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Now that Dick Cheney has bared his soul to Brit Hume, I think it's important to consider the following statements; first, Cheney explains his rationale for having Katharine Armstrong act as his official spokeswoman:

First of all, she was an eyewitness. She'd seen the whole thing. - Dick Cheney

So, what was Mr. Whittington's condition in the immediate aftermath of the shooting?

He didn't respond. He was -- he was breathing, conscious at that point, but he didn't... - Dick Cheney

But he was fine. He was talking. - Katharine Armstrong

...She probably knew better than I did what had happened since I'd only seen one piece of it. - Dick Cheney

Yes, the "piece" where Whittington was shot.  The one piece that Katharine Armstrong didn't see.  What follows is a continuation of Shooting Holes in Cheney's Story Part III, with the focus on the Cheney, Hume interview.

Of course, examples abound of Katharine Armstrong's "eyewitness" testimony contradicting the words of others or, in many cases, contradicting her own words.  In fact, she was the focus of my first diary on this subject, which can be found here. And there are two facts alone that call into question any value Katharine Armstrong has as a witness:

From what Armstrong said she saw as she sat in the hunt vehicle about 100 yards from Cheney and the other hunters...

Armstrong said she saw Cheney's security detail running toward the scene. "The first thing that crossed my mind was he had a heart problem," she told The Associated Press.

Two things are clear...whatever Katherine Armstrong did see was from the inside of a closed car the length of a football field away, and her first indication of any problem was when she saw others running towards the scene. It's good to know that Cheney was "confident" that she was the "most credible" witness since "she'd seen the whole thing."  And while Ms. Armstrong will certainly be referenced again, let's move on to the interview itself.

Now that Cheney has spoken, as far as the White House is concerned the matter is closed. Scott McClellan said:

Mr. McCLELLAN:...the Vice President participated in an interview yesterday and answered all the big questions relating to this issue, and explained his rational behind the decision that he made...The American people saw yesterday that the Vice President is very concerned about his friend Harry Whittington. They saw his concern and compassion for a friend of his who he shot in a hunting accident...

And that is the official position of the administration and its supporters; Cheney answered every hard-hitting question his pal, Brit, threw at him and shooting his friend in the face was "one of the worst days" of his life...let it go, people. But I have a problem with letting it go.  He didn't answer the big questions, his rationale for how it was "handled," is laughable, and his concern and compassion for poor Harry was clear...while he was in an ambulance on his way to the hospital, Dick was sitting down to dinner before turning in for the night. And that's where I'll begin, with his friend, Harry.

It's interesting to note that as Cheney was led through his talking points, he described Harry as his friend seven times.  But asked a simple question and what did he say?

Q:  Would you describe him as a close friend, friendly acquaintance, what -

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  No, an acquaintance.

Heck, Harry isn't even a friendly acquaintance.  Picayune perhaps, but when you'll lie about the little things, it calls into question everything that is said.  And claiming a false friendship under such circumstances says a lot about the character of Dick Cheney.

Another little thing is Jaime Powell of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, the reporter chosen to break the story.  While elaborating on his rationale for having Katharine Armstrong speak for him about the accident, Cheney said:

And it was also important, I thought, to get the story out as accurately as possible, and this is a complicated story that, frankly, most reporters would never have dealt with before, so --

Okay, that's reasonable.  After all, with a story of this magnitude, accuracy (as Cheney reiterated many times) was vital, so it made sense to talk to a reporter who had experience covering stories about hunting accidents and understood the "difference between a bullet and a shotgun," as Cheney put it.  It's funny, but a google search of Powell's work turns up exactly zero stories written by her about hunting accidents, or hunting at all...she wrote about treasure hunting and bargain hunting, but nothing about the world's only sport where the other team doesn't know they're playing.  But Cheney wanted a reporter who had, frankly, dealt with this before? Then Ms. Powell was an odd choice. Again, a little thing, but still another pointless lie which makes one question anything he says.  But of course, it was up to Katharine Armstrong to decide who to contact and when to do it.  After all, both Cheney and Armstrong have said so.

One of the "big questions" that Cheney addressed during the interview was the decision to delay alerting the press about the shooting.  As I detailed in Part I, Katharine Armstrong gave three different explanations about how and when the decision was made.  It might have been Saturday, it may have been a decision made with her family on Sunday, or perhaps made by herself that always, Armstrong is a model of consistency.

Presumably aware that Armstrong had said that she and Cheney had discussed going to the press on Saturday and on Sunday, Cheney never specified exactly when Armstrong was chosen as spokesperson.  As noted earlier, Cheney emphasized that Harry and accuracy were his only concerns.

First of all, she was an eye-witness. She'd seen the whole thing.  [...]

 I don't know who you could get better as the basic source for the story than the witness who saw the whole thing.   [...]

And so we were confident that Katherine was the right one, especially because she was an eye-witness and she could speak authoritatively on it.  [...]

We went with Mrs. Armstrong. We had -- she's the one who put out the statement. And she was the most credible one to do it because she was a witness.

But why was Armstrong chosen, as opposed to the many other (alleged) witnesses?
And Katherine suggested, and I agreed, that she would go make the announcement, that is that she'd put the story out.  [...]

It was recommended to me -- Katherine Armstrong wanted to do it, as she said...

Well, we already know how much credibility Armstrong has as a witness to the shooting she didn't see, but what has she said about being chosen as Cheney's media point-person?
"It just kind of ended up in my lap," Armstrong said.

"...she said, adding that Mr. Cheney never consulted with her over how to handle the incident.

One has to wonder if, while spinning Katharine Armstrong to America, Cheney recognized the irony of his saying:

Well, if it's accurate. If it's accurate.

But mindful of the site guidelines not to post "epic diaries," and constrained by the one diary a day rule, I will be posting Shooting Holes Part IV:  Dick Speaks, at ePluribus Media, where I will address the shooting itself, its aftermath and...drum roll...the beer at lunch.  I came across information that seems to directly contradict Cheney's version of that lunch.  Stay tuned...


Part I
Part II

Update: Part IV is now up at ePluribus Media. Find out if Dick was lying about that beer. ;-)

Originally posted to Barbara Morrill on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 04:26 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  And btw... (4.00)
    ...when I googled Jamie Powell, I also tried for shotguns, rifles, ammunition, bullets...nada.  ;-)

    Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

    by Barbara Morrill on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 04:29:58 AM PST

    •  that's assuming that every story (none)
      she's written has ended up online?  Not criticizing, just asking.

      He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot but don't let that fool you. He really is an idiot - Groucho Marx

      by AlyoshaKaramazov on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 06:00:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ms. Powell (none)
      reported Monday on Keith Olbermann that she was the health and fitness reporter and happened to be the one who took the call Sunday morning as she was the one who was assigned that day to man the phones.  So she was never chosen by anyone, she just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
      •  Powell wasn't selected (none)
        According to Powell's account on Olbermann's "Countdown" show, she was just the one who ended up getting the information and writing the story.  Armstrong first called around 8 a.m. Sunday morning trying to reach a different reporter who was a friend of hers.  She left at least one message but didn't get a callback.  So she finally called back and spoke to Powell, who just happened to be the one "on call" at the paper that morning.
      •  It wasn't Powell on Olbermann (none)
        It was Catherine Garcia. Here's a relevent excerpt to explain the two reporters:

        GARCIA:  Well, she called the "Caller Times" newsroom at approximately 11:00 a.m., Central Standard time.  She`d been trying to reach one of my fellow reporters, Jamie Powell, since about 8:00 a.m. Sunday morning.

        I fielded the phone call.  She talked to me.  She was explaining to me that the vice president had visited the ranch this weekend.  She never actually said his name, though, and by the end of the conversation, I had to double--check.  Are we talking about Vice President Cheney?  She confirmed that we were, and then I, you know, had to ask several more follow-up questions.  It was very surprising, though.


        OLBERMANN:  Back to the phone call from Mrs. Armstrong.  At any point, did she explain this question that seems to be reverberating in Washington today, why it was that she made the call, and not that she shouldn`t call you, but why she called your paper?

        GARCIA:  No, she did not explain at all.  She had said that she had been trying to get ahold of Jamie.  From what I understand, Catherine Armstrong, the Armstrong family, and "The Corpus Christi Caller Times" have a very close relationship.  We`ve been reporting over their family for, you know, many decades now.  And Catherine Armstrong and one of our amazing reporters that we have here, Jamie Powell, and her have a very close personal relationship as well.

        This is the way democracy ends Not with a bomb But with a gavel -Max Baucus

        by emptywheel on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 08:52:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  One more point on this (4.00)
          In the confusion on Sunday and Monday, several news outlets had Jamie on, claiming she was the journalist who first broke this story. I'm not sure, but I very very strongly suspect, that OVP was placing her on talk shows claiming she was the one who broke the story. They wanted to have a friendly face out there, after all. And then the news outlets who actually did something radical, like checking the name of the journalist on the first story, booked Garcia.

          This is the way democracy ends Not with a bomb But with a gavel -Max Baucus

          by emptywheel on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 08:56:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Jaime Powell (none)
            Was the reporter that Armstrong called repeatedly between 8:00 or 9:00 (depending on which version ;-)), but Powell was in Austin.  That's why Armstrong finally talked to Garcia.  That's when she got the cell phone number and repeated the story to Powell (now driving home from Austin).  On the original story, you'll see the odd "jaime" at the end of sentences.  Garcia took the initial call and confirmed with WH, etc.  But Powell was who they wanted.  

            Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

            by Barbara Morrill on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 10:24:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  small defense of local reporter (none)
      The one I saw interviewed on PBS Lehrer newshour (Garcia? Powell?  I don't know) said that she was a hunter herself, had gone quail hunting.  

       So she may not have written about it, but she did seem familiar with what quail hunting entails.

  •  Nice (4.00)
    work, reco'd!

    Read UTI, your free thought forum

    by DarkSyde on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 04:30:14 AM PST

    •  Thanks... (4.00)
      ...from your lips to...well, Kossack's ears.  ;-)

      Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

      by Barbara Morrill on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 04:36:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Barb, imporatant (4.00)
        Brilliant research, BTW.

        Here's my question. Matalin & co. are doing everthing they can to spin this story as human interest type affair. It's all bullshit, they want us to believe. My reaction is, they are desperate to keep the incompetent media from focusing on the real story.

        The more they spin the more they arouse my suspicions.

        No one dares ask the big $$ questions unless and until there is some evidence of malfeasance. So we need to find out whether it exists.

        Also, one of the networks CNN aired a statement from Harry, one of those "the man doeth protest too much" type statements. If it wasn't coerced (he's a good repub), Harry certainly decided to fall into line.

        Also, as far as I'm concerned James Carville is a piece of shit.  He knows everything. Maybe he can't go on CNN, but he sure could leak something.

        I'm finished with Carville.

        •  Mary Matalin (4.00)
          Mary Matalin keeps talking about how SHE talked to Cheney over the weekend -- including before the story was disclosed to the press by Adjunct Press Secretary Katharine Armstrong -- and how he couldn't go directly to the WH press corps because he didn't have his staff with him.

          So, how come no one has asked Miss Mary why Dick Cheney seemed to have no problem getting in touch with Mary Matalin, who's not even on his staff anymore, but was unable to coordinate a statement with his own press secretary, or the WH press secretary?  

          Sometimes you cover your ass with the lame excuses you have, instead of the lame excuses you wish you had. (-3.00, -5.49)

          by litigatormom on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 07:33:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  You know... (none)
 going through the many, many links, I came across one where it said that Matalin was the one who fought against an announcement made on Saturday...or I was hallucinating.  Her participation certainly bears looking into.

          Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

          by Barbara Morrill on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 11:29:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  What about the Swedish Ambassador? (none)
        It was rumored on Huffington Post that she has hunted with Cheney before and that they might have been having an affair (hard to believe that anyone would have an affair with someone who has an ambulance following him wherever he goes & well...Cheney...Ewww!).  It was also mentioned that Harry had a woman with him.  

        Also, when you have Part IV up would you please update this diary with a link?


        The Christian Right is neither Witness Every Day

        by TXsharon on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 06:29:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, she is the Ambassador to Switzerland.... (4.00)
          BUT WHERE IS SHE!!!!!!!!!!???!!!!!!?!  (Many !'s are needed here)

          How come there are no reporters out there hunting her down (pun intended!)???

          The Moral Majority - all those Christian conservatives left on Earth AFTER the Rapture....

          by sp0t on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 06:39:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I think it's funny... (none)
          ...that she's supposedly home from Switzerland/Lichtinstein for a "brief" visit, yet she's spending all day with Cheney.  Sure, her husband was allegedly in the other hunting party, but you'd think she'd want to spend a little quality time with hubby.  <resists urge to make obscene joke>  ;-)

          Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

          by Barbara Morrill on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 11:31:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Another point (none)
        Some news reports said that, after Harry went to the hospital, Cheney went to the house and fixed himself a cocktail THEN later had dinner.  So, he didn't go to the hospital with his good friend/kind of friend/acquaintance because he needed a drink!

        The Christian Right is neither Witness Every Day

        by TXsharon on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 06:44:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Someone else has pointed out (4.00)
          that quite apart from the understandable need for a stiff one after the devastating experience of shooting one's friend/acquaintance/campaign donor/whatever, Cheney may have fixed himself a drink so as to make any blood alchohol test on him that night unreliable as to whether he'd been under the influence at the time the shooting took place.

          Sometimes you cover your ass with the lame excuses you have, instead of the lame excuses you wish you had. (-3.00, -5.49)

          by litigatormom on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 07:36:00 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Mixing or fixing his own drink (none)
            is to me the most offensive of all the shenanigans. Anybody near Cheney in his right mind should have stopped this, unless your reading of it is the operative one, that it was a clear conspiracy to cover any blood alcohol test that could have been administered.
          •  The alcoholics that I have known (none)
            don't think like that. They won't admit (or don't think) they are drunk in the first place. They get to a buzzed level and then keep drinking to maintain that buzz. I think Cheney was starting to sober up and realize the gravity of the situation and 'needed another drink'.

            It wasn't until the next morning that the shit hit the fan for Cheney. He was absolutely tanked when he shot Whittington.

            Some of my family are 'real hunters'. They get up at 3:00 in the morning and are home by afternoon, they clean their guns and get cleaned up themselves. They crack open the beers and start talking about the morning hunt.

          •  Another thing (none)
            Sorry if someone made this point, but I was thinking about this:

            Cheney said that Whittington was standing in a gulley, so he didn't see him.  Of course, we know he got shot in the face.  So, if half of Whittington's body was standing in a ditch (assuming he's 6 feet tall), that would mean the shot was about three feet off the ground.  Seems a little low to me. (I don't hunt, so perhaps some hunters could comment).  If indeed this is low shot for a quail hunt, that could also indicate that Cheney's coordination and judgment were impaired.

            •  You are correct (none)
              The explanation is ridiculous on its face unless we are to believe that Cheney shoots DOWN at birds on or just above the ground.  The sporting thing to do - the actual "hunting" part of it - is to shoot the birds as they fly.  Birds on the ground are 'fish in a barrel', so to speak.

              So, either he accidentally shot Harry because he was drunk and he slipped, or he was literally slaughtering birds on the ground. Swinging to "follow the flight of a quail" is B.S.

      •  Barb, check out this post from Ariana (none)

        The Christian Right is neither Witness Every Day

        by TXsharon on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 08:19:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  A friend sent this e-mail this morning: (4.00)
    "The word on the street is that one of the reasons that it took so long to report was that the SS were trying to figure how to keep a certain female companion out of the list of participants. Evidently Cheney was not with his wife on this little escapade but was accompanied by the Ambassador Switzerland, Pamela Willeford. Evidently Mrs. Cheney was not happy about the make up of the entourage. At this point it is speculation as to what was up between them. But it is rather strange that her name was kept out of the media."

    Kossacks: a large population of Medieval exegetes who each day grapple with the fabulistic opportunities of the early third milennium.

    by DCDemocrat on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 04:46:34 AM PST

    •  But I thought Mr. Wilford was there (4.00)
      as well. Kinda 'shoots holes' in that version. sorry for the bad pun
      •  Can you say cuckold? (none)
        Pamela Willeford has gone hunting with Dick several times.

        Cheney got her the post of ambassador to Switzerland, she went there alone.

        If I went hunting with my wife, I would not leave her side.

        Mr. Wileford was a mile away, if he was there at all.; an oasis of truth. -1.75 -7.23

        by Shockwave on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 08:57:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed (4.00)
      Why hasn't anyone asked Willeford for her version of the events?  I mean, she IS a public official.  I find that very odd indeed.
      •  Look for her... (4.00)
        ...version of events in Part IV.  ;-)

        Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

        by Barbara Morrill on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 04:58:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I can hardly wait (none)
          This story really is like pulling out a loose thread.  The more you pull at it, the more loose threads you get and the more things fall apart.  Things just don't add up at all.
        •  Dear Barb, (4.00)
           Did you notice that Cheney got away with saying, "I had a beer at lunch" and no follow up questions as to how many he had after lunch or if he had any other types of alcoholic drinks that afternoon?  The careful word-parsing was obvious. Seems he would have wanted to see a Sheriff or at least go to the hospital with his "friend", unless he was hiding being innebriated.
          •  what "is" is (4.00)
            "nobody was drinking" is what Cheney keeps saying.  

            But that could mean no one was drinking at the very moment of the shooting.

            were people drinking before the shooting?  does anyone believe the one beer at lunch story?  Had Whittington been drinking?  And Cheney didn't say whether he had any alcohol at breakfast! A little hair of the dog eye-opener at breakfast would not be out of character for this crowd.

            "nobody was under the influence", Cheney's other weasel phrase, is equally suspect.  men like him are notoriously bad at admitting when they are "under the influence."  I've known guys who would drink a 12 pack and insist they were still sober enough to drive.  So his own assessment of whether anyone including him was "under the influence" has no merit whatever.

            All that matters is that they avoided getting an independent opinion about who had alcohol in their blood (and how much) by delaying the report to the authorities until it was too late for the proper tox screen to determine who had been drinking and how much.

            Just one more piece of evidence that Rs (especially Cheney) don't believe in science or facts or truthtelling.

            Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D. IMPEACH

            by TrueBlueMajority on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 08:26:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  These chickenhawk weasels being allowed (none)
              to act above/around the law and saying "Trust us, no story here" is not acceptable.  My Staff Sgt. son in Afghanistan has to struggle to get his guys their accurate pay/bonuses to send home and they are wondering where in the hell our government oversight is with all the corruption that they witness from KBR(Haliburton) and other American corporations ripping them off and the Afghani people.  My son had planned to have a 2nd career with the National Guard but he will be finished at 6 years, next spring.  He had to extend from his 5 year committment to 6 due to his visit to Afghanistan. Not many of his guys are re-enlisting either! (Thanks to Cheney, Bush and all of their money-grubbing cohorts) I want all of Bushco in jail for war crimes, for ciphoning money from American taxpayers to support their LIFESTYLES on their ill-gotten war monies!
          •  I certainly did... (none)
            And I found something that refutes his main I-wasn't-drinking point in Part IV.

            Hey, can one whore in ones own diary?  :-P

            Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

            by Barbara Morrill on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 11:34:24 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sure, especially with good diaries! (none)
                Besides being angry about my son struggling in Afghanistan, (I grew up on a large farm in mid-Michigan among hunters/conservationists)  drinking and hunting is taboo and this type of accident and next-day police involvement screams out that alcohol was involved. Otherwise, the police would have been involved immediately and Cheney would have gone with his friend to the hospital, instead of mixing another drink! My anger comes from Cheney being treated ABOVE THE LAW, when I want Bush and him in jail for War Crimes and ruining our country in their quest for more financial power.
              •  Exactly! (none)
                That's why I said that the Sheriff needs to be asked:

                How many times has there been a shooting, accidental or not, and you chose not to question the known shooter for over 14 hours?

                And as I said, I'd want documentation.  

                Cheney and Willeford may have been doing the "wild thing," <shudder>, but I don't think that had anything to do with this clumsy cover-up...I think it was the beer.  

                Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

                by Barbara Morrill on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 12:41:01 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  I love to take a look . . . (4.00)
      at Lynne Cheney's schedule for that weekend.

      Also where was hunting party staying? Any hotel sightings or were they holed up together on the ranch?

      Problem is the White House has told media to move off this story so, I'm wondering what sort of legs it has.

      Unless we turn up a smoking gun then media is moving on, I fear.

    •  That's totally beside the point (4.00)
      ... unless, of course, blowjobs were involved.

      -4.50, -5.85 Lies are the new Truth.

      by Dallasdoc on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 05:46:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think that Dick is an alcoholic (4.00)
    I had an aunt that was a drinker and the behaviors are very similar. It explains the secrecy, the lies, the grandiose ideas, the denial, being out of the public view for long periods and most importantly, the refusal to accept responsibility for his actions.
    •  No, the sherriff let him sleep off his anxiety n/t (none)
      •  His drinking is chronic (4.00)
        He might have slept it off Saturday night but he will continue to drink and get drunk. His short temper (like when he told Leahy to f* himself) is when he is sober....
      •  driving me nuts!!! (none)
        why hasn't anyone pointed out the obvious of "all these folks are friends"?  have you all heard this about all the investigations and all the "reporters" i've heard repeat it, have yet to acknowledge that THAT IS EXACTLY WHEN YOU SHOULD HAVE GREATER INVESTIGATION.  Barb, you got anything on this part?  making me fucking crazy.  almost as bad as everyone saying, "that's george", when the chimp was caught on tape saying he'd lie about his drug use.  whatever happened to acknowledging mistakes and correcting them?  not anymore.  make a mistake?  deny it, just like the preznit.  god bless america.
    •  it also could explain (none)
      why he and GDub are kindred spirits--they see themselves reflected in each other.

      Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D. IMPEACH

      by TrueBlueMajority on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 07:58:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly! (none)
        Bush sees himself as superior to Cheney because GW was able to overcome his drinking problem and Cheney hasn't.

        Bush and Cheney staffers are well aware of the problem too, but as typical enablers, they cover everything up. That is why they surround themselves with 'insiders' only.

        As I think this 'Cheney is an alcoholic' meme through, it explains the Plame affair as well. Cheney was drunk when he told Libby, but doesn't remember giving Libby the go ahead to disclose her identity. Then has everyone scrambling to cover it up and destroy the evidence.

  •  Who is Oscar Medellin? (4.00)
    Cheney mentions him as being in the hunting party (he found the second covey), but there is no further mention of him being interviewed or providing an affadavit.

    From here:

    Mr. Cheney told me that on Saturday, February 11, 2006 at approximately 5:30 pm on the Armstrong Ranch that there was a three vehicle hunting party that consisted of himself, Bo Hubert, Pam Willeford, Jerry Medellin, Katharine Armstrong, Sarita Armstrong Hixon, Harry Whittington, and Oscar Medellin.

    So there were eight people in the hunting party (well, eight people at the scene anyway...)

    So, there are 3 Medellin's involved:

    1. Jerry (Gerardo) Medellin who was identified in one of the reports as the "hunting guide". But so was Bo Hubert! Can a hunting party with 8 people have two hunting giudes? I guess...

    2. Oscar Medellin who Cheney mentions as being with Bo Hubert and having identified the second covey and never mentioned again...

    3. Ramiro Medellin, the guy who used to be a sheriff, now works at the ranch and was the guy who the current Sheriff called to find out what happened. It was Ramiro Medellin who called the Sheriff back and said it was an accident. That was when he made the decision not to go out until the next morning (sounds like, anyway...)

    Also, if you read all of the accounts, it sounds like Jerry Medellin, Kathering Armstrong and Sarita Hixon were hanging out in the vehicles while the other "group of 5" were hunting! But how does that jive with one of the reports indicating that Jerry (Gerardo) Medellin was the hunting guide?

    So what happened to Oscar? Why no mention of him from anyone else doing the investigation?

    (FYI, I found an Oscar Medellin who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 1999 from Texas A&M. If this is the guy, he sounds young - mid to late 20's?)

    Anyway, it's all kind of bizarre, I think...

  •  The real question... (4.00), of course, why does Harry Whittington hate America?  I mean, getting himself shot like this, and forcing the VP to have to concoct this absurd fabrication to explain a little harmless drunken weekend romance...well, it's just downright un-American.

    Excellent work, as usual, Barb!

    It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument. -- William G. McAdoo (-5.88/-5.23)

    by Shadan7 on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 05:20:16 AM PST

    One of the nmost important aspects to this story, completely ignored by the media of course, is the Cheney Armstrong connection
    "Katharine Armstrong, whose family owns the ranch where Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a hunting partner, is a registered lobbyist who has been paid to lobby the White House, according to records....Armstrong told NBC News in a telephone interview that she has never directly lobbied Cheney as far as she remembers... [AS FAR AS SHE REMEMBERS??!]...Armstrong was paid $160,000 in 2004 by the powerful legal firm Baker Botts to lobby the White House, according to records she filed with the U.S. Senate as required by lobbying disclosure rules. The records indicate she was paid the money after she "communicated with the White House on behalf of Baker Botts clients."
    Won't reveal client's name
    In a phone interview, she told NBC News that in return for the money in one case, she set up a meeting at the White House for a Baker Botts client, although she said she felt she could not release the client's name.
    "A meeting for doing something with one of their clients," she said, describing the event. "I'm not at liberty to say which." She says she cannot remember which White House official the meeting was with. "
    Armstrong "Can't remember" which White Hose official she was paid -->$160,000<-- to set up a meeting with.
    It HAD to be Cheney, even though she "denies" it ("can't remember" is NOT a denial!)  $160,000 is a lot of money to set up a meeting with someone--it had to be someone veeeeeeeery important in the White House.
    So why is this relevant? Did Cheney go hunting ion her ranch in 2004, the year she was paid $160 Gs to lobby a mysterious WH personality??? If so then this could be another Safavian case--you can't take gifts from registered lobbyists who have business before the WH.
    What this case is for us is a snapshot of the Culture of Corruption in action--CHENEY WAS HUNING ON THE RANCH OF A REGISTERED LOBBYIST!!
    Whats the connection here? Look at all the stuf the media misssed: they didn't even report who was there in the hunting party or their connections to Cheney.
    Is Wittington a lobbyist too? We sure have heard nothing at all about him other than he's a Texas attorney?
    the MSM will miss this completely of course--theyre giving out official White House totebags to the press corps this week


    by exlrrp on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 05:31:45 AM PST

    •  The Armstrong connection (none)
      The connection with the Armstrong family goes way back.  On Rachel Maddow yesterday morning, her guest (Sidney Blumenthal?) revealed that Anne Armstrong, Katherine's mother, was on the Board of Directors at Halliburton when Dick Cheney was hired there.  Tobin Armstrong, Katherine's father, was the investor who bankrolled Karl Rove's first political PR firm.  

      The Armstrongs are old-money Texas aristocracy, mixed up with the nearby King Ranch crowd.  Plenty of oil money and oil connections there.  I'd bet enterprising Googlers could find plenty of interesting facts about the Armstrong family to frame this story.

      -4.50, -5.85 Lies are the new Truth.

      by Dallasdoc on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 05:44:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  She's STILL a registered lobbyist!! (none)
        Friends or not, Armstrong is STILL a registered lobbyist wgho does quite a bit of business influencing the White HOuse--evidently paid a lot of money to set up ONE meeting with an important White House official--who she can't remember right now for some strange reason
        There is indeed fertile ground for investigation here


        by exlrrp on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 06:30:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  FWIW (none)
      Baker Botts would be run by James A Baker IV in Washington, son of James Baker, former Reagan and George H.W.Bush official and Secretary of State, who is also listed as a senior partner.

      James Baker IV is listed as a Bush pioneer, but aren't they all.

    •  and don't forget the investigators are all friends (none)
      of the investigated.  i've heard this repeatedly without having a nitwit talking head address the fact that that means there should be greater investigation by outside sources.  kinda like all the regulatory agencies wining and dining with the regulated.  where's the least little bit of understanding that there's a bit of a banana republic down there?  they all know each other, so the fucking sheriff is gonna just take them all at their word, rather than actually look into anything.  a county with 400 people and this woman owns 50k acres of it and some pissant local sheriff is expected to genuinely question her?  "we're all friends", i believe that's a quote from the sheriff and doesn't that beg for a little light suggesting that their just gonna trust her?  argh.
    •  Your tax dollars at work (none)
      Follow the money.

      I'll bet Mr. & Mrs. America would like a cost breakdown on the veep's little shooting jaunts--costs of AF2, Secret Service, ambulance on standby, various med personnel, communications, et cetera and so forth.

      And I'll bet it would be useful for some enterprising reporter to look into whether it's legal for said veep to be spending taxpayer dollars to attend a paid-for shooting jaunt at a property owned by a paid lobbyist and to chit-chat with said lobbyist there.

      It's not just the lies and the holes in the story, the whole thing reeks of illegalities--but what about this administration doesn't?

      The degree to which you resist injustice is the degree to which you are free. -- Utah Phillips

      by Mnemosyne on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 09:40:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  $160K gets access (none)
      What would covering the VPs ass get you -- legislation?

      Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.--Philip K. Dick

      by Randomizer on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 11:38:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hits the Target (4.00)
    Sorry - couldn't help myself -

    Thanks for the attional details.

     - Bard, did you catch the link in Dan Froomkin's on-line column in Thursday's WP?

    And let's not just leave it to the professionals. Here's a Daily Kos blogger 's compilation of the conflicting statements by Katharine Armstrong.  WP

    In God we trust, All others we monitor -AFTAC (-2.75, -2.67)

    by lcs on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 05:36:59 AM PST

  •  Is it too much to ask (none)
    that the VP answer more questions? Will he issue a statement to the effect "I was very forthcoming in my (carefully staged) interview with (carefully chosen) Brit Hume on (ridiculously friendly) FoxNews".

    That will be the end of it, nothing to see here, move along...

    The story will die unless Mr. Wittington does so first. What a conflict of interest.

    "To know what is right and not to do it is the worst cowardice." Confucius

    by Patriot4peace on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 05:39:40 AM PST

  •  Willefords et al (4.00)
    What I love about this story is that it is like an Agatha Christie murder mystery where all the weekend guests at the estate have something to hide.  

    I hardly think there is a relationship between Pam Willeford and Cheney.  All these ladies are just too starchy.  They hardly are in the Gennifer Flowers category, come on. The problem with this crowd may be not enough sex, but it isn't too much sex.   But Pam Willeford, whom everyone was obviously trying to keep under wraps, is ostensibly the ambassador to Switzerland.  At first, an explanation was rolled out that she was "home on a surprise visit to her husband."  Then that explanation fell off the radar.  I have surmised that it is more likely that she prefers to conduct her ambassadorial duties from Texas, and that is why they are trying to keep the spotlight off HER.

    Then there is the problem of George Willeford.  George Willeford is a gastroenterologist, a fairly prominent one at that, and was a mile over hunting in the next field (all couples were separated in what appears to be some quaint social hunting protocol).   He was reportedly called over to examine the victim, but then that story too, went off the radar.  I bet he would have an interesting story to tell regarding what he observed when (and if) he was called over.  And if he wasn't really called over, why the hell not?  There was the proverbial doctor in the house.  

    Finally, for this post, the Medellins.  Isn't it kind of sissyish to be hunting these quail with a bunch of guides?  For most hunters, wouldn't a coupla dogs be enough?  I expect the Medellins are being kept out of the story because that's downright embarrassing.  

    •  It would be interesting to find out Willeford's (none)
      recent itinerary.

      Had she been away from her diplomatic post for some time, or did she just fly back from Swittzerland the day of/before for the hunting rendevous?

  •  Yo Barbin MD (4.00)
    "Shooting Holes"...

    sounds like it could be the name of a BOOK put out ASAP of all your diaries and research on this issue.

    It's already written...and you're an expert.  Do it, please.

    I hate that this story is off the radar in the TM.  They've pronounced Dicky "innocent" and gone on to Entwhistle Watch.

    There's enough here for the CSI team to go ballistic with.  Take it on.  You've done an excellent job in the past week putting this all together.  Please try to publish it.


    HotFlashReport - Opinionated liberal views of the wrongs of the right

    by annrose on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 06:09:00 AM PST

    •  Shooting Holes in a American Banana Republic (none)
      howzat?!  no real investigation, cuz the investigators are all friends (serfs) of the investigated.  
    •  Has somebody else noticed (none)
      that the side of the body showing where poor friend Harry got peppered which K. Armstrong is gesturing in her interview--only the briefest of silent clips I have caught, but over and over-- is the opposite side of the body that is diagrammed in the game warden's report and reproduced at NYT?
      •  I called... (none)
        ...the Texas Wildlife and Fisheries (they put out that initial report).  Whittington was hit on the right side, as the report says just to the left of the diagram...whoever filled it out shaded the wrong side...kind of like when you point to your own mouth and tell someone they have something on theirs?  They always wipe off the opposite side that you meant.  ;-)  

        Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

        by Barbara Morrill on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 10:41:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Good point (none)
        When Harry appeared on camera today, I thought that the damage should be on the other side, I didn't remember where I had drawn that conclusuion, but of course it was from the game warden's report. Based on said report, I visualized the three "hunters" in line with Cheney in the middle, the ambassador on his left and Whittington on his right but slightly behind. So was it the other way around?
  •  while the oil companies (4.00)
    are making billions, and America is making nothing, because
    Bushco has fixed it so they do not pay taxes,
    Cuts are being made in educational loans and medicare.
    In today's NYTs, an article on orphans who are paying
    the state with their assets - that is the state is taking away
    their social security.

    I'm wondering if there is a way to tie in Cheney at his week-end parties with oil billionaires while the country employing him can go straight to hell.

    The "folks" can't tie all this together.  You have to do it for them.

  •  Someone should... (none)
    Try and get an interview with Oscar Medellin. According to Cheney's account, he and Bo were standing right there when the shot went off, yet there is no further mention of the guy in any of the reports.

    What a reporters coup that would be! Unless poor Oscar has been shipped off to a secure, undisclosed location of course...

  •  Great comic strip, (none)
    "Battle Action Bush and the Keyboard Commandos," at The Poor Man (via Atrios).

    John Murtha speaks for me

    by cotterperson on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 06:41:09 AM PST

  •  I like that. (none)
    "the world's only sport where the other team doesn't know they're playing".

    Excellent explanation of why it ain't a sport at all.

    -9.0, -8.3. The less a man knows about how sausages and laws are made, the easier it is to steal his vote and give him botulism.

    by SensibleShoes on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 06:49:21 AM PST

  •  from firedoglake's comments, (4.00)
    This is sure to make someone's head explode--Alex Jones does experiments to show that Cheney probably shot Whittington from a distance of 15-18 feet, not 90 feet as previously claimed.
  •  BarbinMD- (none)
    Great diary series!

    The entire story reaks to high heaven.  

    Does anyone know which authority "polices" this police department?  I think we need to target that entity( in addition to the MSM) if there is any chance of a thorough investigation.

    Another point- The MSNBC story with the scrubbed beer reference remains a mystery.  I suspect the author, Aram Roston, got a juicy tip about the beer; I'm sure Katharine Armstrong didn't volunteer that information, but was confronted, by the author, with specifics, and had to disclose something.

    So who would the tip likely come from?  Someone familiar with what occurred at the "picnic lunch".  Do you think Katharine Armstrong and her daughters  were slaving over the oven cooking BBQ for their many invited guests?  Not a chance- A good hostess can't possibly throw a decent meal together without the help of others.....what if she were to get BBQ sauce under her nails?  Can't have that.  The Armstrong Ranch probably uses a caterer.

    Ten bucks says thats were the tip came from.

    •  The State Police (none)
      Police the Sheriff's Departments.  But with a Republican Gov, and majority of howling Republican Hamsters in the legislature ... case closed.
    •  I'd imagine there were... (none)
      ...a lot of people around that we don't know about.  And btw, what a sport.  </sarcasm>

      They drove up in cars, after being radio'ed the birds location.  You've got the freaking gun, Dick, isn't that enough of an advantage?  Sheesh.

      Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

      by Barbara Morrill on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 11:51:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  One comment of Cheney's Seems to Have Been Missed (none)
    Cheney said that the first words out of his mouth were "Harry, I didn't know that you were there".

    Huh???  Well, yeah.  Otherwise it would have been attempted murder.

    You just unloaded 200 of say 250 pieces of shot into your "friend" and the first words out of your mouth help to exonerate you of blame.  I can personally see myself stupidly screaming OMIGOD at the top of lungs for about a minute.  Maybe the equally stupid "Harry, are you okay?, or the stupid, yet semi-required, "Harry, I'm so sorry", but explaining to the unconscious man that you didn't see him.  Can you say sociopath?

    •  and this is PROOF of how close Dick was (none)
      if Harry was 30 feet, let alone 30 yards, away, Dick wouldn't have made that remark.  

      If Harry was really far away, Dick's response surely would have been to RUN UP to him.

      Dick shot Harry at virtually point blank range, which is why the pellets were able to get through the layers of clothing.

      Which makes it all the more negligent; proof of some kind of impairment such as drunkenness

  •  Who were the "five" in the party? (none)
    In his interview with Brit Hume, Cheney says that there were five people in the hunting party when he accidentally shot Whittington.  We know of Cheney and Whittington, and the U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland Pamela Willeford.  Who were the other two?  Was Katherine Armstrong included in the party of five -- and if so, who was the fifth?  Or was he not counting her because she was back in one of the vehicles but counting two guides or "outriders?"
         This seems like a pretty basic question but I can't find the info in any of the published accounts.
    •  There were 8 by my count... (none)
      See my comment above. But when Cheney was interviewed, he listed 8 people as being there, only 5 of which were hunting (is my guess on where the 5 comes from). I sorted it out and by my calculation, the 5 hunting were:

      Oscar Medellin
      Bo Hubert

      The 3 sitting in the vehicles were:

      Jerry Medellin
      Sarita Hixon

      •  more... (none)
        From here:

        Mr. Cheney told me that on Saturday, February 11, 2006 at approximately 5:30 pm on the Armstrong Ranch that there was a three vehicle hunting party that consisted of himself, Bo Hubert, Pam Willeford, Jerry Medellin, Katharine Armstrong, Sarita Armstrong Hixon, Harry Whittington, and Oscar Medellin.

        Slide down the page when you click on the link to read Cheney's account.

        •  O.k. -- thanks (none)
          I agree.  From the deputy's report of what Cheney told him, it does appear that the five were Cheney, Whittington, Willeford, Hubert, and Oscar Medellin, with Armstrong, Hixon and Jerry Medellin back in the vehicle.  I'm curious about the fact that when Captain Kirk (yes, that's his name and title) first arrived at the ranch the Border Patrol officer manning the gate said he didn't know anything about a hunting accident.  This suggests that the ambulance had not yet arrived, much less departed -- or else this was a different gate and this guy was just utterly uninformed.  Either way, you'd think the Secret Service would be communicating with the guy at the gate to let him know to expect an ambulance, and a Sheriff's  Department representative.  Odd.
          •  Actually, I suspect the five were... (none)
            Cheney, Wittington, Willeford, Karen Armstrong, and Sarita Armstrong Hixon.  I'd bet that was the "five" that Cheney was referring to, since he suggested that there were five "in the hunting party."  And I suppose that those of the Armstrong's ilk don't ordinarily think of the ranch "help" as being in the party with them -- they are simply their to serve and assist.  And I suspect Dick adopts that mode of thought when there, if he doesn't automatically think that way anyway.
  •  Cheney has gout (none)
    While having gout is not absolute evidence of a drinking problem. Chances of developing gout are much increased by drinking, particularly beer.

    In a recent  reported study, US researchers followed 47,150 men aged 40 to 75 over 12 years, looking at their drinking habits (how many grams of alcohol they consumed per day). None of the men had gout in the beginning. The researchers documented 730 confirmed incident cases of gout among the men by Year 12.  Compared with men who did not drink alcohol, the risk of developing gout increased with the amount of alcohol that the person was consuming. (Choi, et al, April, 2004).

    For men drinking  on average < 1 standard drink a day, the relative risk (RR ) was 1.32; this relative risk of developing gout  increased to 1.49  for men drinking on average  1 to 2 standard drinks a day),. At  2 to 3.7 standard drinks a day), the RR was  1.96 and this jumped to 2·53 for men who were consuming more than 3.7 standard drinks a day.

    fact does not require fiction for balance

    by mollyd on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 07:24:39 AM PST

  •  Dear BarbinMD: (none)
    Diane Rehm just mentioned on her Friday news roundup that she will be doing a show on presidential secrecy this Monday, including the Cheney incident.  I forwarded some snips from this diary, and wanted to alert you to this in case you'd like to supply more details in a non-diary format.  She's at

    " weapons of mass destruction over there, but Coretta knew and we know that there are weapons of misdirection right down here." -Rev. Lowery

    by Cecile on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 07:58:02 AM PST

  •  Keith Olbermann was going after (none)
    Armstrong's commments from far, far away, in a car, last night.  He was, to say the least, skeptical.

    Also, Dick Morris was telling Hannity, who was not at all happy about it, that the delay in telling the press does not bode well for Cheney, especially when taken with the fact that there was beer involved and Cheney did not go to the hospital. Morris said it makes it look like Cheney was drunk, and did not want to be seen at the hospital.  

    The vultures are circling.

    The Democratic party - the party of sanity, reason and kindness.

    by adigal on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 08:03:24 AM PST

    •  Disgusting creep Dick Morris (none)
      is just right for this kind of assignment and probably has it right.  It is the type of event that he has just the right insight to talk about.  You know the old adage, "hire a liar to catch a liar!"
  •  This is spectacular reporting, Barb... (none)
    And it was also important, I thought, to get the story out as accurately as possible, and this is a complicated story that, frankly, most reporters would never have dealt with before, so...

    As if reporters are nitwits (well, OK, some of them are :o) Thanks for showing Dick Cheney that he is wrong on yet another count: for some reporters -- like Barb here -- this isn't 'complicated' at all.

    It's quite elementary. Awesome series these past days...

  •  As Al Franken pointed out (none)
    on Scarborough Country (via Crooks and Liars), if he was so concerned for Harry Whittington why didn't Cheney go to the hospital?

    FRANKEN:  And you have to ask yourself the following questions.  Why didn't he go to the hospital if-he went back to the ranch and had dinner.  Now, if you are so worried-he said that he didn`t get the story out because he wasn`t sure how serious this was.  

    If you are so concerned about how serious this is, you go to the hospital.  He said-when he was asked by Brit Hume in this very softball interview, you know, did you go on--in the ambulance, he went, well, no.  There wasn`t enough--it was very crowded, and they didn`t need another body.

    Well, the--he--there`s plenty of vans that he could have gone to the hospital in.  So, it begs the question...

    SCARBOROUGH:  You are making a good point.  You are making a good point, that, had I shot somebody, had you shot somebody, we certainly would have rushed to the hospital, even if we were vice president of the United States.

    Damn straight!

    Being called vindictive and partisan by Tom DeLay is like being called ugly by a frog. -- Ronnie Earle

    by John H on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 08:24:35 AM PST

  •  F*&% the press! We need Michael Moore... (none)
    to go investigate this whole affair.  MM needs to take his camera and go hunt down everyone from the hunting party and ask them questions. If they want to slam the door on his face, fine.  Let them look like fools.  But this story doesn't hold up.

    As pointed out, Armstrong is so full of crap.  She was no "eyewitness."  Also, she's a lobbysist (also noted), for cying out loud! Beer and heart medications?  Is this okay?  When is the press gonna get a physician to opine on the synegistic effects??

    We need Michael Moore very, very badly!

  •  Armstrong was appointed commissioner for (none)
    Texas Parks and Wildlife by Bush in the late nineties.  Makes one wonder why the same woman who worked for the people that post the rules below would be able to state the lame defense of Cheney, she certainly made TPWD look like a joke:


    Shooting Safety Rules
    Rules Hunters Can Live By . . . Ten Commandments of Shooting Safety
    Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
    Control the direction of the muzzle at all times. Do not point a firearm or bow at anything you do not intend to shoot. Never rest a muzzle on your toe or foot. Keep your finger out of the trigger guard until the instant you are ready to fire. Always keep the safety on until ready to fire; however, the safety should never be a substitute for safe firearm handling.

    Treat every firearm or bow with the same respect you would show a loaded gun or nocked arrow.
    Every time you pick up a firearm, the first thing you do is point the muzzle in a safe direction and check to see if it is loaded. Be sure the chamber and magazine are empty and that the action is open until ready to be fired. If you do not understand how to determine if it is loaded, do not accept the firearm until someone has safely shown you that it is unloaded. Read your instruction manual carefully before you handle new firearms or bows.

    Be sure of your target and what is in front of and beyond your target.
    Before you pull the trigger you must properly identify game animals. Until your target is fully visible and in good light, do not even raise your scope to see it. Use binoculars! Know what is in front of and behind your target. Determine that you have a safe backstop or background. Since you do not know what is on the other side, never take a shot at any animals on top of ridges or hillsides. Know how far bullets, arrows and pellets can travel. Never shoot at flat, hard surfaces, such as water, rocks or steel because of ricochets.

    Unload firearms and unstring conventional bows when not in use.
    Leave actions open, and store sporting arms in cases when traveling to and from shooting areas. Take bolts out or break down shotguns if necessary. Know how your equipment operates. Store and transport firearms and ammunition separately and under lock and key. Store firearms and bows in cool, dry places. Use gun or trigger locks and guards when not in use.

    Handle the firearms, arrows and ammunition carefully.
    Avoid horseplay with firearms. Never climb a fence, a tree or a ladder with a loaded firearm or bow and arrows. Never jump a ditch or cross difficult terrain with a loaded firearm or nocked arrow. Never face or look down the barrel from the muzzle end. Be sure the only ammunition you carry correctly matches the gauge or caliber you are shooting. Always carry arrows in a protected cover or quiver. Learn the proper carries. Try to use the two-hand carry whenever possible because it affords you the best muzzle control. Always carry handguns with hammers over an empty chamber or cylinder. If you fall, be sure to disassemble the gun and check the barrel from the breech end for obstructions. Carry a field cleaning kit.

    Know your safe zone-of-fire and stick to it.
    Your safe zone-of-fire is that area or direction in which you can safely fire a shot. It is "down range" at a shooting facility. In the field it is that mental image you draw in your mind with every step you take. Be sure you know where your companions are at all times. Never swing your gun or bow out of your safe zone-of-fire. Know the safe carries when there are persons to your sides, in front of, or behind you. If in doubt, never take a shot. When hunting, wear daylight fluorescent orange so you can be seen from a distance or in heavy cover.

    Control your emotions when it comes to safety.
    If you lose control of your emotions you may do something carelessly. If you have just shot a target or animal you probably will be excited. At that moment you may turn with a loaded firearm back towards your friends or you might run with a loaded firearm towards a downed animal with the gun safety off. You or someone else may be in danger once you lose control of your emotions. Show discipline. Rehearse in your mind what the safe actions will be. Do not allow your daydreams to replace good judgment. Show restraint and pass up shots which have the slightest chance of being unsafe.

    Wear hearing and eye protection.
    While shooting at the range, you must wear hearing and eye protection at all times. Firearms are loud and can create noises which are damaging to a person's hearing. It can be a gradual loss of hearing due to outbursts of noise over many years. The damage could also be immediate, especially if your ears are next to a muzzle blast. Vibrations from the blast are enough to create loss of hearing. Wear glasses to protect your eyes from escaping gases, burnt powder (especially in blackpowder shooting), and other debris.

    Don't drink alcohol or take drugs before or while handling firearms or bow and arrows.
    Alcohol and drugs impair normal physical and mental body functions and mustn't be used before or while handling firearms or archery equipment. These substances affect emotions, making it easier to lose control.

    Be aware of additional circumstances which require added caution or safety awareness.
    Just because something isn't listed under these "ten commandments of shooting safety" doesn't mean you can ignore it if it is dangerous. There may be rules such as in muzzleloading or archery or posted at a shooting range which should also be followed. Also, practice reloading safety by following and reading all specific instructions. Practice all commandments of shooting safety. Ensure a safe future for you, others and the shooting sports!
  •  only story I can find from Powell on hunting .... (4.00)
    HEADLINE: Bush Sr., VP hunt in Kenedy
    Armstrong Ranch reported to be host

    BYLINE: Jaime Powell, Caller-Times

    Vice President Dick Cheney, former president George Bush Sr. and U.S. special envoy James A. Baker III have been bird hunting this weekend at a ranch in Kenedy County, according to some area officials.

    The three men were aboard a chartered jet, which landed at 3 p.m. Friday afternoon at the Brooks County Airport in Falfurrias, said airport attendant Lamar Perez.

    Kenedy County rancher Tobin Armstrong and his wife, Anne Armstrong, the former ambassador to Great Britain, are hosting the men. Area hunters and ranchers said quail have been especially plump and plentiful.

    The high-powered guests have been sheltered from the media, but it is believed that they are at a hunting camp about 10 miles into the 50,000-acre Armstrong ranch.

    The vice president's plane, Air Force Two, was parked on the ramp at Naval Air Station Kingsville late Saturday.

    Perez said he is unsure when the vice president and the other guests are leaving and what their mode of transportation will be. Officials declined to discuss any added security.

    Less than three weeks ago, President Bush spent a short time hunting for quail in the same area. The president reportedly spent this weekend gearing up for his State of the Union address on Tuesday.

    Area ranchers say South Texas is a popular hunting destination with several celebrities including actor and movie producer Sylvester Stallone and Dallas Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones and other members of his family and business associates.

    The elder Bush hunts at area ranches, including the Lazy F Ranch in Berclair, outside Beeville. Cheney is known to hunt birds several times a year at the Armstrong Ranch.

    •  Nice catch (none)
      As I suspected, it looks like Jamie Powell's more of society reporter covering the one thing high society types do in that part of TX (hunt) rather than actually a sportswoman covering hunting.

      This is the way democracy ends Not with a bomb But with a gavel -Max Baucus

      by emptywheel on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 09:06:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, I'd seen that one (none)
      But I meant something that exhibited her knowledge of hunting, bullets, etc., because Cheney said getting a reporter who had "dealt" with this kind of story before, was important.  My apologies for not being more clear.  :-)

      Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

      by Barbara Morrill on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 10:54:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  CNN Headline News (none)
    reporting that Wittington himself will have a press conference from the hospital this afternoon.

    I don't think they gave a time.

    although it's getting late, you still have plenty of time

    by maracuja on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 08:51:42 AM PST

    •  12:10 pm NY Times Report (none)
      NY Times reports these snippets. (sorry I don't know how to do gray boxes)

      "WASHINGTON (AP) -- The hunter shot by Vice President Dick Cheney said it ''was just an accident'' and reassured investigators alcohol was not involved, according a county sheriff's report.

      In Texas, Harry Whittington is scheduled to make a public statement Friday afternoon outside Christus Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi-Memorial where he is being treated.

      The 78-year-old attorney ''explained foremost there was no alcohol during the hunt and everyone was wearing the proper hunting attire of blaze orange,'' reported Kenedy County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Gilberto San Miguel Jr.


      "Commenting about Saturday's accident for the first time, Bush said Thursday that Cheney handled the situation ''just fine.''

      ''I'm satisfied with the explanation he gave,'' Bush said, calling it ''strong and powerful.''

      Bush described Cheney as extremely distraught since he shot Whittington.

      ''The vice president was involved in a terrible accident and it profoundly affected him,'' Bush said during a photo opportunity with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. ''Yesterday when he was here in the Oval Office, I saw the deep concern he had about a person who he wounded."

      more here:

      A strong and powerful statement?  What bullsh*t.

  •  Part IV is up... (none) ePluribus Media.  For some reason, my title won't show the "Update."  Grrrr...

    Please check it out.  :-)

    Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

    by Barbara Morrill on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 09:51:49 AM PST

  •  Did Secret Service obstruct justice for Cheney? (none)
    Well, Mr. Wittington has just appeared before cameras and looks like he is recovering well, which is good. I wrote a lengthy comment which I hesitated to post here because with Wittington about to be released from the hospital and the Cheney spin plan swimming along so well, with almost all focus on sympathy for "all he has gone through," it almost seems moot. But it's not moot and I'm posting this anyway because something very bizarre happened in the environs of that Texas hunting field.

    Forgive me, Barb, if you covered this in your first two parts, but have you delved into the role of the Secret Service in fending off (oh so nicely I'm sure) the sheriff/authorities to keep Cheney from being interviewed until next day?

    Interesting how this SS angle is being framed in media. Cable news shows are accenting SS role in "communicating with sheriff" and "informing sheriff" about shooting accident like they were mere messengers but not the possibility that SS stopped the sheriff from interviewing Cheney immediately after shooting, intervening to arrange for Cheney not to be interviewed for 14 hours. ThinkProgress had the story about CBS report on this allegation 3-4 days ago. On Mark Crispen Miller's blogsite Feb 14, MCM found evidence that the CBS News story (linked in the ThinkProgress story) about the SS fend-off was scrubbed from the CBS News site :

    From MCM's blog, Tues Feb 14, scroll down to blog entry for that date (MCM put his inserted comment in all caps in the ThinkProgress story excerpt. Note -- MCM link noted below takes you to current CBS site. To go direct to CBS News story you can strip in URL which MCM notes below into your browser or search "Cheney Jan 13" on CBS site. I find it hard to tell if whole story was replaced or just a section excised and new headline put up; think probably the latter but not sure):

    Texas Sheriff Barred From Interviewing Cheney About Shooting Incident

    CBS News reports that local law enforcement officials were prevented from interviewing Vice President Cheney after he accidentally shot a 78-year-old man during a hunting trip:


    CBS News White House correspondent Peter Maer reports Texas authorities are complaining that the Secret Service barred them from speaking to Cheney after the incident. Kenedy County Texas Sheriffs Lt. Juan Guzman said deputies first learned of the shooting when an ambulance was called.

    The ThinkProgress story continued with a Scottie exchange with reporters:

    McClellan was asked about it at the press briefing but played dumb:

    QUESTION: Scott, there's a report coming out of a sheriff's deputy there who said that he was prevented from interviewing the vice president by the Secret Service. Do you know anything about that? And is that appropriate?

    MCCLELLAN: No, I don't know anything about that. You have got to direct that to the Secret Service. My understanding was that Secret Service took the appropriate steps to inform law enforcement.

    Of course, the question is not whether the Secret Service informed law enforcement, but whether law enforcement was permitted to speak with Cheney.

    MCM also notes the NY Times slipped by the SS issue. MCM says on same blog post:

    The Secret Service spokesperson confirms they "made arrangements" that Cheney be interviewed the next morning and that is what happened, so why did both the New York Times and CBS excise the part where the deputy was PREVENTED from speaking with Cheney Saturday night?

    Maybe you covered this, Barb. What's going on with CBS excising this story? Does it mean CBS found story was bogus and dropped it? Then wouldn't CBS print a story saying their previous story was erroneous or new source contradicts it or something -- not scrub it off their site? We know the story existed because WH press corps asked Scottie about it (see exchange quoted above). The sheriff now denies on cable news Thurs 2-16-06 that he or his men were "stopped" by Secret Service.

    Did sheriff's team go out too far ahead, complain to press (CBS and Times), then were dissuaded (by whom?) to change their story and play ball with Cheney's gang, now mincing their words and denying being "stopped," "barred" or "prevented" from access to Cheney but wheeling the spin angle around to being "informed" about the accident by SS?

    The Secret Service is charged to protect the VP from harm but not to run defense for him against legal consequences after an accident causing serious bodily harm, with no blood test to check whether he was under the influence of alcohol or other substance. Such testing is SOP per another sheriff (Hierholtzer from a different TX county) on Abrams Report (MSNBC) and if positive would have exposed Cheney to criminal negligence. Hence, at this stage the witness interviews are crucial, not witnesses to the shooting but witnesses to Cheney himself and every step he took and everything he drank -- a beer, several beers, a Dr. Pepper, something in a flask? -- in the hours before the shooting. What would have happened if Mr. Wittington had died in the days after the shooting? Then Cheney would have been facing manslaughter -- with no SOP investigation having been done to determine what degree of manslaughter.

    This Secret Service thing -- and the TX sheriff team's apparent acquiescence -- are crucial questions because the frame of this story, for me, is yet another example of imperial Bush/Cheney abrogation of legal procedures and the rule of law, a microcosm of this entire administration, no different from Bush's walk-away from the TX ANG, Bush's lie to Congress about Niger uranium (illegal to lie to Congress in SOTU); Cheney's outright lies about WMD, or the two of them secretly breaking the FISA law with warrantless surveillance of Americans for the last four years. If Cheney used the Secret Service to run defense for him against legal authorities, this would be using government assets to obstruct justice. Never mind the fact that "justice" in the form of the Texas sheriff seems to be happy to be obstructed.

    Barb, what do you think?

    (Sorry to write long, kinda complex)

    "It's 1776 all over again" -- J.W.P. (after Yogi Berra, in the spirit of Tom Paine)

    by wardlow on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 10:14:41 AM PST

    •  Dear Wardlow, (none)
       I noticed that change in the coverage too!  Ist the secret service wouldn't allow Cheney to be spoken with until Sunday morning (I guess this was Sunday evening on the news) and by Monday it was removed from the news.
  •  Whittington speaks (none)

    The man accidentally shot by Vice President Dick Cheney has been released from the hospital. Harry Whittington, a 78-year-old Texas attorney, said "accidents do and will happen," and that's what happened last week. More...

  •  Barb, I think the work you've done (none)
    on this deserves a loosening of the rules.  Epic diaries suck when they are about boring topics no one cares about.  This, on the other hand is one of the better epic diaries I've read.  Keep posting and let the posting police bust you if necessary.  This is too good.

    If we're dumb. Then God is dumb. And maybe a little ugly on the side.

    by Ghost of Frank Zappa on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 10:31:53 AM PST

  •  You didn't hear it! (none)
    You didn't see it!
    You won't say nothin' to no one,
    Ever in your life.
    You never heard it!

    Take your protein pills and put your helmet on

    by SFOrange on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 10:39:13 AM PST

    and please get somebody to ask what mrs. cheyney thinks about the whole thing, and why doesnt she hunt with the hubby.

    two stories here...likker and broads!!!!

    •  I'd imagine that... (none)
      ...she was nothing but relieved that she didn't have to do the horizontal tango with that speculation is running rampant?  Probably not so much.  <heehee>

      Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

      by Barbara Morrill on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 11:55:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  GUI? (4.00)
    Initially, I was skeptical of the role of alcohol in this accident because Cheney has heart problems.  Those who have the type of health history that he does should not be drinking.

    But when Cheney himself admitted that he had "a beer" and another witness spoke of "beers available" at a picnic, I now think that alcohol was a key factor in this accident.  All of the things that occurred after the incident point to a coverup--and this theory seems very plausible.

    Here's the bigger question:  is "President" Cheney GUI (governing under the influence)?  His tragic lack of judgment about Iraq has been completely off the mark and suggests one who is not thinking clearly.

    If it's not alcohol, I suspect something else isn't quite right.  Listen to Scowcroft (who said he's known Cheney for 30 years, but doesn't "know him" now) or Powell in Bob Woodward's book saying that this once steady man now had an irrational "fever" about Iraq.  

  •  "The other team" (none)
    I cracked up over your line about hunting being "the world's only sport where the other team doesn't know they're playing", LOL.  Did you make that up?


    -9.00, -3.69 Bush, 12/12/05: "I think we are welcomed [in Iraq]. But it was not a peaceful welcome."

    by SlackerInc on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 11:30:46 AM PST

  •  Vote at cnn-- (none)

    You're a Republican until it happens to you.

    by nape on Fri Feb 17, 2006 at 12:38:11 PM PST

  •  Just avoiding the Sunday papers? (none)
    Maybe the delay in notifying the media was simply to avoid having the story on the front page of Sunday newspapers all across the country.

    Or maybe it's something more:  Cheney's Chappaquiddick.

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