Monday, February 27, 2006


This is the guy who pulled the trigger of the gun that fired the round that hit his friend that ruined the hunt and shed some light on the world that Dick built...

Four days after blasting 78-year-old hunting partner Harry Whittington in the face, neck and chest with birdshot, vice president Dick Cheney emerged from his fortified bunker to make a snarling, unapologetic taped announcement to Fox News' Brit Hume that basically amounted to what he did on his own time was his own business. Dick said shooting Harry the previous Saturday was one of the worst days of his life -- which is quite an admission considering the fate of those who have been in Dick's crosshairs over the years.

Harry, no longer Dick's friend but a mere "acquaintance," emerged from the hospital two days later to apologize to the media for the delay he had caused by having an operation, a heart attack and a shotgun pellet in his heart. Harry begged Dick and his family to forgive him for the trouble he and his family had caused them. "We all assume certain risks in whatever we do, whatever activities we pursue," Harry said. "And regardless of how experienced, careful and dedicated we are, accidents do and will happen -- and that's what happened last Friday..."

Last Friday? Now -- if you're a reporter, wouldn't you be a teeny bit interested in whether the shooting occurred on Friday rather than Saturday? Wouldn't you wonder why it took three hours to get Harry to a hospital 20 minutes away when Dick's ambulance was on the scene, why it took four days -- perhaps five -- for Dick to go public? Perhaps it would even cross your mind that Dick might be waiting to see which story he should peddle. If Harry died, he could send ranch owner Katharine Armstrong out to say she had seen it all and it was poor, dead Harry's fault. If he survived, Dick would suck it in and somberly tell a sympathetic Hume -- "Ultimately I'm the guy who pulled the trigger that fired the round that hit Harry..."

But even then, Dick and Katharine couldn't keep their stories straight. Katharine first said she was sitting in a car and wasn't aware of an accident until she saw the Secret Service guys running toward the group. Then she remembered she was right there at Dick's elbow and saw the whole thing, a bonafide eye-witness and the only one qualified to deal with the media. According to Katharine, there was "zero, zippo" drinking that day, but then she remembered there might have been a "few" beers consumed, and even Dick admitted he "popped a top" at the pre-hunt barbeque.

Members of the press corps might wonder why Dick chose to return to the house and fix himself a cocktail rather than accompany his victim to the hospital. They might also be interested in comments made by Dick's Secret Service agents who say Dick was "clearly inebriated" when he bagged Harry. Capitol Hill Blue's Doug Thompson reports, "According to those who have talked with the agents and others present at the outing, Cheney was drunk when he gunned down his friend and the day-and-a-half delay in allowing Texas law enforcement officials on the ranch where the shooting occurred gave all members of the hunting party time to sober up."

Thompson says the agents reported that members of the hunting party, including Dick, consumed alcohol "before and during the hunting expedition," and their report also noted that "Cheney exhibited 'visible signs' of impairment, including slurred speech and erratic actions."

But reporters don't ask such questions in Dick's world. Those who are not house-broken are, at a minimum, paper-trained. They don't ask questions in the house or even close to the house for fear of tracking the resulting mess in on the rug. Their yapping and barking on-camera at White House press secretary Scott McClellan concerned just one issue -- they should have been told first. "We have cell phones," they wailed. "We have Blackberries! We're the press corps -- we should have been given the story before a local newspaper!"

There's a big difference between being "given" a script to copy and hitting the investigative trail to dig up what really happened. Apparently, no one in the mainstream media dared question Dick's final taped account. Not one questioned the 14-hour delay in the Kenedy County Sheriff's Department getting access to Dick nor wondered why the Sheriff would send a deputy to dutifully jot down Dick's account and take depositions from other parties without asking pertinent questions about alcohol consumption, or why Dick can't get it straight whether he "turned right," as he said several times, or "counter-clockwise" as he is saying now.

While reporters were frenziedly chasing their tails, Internet reporter Joseph Ehrlich wrote an excellent piece wherein he addressed both questions and answers in this tangled affair. Ehrlich meticuously laid out the timeline, the elaborate behind-the-scenes machinations, and Dick and Katharine's ridiculous efforts to cover up what actually occurred, to include having the Secret Service bump the time of the shooting to 5:50 PM to put the sun in Dick's eyes when he pulled the trigger. Ehrlich even quotes Harry's daughter who, in a strange revelation, said that after her father was shot, he lay there for such a long time "he was unsure whether he was being taken to the hospital or the morgue."

Such a ghoulish remark is more than passing strange, yet the media failed to pick up on it. Little attention has been given to poor Harry other than he is a 78-year-old Austin attorney, and the victim of yet another Dick Cheney "accident."

In truth, Harry, like those with whom he cavorts, is a multi-millionaire, and a major Republican player and donor. Bush appointed Harry to chair the Texas regulatory Funeral Service Commission in 1999, just in time to force the commission to settle a whistleblower lawsuit shortly before the 2000 election. Harry managed to keep Bush out of the courts and out of jail in the burgeoning Funeralgate scandal that theatened to engulf not only Bush but Robert Waltrip, owner of Service Corportion International (SCI), the largest funeral corporation in Texas; Joe Albaugh, Bush crony, campaign manager and former FEMA director; Texas Attorney General (now Senator) John Cornyn; and, of course, Bush counsel (now U.S. Attorney General) Alberto Gonzales.

Dick's world is an incestuous world whose core is Texas power and money -- lots of it. As Sydney Blumenthal writes in Salon, both Dick and Karl Rove literally owe their present positions to Katharine and her family. "Anne Armstrong, Katharine's mother, was on the board of Halliburton that made Dick Cheney its chief executive officer," Blumenthal said. "Tobin Armstrong, Katharine's father, financed Karl Rove & Co., Rove's political consulting firm." Blumenthal says Katharine is a lobbyist for Houston law firm Baker Botts, founded in the 19th Century by the family of James A. Baker, former secretary of state, Poppy Bush's buddy and the architect of the 2000 presidential coup d`etat that gave the presidency to Bush and Dick.

The people who inhabit Dick's world possess such power they can silence an entire White House press corps in mid-yelp -- such arrogance they can turn away law enforcement officers and delay an investigation until a more convenient time, even though a man has been shot in the face. Bill Moyers, formerly of PBS, now President of the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, very succinctly sums them up...

"It is a Dick Cheney world out there," Moyers writes, "--a world where politicians and lobbyists hunt together, dine together, drink together, play together, pray together and prey together, all the while carving up the world according to their own interests."

Monday, February 13, 2006


Karl Rove is frantically busy getting the word out to Senators -- Clear Bush or Else.

NewsMax is reporting, or bragging, that Rove, a college dropout and crude schoolyard bully, is threatening to "blacklist" any Republican who votes against George Bush in the Senate Judiciary Committee's investigation of the administration's unauthorized wiretapping.

This could get interesting. Committee chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa) called for the hearings and flatly stated on NBC's Meet the Press that spying on Americans is illegal and, if Bush is guilty, impeachment was certainly an option. And, there have been outraged grumblings not only from Democrats but from most Republicans on the committee.

"It's hardball all the way," a GOP congressional aide declared. I beg to differ. In a game of hardball, there are two teams playing and the best team wins. This arrogant threat by Rove is nothing short of abuse by a White House team that will allow no other players on the field.

Being "blacklisted" means no White House political or financial support for Senators running for re-election. According to the article, the White House "is worried that the defection of a handful of Republican committee members could lead to a finding that Bush violated the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act - and possible impeachment hearings."

But Rove says if Republicans remain loyal they will get money and publicity for their campaigns, and those who are really really good may get a photo op with their Dear Leader.

Americans know this is not an "eavesdropping" program wherein only terrorists who are either calling to, or receiving calls from, foreign countries are targeted. This is furtive and illegal spying on American citizens, on United Nations officials and on political enemies in open defiance of the U.S. Constitution. It is a test of loyalty for a group of elected officials who must decide if they are Americans -- or if they are political lackeys who put party loyalty before party morality.

They will decide if George Bush has the "inherent" power as president to put himself not only above -- but outside -- the law.

Sunday, February 12, 2006


I try not to listen to Sean Hannity at all...ever. But I do a bit of cake decorating and, when I'm at the shop, since there's no TV nor computer, I listen to the radio. On Dec 16, 2005, I was too busy to walk across the room and switch channels so listened to both Rush Limbaugh and Hannity.

After just one day of this destructive nonsense, it dawned on me what is the matter with the right-wing flag-waving, bobble-headed troglodytes. How could anyone retain even a shred of his own identity or ability to think after six hours a day, five days a week of these two college drop-outs who demand total obedience -- or rather obeisance -- to their shrieking blather?

First little Donnie Rumsfeld called in to "chat" with El Rushbo and get the word out to the Dittoheads that the election in Iraq was a huge success and a benchmark for Democracy. Freedom spreading across the land. Purple fingers everywhere...

Then, to my astonishment, retired GEN Tommy Franks, former CENTCOM honcho and architect of the mass murder in Iraq, called in to 'chat' with Hannity! Conversation went like this:

Hannity: Sir, I'm so honored to talk to you. You are such a Great American...

Franks: No -- no, I just felt like calling you. YOU are the one who's the Great American. I want to thank you for all you do...

Hannity: Oh, no. You, sir -- YOU are the Great American... er, what do you think about the vote on the Patriot Act today? (Note: Senate voted earlier to extend Patriot Act for a few weeks instead of making it permanent, which had the wingers bent completely out of shape.)

Franks: I think it's terrible. If we choose to go the way of civil liberty to the exclusion of every form of practicality, we're in trouble. We need to balance our civil liberty with the praticality of being safe...Look -- the military doesn't want to be involved in torture, but the president needs to retain his right to use whatever he needs to in order to protect our country -- to keep us safe. If it becomes necessary, the president must waive whatever he feels like he must because we're in a time of crisis...

(blather, blather, blather)

Hannity: General Franks, I just can't thank you enough --

Franks: No, Sean, I can't thank YOU enough for keeping the truth alive.

Note...Tommy Franks gave an interview to Cigar Aficionado for the Dec 2003 issue wherein he said (hopefully) if we had another terrorist attack, we would be under martial law.

I used to think everything would ultimately be all right because there were more of us than there were of them. But when I consider the growing number of Great American Dittoheads, I'm not so sure...

Saturday, February 11, 2006


Robert Novak is reporting today that Republicans are raising funds for Democratic (sic) Senator Joe Lieberman's re-election in Connecticut.

Craig Fuller and H.P. Goldfield, both active Republican lobbyists hosted a fund-raising dinner at Goldfield's home on Thursday. Fuller was a cabinet member in both Reagan and Bush 41 presidencies. Goldfield, a Reagan aide and assistant Commerce secretary, also raised funds for the elder Bush in both his campaigns.

Although Lieberman has come out strong for lobbyist reform, Novak says three of the dinner's five hosts were major lobbyists. "Fuller represents the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. Goldfield lobbies for Airbus and for energy companies (ConcocoPhillips, Dynegy International and Gulfsands Petroleum). Co-host C. Michael Gilliland, a partner in the Hogan & Hartson law firm, represents a variety of clients." Novak said.

On Friday, Lieberman pulled one of vice president Dick Cheney's favorite tricks -- he called in to the rabidly right-wing Sean Hannity radio show to make points with the "Great Americans" and to answer Hannity's question -- "Does Joe Lieberman want me to endorse him?"

Friday, Hannity built the suspense for two hours before finally taking Lieberman's call. Lieberman, like all previous callers, assured Hannity that he was a "Great American," which seems to be a prerequisite for talking to Hannity since the "Dittohead" label is already taken. Hannity shot right back with, "No -- you're a Great American."

Hannity and Lieberman briefly discussed the performance of ex FEMA head Michael Brown at the senate hearing earlier that day. Lieberman said that Brown was trying to blame the administration for his incompetent response to Hurricane Katrina. "Brown even said he would go to his room at night and cry," Lieberman said, "but that just doesn't work..."

Then, formalities over, Hannity asked, "Tell me yes or no, Senator Lieberman -- do you want ME to endorse you?" Lieberman, all shivers and giggles, finally came back with a coy, "I want everybody to support me, and I would be proud to have your support."

Do you hear that, Connecticut Democrats? Joe Lieberman is proud to accept money from Republican political activists and lobbists -- proud to have the support, which translates to "endorsement" of Sean Hannity, the most flagrant right-wing spinner -- a stupid, ill-informed loud-mouth who routinely lies and attacks Lieberman's fellow Democrats in an orchestrated, non-stop campaign to destroy them.

The question is not why Lieberman accepted campaign money from his political enemies -- not why he accepted a Hannity endorsement. The question is what is this Democrat, a former vice-presidential nominee, doing at a Republican fund-raiser -- making calls to a Republican operative -- in the first damn place.

It's time for Joe to go.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


"Every senator in this chamber is partly responsible for sending 50,000 young Americans to an early grave. This chamber reeks of blood...It does not take any courage at all for a congressman, or a senator, or a president to wrap himself in the flag and say we are staying in Vietnam, because it is not our blood that is being shed. But we are responsible for those young men and their lives and their hopes."~~Senator George McGovern, Sept 1, 1970

Jim Bob came out of the feed store, threw his purchases into the back of the wagon and climbed up beside his wife. He picked up the reins, shook them and called out to the donkey -- "Giddy-up Joe! Come on, Joe, let's go!"

But Joe just stood there, oblivious to Jim Bob's pleading, his tongue-clickings, even to the lash of the reins on his rump. Jim Bob sighed, picked up the baseball bat, climbed down, walked around in front of Joe and, with a mighty swing, smashed him right between his long ears with the bat. Jim Bob hopped back into the wagon, grabbed the reins and, with a single, "Go, Joe!" the donkey headed off at a brisk trot.

Jim Bob's wife was horrified. "Why did you hit Joe in the head with that bat?" she asked.

Jim Bob grinned, "Sometimes ol' Joe forgets who's the boss here," he said. "When that happens, you just gotta get his attention..."

That was back in the day -- but little has changed since then. Donkeys are still stubborn. Especially on the political scene, where most are completely oblivious to what's going on around them. It's easy for some to forget who's the boss when they're free to gallop through the halls of power -- trot around with the big boys...

Unless you happen to be a Connecticut donkey.

Democrats in that very blue, anti-war state are unhappy with their three-term senator, Joe Lieberman, for his stubborn, rabid support of President Bush and his bloody, illegal war. They pleaded with Joe to recognize that the war on Iraq was planned long before 9-11, that there were no weapons of mass destruction in that pitiful, unarmed country, and that thousands of US citizens and tens of thousands of Iraqi men, women and children are being blown to pieces, maimed, and poisoned with depleted uranium -- all because of a lie.

But Joe refused to move. He responded by penning an op-ed in the Nov. 29, 2005 Wall Street Journal entitled "Our Troops Must Stay." In that piece, Lieberman "catapaulted the propaganda" that Iraq was experiencing a great deal of progress, underscored by "continuing security and growing prosperity." The Shiite south, he said, "remains largely free of terrorism, receives much more electric power and other public services than it did under Saddam, and is experiencing greater economic activity." And Lieberman said even the Sunni triangle -- Baghdad on the East, Tikrit to the North, and Ramadi to the West, where most American troops are slaughtered, is showing progress...

Warming to his subject, Lieberman wrote, "None of these remarkable changes in Iraq would have happened if Coalition Forces, lead (sic) by the U.S., had not overthrown Saddam Hussein ...The question is whether the American people and enough of their representatives in Congress from both parties understand this."

Lieberman then chided war naysayers on both sides of the aisle with, "I am disappointed by Democrats who are more focused on how President Bush took America into the war in Iraq almost three years ago, and Republicans who are more worried about whether the war will bring them down in next November’s elections, than they are concerned about how we continue the progress in Iraq in the months and years ahead."

Lieberman underscored his stance in December by hitting the talk-show circuit to wrap himself in the flag and scold his anti-war constituents -- "It is time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge … that in matters of war we undermine presidential credibility at our nation's peril."

But Connecticut yankees are hard to fool. They know civil war is raging throughout Iraq. They know we are there under false pretenses. They know in November, while Lieberman was polishing his commentary, 88 American servicemen were killed. In December - 67, January - 65, and 15 in the first seven days of February - for a total of 235. They know there was never any reason for even one of the nearly 2,300 U.S. servicemen and women to die. They know a lie is not good enough reason to destroy an entire generation of Americans -- nor to remain silent to keep from embarrassing the man who sent them to their deaths.

In January, Democrats in Manchester attempted to get Lieberman's attention by overwhelmingly passing a resolution opposing his "unconditional support of President Bush." The measure stated that Lieberman was not acting in the best interest of the American public or the Democratic Party by supporting Bush in the handling of the Iraqi conflict.

Dorothy Brindamour, one of the many Democrats to speak out, said, "I think it is one thing to be an independent thinker. It's another thing to be a Democratic senator who is acting as a lobbyist for King George and his chancellor, Cheney."

Lieberman responded by trotting to the annual State of the Union speech on Jan. 31 and, when Bush defiantly claimed that the only exit plan from Iraq was "victory" in his noble war on terror, Lieberman was the lone Democrat to rise with the Republicans and give Bush a cheering, standing ovation.

Four days later, Windsor Democrats joined their Manchester counterparts and, with a mighty swing, bashed Lieberman right between the ears with a Vote of No Confidence "for embracing Bush's position on the war, including denying that the United States wrongly entered the war and that it was not accomplishing the objectives set out by the president."

Windsor Democratic town Chairman Tim Fitzgerald admitted the resolution was a "practical way" to get Lieberman's attention, but added he was "not delusional that this is going to change his fundamental way of thinking."

According to the Los Angeles Times, Lieberman's approval ratings in Connecticut are at a weak 52%, which puts him in a shaky political position, and sharks are beginning to circle for the upcoming August primary -- something the Democrats don't need right now. To make matters worse, Keith Crane, from Branford, not only created a "Dump Joe" Internet site, but shows up at meetings with fists full of anti-Lieberman buttons and bumper stickers.

What Lieberman's constituents don't understand is that his stubborn defense of the Iraq war in all probability goes much deeper than mere support of Bush's war on terror. Rising numbers of innocents sent to early graves in an unending war is the price that Lieberman and others within the U.S. government -- willingly or unwillingly -- are committed to pay in order to keep Israel safe from madmen such as Iranian President Mahmooud Ahmadinejad who has openly called for Israel to be "wiped off the map."

Lieberman, like so many of his congressional peers, has sworn to do whatever it takes to protect Israel, and all appear to be blinded by ideology. Therefore, they are condemned to show up for work morning after morning in a chamber that reeks of blood.

U.S. politicians have removed their fingers from the pulse of the nation. They have forgotten who's the boss. Face it -- if you're an elected political animal who refuses to move, refuses to pay attention; refuses to pull the state wagon -- you could likely find yourself "put out to pasture" in the next election.

Especially if you're a Connecticut donkey.

Sheila Samples

Friday, February 03, 2006


They just can't help themselves. To Republicans, "reform" is to go to great lengths to change their image, to give the impression that, although they didn't do it, they're really really sorry they got caught, and they won't do it again -- get caught, that is. Then they pass some "red meat" legislation to show they mean it this time -- and continue to march down the same corrupt road.

So Ohio's John Boehner is sitting in Tom DeLay's cat-bird seat after a hard, fought race. Buying $150,000 worth of votes to gain the House Majority Leader seat is pretty cheap for Boehner, who once thought nothing of traversing the House floor, brazenly passing out individual checks to representatives from tobacco lobbyists.

The only good thing about Boehner's "stunning victory" is that DeLay was pushing for fellow Jack Abramoff recipient Roy Blunt. DeLay and Newt Gingrich protege Boehner have clashed for years, and DeLay, hoping to maintain some control by putting his man in the job, appears to be down for the count...

After bribing his peers to vote for him, Boehner said he was "humbled" by their faith in him. He promised to lead Republicans in working on big issues -- visionary issues "that the American people expect us to deal with..."

Speaking of Boehner's list...

Boehner is for amending the Constitution to force prayer in schools, and thinks that, even without such an amendment, federal money should go only to schools that allow prayer.

In February 2004, Boehner voted to force recipients of taxpayer-funded anti-poverty programs to take part in religious activities, and to require these programs to practice employment discrimination.

He led the efforts to separate the "wheat from the chaff" in the Head Start Program by adding a controversial amendment to a bipartisan School Readiness Act, which "allowed federally-funded early-child-care providers to discriminate on religious grounds."

He pushed the Ohio School System to include "Intelligent Design" in its science standards. He is 100 percent in favor of drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, 100 percent for gutting the Endangered Species Act, 100 percent for weakening the National Environmental Policy Act -- and 200 percent against a woman's right to choose...

Republicans insist they're serious about reform. California Representative David Drier, who heads the rules panel, was to have unveiled a reform package last Wednesday, but alas, he missed the deadline because lawmakers said it was too difficult to agree on major changes. Don't look for such a package any time soon.

But they had to do something to show the American people just how serious they are about reform. So they brazenly kicked former lawmakers who are now lobbyists out of the House gym.

Which proves when it comes to reform -- Republicans just can't help themselves.