Thursday, August 23, 2007


Travis Bickle: Listen, you fuckers, you screwheads. Here is a man who would not take it anymore. A man who stood up against the scum, the cunts, the dogs, the filth, the shit. Here is a man who stood up. --From Paul Schrader's screenplay to Martin Scorsese's 1976 film, "Taxi Driver." (imdb)

Baltimore, Maryland--At 57-years-old, it's unlikely that Arthur Bremer is going to be a threat to many, and certainly not George Wallace, the late segregationist governor and politician from Alabama. When Bremer belatedly shot Wallace at a campaign appearance for his bid for the presidency on May 15th, 1972, it was considered a real shock, and a reflection of the chaos of the times.

According to prison officials, Bremer has never shown any remorse for the wounding and crippling of the 'nigger-baiting' scoundrel, but it has to be said that Wallace was forever changed by the experience spiritually. Thanks to Arthur Bremer, we know what it took to stop George Wallace and his calculated appeals to Southern racists: shooting him. However, like most of the assassinations of that period, there are innumerable unanswered questions and problematic facts.

But the AP piece really nails the crux of the case: Bremer refers to Wallace in a 1996 parole hearing as a "segregationist dinosaur," just two years before the wheelchair-bound baiter died in 1998. Unsurprisingly, he was denied parole. What's not in the article, or in the peculiar reasoning of the parole board members in 96' is that Wallace incited many people in the South during the 1950s into the early-1970s to segregationist violence and harassment of Black (and White) civil rights workers.

Like anyone with a pulse, Bremer saw an individual--not a man--who was willing to play with people's lives by inciting people to racist-attacks, taunting, and full-on violence. Not that Wallace was alone, even Richard Nixon got in on the fun. His take on America 11-years-ago is interesting, accurate, and breathtaking:

"Everyone is mean nowadays ... (We've) got teenagers running around with drugs and machine guns, they never heard of me," he said. "They never heard of the public figure in my case, and they couldn't care less. I was in prison when they were born. The country kind of went to hell in the last 24 years." (AP, 08.23.2007)
Indeed, America has truly gone to hell, even since the time of Bremer's statements.

There is ample evidence to suggest that a rollback of Black Americans' right to vote was intentionally impaired by forces like Wallace in the national elections of 2000, 2004, and even 2006 (more people were watching the GOP closely in 2006, so it wasn't as successful). Taking down a cold, calculated segregationist politician appears to be why Bremer shot Wallace--but is there more? Could be. Wallace was the only real threat to Nixon's 1972 reelection ambitions, just as he had been in 1968...along with Bobby Kennedy.

Regardless of what conclusion one makes, the downing of Wallace wouldn't be enough for Nixon, and he would instruct his operatives ("the plumbers") to burglarize Democratic campaigning offices at the Watergate. They were also ordered to bug the phones.

One needs to look at who handled the FBI's investigation into the Wallace shooting, and it's not comforting at all. It was Mark Felt, then assistant FBI director to L. Patrick Gray III
(Hoover having died in early-May of 1972), who handled the investigation, and it was rife with problems and jurisdictional turf-battles between the Bureau and the Secret Service. Wallace believed in the immediate aftermath of the assassination attempt that President Nixon was behind it all. Mark Felt and Bob Woodward have confirmed that the Nixon administration was watching Wallace's "every move" in the run-up to the assassination attempt.

He had good reason to believe so, though nobody wants to ask Bremer any of these questions. Such political observers as Gore Vidal suggested in-the-wake of the assassination attempt that Nixon administration official Charles Colson authored Bremer's diary (published in 1973), which is an interesting charge. This would be especially peculiar if true, since screenwriter Paul Schrader based a lot of his script for "Taxi Driver" (1976) on Bremer's diary. He could be right, particularly in light of this exchange between President Nixon and Colson from a later May 15th call:

PRESIDENT NIXON: Is he a left winger, right winger?
COLSON: Well, he's going to be a left winger by the time we get through, I think.
PRESIDENT NIXON: Good. Keep at that, keep at that.

Colson might be able to clarify a lot of this, but he has left an oral history with the National Archives, and is featured prominently in the legendary tapes. What's a little unsettling is the early-coverage of Bremer's trail in that proverbial "run-up" to the shooting of Wallace. Felt provided his protege--Bob Woodward--with the "scoop." Was Woodward too credulous? Does that even have to be asked anymore?

...On May 18, I did a Page One article that said, among other things, "High federal officials who have reviewed investigative reports on the Wallace shooting said yesterday that there is no evidence whatsoever to indicate that Bremer was a hired killer."

It was rather brazen of me. Though I was technically protecting my source and talked to others besides Felt, I did not do a good job of concealing where the information was coming from. Felt chastised me mildly. But the story that Bremer acted alone and without accomplices was a story that both the White House and the FBI wanted out. (Washington Post, 06.02.2005)
If the stories were accurate, what was so "brazen" about reporting Bremer's days before the shooting? Perhaps he's just referring to the fact that he might have nearly blown Felt's cover as his source inside the FBI as the assistant Director, but Watergate hadn't even happened yet. What's going-on here? Felt was feeding Woodward the information on Bremer, he was pulling-the-strings, not his protege. One might suspect that they both had an overarching agenda that preceded Watergate itself, and that the real story has yet to be told.

One would think the Washington Post's editor is writing in code. Nobody said journalism would be easy...unless you're lazy and incompetent. Then, it's really easy, and we don't have to get into all those ugly confrontations! Why can't we be friends? Indeed, Bob Woodward has taken this to-heart with the current administration. There's good reason to think he's done it several-times before. Aren't American polticians great?

Listen, you fuckers, you screwheads. Here was a man who wouldn't take it any more. Here is a man who stood up to the scum, the shills, the lobbyists, and the DOJ. Here is...a man. The pen is mightier than Arthur Bremer's gun (that's why you buy-off people like Bob Woodward, et. al.).