Today On Holden’s Obsession With The Gaggle

Well, looks like we’re stuck with Tony Farto again today (hat-tip to montag for the nick), I guess no one else wanted to go to Crawford. Tony Farto Lectures A Former President Q President Carter amended his comments over the weekend, this morning, saying essentially he didn’t mean to say that the Bush administration’s foreign policy was the worst in history, he was talking about it more in comparison with Nixon’s foreign policy. Do you have any response to that? MR. FRATTO: I don’t think I have response — a specific response to that. I think it just highlights the … Continue reading Today On Holden’s Obsession With The Gaggle

What Did The President Know And When Did He Know It?

It’s past time for Senator Carl Levin to call General Anthony Teguba and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld before the Senate Armed Services Committee to testify about Abu Ghraib. The White House on Sunday insisted that President George W. Bush first learned about abuse at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison from media reports, contrary to assertions by a former top general that Bush likely knew about the scandal before it broke. “The President said over three years ago that he first saw the pictures of the abuse on television,” said White House spokesperson Scott Stanzel in Crawford, Texas, where Bush is … Continue reading What Did The President Know And When Did He Know It?

Looking For The Bottom

The housing market can’t seem to find it. Sentiment among U.S. home builders slid in June to the lowest level in more than 16 years as tighter lender practices and rising mortgage rates crimped sales, the National Association of Home Builders said on Monday. The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market index fell two points to 28 in June, the lowest since it hit 27 in February of 1991, the group said. Economists had predicted the index would be unchanged from May’s 30 reading, based on a Reuters survey. Readings below 50 mean more builders view market conditions as poor rather than … Continue reading Looking For The Bottom

Nobody Likes The Chimp

Chimpy is stuck at his all-time low job approval rating of 35% in the latest Diageo/Hotline Poll. Bush Job ApprovalApprove: 35%Disapprove: 62% This marks the second consecutive month he’s been judged at 35% job approval and the third month out of the last four. But wait, it gets worse for The Chimpster. A majority of those polled, 51%, strongly disapprove of the job he is doing. Bush Job ApprovalStrongly approve: 14%Somewhat approve: 21%Somewhat disapprove: 11%Strongly disapprove: 51% Yet a plurarlity of those polled approve of the job Nancy Pelosi is doing as Speaker of the House. Pelosi Job ApprovalApprove: 44% … Continue reading Nobody Likes The Chimp


No self-respecting Republikkkan wants to be caught dead with Chimpy. President Bush plans to visit New Jersey today to help raise money for the state’s cash-strapped and victory-starved Republican Party. If southern New Jersey Republicans are any indication, though, the welcoming party will be rather small. State Sen. Nicholas Asselta, R-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlan-tic, will be busy attending events in his district. So will U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd. Cape May County Republican Party Chairman Donald Von Savage will not be there, either. State Sen. James “Sonny” McCullough, R-Atlantic, said he would like to go see the president in Edison … Continue reading Albatross

Today On Holden’s Obsession With The Gaggle

Pony Blow Sets Helen Straight

MR. SNOW: Helen, to answer your question from this morning, the President met this morning by secure video teleconference with Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki and two members of the Presidency Council, Vice President Tariq Hashimi and Vice President Adel Mahdi. It’s the first time the President has met this group, the Prime Minister plus the Presidency Council, via secure teleconference.


Q Length —

MR. SNOW: It was about 40 minutes.

Q Did they discuss an exit strategy?

MR. SNOW: No. There was gratitude for America’s continued support.

Q Did they talk about the five British citizens who were —


Q And do you have anything more on that?


The Fifty Year War

Q Tony, on Iraq, for the gaggle you were asked about U.S. troops and just how long the presence would be there, the vision. And you compared it to the Korean model. Can you explain that?

MR. SNOW: Yes. It was actually a question that Helen raised and Helen used to create an analogy, but the President has used it before.

MS. THOMAS: Thank you. (Laughter.)

MR. SNOW: That is Helen Thomas, front row veteran. (Laughter.)

Q Spell it right. (Laughter.)

MR. SNOW: Here is — what the President means by that is that at some point you want to get to a situation in which the Iraqis have the capability to go ahead and handle the fundamental matters of security. You have the United States there in what has been described as an over-the-horizon support role so that if you need the ability to react quickly to major challenges or crises, you can be there, but the Iraqis are conducting the lion’s share of the business — as we have in South Korea, where for many years there have been American forces stationed there as a way of maintaining stability and assurance on the part of the South Korean people against a North Korean neighbor that is a menace.


Q For 50 years?

Q Now, the Korean model, you’ve got thousands of U.S. troops there for some 50 years. I mean, how is that comparison and vision in that —

MR. SNOW: Wendell just asked the same question. I don’t think — again, that’s not strictly comparable because what you have is a North Korea that continues to be a threat, I mean as we’ve seen with the development of nuclear weapons. We’re hoping that the Iraqis, in fact, are going to have the kind of security and stability they need so that what you’re really dealing with is the internal security of Iraq, rather than trying to provide reassurance against an external foe.

Q So you’re not suggesting that U.S. troops would be there for over 50 years in a —

MR. SNOW: No, no, I’m not. I don’t know. It is an unanswerable question, but I’m not making that suggestion.

Q You’re not suggesting that there’s a parallel between the Korean model today and the Iraqi model today in terms of U.S. force posture?

MR. SNOW: No, what I’m saying is you get to a point in the future where you want it to be a purely support role. But, no, of course, we’re in active combat.

Q Tony, while there’s no way of telling whether we’ll be there 50 years, or not, but isn’t there planning going on for a significant number of troops to be there for a long time? I mean, do you still consider this a long war?

MR. SNOW: Well, the war on terror is a long war.

Continue reading “Today On Holden’s Obsession With The Gaggle”

Today On Holden’s Obsession With The Gaggle

Pony Blow openstoday’s gaggle by cracking on John Bolton.

Q John Bolton is up on the Hill, and he just said that the agreement — firstly, that he’s not a fan of the agreement, and that the North will be re-writing it every day it’s in existence, it’s a fantasy, it’s rewarding the North and sending a horrible message to the world about the U.S.’ stand on weapons of mass destruction.

MR. SNOW: Well, we stood by John Bolton in his time at the United Nations, including when he advocated the six-party agreement — the September 2005 agreement that, in fact, has been enacted today. One of the things that John Bolton did note is that there are carrots and sticks in the agreement, and as he said in October of ’06, which was just a few months ago, the carrots have been there, in a sense, for North Korea of the possibility of ending its isolation, ending the terrible impoverishment of its people. It’s the leadership that can’t seem to find the carrots that are out there. We think that the leadership has begun to find the carrots. We’re going to discover in due course whether they, in fact, are going to fulfill their part of the agreement. However, as we’ve already said up here, it is a trust-but-verify situation. This is not something where we are simply going to give things to the North Koreans on a timeline. This is all conditioned on their behavior.

Q In what way is this not rewarding the North for bad behavior?

MR. SNOW: Mainly because what we have said all along is, you guys have got to come back to the table without preconditions and, furthermore, you’ll have to agree to get rid of the nuclear program.

Obsession continues…

Continue reading “Today On Holden’s Obsession With The Gaggle”


Smell it. “The evidence does not suggest that the surge is actually working,” said Alastair Campbell, the outgoing defense attache at the British Embassy in Baghdad May 20. According to Britain’s Sunday Telegraph, Campbell also disclosed that U.S. commanders had decided that the criteria for “success” would be only a reduction in violence to the level prior to last year’s bombing of the al-Askari Mosque in Samarra. That means 800 dead Iraqis a month – a figure that the Telegraph admits “few would regard as anything remotely approaching peace.” Continue reading Progress!

Let’s Hear It For Habeus!

We need more pushback like this. An American citizen in US custody doesn’t have the right to contest his detention or the decision to transfer him to foreign custody? What is wrong with these people? A federal appeals court blocked the Pentagon on Friday from transferring an American citizen to an Iraqi court to face charges he supported terrorists and insurgents. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia unanimously ruled that Shawqi Omar, a citizen of both Jordan and the United States who once served in the Minnesota National Guard, has a right … Continue reading Let’s Hear It For Habeus!

Scary Shit

Jeebus! [B]y all reports, President Bush is more convinced than ever of his righteousness. Friends of his from Texas were shocked recently to find him nearly wild-eyed, thumping himself on the chest three times while he repeated “I am the president!” He also made it clear he was setting Iraq up so his successor could not get out of “our country’s destiny.” Hat-tip to Sinphonyman. Continue reading Scary Shit


You people call yourself scientists? The Smithsonian Institution toned down an exhibit on climate change in the Arctic for fear of angering Congress and the Bush administration, says a former administrator at the museum. Among other things, the script, or official text, of last year’s exhibit was rewritten to minimize and inject more uncertainty into the relationship between global warming and humans, said Robert Sullivan, who was associate director in charge of exhibitions at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Also, officials omitted scientists’ interpretation of some research and let visitors draw their own conclusions from the data, he … Continue reading Self-Censorship

Brand America In Decline

The new Pew Global Attitudes Poll tells the story. A 47-nation survey finds global public opinion increasingly wary of the world’s dominant nations and disapproving of their leaders. Anti-Americanism is extensive, as it has been for the past five years. [snip] Global distrust of American leadership is reflected in increasing disapproval of the cornerstones of U.S. foreign policy. Not only is there worldwide support for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, but there also is considerable opposition to U.S. and NATO operations in Afghanistan. Western European publics are at best divided about keeping troops there. In nearly every predominantly … Continue reading Brand America In Decline

Love Ya’ Molly!

GAWD I’m going to miss Molly Ivins.  Has anyone this side of Mark Twain written about politics with such humor and intelligence? An actual progressive who warned us that Bill Clinton was “weaker than bus stop chili”, Molly was also a Christian in the truest sense of the word (although I have no idea about her church-going habits). I challenge anyone to find one hateful word issued from her pen regarding any political figure. Ivins was able to find something likable about the worst of the opposition while skewering their policies with a flick of the wrist. I had the … Continue reading Love Ya’ Molly!

Miracle Cure!

It seems that Rev. Ted Haggard is a hetero after all. All that cock sucking and meth snorting was just “acting-out”. No, really. One of four ministers who oversaw three weeks of intensive counseling for the Rev. Ted Haggard said the disgraced minister emerged convinced that he is “completely heterosexual.” Haggard also said his sexual contact with men was limited to the former male prostitute who came forward with sexual allegations, the Rev. Tim Ralph of Larkspur told The Denver Post for a story in Tuesday’s edition. “He is completely heterosexual,” Ralph said. “That is something he discovered. It was … Continue reading Miracle Cure!


The government of Nouri al Maliki refuses to share martality statistics with the UN. The United Nations is unable to determine how many Iraqi civilians have been killed so far this year because the Iraqi government won’t share the information, a U.N. agency said in a Wednesday report. An Iraqi government official denied that the information was withheld to cover up the number of civilian deaths, and the prime minister’s office said the U.N. report “lacks accuracy.” Even without the numbers, the report delivers a grim message: Iraq is facing “immense security challenges in the face of growing violence and … Continue reading Stonewalling

Sunday Post

Favorite drink. Lately I’ve been on a peppermint liqueur kick, but really mine’s a butterball. Two parts butterscotch schnapps, one part scotch. Tastes like candy and gets you hammered faster than anything else on earth. GREAT for a cold night on which you’ve just been dumped or stood up or fired. (Yes, I know it’s a shameful thing to do to scotch, and ordinarily I do not support the raping of the quality liquor in such a fashion, so if you make it, don’t use the Glenlivet. Use the cheap shit. It’s still yummy.) A. Continue reading Sunday Post


A complete listing of the questions asked during Chimpy’s little chat with the Associated General Contractors of America today. Q Thank you. In May of 2006, my second cousin was on his second tour in Iraq. Corporal Cory Palmer, he’s in the Marines, he was on patrol in a Humvee, and they ran over a roadside bomb. He and many others in that Humvee perished. What do I need to do, what does the media need to do to help you, so that my second cousin, and others like him, have not died or been injured in vain? Q I’d … Continue reading Screened

Failure To Honor A Flag Of Truce

Christ on a Cracker, I’m not sure what is worse –the stunning dishonesty or the jaw-dropping incompetence. Iraq’s national security adviser has accused the US military of plotting to assassinate Shia militia leader Moqtada al-Sadr. A senior member of Nouri al-Maliki’s coalition-backed government in Baghdad, Mowaffaq Rubaie, believes Mr al-Sadr was attacked while attending peace negotiations in August 2004. According to the Independent newspaper Dr Rubaie acted as a mediator between US forces and Mr al-Sadr by arranging the meeting in the town of Najaf, south of Baghdad. He claims the Mehdi Army militia leader wanted to arrange an agreement … Continue reading Failure To Honor A Flag Of Truce

Army Wrong

The wrong career choice for many Americans, that is. The Army fell short of its recruiting goal for May, its first significant slip in two years. [snip] With an array of special incentives for attracting recruits, the Army managed to recover from a 2005 recruiting slump, but the impact of the Iraq war and the strong domestic economy have made it difficult to attract enlistees. The Army and Marine Corps have suffered the bulk of casualties in Iraq. The pace of recruiting is even more important now that Defense Secretary Robert Gates has set a goal of increasing the size … Continue reading Army Wrong

Get Out

Building on Atrios, the Iraqi People have been very clear for years: they want us out of their country. USA Today/Gallup Poll, April 2004 Only a third of the Iraqi people now believe that the American-led occupation of their country is doing more good than harm, and a solid majority support an immediate military pullout even though they fear that could put them in greater danger, according to a new poll. ABC News/Time/BBC/NHK/Der Spiegel Poll, December 2005 Two-thirds now oppose the presence of U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq, 14 points higher than in February 2004. Nearly six in 10 … Continue reading Get Out


By now we all know of Murray Waas’ block-buster secret memo story. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales signed a highly confidential order in March 2006 delegating to two of his top aides — who have since resigned because of their central roles in the firings of eight U.S. attorneys — extraordinary authority over the hiring and firing of most non-civil-service employees of the Justice Department. [snip] In the order, Gonzales delegated to his then-chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson, and his White House liaison “the authority, with the approval of the Attorney General, to take final action in matters pertaining to … Continue reading Perjury?

Today On Holden’s Obsession With The Gaggle

In today’s gaggle…

Pony Blow Says Surge Opponents Are “Gambling on Failure” — Meaning That They Want The US To Fail In Iraq

Q Well, let me ask you, the President seems resigned to the fact that the House is going to pass this today. What is his position on the conditions on funding that the Democrats — House Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Murtha — are beginning to outline?

MR. SNOW: Well, first, I would not characterize the President’s mood in anything as “resignation.” That’s not the way he approaches things. But he understands that members of the House are moving forward. And right now everybody is playing with numbers about how big the margin is going to be — we’ve heard everything from 12 to 60; we’ll find out.


Q You mentioned the margin of the vote, 12-6. In the end, does it matter what the margin is, Tony?

MR. SNOW: The question is what the margin is; does it matter. I don’t know. Again, members — it’s going to be interesting, because members of Congress have taken their own gamble here. They’re gambling on failure — some members, at least. The President has a plan for success. It’s all aimed at success. And there’s going to be a vote before long where they’re going to have to vote about whether they are going to supply the funds and the flexibility necessary for success. And, remember, in the case of the Senate, the success as defined by the guy that they’ve just appointed as a top general and the CENTCOM commander, who was also approved, and the man who is now the Chairman — the Army Chief of Staff, who also approves of the plan, there are a whole series of folks who they, in fact, approve for their new offices who believe that this is vital.

And so, ultimately, members — this is “a non-binding resolution.” But what we’re afraid of is that this is, in fact, going to serve as a precursor for cutting off our troops.

Q What do you mean, “gambling on failure”?

MR. SNOW: I mean because all of a sudden, it’s — suppose suddenly that you start to see signs of success. Then are these members going to come out and say, you know what, we were wrong — they’re going to have another resolution?

Continue reading “Today On Holden’s Obsession With The Gaggle”

Extraordinary Rendition On Trial

Chimpy may be a bit uncomfortable in Italy tomorrow. The first trial involving the CIA’s extraordinary renditions program opens Friday in the absence of all 26 American defendants accused of kidnapping an Egyptian terrorist suspect. The trial, which has been an irritant in the historically robust U.S.-Italy relationship and coincides with the arrival in Rome of President Bush, was expected to ground to a halt before taking off. The government has asked Italy’s highest court to throw out indictments against 26 Americans — all but one of them believed to be CIA agents — accused of abducting Osama Moustafa Hassan … Continue reading Extraordinary Rendition On Trial


Trouble with the “Holy Father”. Pope Benedict XVI and US President George W. Bush will discuss the Iraq war when they meet next weekend, the Vatican’s secretary of state said Sunday. Tarcisio Bertone told Avvenire, a newspaper for Italian bishops, that the United States was “a great country” and praised Bush for his anti-abortion stance, but said problems remained. “Such as the war in Iraq and also the dramatic situation for Iraqi Christians, which continues to get worse,” he said. Continue reading Huh-Oh

Make Sure You Pick Up All The Trash

Chimpy, yesterday at the Congressional Picnic. THE PRESIDENT: I thank Tony Snow and his bunch of, well, mediocre musicians — (laughter) — no, great musicians. Beats Workin, thanks for coming. (Applause.) Kermit, come up here. Kermit, we’re proud to have you. MR. RUFFINS: Well, thanks for having us. THE PRESIDENT: Kermit Ruffins and the Barbeque Swingers, right out of New Orleans, Louisiana. (Applause.) MR. RUFFINS: Thank you. Thanks for having us. We’re glad to be here. THE PRESIDENT: Proud you’re here. Thanks for coming. You all enjoy yourself. Make sure you pick up all the trash after it’s over. Here’s … Continue reading Make Sure You Pick Up All The Trash