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March, 23 2016 - The “War on Drugs” was actually a political tool to crush leftist protesters and black people, a former Nixon White House adviser admitted in a decades-old interview published Tuesday. John Ehrlichman, who served as President Richard Nixon’s domestic policy chief, laid bare the sinister use of his boss’ controversial policy in a 1994 interview with journalist Dan Baum that the writer revisited in a new article for Harper’s magazine.


“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,” Ehrlichman continued. “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,“ Ehrlichman said. "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.”

Ehrlichman served 18 months in prison after being convicted of conspiracy and perjury for his role in the Watergate scandal that toppled his boss.

The Rev. Al Sharpton said Ehrlichman’s comments proved what black people had believed for decades.

“This is a frightening confirmation of what many of us have been saying for years. That this was a real attempt by government to demonize and criminalize a race of people,” Sharpton told the Daily News. “And when we would raise the questions over that targeting, we were accused of all kind of things, from harboring criminality to being un-American and trying to politicize a legitimate concern.”

In 1971, Nixon labeled drug abuse “Public Enemy No. 1” and signed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, putting into place several new laws that cracked down on drug users. He also created the Drug Enforcement Administration. By 1973, about 300,000 people were being arrested every year under the law — the majority of whom were African-American.The drug war was continued in various forms by every President since, including President Ronald Reagan, whose wife Nancy called for people to “Just say no.”Ehrlichman’s 22-year-old comments resurfaced Tuesday after Baum wrote about them in a cover story for the April issue of Harper’s, titled “Legalize It All,” in which he argues in favor of legalizing hard drugs.The original 1994 interview with Ehrlichman was part of Baum’s research for his 1997 book, “Smoke and Mirrors: The War on Drugs and the Politics of Failure,” in which Baum laid bare decades of unsuccessful drug policy.

“Think of all the lives and families that were ruined and absolutely devastated only because they were caught in a racial net from the highest end reaches of government.”

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Rogers advocated for increased support of public broadcasting by explaining that the ‘inner drama of childhood’ was far more fascinating than violence.

Rogers: “I feel that if we in public television can only make it clear that feelings are mentionable and manageable, we will have done a great service for mental health.”

Pastore: “Do you narrate [the show]?”

Rogers: “I’m the host, and I do all the puppets, and I write all the music, and I write all the scripts.”

Pastore: “I’m supposed to be a really tough guy, and this is the first time I’ve had goosebumps in the past two days.”

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President Nixon: How many did we kill in Laos? …

National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger: In the Laotian thing, we killed about ten, fifteen [thousand].

Nixon: See, the attack in the North [Vietnam] that we have in mind … power plants, whatever’s left – POL [petroleum], the docks … And, I still think we ought to take the dikes out now. Will that drown people?

Kissinger: About two hundred thousand people.

Nixon: No, no, no, I’d rather use the nuclear bomb. Have you got that, Henry?

Kissinger: That, I think, would just be too much.

Nixon: The nuclear bomb, does that bother you? … I just want you to think big, Henry, for Christsakes.

—   White House tape recordings, April 25, 1972. Source.
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On July 20, 1969, President Richard Nixon used this green telephone in the Oval Office to talk to the Apollo 11 astronauts while they were on the surface of the moon.

More great photos and stories at Nixon and the U.S.  Space Program 

Images: 

Oval Office telephone from the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.

One of the first steps taken on the moon, this is an image of Buzz Aldrin’s bootprint from the Apollo 11 mission. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon on July 20, 1969. Photo Credit: NASA

Photo of Astronaut Edwin E.  “Buzz” Aldrin on the surface of the moon, next to the U.S. flag.  Photographed by Neil Armstrong, first person to set foot on the moon.  Apollo 11 mission.

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July 21st 1969: Man walks on the Moon

On this day in 1969, American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the Moon. The Apollo 11 mission landed on the Moon on July 20th at 20:18 UTC. and Armstrong’s boot hit the surface of the Moon at 02:56 UTC the next day. Aldrin soon joined Armstrong and the pair planted the flag of the United States on the lunar surface, and they received a brief phone call from US President Richard Nixon. The moon landing was broadcast live, reaching an estimated global audience of 450 million. The astronauts returned safely to Earth on July 24th where they were met by the President and celebrated globally. The landing was a major victory for the United States in the Cold War space race with Soviet Russia and fulfilled the goal put in place by the late President John F. Kennedy in 1961 to put a man on the moon before the end of the decade.

“That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind”