18 July 2007

Generation Chickenhawk

Max Blumenthal visits the College Republicans National
Convention in DC. Check out the must-see video, here.

* * *

UPDATE: Compare the the above acts of brazen cowardice
and hypocrisy with this heartbreaking story in today’s
NY Times metro section.

A little more than a year ago, Le Ron A. Wilson,
not yet 18, walked into the military recruiting
center on Jamaica Avenue in Queens and signed
up to serve in the Army. He had the kind of
brains and drive that make a good soldier, the
persistence that wears down parents. His
mother, Simona Francis, gave her permission.

Yesterday, not far from the recruiting center, the
short, happy life of Le Ron Wilson was recalled
at a funeral Mass in Christ the King Church.
Twice named soldier of the month in his platoon,
a specialist in the repair of weapons, a
correspondent with scores of friends on his
MySpace page, Private First Class Wilson and
another soldier were killed on July 6 by a
roadside bomb.

Many of those in the church yesterday wore
buttons with his image. The pictures that show
him fresh-faced do not lie. He was born on Nov.
16, 1988. He was not yet 13 during the attacks
of Sept. 11 and never voted for a president.
He barely had to shave.

Read the rest of this article for free, here.

Long Live Lefsetz

This blog goes to eleven!

The Cheese Sandwich is proud to add The Lefsetz Letter
to its ever-expanding cheesy blogroll. Bob Lefsetz, the
undisputed, heavyweight champion of music geeks has
been preaching his unique brand of Rock 'n' Roll gospel
for decades. (I only recently discovered him via his
enthusiastic commentaries that appear regularly in the
Rhinocast podcast series.) Now, with the magic of the
internets, discerning music fans everywhere can get the
full-on Lefsetz experience in convenient blog form.

His latest post is a tour-de-force rant that connects the
dots between the alleged popularity of talentless wastes
of space like Victoria Beckham and a failed, dysfunctional
news media that has completely lost the plot.

Who said Posh Spice was important? A woman
with baseball-sized boobs glued to her chest,
who looks like she hasn’t eaten during this
century, she’s the new role model for young
American girls? Why isn’t NOW or maybe even
Rosie O’Donnell out there protesting this
travesty of hype?

Probably because nobody’s really paying
attention. Only the media that needs a story to
sell to its advertisers. The public doesn’t care.

Do me a favor L.A. "Times". Next time, just print
a picture of a hanger, that’s all Posh Spice is.
She’s even dumber than most models.

Uneducated, created by the knife and sporting
an unending desire to be famous, she trumps
everybody with an education, everybody who
believes you make the best of what you’re born
with, who believes that who you are is more
important than what you look like?

The media is so out of touch with the American
public it isn’t funny. It’s no different than their
support of the Administration in the run-up to
the war. They want to be in bed with the rich,
they want to go to parties with Posh Spice, or
her handlers/sponsors. They want some of the
overflow of fame, just like Judith Miller
cherished her White House access.

The media used to be independent. Forging its
own stories. Coming up with its own stars.
Maybe they’re complicit in this Posh Spice hype
because no one’s working at the papers
anymore. Or most of the media. They’ve laid off
most of the worker bees in the hunt for profits,
to satiate Wall Street, and all that remain are
out of touch millionaires, who think what their
brethren fat cats tell them is happening truly is.

But it’s not.

Amen, brother. But lest you be fooled into thinking it’s all
fire and brimstone at the House of Lefsetz, check out his
review of a recent “surprise” concert by Paul McCartney
at Amoeba Records. I challenge any Beatles fan to read it
without smiling.

16 July 2007

With friends like these...

President Bush and his BFF, Prince Bandar.

Saudi Arabia: the oil-rich Sunni nation ruled by a repressive
monarchy with close ties to the Bush family, the original
home of Osama Bin Laden and 15 of the 9/11 hijackers,
and now according to the LA Times, the source of most
of the foreign fighters killing our soldiers in Iraq.

About 45% of all foreign militants targeting U.S.
troops and Iraqi civilians and security forces are
from Saudi Arabia; 15% are from Syria and
Lebanon; and 10% are from North Africa,
according to official U.S. military figures made
available to The Times by the senior officer.
Nearly half of the 135 foreigners in U.S.
detention facilities in Iraq are Saudis, he said.

Fighters from Saudi Arabia are thought to have
carried out more suicide bombings than those of
any other nationality, said the senior U.S. officer,
who spoke on condition of anonymity because of
the subject's sensitivity. It is apparently the first
time a U.S. official has given such a breakdown
on the role played by Saudi nationals in Iraq's
Sunni Arab insurgency.

He said 50% of all Saudi fighters in Iraq come
here as suicide bombers. In the last six months,
such bombings have killed or injured 4,000

Did I mention that Saudi Arabia is the top Middle-Eastern
ally in the Bush Administration’s War on Terror?

The situation has left the U.S. military in the
awkward position of battling an enemy whose
top source of foreign fighters is a key ally that at
best has not been able to prevent its citizens
from undertaking bloody attacks in Iraq, and at
worst shares complicity in sending extremists to
commit attacks against U.S. forces, Iraqi civilians
and the Shiite-led government in Baghdad.

The problem casts a spotlight on the tangled web
of alliances and enmities that underlie the
political relations between Muslim nations and
the U.S.

Great. Next you’ll be telling me that our good friends in
Pakistan support Al-Qaeda too.


13 July 2007


photo: Reuters

“For my part, I would rather lose a campaign than
a war.”

- John McCain / April 2007

It seems the former front-runner has already completed
the first half of the equation.

"We've made mistakes," the Arizona senator
said during an interview with New Hampshire
Public Radio. "The responsibility is mine. I'm
the candidate."

Four days after accepting the resignations of
his two top campaign aides, McCain said he
didn't do what was necessary to run a
productive campaign and spent just as much
as he brought in when he should have been
saving up to pay for costly television
advertisements for the heat of race.

"We didn't use the money in the most effective
way," he said.

McCain made the comments in the first-in-the-
nation primary state as finger-pointing among
his loyalists intensified in Washington over
who was to blame for the one-time GOP front-
runner's six-month slide and financially fragile

The campaign raised $25 million in the first half
of the year, but blew through nearly all of it
during the same period. By Sunday, the
campaign will report to the Federal Election
Commission that it has $2 million cash on hand
but more than $1 million in outstanding debt,
according to officials. They say McCain could
end up having as little as a couple hundred
thousand dollars to spend as he tries to
revitalize his campaign.

Tough luck, Johnny. I hope you saved those receipts.

Maybe your war-mongering pal in the Senate can lend
you some Joementum to get that Straight-Talk Express
rollin’ again.

Or you could follow Rudy’s lead and just hire drug-dealers
and prostitute-payers to manage your campaign.

Or you could risk it all on the Double Hail Mary.
(aka "The World’s Biggest Flip-Flop")

Or you could just STFU and go away.

* * *

UPDATE: It looks like he picked door number two.

McCain got more bad news yesterday. A Florida
co-chair for his campaign was arrested on
Wednesday after offering to perform oral sex
on an undercover officer, the Associated Press

Sounds like entrapment to me. Was the cop wearing
a gay sweater ?

08 July 2007

Bring Them Home

With a backdrop of over 200 deaths in the last 48 hours,
the NY Times finally catches up to the American public and
says it's time to leave Iraq.

While Mr. Bush scorns deadlines, he kept
promising breakthroughs — after elections, after
a constitution, after sending in thousands more
troops. But those milestones came and went
without any progress toward a stable, democratic
Iraq or a path for withdrawal. It is frighteningly
clear that Mr. Bush’s plan is to stay the course as
long as he is president and dump the mess on his
successor. Whatever his cause was, it is lost.

The political leaders Washington has backed are
incapable of putting national interests ahead of
sectarian score settling. The security forces
Washington has trained behave more like
partisan militias. Additional military forces
poured into the Baghdad region have failed to
change anything.

Continuing to sacrifice the lives and limbs of
American soldiers is wrong. The war is sapping
the strength of the nation’s alliances and its
military forces. It is a dangerous diversion from
the life-and-death struggle against terrorists. It
is an increasing burden on American taxpayers,
and it is a betrayal of a world that needs the wise
application of American power and principles.

A majority of Americans reached these
conclusions months ago. Even in politically
polarized Washington, positions on the war no
longer divide entirely on party lines. When
Congress returns this week, extricating American
troops from the war should be at the top of its

04 July 2007


Even Richard Nixon knew it was time to resign.
Would that you could say that, Mr. Bush. And that
you could say it for Mr. Cheney. You both crossed
the Rubicon yesterday. Which one of you chose the
route no longer matters. Which is the ventriloquist,
and which the dummy, is irrelevant. But that you
have twisted the machinery of government into
nothing more than a tawdry machine of politics is
the only fact that remains relevant.

It is nearly July Fourth, Mr. Bush, the
commemoration of the moment we Americans
decided that rather than live under a king who
made up the laws, or erased them, or ignored
them -- or commuted the sentences of those
rightly convicted under them -- we would force
our independence and regain our sacred freedoms.

We of this time -- and our leaders in Congress, of
both parties -- must now live up to those
standards which echo through our history.
Pressure, negotiate, impeach: get you, Mr. Bush,
and Mr. Cheney, two men who are now perilous to
our democracy, away from its helm.

And for you, Mr. Bush, and for Mr. Cheney, there is
a lesser task. You need merely achieve a very low
threshold indeed. Display just that iota of
patriotism which Richard Nixon showed on August
9th, 1974.


02 July 2007

No Jail for Scooter

On the very day that a federal appeals court ruled that
Libby could not delay his prison term while seeking appeal,
our president speaks:

Both critics and defenders of this investigation
have made important points. I have made my
own evaluation. In preparing for the decision I
am announcing today, I have carefully weighed
these arguments and the circumstances
surrounding this case.

Mr. Libby was sentenced to 30 months of prison,
two years of probation and a $250,000 fine. In
making the sentencing decision, the district court
rejected the advice of the probation office, which
recommended a lesser sentence and the
consideration of factors that could have led to a
sentence of home confinement or probation.

I respect the jury's verdict. But I have concluded
that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is
excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the
portion of Mr. Libby's sentence that required him
to spend 30 months in prison.

My decision to commute his prison sentence
leaves in place a harsh punishment for Mr. Libby.
The reputation he gained through his years of
public service and professional work in the legal
community is forever damaged. His wife and
young children have also suffered immensely. He
will remain on probation. The significant fines
imposed by the judge will remain in effect. The
consequences of his felony conviction on his
former life as a lawyer, public servant and
private citizen will be long-lasting.

The Constitution gives the president the power of
clemency to be used when he deems it to be
warranted. It is my judgment that a commutation
of the prison term in Mr. Libby's case is an
appropriate exercise of this power.

And so it goes. Libby gets his reward for keeping his
mouth shut -- no jail time and a slap on the wrist. Bush
and Cheney get to sweep their crimes under the rug and
obstruct justice. And the press goes back to reporting
important stuff like missing pregnant women and inept
Scottish terrorists.

Party on!

UPDATE: TPMmuckraker has reaction from Joe Wilson.