The World That Dick Built
February 28, 2006
By Sheila Samples
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 also wonder why Dick chose to return to the house
and fix himself a cocktail rather than accompany his victim to the
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
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 Whittington, 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)
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."
Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian
US Army Public Information Officer. She is a regular contributor
for a variety of Internet sites. Contact her at email@example.com.