like, elite ***** who like going to pool parties with politicians and then ask them mostly softball questions. Or, like, laugh at things that are affecting, you know, large swaths of the populace. They're not talking about things that are as real to them as they are to the people who actually need the news. Yeah, yeah, because they're totally separate. It's like, why? Why so much of television is bad? It's because it's a bunch of rich people trying to write about what they think. Normal Americans or whatever people around the world. But mostly Americans, right? Are like, and they have no idea because they've been wealthy for so long. Possibly for their entire lives, yeah. They've been living in the hills for the last 35 years. Yeah, and they're they're slumming is going to Trader Joe's on a Wednesday. Yeah. So I always respect it when people are able to take a step outside of their own beliefs and biases to understand something that is a problem for people that they don't like and take it seriously. It's better to just be a person who's open minded and believes everyone as a human being. But if you've got those biases and you're able to do what Lester does and still take it seriously, that's. Better than everyone else, I hope that guy got the Pulitzer for he did not being a ***** ** ****. He did not mean specifically the Pulitzer for not being a ***** ** ****. That would be a good award, the Pulitzer Prize for not being a sociopath. Very few people, very few people qualify in the field. So in July of 1985, Rock Hudson flew to France to take an experimental AIDS treatment, HPA 23. It hadn't yet been approved for human use in the United States. He never quite made it to the hospital. Here's a quote from the Guardian. He collapsed at the Ritz. Hotel and was taken to the American Hospital in the French capital. His publicist contacted the White House. The Reagans were old friends in an attempt to speed up a transfer to a military hospital to be seen by Doctor Dominique dormant, a French army Doctor Who had previously treated Hudson in secret. So he needs approval to go to this French military house. To make them all and you just sound like French Reg well wheel. I have some Jelly beans for you, maybe. So they wouldn't let him into the hospital because it was like a French army hospital. And they were like, you're just some guy, like, we can't let you into this hospital. So Hudson's publicist, telegrammed the Reagans and basically said, like, this is the only hospital in the world that can do what's necessary to save rock's life or at least make him more comfortable. Please intervene because you're the ******* president. You can do something you call France and say, let this guy out of their hospital. They'll do it for you, according to a note written by an aide at the time who delivered the message to Nancy Reagan. Quote I spoke with Miss Reagan about the attached telegram. She did not feel that this was something that the White House should get into and agreed to my suggestion that we refer to the writer to the US Embassy Paris. Now, BuzzFeed actually talked with this aid once they found the telegram in the right Reagan library archives. He claims he advised the first lady that they had to be fair and not treat rock different just because he was their friend. She agreed. The Reagans were very conscious of not making exceptions for people, he said, just because they were friends of theirs and or celebrities or things of that kind. They weren't about that. They were about treating everybody the same. Unless you're gay. Well, there's a lot of reasons that's ********. One of them is, of course, we just talked about the fact that they paid one of their gay friends $1,000,000 to redo the residence at the White House. Clearly they're not above doing a favor for a friend. Ronald Reagan had intervened personally, like a year before to help his friend Bob Hope with the fundraiser. And in 1982, when Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan's dear friends Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos were having a little bit of trouble clamping down unrest in the Philippines caused by the fact that they tortured and killed thousands of people. Ronnie did. His friend, a solid and invited Ferdinand Marcos to the White House. Now, there were big protests at the time. It was a political risk to invite a fascist to the White House. But Ronald Reagan did it. He stood by his friend and he gave him 10s of millions of dollars in covert military aid, which really is what friendship is all about. Yeah. I mean, you know, it's why, you know, the Clintons were fans of, what's his name, the Egyptian dictator? Oh, CC. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it's one of those things. Like they were clearly not above doing things for their friends. This would not have been. They wouldn't. Even had to publicly call the thing. Look, they just love willing to take the risk. Dictators. Hey, yeah, if you murder. 10s of thousands of people are disappear them. You're our friend as long as you don't like commies, right. Order Islamic terrorists, right? Yeah. And even then it might be OK, as long as you're OK with our business interests. Well, yeah. So yeah, Rock Hudson got no special treatment from the Reagan White House. On July 25th, 1985, Hudson announced that he had AIDS. This also served as his first public announcement that he was a homosexual. Paul Vonberg of the mobilization against AIDS campaign begged President Reagan to speak up. Surely now that a man who had been his friend for decades had the disease, the president would finally do something. By the way, that's kind of on rock also for still being friends with with him. Maybe they were fun at parties. I never got to drink with Ronald Reagan. I don't know all of my family members not mean none of my family members, but like family friends that voted for Trump I have cut out of my life. Certainly none of my friends ever did. But like, it's pretty easy to cut out the pieces of **** in your life. I think this was an age before that really happened in politics. Because even if you're talking about. Like, it's not like the gay community had a lot of play in the Democratic Party in 1985, right? This was the first life and death political issue other than just discrimination and whatnot, and the deaths that result from that for gay people. And it was the first one where there was a clear difference between the Republicans and Democrats. Because if you're talking about, like, the deaths that result from social isolation and discrimination, I don't really think the Democrats in 85 are much better than the Republicans. But if you talk about AIDS, the Democrats are directly dealing with AIDS. They're holding their convention. In San Francisco, they're making a March. Part of it, they're taking some actions. This is the first time where it becomes a life and death thing. Who knows what rock would have done if he lasted another couple of years? But he died very soon after this, on September 17th of 1985, the same year rock was sick. A couple of months after he made his announcement, Ronald Reagan finally, for the very first time, said the word aids in public. Yeah. Tell Ronnie, finally, the great communicator made a surprise visit to the Department of Health and Human Services and said, quote, one of our highest public health priorities is going to be continuing to find a cure for AIDS. He announced that C Everett Coop, the surgeon general, was being pulled in to write a report on the disease. Hudson's death changed to the national conversation about AIDS he is. This is seen as like the major dividing point in the national attitudes towards AIDS. A lot of people say there is aids before and after Rock Hudson comes out about it. It is like the equivalent. If there were some weird disease in a marginalized community and then ******* George Clooney dies of it like it, it catalyzed the nation in the world because he was a big star. President Reagan finally acknowledged the disease's existence, but he still had not actually addressed the American people about AIDS, so he'd never given a speech about it. He'd never talked about it. In the other context, 5636 Americans died of AIDS in 1985. What's the grand total so far? I think we're gonna get to that in a second. One of them was Rock Hudson. So we're we're definitely. Of 10,000 like 1514, thirteen 14,000, something like that right now. Rock Hudson died on October 2nd just a few months after coming out. Ronald Reagan kept quiet about his homosexuality and the advocate named Reagan homophobe of the year that year. Representative Henry Waxman from Los Angeles said this. It is surprising that the President could remain silent as 6000 Americans died that he could fail to acknowledge the epidemics existence. Perhaps his staff felt he had to since many of his new rights supporters have raised money by campaigning. Against homosexuals. President Reagan continued to not address the nation about AIDS in 1986, as another 16,301 Americans died from the disease that year. Transformers the movie came out. It might be, might be. Optimist prime kept quiet too. Just endless. Just to give you guys a you know, some context, Megatron donated a lot of money. Was it? I don't. I don't actually know anything about Transformers. That year, 1986, was the year that 21,000 total Americans had died. That was the total at the end of 1986. Do you think Reagan sent a representative to the Advocate to collect his homophobia the year? Well, I hope so. I mean, you really want that, that trophy? Yeah, so 21,000 deaths into the AIDS crisis. Doctor Connett that one of the first doctors to treat it sent a letter to Ronald Reagan. He recalled its contents to the Guardian. Dear President Reagan, I have all these patients and they are dying and no one's doing anything. It is incumbent on your administration to direct the Centers for Disease Control and National Institutes of Health to begin efforts to find the cause and treatment for this disease now. The Reagans responded to this letter. It said **** ***. No, no, no. It just said, Nancy and I thank you for your support. You got a form letter? Yeah, 21,000 Americans dead, which is, I think, more than the total Americans who have died in the entire global War on Terror. So, yeah, that's that's where we are. That's where we are at the end of part one of this episode. It is 1986. Twenty 1000 Americans have died. Ronald Reagan has said the word aids once and not in a public speech. So that's where we are. When we come back for Part 2, we're going to talk about Reagan's eventual acknowledgment of the epidemic. And we're also going to talk about one of the AIDS crisis. Unlikeliest heroes, a surgeon general with a ridiculous name, C Everett Koop. C Everett coop, yeah. He's actually does the right thing on this, but, uh, yeah, that's all coming up. So that's the end of part one. Do you want to plug some plegables before we get into that? Oh well, subscribe to couples therapy if you want to hear me talk about politics in India. Actually, we don't talk about politics at all. It's a thing we try to offer you some respite from this nightmare. And then my dear love Naomi, who is the I'm the weirdo, she's the populist. So let's get some take some rest, respite from the madness over the next day or two, and on Thursday, Andy and I will be back, and it just makes me want to vomit. Continue to make Andy want to vomit. So that's Part 2. The vomiting. We've got a cup here on the table and it's about 1 vomits worth a cup, so we'll be fine. See, we'll see how much comes out of me until Thursday and until we all learn how much comes out of Andy. I am Robert Evans. This is behind the *******. You can find me on Twitter at Irido. OK. I have a book on Amazon, a brief history of vice. You can also find this podcast on the Internet, We'll have pictures and sources up there you can find us on. Social media at ******** Pod on Twitter and Instagram, so come and check us out and come back Thursday to learn more about a. Then Ronald Reagan. Bill, it's time for you to go now. 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