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 Two: Ronald and Nancy Reagan: The Bastards Behind the AIDS Crisis

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

Thu, 11 Oct 2018 10:00

Part Two: 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. Hey, it's Bobby Bones from the Bobby cast. We are Nashville's most listened to music podcast in depth interviews with your favorite country artists, plus the biggest songwriters and producers in Nashville, all from the comfort of my own home so it gets a little more laid back. They're sharing stories behind the biggest songs in country music and personal stories that you will not hear anywhere else. So if you love country music, I think you will love this podcast. Listen to the Bobby cast on iHeartRadio, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcast. Hey y'all, it's Caroline Hobby hosted get real with Caroline Hobby interviewing the most fascinating people in Nashville and beyond. I talked to artists. I talked to the wives of artists. I talked to women entrepreneurs who have created businesses, who are moms, who juggle a million hats and do it all. Each episode will leave you inspired, feeling like you can accomplish your own dream in calling. Listen to new episodes of get Real with Caroline Hobby every Monday on the Nashville podcast network, available on iHeartRadio App, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcast. Hi, everybody. I'm Robert Evans, and this is once again behind the ******** the show where we tell you everything you don't know about the very worst people in all of history. Now, this is part two of our episode on the Reagans and the AIDS crisis. And my guest with me, as with on Tuesday, is Andy Beckerman of couples therapy. Hey, everyone, how you doing? How are you doing? And what's going on? I'm going. So we're recording this, right? After the first episode, I'm gonna try to get my energy back. If you listen to the first episode, you can, if there, if you like, had a graph of my energy as we hear more and more about just how, like, I knew. Look, it's not like I didn't know that the Reagans were ******* awful, right? I knew about look, read manufacturing consent. Chomsky and Herman goal into like, their ******* shenanigans in Central and South America. We all know about the Iran Contra scandal. We know about how. They allowed crack into black communities in the United States that eventually then destroyed those communities. We know they're awful people. But to have, like, the nitty gritty right in front of you, it's just like, let so the graph of my enthusiasm, and it goes from like making jokes to just like these *************. Yeah. And so it's it's like a downhill slope of our of, of the emotional journey we all went through in that first episode. But I'm going to look, I'm going to try to put out the energy for this one. This episode has a hero. So that this episode has a hero. It does include a hero. Was there a Wolverine comic where he like, bought fought Reagan? Well, he tried to fight the AIDS virus. It did not work out well, but he was he was attempting it turns out. I don't know he's got super heal that you know he heals. I don't want to go on this. Yeah no, this is not this is not a healing factor. And the very special X-Men issue about all this. I want Wolverine and like the was the crossover where all that they they're fought other enemies like Magneto went and fought Spiderman or something and Mandarin fought silac. It's shocking to me that we're still able to have. Cartoon villains called the Mandarin. It's no really remarkable. No, I believe he's dead now so that they could have less racist characters. But Wolverine versus Reagan? Hey Marvel, get on that. Who? Maybe make that the next X-Men. When? Now that the X-Men are part of the Marvel Universe. The Marvel Cinematic Universe. Though, did that happen? Yes. When? When? When Disney bought I'm behind on my Marvel news. Oh my. Yeah, you're right. Disney did by. Don't you read deadline? Taking a fox. Fox in the Hen House aids epidemic. Actually, this does segue nicely into Fox because part of my due diligence for this podcast was reading several defenses of the Reagan administration's reaction to the AIDS crisis. And to be fair, I wanted to find the best defenses I could for their behavior. I found one such defense in a conservative journal called City Journal. It's a quarterly publication, and it claims that Reagan actually waged a quiet war on AIDS. That's the term it uses where he didn't talk about it or approve. Traditional funding, in fact, actually slashed most medical funding for research or do anything about any. But he was publicly homophobic. Quiet war. It was quiet. It was so quiet, you might not have heard him say anything about it until 1986, when 20,000 people had died. The article argues that the quietness is OK because his administration took action to reform FDA procedures that slowed down the development of better drugs. So that's what it's saying. What's the source again? City journal. If you're a conservative person, it's like Sheldon Adelson. It's a, it's a I mean, I assume it gets funding from a bunch of different like one of the articles that I found on it was called the Democrats War on science. So if you are a conservative, City journal is a relatively reputable news source. If you're looking for right wing journals of punditry, why Democrats are all Jews with horns, well, it's not quite that bad. I'm going to read a quote from it trying to make the claim that FDA reform during the Reagan administration helped. Against the age crisis, as the gravity of the AIDS threat became clear, the Reagan FDA began writing new rules that spelled out wouldn't significant parts of the old rules wouldn't be fully rigorously enforced. By doing so, the agency accelerated patient access to desperately needed drugs. Pharmaceutical companies quickly began coming on board once new policies were in place that would speed up the approval of drugs. In short order, the firms delivered a slew of powerful new drugs, using the new tools for designing precisely targeted drugs that were coming of age at the time, as the National Academy of Sciences later noted, the extraordinarily fast development of drugs that ended up in cocktails. Used to control HIV had a quote revolutionary effect on modern drug design. Part of this is true. The research that was done in the media, like the the fight in order to make effective medicine for age, was a revolutionary moment in the development of pharmaceuticals. What's really debatable is how much Reagan reforms of the FDA had to do with any of this. Now you can make an argument that some of those reforms might have speed up the process. There are certainly things that were done that made it easier for people to get medicines that weren't officially FDA approved, like Rock Hudson had to travel to France could make that argument. A lot of people would laugh at you for trying to, but you could make that argument important to be fair. But it is tough to make a evidence based case that the Reagan administration improved the FDA because they actually gutted it and slashed its funding. And this is the fun part of being fair because now that I have gone into this is again the best argument I found about how the Reagan administration. Took action and it is. You can back it up with strong facts that changes that were made to FDA procedures during the Reagan administration helped certain aspects of things that people suffering like that's it made it easier to get drugs that you know, hadn't been fully approved yet for a disease that was working at a day. That's a that's a legitimate achievement of that era. Debatable as to whether or not you want to put it on Reagan or someone. And it's it's a thing that was done that helped some people. But they also introduced a bill that if you've ever seen someone's penis in a changing room, like at the gym, then you'd. No longer have access to healthcare. So, well, here's what they actually did because it's really ****** ** too. So I think This is why this is the fun part of being fair because once you dig into these things like I, I read up and it's like, OK, yeah, there are some reforms of the FDA that were made that improved access to certain drugs. Here's what else happened. So Reagan's priority, one of the big things they did when they started slashing funding to the FDA to try to streamline it, their goal was to make the FDA a better quote partner for the Pharmaceutical industry. That did speed some things up. But it also got lots of people killed. Here's the New York Times an interview with a doctor named Sidney Wolfe from the World Health Research Group. In October 1981, a federal government advisory committee recommended against the use of aspirin for chicken pox or flu because of the increased risks risk of rays syndrome. But as a result of pressure on the aspirin raise syndrome. Who's ray? It's a disease that causes like brain damage and can kill kids. I think taking aspirin as basically the federal Government Advisory committee was like. The current medical advice that the Pharmaceutical industry really, really supports is give your kid aspirin if they have chicken pox. I remember commercials when I was a kid. Yeah. And so the Pharmaceutical industry obviously wants and gets people taking more aspirin. And but then there was evidence that this is actually bad for kids, and may in fact have been killing them. But quote as a result of pressure of the aspirin industry, a proposal by the FDA for mandatory warning labels, which was withdrawn in the fall of 1982. As a result, 150 American children are dead and dozens have brain damage. So. Cutting back on FDA red tape cuts both ways, and in this case, it cut 150 kids to death anyway. That's what fairness looks like. That's not a ton. It's only 150 only. And dozens of kids with brain damage. Not that bad, really. It's less than 200 total. Probably. If you're going to make it easier for people to get experimental medicines, some children are going to die from bad or from aspirin. That's just sure. Yeah. I mean, look, in comparison with how many people the Reagan administration murdered in central and South America, that's nothing. You know what? You know what? It's perspective, guys. It's perspective. It's perspective. Exactly. And now we have some perspective. I just thought we delve into the other cases here, you know, the defenses of the administration. This is what I was talking about, like part one, where I was like once the Pharmaceutical industry smelled a profit to be made, is that when things started to like, pick up like, oh, let's address this now. I guess not, not not in the period we're getting into. That's like they, they, they get better at it later on. But again, most of the first medicines to treat AIDS did not ******* work, and we're going to talk to them about that in a little bit here. So, Umm. According to City Journal, another aspect of Ronald Reagan's so secret it looked invisible wore on AIDS was his appointment of C Everett Coop as Surgeon General. And Mr Coop is a hero of this story, and he was appointed by Ronald Reagan. But Ronald Reagan and his surgeon general did not exactly see eye to eye. And they look like the Colonel from KFC. Yeah, we're about to pull up his picture. He looked amazing. He's, he's. I'm going to go ahead and say probably the best aesthetic if any surgeon general you've ever had. And he does look like I would trust his recommendation on where to buy. The chicken. If C Everett Koop was to tell me now, son, this place has a damn good bucket of fried bird here, I'd be like you. You look like the kind of man who knows where good fried chicken is. My Truvada recipes got 7 secret herbs and spices in it. The best, I mean. Whatever the. Well, I guess I'll trust you, cooby. Really getting a lot of play out of the Reagan voice jokes. That's that's if I was a journalist. If I was a journalist, what's poop on poop? Poop. They used to say poop is a scoop because it was funny. Look at this guy. Oh yeah, look at this guy. That's what a ******* champion that is. Truly. A courageous chin beard and this picture will be on If you want to see, I'm going to go ahead and say the best chin beard any surgeon general has ever had. I think that's probably fair. Texas on send us a message on Twitter if you find a better surgeon general with the twin. If you could name a surgeon general other than she ever coop, that's also fair. He is the only surgeon general whose name I knew before I started on this podcast. So that's a fair point. So Charles Everett Koop was called Chick by his friends in Dartmouth College because chickens live in comedy. Didn't wasn't really very advanced back then. What year is this? This is like in the 40s, something like that. They could get back in vaudeville. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Lenny Bruce was just a gleam in fatty Arbuckle's eye. I don't know much about the evolution of comedy. So yeah, uh, Coop was a born again Christian. In 1976, he published the right to live, the right to die, which argued against both abortion and euthanasia. The book sold 100,000 copies, mostly to Christian readers. In its first year. Coop said, quote, what a scam, how much, how how many grifters are there in like, the Christian community. He's not a grifter. I will say this for Coop. He believes strongly everything, and I think you might come around on this, but he he's definitely not, you would think in any sort of reasonable corner right now. But he believes this stuff. Look, I love the beard, love his aesthetic. Alright? I'm already like 30% there. Yeah. See Everett? Well, see, Everett Koop wrote this book about, you know, how as a physician and a Christian, he didn't believe abortion should be legal or infant or or youthanasia. And in fact, he viewed them as basically the same thing. That said, he was also had a brilliant career as a surgeon and a Children's Hospital in Philadelphia. And he established the United States's first neonatal unit in 1956, worked there until 1981. So he was a guy with very strong, very right wing religious. Conservative views. But he was also a guy who clearly viewed his North star as taking care of human beings. And that was the thing that was his main focus in life. And how did that clash with his, his Christian beliefs? Well, we're about to get into that. So Coop, when he was appointed, many Democrats, including Henry Waxman, spoke out against Coop. Waxman said, quote, Doctor Koop frightens me. He does not have a public health record. He's dogmatically denounced those who disagree with him, and his intemperate views make me wonder about his and the administration's judgment. Here's a quote from the book. After the wrath of God titled Dr Unqualified, The New York Times editorial board lauded Coop's work as a pediatric surgeon but underscored his lack of public health experience. Past surgeon generals, almost without exception, the article continued, have possessed experience specifically within the field of public health. That Coop had shown no evidence of such experience, along with the fact that he technically was older than the legally permitted age to assume. The position suggested that the Reagan administration's interest in Coop had been had to be found elsewhere, quote that elsewhere may be his anti abortion crusade. The Times concluded with its hope that. Congress would reject the appointment. For not to do so would, quote, be an affront to both the public health profession and the public. So again, at the start of this, seems like Coop is the perfect guy to not make a fuss while 10s of thousands of gay people die, right? Seems like the worst case scenario for a surgeon general and an already conservative administration. So he's like, who's the guy that's on the Supreme Court that they thought was a conservative, but then is actually more moderate? Kennedy? Yeah, yeah, yeah. So he's like that. Like they they're like, this guy's gonna hate everyone. He's gonna hate all the right people that's making this surgeon general. But no, in fact, that's actually not what happened. Uh. Coop monitored CDC reports and their response of public health services from the sidelines during the first several years of the AIDS crisis. Despite his like, his job was essentially to inform, inform the American people about diseases about what was happening. And so he wanted to make a statement earlier in the AIDS crisis once it was confirmed confirmed in 1982. But he says he was, quote, completely cut off from AIDS by other people in the administration. He blames interdepartmental politics from blocking. Them from any of the few conversations that the Reagan administration had about AIDS during the early 1980s. According to Coop, the reason for this was that his involvement would have implicated the Reagan administration in basically caring about gay people. Coop says that because AIDS was seen as a gay disease, the president's advisors, quote, took the stand. They are only getting what they justly deserve. Now assistant Secretary for Health Edward Brandt, coops boss, told him that he was not allowed to speak publicly about AIDS during the epidemic. In 1983, when Brant created an executive task force on AIDS, Coop was not invited. By 1985, he'd started to get ****** about this. Coop thought it was outrageous that thousands of people had died in the surgeon general had said nothing. Now there were people agitating that Coop should be allowed to talk about the AIDS crisis. They were conservative Christians who sent anonymous telegrams to the Health and Human Services Secretary asking that could be, quote, unmuzzled. Because they thought he was going to speak out against protecting gay civil rights, they expected him to endorse the kind of anti-gay public health measures like shutting down bath houses that other Reagan administration officials endorsed. Finally in 1985 Coop was made a member of the AIDS Task Force and that winter he was ordered to prepare a report on the AIDS epidemic. Coop knew from the start that he was it was going to be a hard to write an unbiased report about AIDS, he recalled in his autobiography quote. A large proportion of the president's constituency was anti homosexual, anti drug abuse, anti promiscuity and anti sex education. These people would not respond well to some of the things that have to be said in a health report on AIDS. So Coop is realizes immediately if I'm going to address. Aids. I have to talk about condoms. I have to talk about the ways in which gay people are having sex. That makes it more likely for this to spread. I have to talk about sexual health to the entire American people, which is basically the kryptonite of a Republican in the 1980s, nineties. See that? It's not, not a not an easy sell. Today, Coop, I got to talk about condoms, about talk about biscuits. I got to talk about mashed taters and gravy. I got to talk about sex, Ed. It's weird, that. This is the guy who realizes I have to instruct America about safe sex. But this is the guy who realized that he had to instruct America about safe sex, and that's exactly what he did. That's the. That may be like the last time that a Republican was overwhelmed by the feeling that this that this is going to spiral out of control if we don't address it. Yeah, and did something and did something and did something and Coop ******* did something. On October 22nd, 1986, with more than 16,000 Americans dead from AIDS, Surgeon General C Everett Koop released the Surgeon General's report on acquired Immune Deficiency syndrome. Here is a description of it from after the wrath of God. It presented the best medical information available to date about HIV and AIDS and sought to alleviate the fears of the American people. The 36 page report called the Americans to fight the epidemic as a unified group rather than condemning certain populations disproportionately affected by the disease, who some felt deserved the illness. By saying this, coup attempted to move the rhetoric of the AIDS epidemic beyond its association with homosexuality and drug use, away from the idea that it was the just desserts for a moral behavior. As he noted, we're fighting a disease, not people. Do you imagine? At at anytime in your life thinking a population just deserves something for yes. I mean, look, I I think that sociopaths deserve to be excommunicated from civil society. I thought that's because they have proven themselves to be destructive to the general social fabric. I think the behavior Coop is fighting against is a behavior you see on every side of the aisle and different things. Right now, among the left, there is a strong chunk of the American left that believes Bashar al-Assad is a basically good guy. The gassings of his people are part of a propaganda. Campaign, right. Sorry, who on the left believes that he's a good guy? Talk to him with a red rose avatar on Twitter and talk about the gassing of people like I I've met some of these people. Like there's like a tankies in the United Kingdom, which, like the term started because the Soviet Union essentially invaded like countries in its dominion who were trying to, like, agitate for more independence and civil rights outside of the USSR. And so, like, these British Socialists were like, no, it's good that the USSR is crushing resistance with tanks. And those people, there's a strong strain of that in the left, who believes that Bashar al-Assad like the campaign against him as part of like a NATO conspiracy to try to oust this guy to get Syria's oil. There's also the same thing with Ukraine, where people will write off the Maidan revolution in Ukraine as they're all Neo Nazis. They're Neo Nazis fighting against the Russians there. And the Ukrainian Government is a Nazi government because there are Neo Nazis in Ukraine. Like it's it is, it is very easy for people on. And it's the same thing you see on the right with like, well, everybody in ******* Iran is a religious. Extremist who hates America or whatever. Everybody finds it easy when you're separated enough from a group of people that have complex interests, some of which run counter to your own, anybody can be convinced to condemn a group of people. It just depends on how far away they are. But like I'm saying, let's condemn people who don't have empathy for others. I think that would be great. But they will give them Galts Gulch, will give them an island of their own. So if you don't have empathy, look, I'm saying we create a test and then for. People who go to to see whether they have empathy or not. And then if you don't, then we put you on a little island and you get to live the rest of your life there. You can do what you want. We call it cults cults. And they'll all be like, you know. They'll they'll all be erect from living in their in random. I thought you were describing New Hampshire. But no guns. They don't get guns. So it's not like they're not gonna be happy. Yeah, they're not gonna be happy with that. Or maybe maybe guns with blanks. Yeah, that might do the trick. I mean, like Westworld. But uh, yeah, so Coop is. Doing the right thing here. That's 1986. Hanging with doctor Coop. Hanging with doctor Coop. The surprisingly woke doctor Coop, despite everything else about his life. Hey, write that movie. Yeah, yeah. There you go. So we're going to get into some more things, Cooper Post, and we're going to get into the right wing backlash against his idea of talking about the concept of condoms and how controversial that wound up being. But first. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. You're opening the bill to find all these nuts fees. There's no luring you in with free subscriptions or streaming services that you'll forget to cancel and then be charged full price for. None of that. For anyone who hates their phone Bill, Mint Mobile offers premium wireless for just $15.00 a month. Mint Mobile will give you the best rate whether you're buying one or for a family and. 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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. A story about the man who simply become known as La Monster. Listen for free on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. This fall on revisionist history, is there anything that we haven't talked about or 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? It's not funny at all. It's depressing. Very depressing. Religious 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. And we're back. We're back. And we're talking about C Everett Koop. He's just released his 1986 report on AIDS. Coops report opposed mandatory HIV testing and quarantines for those infected. He said that it wouldn't work. Both of those were ideas, though, that conservative politicians close to the Reagan administration had suggested. Coop did more than just shoot down some of the GOP's favorite gut reactions to the crisis. He also called for a nationwide sex Ed campaign that would teach, among other things. How to use condoms? He advised that this education should start at the lowest grade possible and be worked into normal health and hygiene education. Quote there is no doubt now that we need sex Ed in schools and that it include information on heterosexual and homosexual relationships. The threat of age should be sufficient to permit a sex education curriculum with a heavy emphasis on prevention of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases from first grade on I got a condom a day in school. Wow, that's so weird. That's a weird school. That might be too many condoms for a first grader. I don't know. I mean, a lot of good water balloon fights. He save them up if it's if you saved up enough, you could trade them in for prizes. You get 5 condoms for one dental dam or something, you get. Well, no. You could get like baseball cards or marvel cards at the time. I'm going to say it again. That's a weird school. Anyway, the point is I have a lot of expert cards, but not a lot of condoms. No. Well, that's a shame. They get better with age. That's what I've heard. Yeah, I've heard of vintage condoms. I get all my condoms on eBay and, you know, make sure that they're from. Well, let's just go. Yeah, let's move past this bit. So in his report, Coop commented on drug use as well as oral and **** *** because those were all major wades that AIDS was being spread. He talked about these things like a doctor without judgment because that's exactly what he was, a doctor. Everybody lost their ******* minds. The LA Times he would expect to have a reasonable take on the matter headline their coverage of the report. Coop urges AIDS sex course in grade school. The LA Times look. It worked in my grade school. William F Buckley Junior, A famous conservative pundit, attacked the surgeon General for General ***** ** **** general ***** ** **** and specific ***** ** ****. The Surgeon General for suggesting American kids learn about sex, Robert Novak, Roland Evans and other notable conservative thinkers wrote a whole bunch of lies about the Surgeon General's report and basically accused him of wanting to groom children for pedophilia. Phyllis Schlafly, right wing religious firebrand, opponent of the Equal Rights amendment. And if you've watched Handmaid's Tale, the commander's wife in the handmaidens tale was specifically based on Phyllis Schlafly when the book was written. Yeah, this lady wind that also the fly. Is based on the. Just the just Jeff Goldblum before the train change was based on Philip the flight, the flight itself, the actual fly before the change, so not Jeff Goldblum apply. The concept of a fly was based on the concept of like bottom feeding vermin. So Phyllis said that aides that the AIDS report quote looks and reads like it was edited by the gay task force. She accused Surgeon General Koop of suggesting that third graders learn quote safe ******. Uh, said coop. Why anyone paid attention to this lady is one of the mysteries of the 80s. I'm not the surgeon general to make Phyllis Schlafly happy. I'm the surgeon general to save lives again. He's *******. He's the he's he. He seized his moment to be the one guy not ******* up. Coop had been prepared to be attacked by the political right because he'd known that his report was going to reject all of the suggestions they'd already made. But he later wrote that he did, quote, feel a profound sense of betrayal by those on the religious right who took me to task. My position on AIDS was dictated by scientific integrity and Christian compassion. I felt my Christian opponents had abandoned not only their old friend, but also their commitment to integrity and compassion. So I was talking about part one. Yeah? Yeah. Fashion, yeah. And then that's Coop how coop trans. He he does not like people that people are having *** ***. He thinks it's not what God wants, but he thinks they're also still people who deserve medical care. I know these dumb turds think they know what God wants by the way this, I mean look, I don't believe in God, but like it's supposedly this unknowable force, unknowable force that created all, all things and and some turd, you know, in a frock is just like I can translate. Yeah, this creature, by the way, I'm going to get a lot of. Lot of hate mail for calling God a creature. I coop clearly takes the right thing out of religion, which is that like, oh, you should take care of people. Yeah, yeah. Which OK, that's a great thing. Yeah. So for an example of the Christian rights reaction to Coop's report, we have AIDS, a special report, almost the same title as coupes report. But this didn't come from the government. It was released by Summit Ministries and also published in 1986. It's appendix was titled aides warning. The Surgeon General's report may be hazardous to your health in one section. Poop chickens out. It claims the Surgeon general's pro homosexual bias was causing him to ignore the health risks of sexual immorality. They called his report quote littered with unscientific, allegedly authoritative statements about the disease, most most of which let gays off the hook. So, Christian Wright, everybody really nailing it. This report had suggestions for America, too. Quote our public health authorities must be made to realize that their first responsibility is to protect the public's health, not the perceived civil rights of homosexuals. Drug users. You're really you're always the bad guy if you're including civil rights and quotes. By the way, I love their other report about how communion wafers can give you 6 pack abs. Well, you know, actually they are pretty low in carbs. It's they're gluten free now. It's a good snack. I would actually totally buy a big old bag of communion wafers. I enjoyed eating those as a kid. Are they? I'm Jewish, so I've never even had one. But are they have any taste to them? They just nice little they're they're like little OK you know, nilla wafers, you know, they're made of that weird. , substance. If that had no sugar in it and was tiny, it's a little bit like that. So it sounds like it's a Styrofoam a little bit, but I like Styrofoam. But, like, why not look body of Christ, but also, what about, like, could the hair of Christ be, like, cinnamon and sugar? That just tell you what, when I imagine the taste of Jesus Christ's hot, glistening body, I imagine the taste of Cool Ranch Doritos because there's nothing like that nice Dorito bite to make. You realize that? Maybe, just maybe. There might be someone out there looking out for us. I'd like to read it out. Is reading copy from from a piece of paper? No, that was all extemporaneous, I just. Anyway, let's move on to aids. That was a bad, bad segue. So as hard as I hope it is to believe right now, but probably not at all hard to believe right now, most of the outrage against coupe had come from his decision to endorse condoms. Quote from one of Reagan's advisers, Gary Bauer. The White House doesn't like the C word, but if or sorry, this is a quote from us to women. So Coop said sorry that every racist in this is a southern or misogynist is a southern person. Apologies to progressive Southern people, thank you. Now, Coop said at the time, the White House doesn't like the C word, but if you don't talk about condoms, people are going to die. So I talk another Christian Conservative who didn't like Coop was Under Secretary of Education Gary Bower. He was a Baptist and a bit of a stickler for the word values. Here's a picture of of Bower with Ronald Reagan just to get a picture of this guy in your head before I tell you what's next. He's a little weaselly looking ****. Ohh yeah. He looks like a Tim and Eric character. He does look like a Tim and Eric character. And he's wearing a suit that's clearly too big for him, which is like my favorite type of boy survive. Yeah, I like how a guy in government couldn't go to a tailor, didn't have time to stop by Brooks brothers. No, no, no, he had. He had too much. Well, we're about to hear what he was doing when he wasn't getting his suit fitted. Gary is currently the President of American Values and advocacy group that lobbies for exactly the kind of things you'd think. In December of 1986, he wrote up the education policy that would actually teach American. Cool kids about AIDS. Rather than following any of the guidelines Cupid laid down, he believed the Department of Education should, quote, not be neutral between heterosexual and homosexual sex, while homosexual should not be persecuted. Heterosexual sex within marriage is what most Americans, our laws, and our traditions consider the proper focus of human sexuality. Bauer believed that all federally mandated or federally sponsored ages AIDS education supplements should, quote, encourage responsible sexual behavior based on fidelity, commitment, and maturity, placing sexuality within the context of marriage. Which, of course, means you don't have to talk about condoms. Uh, Ronald Reagan approved these changes, even though they flew in the face of what his surgeon general had recommended. Shortly after that, Senator Jesse Helms passed a law thingy. So wait, hold on. Sorry. So these people don't even think that married couples use condoms. Well, why would you need to? The only reason you're having sex is to make kids. Right. Ronald Reagan approved these changes. Shortly after that, Jesse Helms passed a law prohibiting the CDC from using its funds to quote, promote, encourage and condone homosexual sexual activities or the intravenous use of illegal drugs. 4000 on did the CDC was the CDC like, by the way, if you're going to do heroin, don't snort it, inject it. Yeah, why not? It said he's not allowed to promote intravenous drugs, right. Well, what was the CDC doing before that? Was it they? Were they? What they're saying is that like by saying, hey, here's where you find clean needles, here's how to, like, make sure your needle is clear, here's how to dispose of needles, that kind of stuff. Just trying to be like, you're going to be ******* shooting drugs with needles, be safer with your needles. So seeing wasn't just like, going like, hey, snorting for squares, DC wasn't like, all right, so the best H on the block, you're going to go down, take a right at the pioneer. Chicken and you wanna cook it and inject it? No, man, big big Ernie sells smack soap here. You don't got to cook it. That's the CDC's official report in 19 no. So 4855 Americans died in 1987. This was in spite of the fact that the year that this was the year that AZT, the first anti HIV drug, was approved by the FDA. AZT had to be taken every four hours without fail, even interrupting your sleep, and came with horrible side effects including muscle soreness and fatigue subsequent. Large scale studies showed almost no difference between AZT and placebos. 1987 was a big year for AIDS. Not only was it the AZT year, it was also the year that the first San Francisco AIDS quilt was made. It was the year that a family with three HIV positive hemophiliac sons had their house burned down by an arsonist. It was the year the US shut its borders to HIV and infected immigrants, and the year Ronald Reagan finally addressed the nation about what he now called public health enemy #1. Not a lot there for humor. Except no. I did come up with a character while you were talking. Oh good. Johnny arson. He's like Johnny Carson. Ohh good. He lights fires. Oh good. Rush him out. Weird fiery stuff. We got a really big blaze. That's all I know about Johnny Carson at this point. When Reagan finally delivered his very first public speech about AIDS, 23,000 Americans had already died from the disease. Part of why Reagan even addressed it is because thousands of hemophiliacs had also been infected by this point. Many were dying. Ryan White was probably the most famous of these hemophiliac kids to catch aids. He was diagnosed in 1984, and by 1987 he'd become one of the most prominent figures in the fight against the disease. Since he and other hemophiliacs were not gay, they were seen as not deserving. What had happened to them? This gave the Reagan administration the IT covered that it needed to take effective action against the disease that set in his big speech. Ronald Reagan also noted abstinence as an important tool in the fight against AIDS God. So wait, so the lesson from this is if there is a disease that affects only a small part of the population, what you want to do is get that **** in the blood supply. Give, yeah. Give that disease to someone that the government can use as cover to treat it? Yeah. I mean, that is actually the lesson here, right? Yeah. So here's what Ronald Reagan Ronald Reagan noted that abstinence was also an important tool in the fight of AIDS. So he during this speech he said, quote after all, when it comes to preventing AIDS, don't medicine and morality teach the same lessons? ******* ***** ** ****. I I'm sorry that I have nothing like it just really like boils my blood. Here's the thing. In speeches that see Everett Koop gave when he would go to colleges, he said the same thing, but he was also like, but also people are going to what they're going to do. So let's teach them how to use condoms. Because I'm a doctor and I don't want people to die. Like you can believe that morality says you shouldn't have sex outside of marriage. You're not evil if you believe that, as long as you're also like. But we should do basic things to make sure people understand how to protect themselves if they choose to do something different. Coop was able to make that kind of leap in his own mind, even though he didn't approve of it and make a note of what was necessary. Reagan was not able to make that leap. Or maybe he was and he was just a political coward. I don't know. We'll talk about that a little bit. Coop is king. Coop is king. He he's he's he's not perfect. This is what we're saying. Yeah, you'll find criticisms of Coop that are. Well, but he's trying. He's clearly doesn't want people to die and takes it seriously, which is something more than anybody else has done. So in 1988, four 1855 more Americans died with the death toll nearing 30,000. C Everett Koop believed that the government could and should do more. So we put together a pamphlet called Understanding AIDS that provided frank descriptions of anal and oral sex as well as fact based discussions of contraception. It was the sort of thing that various grassroots groups across the country had already started. Contributing, particularly in coastal cities with a large gay population. But Coop was the surgeon general, and he had a little bit more power than these people. Coop had this one pamphlet mailed out to almost every home in America. 107 million families received a copy of understanding AIDS. It was the original AOL disc. Yeah, yeah, it was it was like the first thing distributed on that wide of a ******* like your joke like that. That is like it was at the time, the largest mass mailing in American history. And it's like pictures of like. How *** *** works and how condoms work. And so was how you got online originally. Yeah. Well, it's a line. Just like laying pipe you know what they you someone will get that descriptions of gay sexual practices, often sensationalized, had never before reached so large an audience. And now the surgeon General pressed Americans to learn even more about sex through his education campaign, which included promoting abstinence and monogamy, but also maintained the importance of using condoms. If the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 70s had not yet reached every small town and rural outpost in the Heartland, Coop's pamphlet did so. Not only is he giving out information on *** *** this is the first he's forcing it effective sex Ed on families in rural America. Well, how did it look? How in Texas? How did you grow up? I I had like such a fear of AIDS that. It was like terrifying. The idea of sex was terrifying. As a kid, I didn't really understand much about what it was, to be honest. I don't remember. I'm sure there were conversations. I know I remember a couple of talks at school about it, but I think I was late enough that most of the panic over AIDS had kind of faded by that point. Yeah, I mean, the panic, like it it was no longer when I was a kid, but also grew up in a pretty egalitarian household where, you know, my parents were like, treat all people the same. So there was no, like, there was no panic at home about, like, gay people or whatever like that, but like, even in. Culture, I didn't feel that. So, like, there wasn't anything. It wasn't like that, but there was still a panic about sex in general in the late 80s into the like, 90s. There was definitely a panic about like the the like that. That was like the thing everybody joked about was like making another guy do something that looked gay so that everybody can call him gay or whatever. Like, I was definitely of the generation where, like when I was in high school, the word *** was like every fourth word out of my mouth and everybody else's mouth that I knew. Like that was like, oh, it's Texas. Yeah, it was Texas. It was the most, one of the most common. It was one of those things when I was like 1819 and then finally got out of school and into the world, I realized, like, oh, this is really ****** **. Weird to use all the time like you should. You shouldn't say that about people, but it was. It was, I don't know, like, I don't remember any education about AIDS. I don't remember ever learning any of this. Well, there was. I mean, it was just like a generalized. Panic about. That's why I'm saying. Like, it wasn't like a panic about gay people. Yeah, I I wonder if that's because I grew up in like a household where. Everyone was treated the same, unless you were a ***** ** ****. Like, that's where my parents were like, you know this. You know, they sat me down at some point. They're like, don't use gay. Like, you know, gay was slang at the time for like, that was dumb. And they're like, don't use that because there are gay people that we know and you know, and they're that's hurts their feelings. And don't use these certain words. You can use the word **** and the word ****. Don't use it around the rabbi or whatever. Like, there's certain context. But there's like forbidden words where, like, these hurt people's feelings. There was. Swear words that you could use and that. And so the thing was, like, it went from being a like, a panic about gay people to a panic about sex. At some point, I think it became like when I remember it because I was in, you know, I was born in 88, so I was, I was not conscious like, 80s. I was eight years old. Yeah. So, like, I when what I remember was more of a generalized panic about things that weren't heteronormative. Like that was the thing. Like, there was no, like, it wasn't like if you're gay, you're going to get aids. When I was a kid, it was that. Like, gay meant not what we expect out of, like, straight masculine men. And so that's silly and you should make fun of it. Like that was sort of my what I grew up with and that was less that I didn't really catch any of that from my parents. That was just like school like that. So there was homophobia everywhere. And like, it's not like, it's not like I went to a high school that was like super gay friendly, but it was. I don't think it was as I don't think the homophobia was a suffocating. And I I mean, I'll ask my gay friends from high school, what? Thought yeah, I certainly had. I had one gay friend when I was in high school that I met when I was a senior. He came out to me when I was a senior in high school and that was the first gay person that I knew. So it was definitely like, not. You know it. It was it was not a but but we were also we were also passed enough the AIDS epidemic that like the only thing I remember in school about AIDS was them really driving home to us that you can't get it from the water fountains. Like, that was the biggest part. That's the that's the thing that stuck in my mind about my high school age education. But I wonder now if that's Texas versus Pennsylvania, if that's South of the Mason Dixon line. It was like still full of homophobia into the 90s and north of the Mason Dixon Line. It turned into like a sex paranoia in general thing. I I certainly can't. I I would. I would describe a lot of what I encountered as a sex paranoia in general thing, but I, I I couldn't tell you what it was like outside of Texas because I only grew up in the one spot. I will tell you what this pamphlet Coop sent out looked like. This is the front. Why don't you check out I I find a little bit of humor in the last question listed on the front of the pamphlet says understanding AIDS and there's a bunch of pictures of people. It's very multiculti and it says, what do you really know about AIDS? Are you at risk? Aids and sex and why no one has gotten aids from mosquitoes. Which tells you what what people knew about it at the time were Coop was like, alright, what are the big things we have to address? Oh, mosquitoes. Everybody's asking about ******* mosquitoes. Let's see. I mean, yeah, no. And think about it. You've got to get the info out, yeah? And there was like, it was our already around the time where Arachnophobia came out. Yeah. And so people were worried about bugs. Yeah, yeah. This is a very basic thing, but people flip their **** over this, like, this is a major issue. There's tons of, like, political cartoons, people freaking out over the pants. I'm worried about Skeeters. I don't want them to talk about how gay people have sex. Like, it it there, it it freaked people out. And it was a legitimately courageous move from Coop to be like, no, we're ******* mailing this out to every family in the country. And they did it. Uh, it took way longer than you'd have hoped, but it happened. And in 1988 this ******* thing gets out and finally people start to get forced on them some practical sexual education. Now, it's important to note that C Everett Koop was not a hippie dippie dude. He was not. He was certainly not call him pro gay, like his advice was specifically like, don't have sex with anyone who could carry the the virus of AIDS. And then he would go on to after a couple of paragraphs of why you shouldn't do it if you do decide to do this. Anyway, use a condom. Here's how condoms work like it was the the most couched it possibly could have been, but at least he was getting the information out. If you don't use a condom, just do hand stuff. Yeah, just do. Well, just do hand stuff, was the 2nd pamphlet he sent out to 107 million homes. It was 47 pages of really ******** hand ***********. Should I use Lube? No. Jesus, Surgeon General's strict on that. Yeah. Doesn't say nothing about lubricant. The only lubricant you're gonna need is a single page from the King James Bible, and you're gonna wrap that around yourself like sheath of Christ is the only Lube you need. Ohh boy. As I said before, Coop Savert, Coop agreed with President Reagan that religion and morality were in lockstep on the matter of AIDS. Abstinence was the best way to deal with it. But he also was like, let's ******* teach people about condoms and stuff. It's ******* teach people about *******. Yeah, let's ******* teach people about *******. That was C Everett Coop, the man who taught America to ****. Another great name for his biopic. On January 20th, 1989, Ronald Reagan left office. More than more than 14,000 Americans died from AIDS that year. Another 18,000 died in 1991. Of these was Ryan White. The president wrote him a public letter, which was more than Rock Hudson got. Here's a quote from a writer with The New Yorker who actually knew Ryan. Reagan wrote a letter. That letter that ended with the words Ryan, my dear young friend, we will see you again. But that letter really just shows the limits of Reagan's sympathy. Ryan White was an absolutely delightful Indiana schoolboy. So he was an innocent AIDS victim, unlike the gay men Reagan did not like to mention. It is no coincidence that Reagan would feel comfortable signaling, signaling white out to honor. Nor is it a chance that the single biggest piece of HIV legislation ever enacted in the United States is called the Ryan White Act. I should note before we end that Rock Hudson was not the only friend of the Reagans to die of AIDS. Ronald Reagan's good buddy Roy Cohn died of AIDS in 1986. He was apparently furious when during treatment. As Doctor repeatedly insisted that he stay abstinent, and that that was most of the advice that Khan was able to get. The Reagans did send Cohen a letter before he died, but neither showed up at his funeral. He was buried in a tie with Ronald Reagan's name on it. The AIDS epidemic continued to kill. More than half a million Americans had died by 2211, years before Ronald Reagan's daughter would claim that her dad had supported gay marriage. Because in 2013, that's exactly what Reagan's daughter said, that she thinks her dad would have backed Patty. Yeah, I think with Patty Stretch, I will say she might be right because in 2013, Reagan wouldn't have had to pay a political price for supporting gay marriage. And I think that really was most of what it was for him. He would have been fine if he thought in 1982, you know? Jumping on AIDS and, like, increasing funding to it would have won him election in 84. He would have done it. I don't think he had a moral issue with this. I think he was just a coward. Well, that's a moral issue. Well, I don't think, I don't think, no, that is a moral issue. But that's not he didn't have a moral issue with treating gay people of AIDS. He himself was a coward, and that was a moral issue. He had a deeper failure than homophobia, which I think is important to note because I think people look at it and say, oh, Reagan was homophobic. And I'm like, well, it's actually scarier if he was not homophobic. For the time, but just too much of a coward to do anything because it was bad politically, because all these people who supported him thought that gay people were monsters. And I do think that's probably closer to the real story, which is scarier. I mean well. Do we know like when he really started to get dementia? I mean there's a lot of debate around that. Some people are going to say most of his second term he was starting to like, he was definitely not at 100% from like 8485 on, but I I don't really know. But are there any like, I mean, we all think that like something's wrong with Trump because like he says insane things and can't talk and is in general just a mush brained freak. But were there any speeches? Again, I was a child so I don't really remember. Anything where there's speeches where, like, Reagan could always talk, right? He was a real good talker. He was a real good talker the entire time he was he was president. OK, so there was never any kind of, like, it was never to the depths of what we're experiencing now. No, but like like, he didn't he wasn't tweeting and stuff. Every appearance he had was carefully stayed managed. His speeches were written for him and stuff. Like he was good at delivering the lines. I don't know how much he'd started to suffer from Alzheimer's at that point, but they they also think the *******. 40 years before that, the president's staff was able to hide the fact that he couldn't walk. So it's clearly not hard if you've got a good staff to hide **** from the country. Or at least it was back then. So what, they weekend at Bernie's, FDR's legs? What? Oh yeah, no, no, most of the nation didn't know that. Know that he couldn't walk. They would do. They had like special braces made for him and he would like walk with people who you wouldn't quite be able to tell where. And the press pool was in on it too. Like it was one of those things where people were like. There. There's ******* wars going on. Don't let anyone know that the president can't stand up. I have this idea that he's wearing a harness with strings attached to and there's a car driving and it just like it. Like strings, like a marionette move. His Harry Truman just puppeteering him. Yeah, no, that's dark. We're the ******** now. We have become. I don't think so. I think ethically I'm on the right side of history. I mean, FDR was, was was fine enough president. He was fine. Yeah, he's fine. New Deal was good. New Deal was good. Not, not great. Not being a fascist was really the best thing he did, right? Yeah, right. It could have went. Kudos to that. Could have joined World War Two earlier maybe, or done something economically to help help, like sanctions on Hitler before he could have agreed to take Jewish refugees from the country rather than, I mean, think about it. Yeah, yeah. You know the only president you're going to find with less than a couple of buckets of blood on his hands as Jimmy Carter and you know. That's that's just the way it is. He's the he's the one nice guy we let be president. Hey Jimmy Carter, 2020, let's let's start the campaign here. 96 year old Jimmy Carter takes office. Every symbol about how decrepit America has become, even as good as Jimmy Carter is then hauling up a 96 year old white man and this is the best we can do. It's not the best we can do, and Jimmy Carter would be the first person to tell you that. Yeah. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, 2020. Crazy that Carter had to give up his peanut farm because it might make a conflict of interest when he was president. What if you're nicer? It was peanut subsidies. Yeah. No, no. Now the president owns a hotel that foreign dignitaries stay at. But it's fine now. We we've gotten off the subject of. The ******** of today. And we were talking about other ********. So many ******** and so many people behind them. I will tell you are I will ask you are you converted to my way of thinking, which is that Reagan himself was probably less homophobic than most people of his age at the time, and was acting the way he did and ignoring the crisis because of political expediency rather than because of homophobia. That's my, my, my take. Here's the thing. I'm a pragmatist, and if there's no difference in practice, then there's no difference in the philosophy. Behind the practice. So regardless of what he believed, his actions were extremely homophobic and led to. The deaths of 10s of thousands of people, 650,000 I think so. Far hundreds of thousands of people and just like the? The the spread of the AIDS epidemic. He he didn't. Whatever he believed the practice was. We don't give a **** about gay people and we don't give a **** if they die. And that, to me, is unforgivable. I don't care what he I don't care if, like, him and Nancy were both secretly gay and they're like, well, we can't. If we say anything, you know, people are going to find out our secret or whatever. I find it unconscionable, no matter what. It's certainly unconscionable. No matter what I will say, one of the things is interesting to me about this from a moral point of view is that I think you have with Reagan, you have a guy who I think in his social life. Did not act like a homophobe because the number of gay people were very close with the Reagans. Nancy and Ronald both, in their social life, were clearly capable of not being judgmental ******** to their friends who were gay. See, Everett Koop, I doubt ever had a gay friend. He was definitely a guy who was homophobic in terms of he thought it was wrong for gay people to have sex. I think what we have in the two of them is you have one man who's homophobic, one man who's not particularly homophobic but is all he cares about is politics and his his career and advancing. And I think Coop cared more about human life. So even though he was homophobic, he did the right thing. And while Reagan wasn't super homophobic for his era, he did the wrong thing because all he cared about was politics. And I do think that's interesting that you have these two guys who you would expect them to act completely the opposite way in this situation, but instead the guy who has this. Very strong religious condemnation for his whole life against homosexuality does the right thing and the guy who has a bunch of gay friends does the wrong thing because it's the politically expedient thing. I think that's interesting. Yeah. Well, it's about, it's, you know, an ethical question, which is like, and and really ethics comes down to like, will you do the right thing no matter what the circumstances are and coopie will do the right thing no matter what the circumstances are because he has deeply held ethical beliefs, whereas Reagan is at. Lester sociopath. And at worst a psychopath. What are the differences? I don't know. There's not like, really. There's synonyms. Yeah, but like, do you know what I mean? There's there's not. There is no deeply held ethical belief besides a kind of, like, instrumental whatever will help me advance. And that's not ethics, that is you know? That's the gnashing teeth of under the bed creatures. Will I agree with you, Andy? Do you want to plug your plug cables? Sure. Hey everyone, we have a podcast. Me and my dear Naomi have a podcast called couples therapy. We have a live show here in Los Angeles and around the country where we have stand ups. Do live sets if they are lovers and spouses and siblings and best friends. They do sets together about their relationship and on the podcast. We take the best live sets and bring them to you. And it's people like Sasha is made and Nicole Byer or Rachel Bloom from crazy ex-girlfriend and her husband and lots of great comics. You don't know comics you do know. And then Naomi and I talk, and you you. Yeah, it's fun. So couples therapy here on the how stuff works network. And I'm Robert Evans. This is behind the ********. We'll be back Tuesday next Tuesday with someone else's terrible and something else terrible to talk about. So please tune in. And you can check out the sources for this episode on our website, We'll have a good old picture of C Everett Koop up there. You'll all enjoy that. He's a he looks like a guy named C Everett Koop. Anyway, you can find us. On Twitter and Instagram at Bastarde pod you can find me on Twitter at I write OK and that is the end of the episode and. Oh yeah, yeah. You can find our shirts on teepublic behind the ********. So buy some shirts. Reagan's ghost will scream for every shirt that you buy, but also you can buy phone cases and and and and mugs. Mugs. Thank you for the word mugs and the word mugs stickers. All of which will make Reagan's ghost screech in horror and shame. So do that by buying products on T And until next week, we'll I love about 40% of you. Jelly beans. 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. 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