Exquisite Corpse - Issue 3
HomeSearchSubmitCorpse CafeArchivesCorpse MallOur Gang
EC ChairCritical UrgenciesBurning BushFiccionesSecret AgentsStage and ScreenLettersGallery
A Tale of Two Conspiracies
by Paul Krassner


In A Dictionary of Euphemisms: How Not to Say What You Mean (Oxford University Press), R. W. Holder explains that a euphemism is "the language of evasion, of hypocrisy, of prudery, and of deceit."      Gap is a euphemism for "vagina." Honk: "to feel the genitals of a male." I hear what you say means "I do not agree with you."      Restore order: "to invade and conquer a country." Look at the garden: "to urinate outdoors." States' rights: "the continuation of discrimination against blacks."
     States' rights was the rationale for Alabama Governor George Wallace to block school doors in an attempt to prevent African-Americans from getting an equal education. But one person's racist is another person's populist. When Wallace, presidential candidate of the American Independent Party, was shot by Arthur Bremer during the 1972 campaign, he dropped out of the race--paralyzed from the waist down, confined to a wheelchair--and 25 million votes were shunted toward Richard Nixon's so-called mandate.
     Could this have been the ultimate dirty trick orchestrated--or at least exploited--by the Committee to Re-Elect the President?      Conspiracy researcher R. Frank Salant investigated the role of E. Howard Hunt, the White House Plumber and CIA operative for 21 years. Immediately following the incident, Nixon confidant Charles Colson phoned Hunt, instructing him to go to Bremer's apartment.
     Although Hunt insisted that he immediately countermanded Colson's order, declaring that such an operation would involve a high degree of risk and possible embarrassment for the Nixon administration, he also reassured investigators that even if he had complied with Colson's order, he would only have been "looking for evidence," an expression which did not make the cut in A Dictionary of Euphemisms. According to Salant, "This is a most important statement, because in my experience as a researcher, the phrase 'looking for evidence' in clandestine jargon actually means to plant evidence."
     And suddenly Bremer, who never kept a diary, had now written a diary, which Salant read carefully and, having read all of Hunt's writings, found "a disturbing sense of similarity in both writing styles. Was Hunt the mystery man who made off with Bremer's notebook? Did Hunt forge Bremer's diary?" Other questions: Why did FBI Director L. Patrick Gray order the FBI to call off its investigation of the Wallace shooting? Why wasn't the source of Bremer's mysterious finances investigated? What happened to the $400,000 that Nixon aide H. R. Haldeman approved for the purpose of defeating Wallace?
     Salant claims, "The ballistics evidence alone proves there was a conspiracy. Although the Maryland police report points to Bremer as the 'lone assailant,' it is worthwhile noting that at Bremer's trial, an FBI agent gave testimony which indicated that some of the bullets found at the scene of the crime and in the victims' bodies would not match with Bremer's gun."
     Several years ago, George Wallace wrote to President Clinton asking him to reopen the federal investigation of the attempted assassination. Wallace said he didn't believe that Bremer had acted alone. A White House spokesperson said that Clinton received the letter and was "taking it under advisement." A euphemism for ignoring. In 1993, I wrote to Clinton, asking, specifically, "Why not reopen the investigation?" Over a year later, I received a reply from George Stephanopoulos:
     "As Senior Advisor to the President, I am grateful for the perspective that your letter has given me. Comments and suggestions from concerned citizens like you should prove useful to me in performing my job. President Clinton and I appreciate the opportunity to hear your views, and I thank you again for taking the time to write on this important issue."
     Yeah, as they say, right.

*      *      *

     Peter McWilliams, the publisher (Prelude Press) and best-selling author (Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do: The Absurdity of Consensual Crimes in a Free Society), has AIDS and cancer. Under California's Proposition 215, doctors have legally prescribed marijuana to relieve nausea and increase appetite. Otherwise, if he vomits up his lunch, the antiviral pills he takes to stay alive are also regurgitated.
     McWilliams hired Todd McCormick (also allowed by law to take his medicine) to write a book about the varieties of medical marijuana, giving him an advance of $150,000 to conduct his research. McCormick was arrested by federal authorities for growing 4,000 marijuana plants.
      In 1997, McWilliams flew to Detroit for a family reunion. He was arrested at the airport for possession of seven joints. Somebody smelled them. The prosecutor in this case had legally changed his name to Luke Skywalker in 1977, when he was in his twenties and got inspired by Star Wars. That's still the name he uses. In court, he is Luke Skywalker, and he perceives each new defendant as Darth Vader. May the farce be with you.
     In July 1998, McWilliams was arrested by DEA agents in Los Angeles, charged with being the ringleader of a conspiracy to cultivate and distribute medical marijuana. Because he is not allowed to leave the state, his trial in Detroit has been postponed.
     McWilliams spent a month behind bars in Los Angeles until his $250,000 bond could be raised. As a condition of his pre-trial release, he cannot smoke pot. If one of his urine tests were to indicate that he did smoke pot, it would be back to jail, while his mother and brother would lose their homes, since that's how they bailed him out.
     Since he will not be allowed to use a medical-marijuana defense--nor will the just-published How to Grow Medical Marijuana be permitted as evidence--he has pleaded guilty in the hope of lenient sentencing in late February.
     Meanwhile, his viral count continues to multiply, putting his health in ever-increasing danger. He is in a state of physical and emotional debilitation. He has lost 30 pounds. When he went to court to request the right to smoke his medicine, he was brought in seated in a wheelchair.
     Judge George King asked the federal prosecutor, "If Mr. McWilliams can only use marijuana in inhaled form, and other methods were ineffective [they are], would the government consider that irrelevant?"
     The prosecutor fidgeted. "It is still irrelevant under the current state of law. There are no exceptions."
     Q. "And if there's nausea, that's just the way it goes?"
     A. "It sounds terrible, the way the court says it. As human beings, we're sympathetic to Mr. McWilliams' plight. As officers of the court, we're sworn to uphold the law that has clearly made use and possession illegal. We are sensitive to the fact that his health has deteriorated. But we are not the legislators."
     In March 1999, Judge King denied McWilliams' request. "We do not mean to express indifference to the defendant's situation," he stated, "[but] we are not empowered to grant [him] what amounts to a license to violate federal law." Thus, the federal government is ignoring the mandate of the people who voted Proposition 215 into law.
     States' rights. It's not just for racists any more.



Books by Paul Krassner available at Amazon.com (click on title for reviews and ordering information):

Impolite Interviews
Pot Stories For the Soul


Cadavar Exquisito
ec chair | critical urgencies | burning bush | ficciones | secret agents | stage and screen | letters | gallery
home | search | submit | corpse cafe | archives | corpse mall | our gang


Exquisite Corpse Mailing List Subscribe Unsubscribe

©1999-2002 Exquisite Corpse - If you experience difficulties with this site, please contact the webmistress.