Tuesday, February 14, 2006

What did happen on Cheney's hunting trip?

Mike and I are both hurrying tonight because it's V-Day and we've got plans (not with each other). This would be one of those days, like I was saying yesterday, where you might be able to get something if you combine what's at Mikey Likes It! with what's here. So be sure to visit Mikey Likes It!

"Cheney Cited For Hunting Violation in Shooting Incident" (Democracy Now!):
The Bush administration is on the defensive over Vice President Dick Cheney’s accidental shooting of hunting companion and Republican fundraiser Harry Whittington at a Texas ranch Saturday. Whittington is reported to be in stable condition. It took the White House at least 19 hours to inform the public -- and only after a local Texas newspaper broke the story. Cheney is also coming under criticism for violating Texas game law. On Monday, state officials said Cheney had not purchased a stamp required for bird hunting.

I don't know what to make of this, honestly. The secrecy involved would suggest that we're looking at something much bigger than what's been reported; however, it's also true that the administration is very secretive. They've never felt the public had a right to know anything. Even before they got into office. Bully Boy kept bringing up the drug issue ("I could pass a test . . .") but wouldn't answer questions as to what drugs he was referring to having used. They've never felt they owed the public anything -- which is probably why they're determined to have a tag sale on the public goods and grant as many waivers and perks to corporations that they can get away with.

The behavior goes beyond their usual secrecy because, I would assume "obviously," when you shoot someone, it will be news. C.I. passed on something that there wasn't time to highlight at The Common Ills but that Mike and I might be able to use.

Why Put Silencer on Story?" (Juan Gonzalez, Common Dreams):
Since when does the massive White House spin machine permit a little-known South Texas rancher to give vice presidential press briefings?
McClellan said yesterday he did not even learn the vice president had been the shooter until Sunday morning.
Even the normally docile Washington press corps wasn't buying that line. Angry reporters repeatedly demanded to know exactly when Bush learned about Cheney's errant shot.
Later in the day, the White House revealed that deputy chief of staff Karl Rove was the first to know. Rove spoke by phone with Armstrong on Saturday evening, then informed Bush around 8 p.m. of the vice president's role.
In other words, both Bush and Rove knew the essential details within hours of the incident, yet the White House kept things quiet until the next day.
At yesterday's briefing, McClellan repeatedly referred further questions to Cheney's office, and late in the day the information dribbled out that Cheney hadn't bothered to pay for the proper permit to go bird hunting in Texas.
Local sheriffs in Kenedy County reportedly complained that Secret Service agents prevented them from talking to the vice president immediately after the incident.
The Secret Service, on the other hand, says that it reported the shooting to the sheriff's office an hour after it happened, and that Cheney eventually did talk to local authorities.
The Cheney interview, like so much of this story, was delayed until Sunday morning.

Juan Gonzalez hosts Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman. I would enjoy him being on this week because I think this issue needs further attention. It hasn't gotten enough. Not when the New York Times continues to white-out the fact that Cheney travels with a medical team.

C.I.'s been noting this story, and the reluctance by some to note Cheney's health, since Sunday and you could read the latest here. Wally's been doing a humorous take on it and you can read his latest here. I have no idea what happened on the hunting trip and I'm less than convinced that we've gotten any sort of realistic picture thus far.

"GAO: Bush Admin. Spent Over $1.6B on PR" (Democracy Now!):
And finally, a new report from the Government Accountablity Office says the Bush administration has spent over $1.6 billion on advertising and public relations contracts in the last two years. Of this amount, the Pentagon has been the biggest spender, paying $1.1 billion for recruitment campaigns and other public relations efforts.

They always find money for the things that they think are important, don't they? Here's a thought, come up with some programs that actually help the average person and you might not have to spend so much money trying to spin them as 'helpful.'

That's it for me. Happy V-Day.