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  1. #1
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    Deputy Dick: what we don't know

    Deputy Dick: what we don't know
    Andrew Stephen
    Monday 27th February 2006


    Had he been drinking? Why were the witness reports so contradictory? Many questions remain about that quail shoot.

    It was not long before I received my first e-mail from a senior Republican friend. First I had baited him with one of my own: "What a typical Republican Cheney is," I wrote when I first heard that the vice-president had shot and nearly killed a 78-year-old man after mistaking him for a six-ounce bird. "He sets out to kill beautiful little birds but is so incompetent at doing it that he maims old men instead." Hours later came the retort, in the form of a professional-looking logo which read: "I'd rather go hunting with Dick Cheney than ride with Ted Kennedy."

    Touche, the Republicans think. The Cheney shooting matter is over, they insist, a seven-day media wonder now firmly closed; the man George W Bush memorably described as a "straight shooter" in 2000 can get back to serious business, such as running the odd war or two. Yet questions remain. How much drinking had been going on before the shooting? Why was there a delay of more than 14 hours before the police were able to investi- gate? Was it to allow Cheney to sober up? Is it true that Cheney's wife, Lynne - who was absent from the merriment - is unhappy with the straight shooter's friendship with a woman who was at his side? Why were reports of exactly what happened so contradictory? And so on.

    I will come back to some of these questions and will provide further details of that gruesome weekend. For me, however, it is an allegory that tells a thoroughly American story: the American male's mysterious obsession with guns. We all know that the second amendment to the US constitution grants Americans "the right of the people to keep and bear arms", and that as a result there are roughly 30,000 deaths from gunshot wounds every year, approximately half of them suicides. But why does a historical anomaly survive so strongly into the 21st century?

    The truth is that American boys and men today are the most pampered in the history of mankind, yet so many - and, yes, I know more than my fair share of them - have an almost primal need to demonstrate that they are really ultra-tough outdoorsmen who can expertly handle a gun, as though their very masculinity depends on it. Never mind that the vast majority live in towns where the biggest threat from wildlife comes from mice or, possibly, the odd raccoon: they lovingly clean and polish their guns, just as Cheney did with his 28-gauge Perazzi Brescia shotgun. I have never seen this reported, but I happen to know that Bush himself has a large private collection of guns in Texas which he shows off to privileged visitors.

    There are two possible explanations for the phenomenon, I suspect. The first is that guns did play a vital role in the creation of the United States because they were used to slaughter millions of the real Americans who were here before; maybe the sense that guns are necessary to keep Native Americans at bay lives on in some subconscious way. I think the most important reason, though, is that Americans have never experienced the terror of real domestic warfare since their civil war - and as a result they feel the need to dress up like Cheney and pretend to be soldiers, even though their quarry is creatures such as the bobwhite or the scaled quail (which are, incidentally, closer to becoming endangered species than most people would have you believe).

    We do not have to look far, either, to see why this confused melange of feelings and instincts is perpetuated. The National Rifle Association has given more than $14m to politicians in the past 15 years, 85 per cent of it to Republicans. In the seven years between 1997 and 2003 - encompassing the Bush I and Clinton administrations - it spent $11m on lobbying in Washington alone (and we all know, now, what that means). Gun Owners of America, second only to the NRA in its promulgation of weapons, spends even more. In contrast, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, named after James Brady, Ronald Reagan's press secretary who was severely wounded when Reagan was nearly assassinated in 1981, raised just $1.5m over 15 years. It's un-American to be anti-gun, you see.

    Now let us go back to that weekend. I have been to that part of the world just once, and have no wish to return to such arid scrubland. The 49,300 acres in southern Texas on which Cheney was having his fun are owned by 78-year-old Anne Armstrong, a Republican donor and fundraiser whom President Gerald R Ford rewarded with the ambassadorship to the UK in 1976; the scrubland (also known to the media as the "estate" or "ranch") has been in the family since 1882, which in Texan ter.ms makes the Armstrongs a bunch of true American aristocrats. In 2002 Armstrong and her husband, Tobin, attended the funeral of the Queen Mother in London.

    Cheney is not from this kind of background at all. Nor is he the rugged frontiersman of his cherished self-image. He is actually the son of a federal civil servant and was born in Lincoln, the urban capital of Nebraska. He managed to avoid military service in Vietnam by getting no fewer than five deferments, and then spent his entire career until 1991 in government, starting as an aide to Richard Nixon, serving 12 years as a congressman and ending up as defence secretary to Bush the Elder, himself an enthusiastic quail hunter and nouveau Texas outdoorsman.

    But for Cheney, what he doubtless views as the good life - mixing socially with the Armstrongs and their like, and reaping scores of millions of dollars - did not begin until 1995, when he was appointed chief executive officer of Halliburton, the giant military contractor. Crucially, Anne Armstrong was on the Halliburton board that chose him. Thus Dick Cheney, wealthy man and hunter, arrived on the social as well as the political scene. Tobin Armstrong, who died last year, was an early financier of Karl Rove; the Armstrongs' daughter Katharine, who was present at the fateful shoot but then gave conflicting accounts of what happened, is a registered political lobbyist.

    So, that is how Cheney came to be on the Armstrong ranch. Now to what happened. The shooting party lunched on antelope and jicama (I am not making this up), flushed down with (according to Katharine Armstrong) Dr Pepper, an execrable soda drink; Ms Armstrong insisted that there had been "no, zero, zippo" alcohol around, but Cheney himself later spoiled this story by conceding that he'd had "a beer" at lunch. Like George W Bush, Cheney has had serious drink problems and was twice convicted of drunk driving when he was in his twenties. It is customary, I am told, for much drink to be consumed before setting out on quail hunts, and sometimes then taken in hip flasks to the hunt.

    "Hunt", however, is hardly the word. This was lazy man's hunting, which is considered tacky in the extreme even in most hunting circles and which is actually illegal in most states, including Texas (but not when it takes place on private land, as was the case here): Cheney's party of seven set out in three cars, from which they would descend if and when pointer dogs spotted quail. Cheney's immediate shooting partner was Pamela Pitzer Willeford, whom George W Bush appointed to be US ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein in 2003, and who has supposedly inspired Lynne Cheney's ire; Willeford's husband was among the weekend party but was a mile away at the time when Cheney's prized rifle unleashed 260 lead pellets the size of peppercorns at poor Harry Whittington.

    A local policeman heard on his scanner that an ambulance was being called to the Armstrong scrubland, and phoned his boss - Ramon Salinas III, sheriff of Kenedy County - at home. The policeman went to the premises but security men there sent him away, claiming they knew nothing of any incident. Salinas then received a call from a US Secret Service agent called Martinez, as a result of which the decision was made that no police investigation would start until the following morning. Cheney was not asked to provide any urine or blood sample, standard operating procedure in such incidents. What, I wonder, would have happened to Whittington if he had shot Cheney rather than vice versa?

    More than 14 hours elapsed, in fact, before the vice-president was even cursorily interviewed. "The investigation reveals that there was no alcohol or misconduct involved in the incident," the sheriff's office subsequently announced, to nobody's surprise. Thus Cheney's little adventure ended. It took Senator Chuck Hagel, a highly decorated Vietnam veteran and possible contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, to state the obvious: "If he'd been in the military, he would have learned gun safety," he said.

    But that might have involved real military combat, with real bullets and real bombs - and maybe even a little shedding of his own blood, like Senators Hagel and John Kerry, or hundreds of thousands of lesser souls. And that would not have suited a straight shooter like Dick Cheney - the most powerful US vice-president in history, and architect of a war that has so far cost tens of thousands of lives - one little bit.

    .
    Last edited by sojustask; 02-28-2006 at 02:06 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Deputy Dick: what we don't know

    Pathetic!

    Just can't let it go can you lady mod?

    lmao

    .

  3. #3
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    Re: Deputy Dick: what we don't know

    Quote Originally Posted by Grim17
    Pathetic!

    Just can't let it go can you lady mod?

    lmao

    .
    I agree there, Cheney is Pathetic!

  4. #4
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    Re: Deputy Dick: what we don't know

    Quote Originally Posted by Phinnly Slash Buster
    I agree there, Cheney is Pathetic!

    And right now, he's probably doing his greatest public service since he first went to Washington. Standing in as comic relief in Bush's place. Although Bush running into cops on his bicycle is pretty hard to beat, Cheney managed with birdshot to a lawyer's face.

    Lady Mod

  5. #5
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    Re: Deputy Dick: what we don't know

    LOL, this guy must not want to win his race. I wonder if he'll take his rifle?

    ***************************************

    Cheney to headline Roskam fundraiser

    Published February 28, 2006


    ADDISON -- Vice President Dick Cheney will headline a fundraiser next month for state Sen. Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton) in his campaign to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) in the west suburban 6th District.

    According to invitations sent to Republican boosters last week, the event will be held March 13 at Medinah Banquets in Addison, with tickets going for $250--$2,100 for a photo and private reception with the vice president. Roskam, a Wheaton attorney, faces no opposition in the March 21 GOP primary, but three Democrats are contending for the nomination: Christine Cegelis, Tammy Duckworth and Lindy Scott.

    Roskam had $834,000 in the bank as of the Dec. 31 deadline for federal campaign fund disclosures, but Democrats are optimistic they can take the seat, long held by Republicans, in what has become one of the more high-profile congressional races in the country.

    Duckworth has had recent fundraisers with national Democratic leaders, including Illinois Sens. Dick Durbin and Barack Obama and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

    .

  6. #6
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    Re: Deputy Dick: what we don't know

    Some say LBJ set up JFK, will Dick to the same for his boss? If it happens in Pakistan he could blame terrorist and start more wars and make more money. Can he turn down such a chance?

  7. #7
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    Re: Deputy Dick: what we don't know

    Quote Originally Posted by Worried_in_the_USA
    Some say LBJ set up JFK, will Dick to the same for his boss? If it happens in Pakistan he could blame terrorist and start more wars and make more money. Can he turn down such a chance?
    Heard the line in Vegas is better than even money that they'll kill each other in another quail hunting adventure.
    Last edited by Phinnly Slash Buster; 02-28-2006 at 03:56 PM.

  8. #8
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    Re: Deputy Dick: what we don't know

    Quote Originally Posted by Phinnly Slash Buster
    Heard the line in Vegas is better than even money that they'll kill each other in another quail hunting adventure.
    Would that be with or without the beer? ;)

    Lady Mod

  9. #9
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    Re: Deputy Dick: what we don't know

    Bruce Willis poked fun at Dick Cheney's recent shooting accident by appearing on The Late Show With David Letterman made-up like the US vice president's hunting victim Harry Whittington.

    The actor had tiny wounds on the left side of his face, resembling a spray of buckshot holes and when he smiled he revealed one tiny hole in his front tooth where he was allegedly hit by the ammunition.

    Willis joked: "I got shot." He then lifted his hat to reveal his semi-bald head covered in band-aids, adding: "Shot all my hair off."

    The Die Hard actor went on to explain: "I was playing cards with some politician guys, sitting around drinking all night.

    "After a bottle and half of Jack Daniels, somebody came up with the idea: 'Let's go hunting.' It seemed like such a good idea at the timeā€¦

    "I'm thinking we're going to go out and hunt rhino or moose, (but we hunt) quail. But it's all really a blur to me."

  10. #10
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    Re: Deputy Dick: what we don't know

    Quote Originally Posted by sojustask
    Would that be with or without the beer? ;)

    Lady Mod
    Beer yes! And plenty of it. I think the next time they go hunting it should be televised like one of those reality shows. Survivor? Fear Factor?
    Celebrity Death Match?
    Will Dick Cheney be the next celebrity to make an appearance on ' South Park' ?
    Forget the port contract these guys could make a lot of $ on these deals.

  11. #11
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    Re: Deputy Dick: what we don't know

    Quote Originally Posted by Phinnly Slash Buster
    Beer yes! And plenty of it. I think the next time they go hunting it should be televised like one of those reality shows. Survivor? Fear Factor?
    Celebrity Death Match?
    Will Dick Cheney be the next celebrity to make an appearance on ' South Park' ?
    Forget the port contract these guys could make a lot of $ on these deals.
    Now there's an idea. A positive and useful thing to do instead of waging war and smooshing their rich buddies. LOL. The proceeds could offset Medicaid, raise the minimum wage. All kinds of things.

    It must be rough for Cheney to know that the thing he will be best remembered for is shooting his hunting buddy in the face. Not for anything good he might have done, but for nearly taking a friend out. What a legacy to leave behind for future generations to read. Imagine his children having to live that one down? LOL

    Quote Originally Posted by future conversation
    Stranger: Wasn't your dad the drunk that shot that lawyer in the face while they were hunting?

    Cheney kid: He wasn't drunk and he was aiming at a quail when the guy just popped up out of nowhere.

    Stranger: Ya, that's what the "official story" is but you can tell me. What REALLY happened that day?

    Cheney kid: I don't want to talk about it.... :mad:
    Of course I don't recall Cheney actually doing anything to be proud of to leave as a legacy do you? Maybe Grim has a scrapbook or something to share on the topic, he seems to be a big Cheney fan.

    How about it Grim?


    Lady Mod

  12. #12
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    Re: Deputy Dick: what we don't know

    Well Grim aren't you EVEN going to TRY to come to the defence of your hero?
    Scrapbook? I'm sure you have a thick one.


    .

  13. #13
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    Re: Deputy Dick: what we don't know

    Quote Originally Posted by sojustask
    Well Grim aren't you EVEN going to TRY to come to the defence of your hero?
    Scrapbook? I'm sure you have a thick one.


    .

    As you already know lady mod, my response had nothing to do with defending Cheney. The man doesn't need my defense, because he has done nothing wrong according to the victim of the shooting, witnesses to the accident and law enforcement officials. This matter was "Case closed" just a few days after it happened.

    My response was simply pointing out how pathetic you and others on the liberal left have become. Your side has developed some kind of manic obsession to destroy the Bush administration at all costs, and your willingness to buy into stories like this just proves that honesty and doing what's right have no place in your negative hate-filled world. Your so fixated on Bush's demise, you can't even see that your spitting on America in the process. It's no wonder the democrats are sinking deeper and deeper into obscurity and political irrelevance.

    .

  14. #14
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    Re: Deputy Dick: what we don't know

    Quote Originally Posted by Grim17
    As you already know lady mod, my response had nothing to do with defending Cheney. The man doesn't need my defense, because he has done nothing wrong according to the victim of the shooting, witnesses to the accident and law enforcement officials. This matter was "Case closed" just a few days after it happened.

    My response was simply pointing out how pathetic you and others on the liberal left have become. Your side has developed some kind of manic obsession to destroy the Bush administration at all costs, and your willingness to buy into stories like this just proves that honesty and doing what's right have no place in your negative hate-filled world. Your so fixated on Bush's demise, you can't even see that your spitting on America in the process. It's no wonder the democrats are sinking deeper and deeper into obscurity and political irrelevance.

    .
    You are so blind. The dems aren't sinking into obscurity nor political irrelevance. Not that I care either way, it's only trading one set of crooks and liars for another.

    Bush is not America. Bush is not even a good example of an American. Hell, he's not even a bad example of an American, he stands for everything against America. Even if you are unable to admit that, the truth of that is not lost on the rest of the world. You ass lickers are what is disgraceful to this country. You are the ones who have abandoned it and the reasons it was fought for in the first place.

    Oh by the way, I post all these stories because it bothers you so much. I get really amused watching you fume and fuss. Endless entertainment, great comic relief.


    Lady Mod

  15. #15
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    Re: Deputy Dick: what we don't know

    Quote Originally Posted by sojustask
    You are so blind. The dems aren't sinking into obscurity nor political irrelevance. Not that I care either way, it's only trading one set of crooks and liars for another.

    Bush is not America. Bush is not even a good example of an American. Hell, he's not even a bad example of an American, he stands for everything against America. Even if you are unable to admit that, the truth of that is not lost on the rest of the world. You ass lickers are what is disgraceful to this country. You are the ones who have abandoned it and the reasons it was fought for in the first place.

    Oh by the way, I post all these stories because it bothers you so much. I get really amused watching you fume and fuss. Endless entertainment, great comic relief.
    Lady Mod
    I wish I could write like that.

  16. #16
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    Re: Deputy Dick: what we don't know

    LOL, look what I found! Now why hadn't someone warned Whittington with this before the shooting? Oh that's right, it was a secret hunting expedition. I forgot momentarily.

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