Posted Without Comment

At the time, I was writing a book about the politics of drug prohibition. I started to ask Ehrlichman a series of earnest, wonky questions that he impatiently waved away. “You want to know what this was really all about?” he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

Dan Baum, “Legalize It All: How to Win the War on Drugs,Harper’s, April 2016

16 thoughts on “Posted Without Comment

  1. Not exactly news, is it?

    But there’s some sense of satisfaction in hearing one of the MFing SOB architects admit it.

  2. Pretty much the way I saw it.

    Add, later, the hypercriminalization of crack, and the package is complete.

    Started back in the 20s & 30s, tho, with the Hearst empire wanting to protect its wood pulp paper investments (hemp makes much better paper), which saw the marginalization of the jazz crowd (read: blacks) as a fortuitous bonus result.

  3. Maybe as the grim reaper seems to be climbing up the stairwell, more of the old guard will come clean. Let’s hope so.

  4. It brings me back to my misguided youth.. I was a blown out alkie/ juicer and I used to feel morally superior in my choice of drug to the long haired pot smoking hippie. I was so ate up with patriotism I couldn’t see how stupid I was. Ollie North haircut and all!

  5. I was just over at Flickr looking at pictures of Obama’s historic visit to Cuba when I ran into this photo. What struck me a funny is that the picture shows a campaign poster from the 2012 presidential election put out by Crossroads GPS when the photo is in relation to the Pope’s visit to Cuba in 2016.. I wonder how that poster made its way to Cuba.. Karl Rove must have an anti-Obama operative working the island.

  6. My bad..That photo was taken in Miami.. I assumed it was Cuba because all the pictures that preceded it were from Cuba. I was thrown a curve ( actually I wasn’t paying attention). and the Pope’s visit was in 2015 not 2016. See what happens when you use drugs?

  7. Swami, wasn’t it St. Augustine who asked, “Who would not shudder if he were given the choice of eternal death or life again as a child?” We all have to have some memories to give us a reason to awake in a cold sweat during the night.

    “We knew, but now we know.” Well put, I suppose some innocent corner of my mind resisted knowing, but, innocence comes at a price.

    This seems even more vicious when you consider the ban on public assistance for people with positive drug tests and the cocaine related shenanigans that came with support for the Contras. The list goes on, and it smells to high heaven.

  8. “We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black”

    Sadly I’m not surprised by this at all, nor am I surprised that our corporate media is for the most part ignoring this? I think most of us knew this was happening but to have an official from inside the administration admit to it seems like a bombshell to me? If only this could be related Trump and or radical Islamic terror (that kills white folk) it would be front page news!

  9. My maternal grandmother once showed me a shoebox full of news clippings she had kept about Richard Nixon, going back to his early days as a Red-baiting candidate for Congress. She also idolized JFK, and family history has it that when JFK ran against Nixon in 1960, my grandmother tore a full-page Nixon advertisement out of the newspaper and used it to wipe her feet on.

    Nixon was a venal bastard who surrounded himself with the same.

  10. While we worry about illegal addiction, the deadliest drugs used in the U.S. are legal. Cigarettes are responsible for more deaths than all the other drugs combined. And alcohol comes in second. Most people don’t know that nicotine is used as a pesticide and if one consumed the amount of nicotine in a pack of cigarettes at one time instead of over a day, it would kill them. People who smoke are slowly poisoning themselves. Yet, it is legal and addictive and very hard to quit. There are substance abuse programs for opioids and alcohol but none for nicotine. When I worked as a psych nurse at a facility in Santa Barbara, the county donated cigarettes for the patients. Smoking is a big thing for psychiatric patients. I gathered data from the American Lung Association and also got signatures from the staff and managed to get the process discontinued. Of course, this did not stop the patients from smoking but at least a health facility was not promoting it.

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