February 13, 2006

  • Evil Dick Cheney -- What next?! Now he's gone and shot one of his hunting buddies. Dead-eye Dick, who took five draft deferments during the Vietnam War because he had "other priorities", is always eager to prove his masculinity. His "other priorities" turn out to have a lot to do with sending other men and women to die in war, wars that are about as poorly conceived as his little friendly fire incident Saturday when he peppered a 78-year-old Republican millionaire lawyer with buckshot in the face, neck and chest, "mostly" on the right side, the reports say. Typically, the Clandestine King of Undisclosed Locations didn't come forward with any word of the shooting. It only became public the next day when the owner of the land where Cheney likes to shoot birds talked to a local paper. I wonder if the regime will try to launch an investigation into who leaked the information to the press, who committed the shameful act that compromised national security at a time of war. No public word from Cheney about being sorry or anything. I guess that would seem a little too soft, coming from such a tough bugger. Maybe if Cheney's wife spent less time writing novels about lesbian love affairs and tended to her husband a little more, he'd be less of a danger to society. USA Today
  • Hair Brained Fraud Concocted by Bush -- According to the new edition of Lawless World, a book by British author Philippe Sands, in the days before Colin Powell was set to deliver his lies to the UN about weapons of mass destruction, Bush and Blair were worried about their attempts to sell their war. According to a report in The LA Times , "Bush proposed an alternative: paint a U.S. spy plane in United Nations colors and see if that didn't tempt Hussein's forces to shoot at it. In any case, he said, the war was 'penciled in' for March 10 and the United States would go ahead with or without a second U.N. resolution. Blair replied that he was 'solidly with' the president."

    Valentine's Day

  • "Mr. Whittington is a former member of the Texas Board of Corrections, which runs the state's prisons, and he once led the Texas Public Finance Authority Board.

  • Skeletons Escaping from the Closet -- No Bush-Cheney story is without its intrigue; no stone is turned that does not reveal the rot of corruption. According to the New York Times, Cheney's shooting victim is "a former member of the Texas Board of Corrections, which runs the state's prisons ... In 1999, George W. Bush, then governor of Texas, named Mr. Whittington to head the Texas Funeral Service Commission, which licenses and regulates funeral directors and embalmers in the state. When he was named, a former executive director of the commission, Eliza May, was suing the state, saying that she had been fired because she investigated a funeral home chain that was owned by a friend of Mr. Bush."

  • More on the Cheney shooting -- Anne Armstrong, the owner of the ranch where Cheney shot, "served as: a close advisor to President Nixon; President Fordís British Ambassador; and approved covert actions on the Presidentís Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board under Reagan. A veteran of blue-chip corporate boards, Anne Armstrong was a Halliburton director when that corporation hired Cheney." whitehouseforsale.org

  • Out of Control -- According to ABC, Cheney "broke the cardinal rule of hunting." It hardly seems necessary to mention that a "hunter" should look at what he is shooting and is indeed responsible for what he shoots. This bit in the original reports quoting Ms Armstrong (the ranch owner) saying Whittington "came up from behind the vice president and the other hunter and didn't signal them or indicate to them or announce himself," is pretty weird. Cheney had a gun. It's like blaming the victim in a hit-and-run accident.
  • Splainin' to do -- Now that Time magazine released the first picture of Abramoff in the Oval Office with Bush, a new explanation has to be crafted. "I don't know the guy" is cutting it anymore. But a TV report said the White House stuck to its story and said it didn't know how he got into the room. Whenever they are cornered, the Bushies take refuge in feigned ignorance. I know nothing. Time magazine via Truthout

    February 15, 2006

    Cheney, the Lone Nut -- This Cheney shooting incident is so horrific, and so tragic from the point of view of this poor man Whittington, who has now suffered a heart attack and whose life obviously is in danger.

    Seeing the spin and suppression of information we have grown accustomed to with the Bush administration applied in this situation is nothing less than bizarre. This morning on WQXR, the radio station of the New York Times, there was a report that doctors are watching Whittington closely, that he seems to be out of danger for the moment, but as they backtrack to recap the story they persist in calling it a "mild" heart attack.

    What is "mild" about it? Why should a heart attack, that most grave of threats to the continuation of life, ever be referred to as mild, other than when you are trying to protect the administration and the evil Dick Cheney from further embarrassment over his continuing ghastly deeds?

    On Sunday the reports on CNN were saying that Whittington was "sitting up, cracking jokes..." and how "fine" he was, and yet he was in the intensive care unit. How fine could he be in the intensive care unit? It really lays the ugliness of the present state of the U.S. bare on the most fundamental, sordid levels.

    There have also been efforts to downplay the effects of buckshot on the body, phrasing it as being "peppered" with "pellets". Deadly pellets of lead, that is. If this poor man survives this, he will never be the same. There is no doubt about it. He has buckshot lodged in his heart. The New York Times, doctors said he has a minimum of five and "probably less than 150 or 200" pellets left in his body. He has taken a horrible beating; his body has taken a tremendous assault. (At thinkprogress.org you can see what buckshot does to a human target at 30 yards, when it's had time to spread out significantly.)

    Like every incident concerning the Bush administration, the official story is full of weirdness. The obvious attempt to avoid revealing it at all till it came out on its own; the suspicious alteration of times and other details as the story unfolded; Scott McClellan's claims to have not known about it -- no story ever comes straight from the White House. They are always full of bizarre contradictions and nonsense.

    Then there was the desperate and repulsive attempt to make a big joke about it, with McClellan cracking jokes, Jeb Bush wearing orange. (See "White House Finds Humor in Hunting Mishap") Ha ha, very funny. And the cowardly Cheney, characteristically avoiding the press, keeping his evil behind the scenes, not even putting out a statement from his office, not making a public appearance to address the latest crisis he caused.

    To add insult to Whittington's grave injuries, the news media have played it down, as if this poor man's injuries are mere "collateral damage" and not worthy of being described in their full horror because it may embarrass the administration. These horrible, unprincipled, heartless people who have taken over the U.S., seem to have no limit to the disaster they can wreak upon the world.

    The more they get away with, the more horror they wreak. They're like the habitual criminal who is compelled to continue to commit ever more risky crimes until apprehended. When they succeeded with pulling off the crime of the fraudulent invasion of Iraq, they continued to compound their errors with a mass negligent homicide in the aftermath of Katrina, and now wildman Dick Cheney has gone out without a hunting permit and shot a man, who may survive, but is gravely wounded. Who will stop these monsters?

    February 17, 2006

    Cheney on Fox

    A Glimpse into the Criminal Mind

    So four days after Cheney shot a man, after a crescendo of public clamor, he finally faces the public -- but not really. After sneaking around and avoiding the press for days, he finally pretended to face it. But it was only a sitting with his buddies at Fox News. They are practically his servants. He didn't have to really face reporters, really take questions. Just because he shot a man and didn't report it properly to police so no one really knows what happened is no reason to disturb his royal highness with having to submit to questions.

    So there's Cheney on Fox, speaking in that weird clandestine whisper, talking about the incident, rambling all around going off on tangents about details that are irrelevant to the serious issues of the shooting, saying in effect that there are no issues, and the Fox News clone treating him with kid gloves, never challenging him to just stay on the subject. (Check out the transcript at MSNBC)

    He talks about when he met Whittington 30 years ago while working for "Gerry Ford", hum de dum dum, which is not really particularly important when he hasn't yet said anything material about what happened. He says in his cold, technical language that the "heart problem" appears to be "resolved". I guess that means the guy is no longer in the middle of a heart attack. However, having buckshot in your heart precludes any "resolution" in the sense of returning to the state you were in before you were shot.

    Just for the hell of it, do a search on the transcript and see if you can find the word "sorry" or "apologize." Never mind. It's not there. Cheney does say it was one of the "worst days of my life". That's obvious enough, but for Cheney, every utterance is apropos of politics. Oh shit. This is going to be a real pain in the ass. What's another death to Cheney? After pushing so hard for an unjustified war in Iraq in which thousands have died -- and he's still willing to pull out the same old lies to try to perpetuate it -- what's one more death? If only it wasn't public, that's what Cheney is concerned about. The political ramifications.

    Cheney sticks to this description that it was on the "right side" of Whittington's body. But the heart is on the left, isn't it? Oh well, left-right, up-down, black-white -- in the Bush-Cheney fantasy world it's whatever they say it is. It doesn't have to hold up to logic.

    He shifts around from present to past tense, from first to second person. "I had no idea how serious it was going to be. I mean, it could have been extraordinarily serious. You just don't know at that moment. You know he's been struck, that there's a lot of shot that had hit him. But you don't know ó you think about his eyes. Fortunately, he was wearing hunting glasses, and that protected his eyes. You ó you just don't know."

    It's suspicious when he suddenly shifts from "I" to "you", disassociating himself, creating the impression that he is hitting a rough spot and has to pull back from the narrative and his own personal involvement and suddenly look at it from an imaginary point outside of time. Any interrogater will pay special attention to those moments in a testimony and see them as possible entry points for further inquiry to find out what is being glossed over. For example, when asked, "Was anybody drinking in this party?" suddenly Cheney, who has shown little problem with bold-faced lies in the past, shifts into second person: "No. You donít hunt with people who drink. Thatís not a good idea." At some point, however, he admitted to having a beer. Hmmm. Isn't that drinking?

    He throws in this bit: "Early reports are always wrong". But early reports of often more true than after the spinmeisters have gotten hold of them and made adjustments. That's Cheney dis-educating the public on how to make sense out of the news.

    When asked about responsibility, he said, "Well, ultimately, Iím the guy who pulled the trigger that fired the round that hit Harry. And you can talk about all of the other conditions that existed at the time, but thatís the bottom line. And thereís no -- it was not Harryís fault. You canít blame anybody else. Iím the guy who pulled the trigger and shot my friend." He introduces the idea of it being Harry's fault, then negates it. But that idea is still in the air. It creates a subliminal implication that he's just taking responsibility because he's such a big man but he brings up the idea that it was really Harry's fault. Harry really shouldn't have been there, that bozo.

    Cheney says "It's something I'll never forget..." That's as close as he gets to apologizing, but that's still in reference to Dick Cheney and the trouble it's caused him. Whittington's troubles -- and they are severe -- are not part of it. What is missing is any sense of remorse, of empathy. Yeah, I'm in deep shit now, he seems to be thinking. But that sense of true connection with the consequences of what he did, the responsibility, seems to be absent. He sounds sociopathic. This lack of empathy or conscience is reminiscent of interviews or letters from Ted Bundy or Jeffrey MacDonald. Or Nixon. It's all about himself, not the shooting victim.

    February 18, 2006

  • From the Asylum -- This is a sign of the times and how far through the looking glass we've gone. Mr Wittington can now speak, has even been seen by reporters, and what does he say? He's sorry. Sorry for the trouble he caused the "veep" (!) LA Times, The Guardian.
  • Unanswered Questions about the Cheney Shooting -- Washington Post
  • Connecting the Dots of Cheney's Crimes -- The Nation
  • Optional, do-it-yourself justice -- Let us take care of investigating ourselves. Bush cohort/atty general, framer of the legal argument for justifying Bush's use of torture and a man who called the Geneva Conventions "quaint" and "obsolete" is now brushing aside calls for him to recuse himself from the greasy Abramoff investigation. Now that his boss has been shown in photographs with Abramoff in the White House, Gonzales is not letting go for a minute. They saw what happened when Ashcroft recused himself from the CIA leak case. We ended up with Fitzgerald prosecuting top-ranking White House officials. Very sad and sordid. Truthout
  • Meanwhile, in the midst of this dark fantasy, a rare glimmer of rational behavior: The International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration. Let's get to the point. The criminals must be removed. truthout.org
  • Not With a Bang -- From Australia, an interesting analysis of a very bad week for the White House. abc.net.au
  • The End of the Republic -- "Through the justifications it has put forth for warrentless wiretapping, the Bush administration is almost literally crossing the Rubicon, beginning the process of transforming the United States from a republic into to a presidential dictatorship... Bush and his surrogates claim that the President has the constitutional right, as part of his inherent powers as Commander-In-Chief during a time of war (an endless war in this case) to do anything he chooses to do if he believes it protects national security. In short, Bush claims the power of a dictator." Miles Mogulescu
  • Hundreds of Thousands of American Terrorists -- The database of terrorist suspects kept by the US authorities now holds 325,000 names, a fourfold increase in two and a half years. guardian.co.uk
  • A surge in whistle-blowing ... and reprisals. csmonitor.com

    February 20, 2006

    Graceless Under Pressure

    If the hunting accident had happened to anyone else, it would have been very different. But Cheney, because he is Cheney, the same Cheney who voted against releasing Nelson Mandela from prison; who opposed Martin Luther King Day; who claimed to have "other priorities" than fighting in Vietnam; who claimed endlessly against all evidence that Iraq was responsible for 9/11; who claimed no one had ever imagined airplanes flying into buildings; who crafted the U.S. energy policy in private with Enron; who advocates torture as a U.S. policy, etc. etc. etc. --- Yes -- Cheney is a worthy target of loathing without this.

    Now he takes a shotgun and nearly kills an associate. Of course one may have compassion for anyone who commits such a grievous error -- accidents will happen. But the fact that it was an accident does not greatly ameliorate the damage. When you handle a gun, a higher order of caution is imperative. If someone runs over you, how much better off are you if the driver didn't mean to?

    So, accidents? They happen, of course. Tragic? Indeed. But there is also the element of responsibility. Cheney's lapse of responsible behavior in his handling of a firearm seems only too fitting to his character. And then there was his sleazy handling of the matter in the aftermath.

    Someone defined character as behavior under pressure. Cheney's character has been evident for a long time. But this incident lays it bare naked.

    Cheney has fashioned a successful career of exerting power from shadowy places behind the scenes. He's the supreme bureaucrat, carries undisguised contempt for virtually everyone, operates in secret, rarely has to answer for anything, sees himself as the elite of all time, and not without justification.

    At the pinnacle of his career pulling strings behind the essentially neutral talking head Bush, he's like the Cardinal Richelieu of the U.S., arguably the most powerful man in America ... in history, with virtually no accountability, with a curtain around all his activities. It seems impossible that he could ever be held accountable for the tiniest fraction of damage he has wreaked on the world. So here's a moment when a negligent mishap forced him to reveal his true character, caused a light to be shone in his corner and flushed him out like a rat.

    As Suzanne Goldberg writes in The Guardian, "The extraordinary nature of the incident, and Cheney's initial refusal to own up to it, dominated newspaper headlines and late-night television in America last week. What started as a bizarre accident became an emblem of Cheney's disdain for the press, White House secrecy and, ultimately, a metaphor for the failures of the Bush administration."

  • The Response the Self-Determined -- Bill Clinton said "I think that it's got a little more light than it would have because the administration has an enormous penchant for secrecy, for not telling anybody anything about anything." And one more thing, it brought Cheney's approval ratings a little lower. Down from 32%! To 29%. And you think they really won that election fair and square? News 24

  • Tricks of Fate -- Cheney was suddenly, inadvertently, perhaps for the first time in his life, up against the true horrors of a firearm turned on human flesh, something he has pushed for relentlessly for others. Worthwhile essay by Joe Klein in Time: "One valuable metaphor emerged last week. The New York Times described the possible legal charges that could be brought in a hunting accident. "Mr. Cheney could be charged with negligence, defined as failing to understand the dangers involved and disregarding them, or recklessness, defined as understanding the dangers and disregarding them." Which is perhaps the neatest summary I've seen of the public debate surrounding the Bush Administration's war in Iraq."

    February 22, 2006

  • A pretty good file on the Cheney shooting -- telegraph.co.uk
  • Bush Gone Crazy -- According to the New York Daily News, some family members of people lost in the World Trade Center think Bush has "gone crazy -- turning over security to UAE when some of the money from 9/11 came through Dubai."
  • Bush's "mandate" -- "Bush has less than 50% approval ratings in all but six states, and that doesn't include Texas. Interestingly, in Ohio, the state that allegedly swung the election to him and the state in which evidence of election fraud was widespread, he is approved of by only 37% versus 60% who disapprove." crooksandliars.com
  • Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to Condi Rice: "Don't mess with me, girl!" AOL
  • Harpers calls for Bush Impeachment -- buzzflash.com
  • Latin America Revolts Against the Empire -- greenleft.org

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