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
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
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.
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
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