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Cosmic Iguana - Voice of the Evildoers 

Ask not for whom the Iguana stalks, the Iguana stalks for you...

War, politics, religion... & other stuff you shouldn't talk about over dinner...

Dedicated to the proposition that GW Bush and Saddam Hussein are figments of our unconscious minds

Cost of the War in Iraq
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According to Amnesty International, Iraq executes "scores" of political prisoners every year, at least 31 confirmed last year. How long would it have taken Saddam to execute the 6000+ Iraqi civilians we've killed this year? Figure it out.

Cosmic Iguana UPDATED Highlights!

Bush Deified!
Governor Arnold?
Uday & Qusay Get Medals
Aliens Find WMDs!
Republican Affective Disorder
Iraqi Looter's Festival
Ashcroft Eats Babies!
Crypto-Fascists on Parade
The Manchurian President
Tatu Terrorist Organization?
Why They Hate Us
Psychic Bubba?
My Inner Saddam
America as SUV
Don't Watch TV
Iraqi Baseball
Survivor: Iraq
France Attacks!

NEW! Focus on Intelligence The Spy Game by manis2society

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The Agonist
American Empire
Back To Iraq
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Dear Raed
Digby's Blog
Interesting Times
Jihad Unspun
Kevin Sites
Ruminate This!
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South Knox Bubba
The Wacky Iraqi



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Saturday, January 03, 2004


Needlenose [*] has a summary of Loya Jirga shenanagins in Kabul, and it looks like Trobriander cricket or Calvinball. First, the head of the constitutional convention walks out, then sessions were adjourned when 48% the members boycotted votes. A hasty compromise was cobbled together, but it fell apart the moment the sessions recovened. Observers are placing most of the blame on the government:

Several delegates openly criticized Karzai and his ministers for trying to force through the draft constitution.

"These ministers are the main cause of the problems today and why we have been so long at this Loya Jirga," said Abdul Rauf Mokhles, a university professor from the western city of Herat.

"They are playing a dangerous game and they are playing it rather badly," added a Western observer.

. . . There has been disagreement on around 20 of the 160 articles, but open voting and debate have been largely prevented.

- Of course the model for all this is American - style democracy. They just need to get some Diebold voting machines, and things could be wrapped up nicely.


Then maybe we aren't smart enough to win:

"Remind us why we are in Iraq" Flash video [*] by Kai Curry.


Why Texas Rep. Ralph Hall switched parties Friday night, filing for re-election as a Republican. (From Maru @ WTF [*]):

"I've always said that if being a Democrat hurt my district I would switch or I would resign," Hall said. He said GOP leaders had recently refused to place money for his district in a spending bill and "the only reason I was given was I was a Democrat."

- Isn't that a bit like marrying your rapist? But of course, we don't know how much money they also bribed (I mean, offered to contribute to his campaign) him with.


CT Scan Radiation May Affect Kids' IQ

Fri Jan 2, 6:42 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Children who suffer a head injury are often routinely examined by a CT scan. Now, a Swedish team has found that radiation doses typically delivered by such a scan during infancy may harm intellectual capacity later in life....

...To investigate, they analyzed mental function and education in roughly 3000 18- to 19-year-old men who had been given relatively low doses of radiation before the age of 18 months to treat a type of birthmark called a cutaneous hemangioma....[*]


Well, I'm back in Vegas, and people are fairly pissed off about the FBI's snooping into casino records and being a pawn in the terror alerts. Here's some letters to the editor from todays paper:

OPINION LETTERS: New Year's terror alert rankles visitors

Saturday, January 03, 2004, Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal

To the editor:

After reading the Dec. 31 front-page article about airlines and local hotels being ordered to give the FBI all guest and passenger names and personal information -- at least during the holiday period -- it made me think the Las Vegas "What happens here, stays here" tourism ad campaign seems pretty ironic now ...


• To the editor:

My backpack was searched four times by the cops while I was walking down the Strip on New Year's Eve. I have never experienced a clearer violation of the Fourth Amendment.

I understand the concern about possible terrorism on this occasion, but it sure seems as if the terrorists have won anyway. They have succeeded in destroying what numerous wars have failed to destroy: our rights as citizens in a democratic society.

This nation is now officially a Police State. The hotel/casinos and the airlines provided lists of each customer to the FBI. Searches were authorized with no probable cause -- only because someone was carrying a personal bag. I feel like I am living in the Fourth Reich. Heil Bush!


• To the editor:

I don't understand. Why would you cancel six flights? If the idea is to catch and/or eliminate the bad guys, why tip them off? Why not let them show up and overwhelm them with superior force?

Now we have to wait until they come back again. And they will come back.


• To the editor:

After reading your story about all Las Vegas hotels being forced to release guest information to the FBI, I certainly will not come to Las Vegas anymore. To release personal information about thousands of guests without any evidence of their being suspected of a criminal act is a gross invasion of privacy and just another step in the making of a Police State. From now on, if I want to gamble I'll go to my local Indian casinos.



Remember how in the 1996 fundraising scandal, and the faux Wen Ho Lee scandal, Repugs were raising hell about Chinese influence on the Clinton Admin? Well now, they are putting him to shame in raising not just Chinese, but real ChiCom money:

The conservative Heritage Foundation, once a strong anti-communist voice, has raised "several million dollars" in Hong Kong, with most of the money coming from pro-Beijing tycoons, according to a report in the South China Morning Post [*] . And of course, who was it who gave Neil Bush money and hookers? [*]

"The Texas business community is a force to recon [sic] with"

Political Fundraising in Texas Is Target of Probe
Officials look at whether money linked to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay improperly financed Republican campaigns.

By Scott Gold, LA Times Staff Writer, January 3, 2004

AUSTIN, Texas — Authorities are conducting a criminal investigation into whether corporate money, including hundreds of thousands of dollars linked to U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, improperly financed the Republican Party's takeover of the Texas Capitol.

The probe is focused on several political and fundraising organizations run by Republican activists, investigators said. One of the organizations, the political action committee Texans for a Republican Majority, has direct ties to DeLay, a Texas Republican and one of the most powerful politicians in Washington.

At issue is whether the organizations improperly used corporate contributions to help finance the campaigns of more than 20 Republican candidates for the Texas House of Representatives in 2002, according to documents and interviews with prosecutors and government investigators....

...Details of the investigation are emerging just weeks after a divided Supreme Court upheld the major provisions of Congress' new federal campaign finance law.

The law prohibits soft-money donations from corporations and labor unions to political parties. That money had been widely used by activists and politicians across the ideological spectrum — a trend the majority of the Supreme Court called a "growing evil … of big money."

If the Republican activists behind the financing in Texas were vindicated, and they say they will be, they have suggested that similar arrangements could, and should, be used in local elections everywhere.

Political activists have tried similar money arrangements in other states, like Wisconsin, according to campaign finance reformers. Nowhere, however, have those efforts been as widespread and disciplined as they were in Texas during the last election cycle, several reform advocates said.

"We've never seen this before," said Fred Lewis, director of the Austin-based watchdog group Campaigns for People, which works to reduce the influence of money on state government. "The level and the impact of it were profound." ...

...TAB boasted about the influence it had on the elections. One of its newsletters contained testimonials from GOP candidates, including one who said TAB ads "absolutely won the race for me." Weeks before the election, Hammond sent a letter to supporters saying that his organization had "caught the attention of statewide governmental leadership."

"The Texas business community is a force to recon [sic] with," the letter said. "Thank you again for helping to make this effort such a success! P.S. Don't forget to vote!!" [*]


Bulgarian soldiers refuse duty in Iraq after deadly attack

SOFIA (AFP) Jan 02, 2004

Some 30 Bulgarian soldiers have pulled out a 500-man battalion heading for Iraq following attacks there in which five Bulgarian soldiers died, the chief of staff of the army said Friday.

"Between 25 and 30 soldiers have declined duty, probably as a result of pressure from their families," General Nikola Kolev told Bulgarian radio.

The battalion is meant to replace 480 Bulgarian troops who have since September served as part of a 9,000-strong Polish-led multinational contingent in Iraq... [*]

- (Can't say I blame 'em)


SHADES OF VIETNAM! US Embassy in Baghdad will become the world's LARGEST! [*]

Three US Soldiers Killed in Iraq Attacks [*]

Officials Dismiss Reports That South Korean Worker Was Killed in Iraq [*].

Winning still more hearts and minds: US Raids Baghdad Mosque, Worshippers Protest [*]

"This is not the behaviour of liberators but occupiers," Mr Kaisey said, pointing to the metal collection box which had been smashed open by US troops.
Imagine for a moment sitting in your temple, or church, and having armed troops walk in, empty the collection plates and poor box, and tossing bibles and the torah on the floor, damaging some of them. How would you feel? How do you think these people feel?

- McWAR ON TERROR (tm) is COSMIC IGUANA's way of saying that it has as much to do with a REAL war on terror as cheese whiz on toast has to do with real PIZZA.

Tip Leads IRS to Audit Its Own

LA TIMES is reporting the IRS had audited about 800 employees after discovering that some may have cheated on their tax returns, mostly from fraudelent Schedule C (self-employment) forms. [*]

Friday, January 02, 2004


Would be a big money maker in the red states, n'est-ce pas?

Anyone have a good caption for this pic?


AP is reporting that in December, reservists made up 25% of casualties, up from 10% earlier in the war. That is proportional to the number of troops they have in Iraq, according to the article. However, I suspect it is disproportionate the percentage that are in combat roles. Analysts are worried because added to the stress of tour extensions, families, and job losses this make make the reserves even less attractive. What's worse after the new troop rotations complete in the spring a full 40% will be reservists. [*]


Sex slaves and the U.S. military


At a time when the U.S. State Department and the United Nations labor to combat the international trafficking in women, the U.S. military supports a flourishing trade in sex slaves in South Korea.

Hundreds of trafficked women, mostly from former Soviet bloc countries and the Philippines, are forced by local bar owners to work as prostitutes in bars that cater to American servicemen. The women are typically lured to Korea with promises of high-paying jobs but end up being held against their will and coerced into working as prostitutes in circumstances that both the State Department and the United Nations condemn as a form of sexual slavery.

The U.S. military leadership in Korea says it is powerless to put a stop to the practice, which they claim is the responsibility of the Korean police. But the top Korean police expert on prostitution said it is unlikely Korean police will do anything to halt the trafficking because of widespread police corruption.

While U.S. troops continue to be the sex-slave racket’s best customers, U.S. commanders turn a blind eye. And there’s no end in sight.[*]

PRETTY POISONS [*] has an interesting article on aspartame and its link to Parkinsons and MS:

...In fact, Aspartame (aka: Nutrasweet, Equal, Spoonful, Canderal, Benevia, et al) a neurotoxin by nature, is extremely damaging to the central nervous system, and subsequent neural-dependent systems like endocrine and liver functions. That the very fact aspartame is in our food supply, implies an un-regulatory agency which better serves the industry that it was supposed to be regulating....

- Remember too, that saccharine was found to be linked to cancer, but REMAINS ON THE MARKET.


US-bound flights cancelled due to FBI mistake: France

Agence France-Presse, Paris, January 2

The US reports that forced the cancellation of six Air France flights between Paris and Los Angeles last month was a case of mistaken identity when FBI wrongly identified six passengers as potential terrorists, the French interior ministry said on Friday.

A ministry spokesman said the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had based its information on passenger lists containing names similar to the names of suspected members of the Al-Qaeda....

...the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that one of the suspects named by the FBI was a child whose name happened to be the same as a wanted Islamic extremist from Tunisia.

Others on the list included an elderly Chinese lady who had at one time run a restaurant in Paris, an insurance salesman from Wales and three French nationals, the paper said... [*]


Chopper down - 1 dead[*], 8 dead in Baghdad bombing, Brits to stay another year [*]. David Kay leaves Iraq empty handed [*]. US death rate still about 1 per day post Saddam capture [*]


A reader emailed me yesterday saying they thought the web page was hijacked because they kept getting "Aaron's Bible Page". Anyone else have that experience?
If true it was probably poetic justice considering the amount of sacrilege on these pages.

Actually, readers may be surprised to find out the Iguana is not a Godless Commie, (just a Commie.) But the God I believe in is a Nice God, not one who fries the unfortunate on a barbie for all eternity.

My religious philospohy is summed up in Don Shimoda's words (guess the book). "I believe whatever is fun for me to believe."

Thursday, January 01, 2004


Hooded Men Executing Saddam Officials

by Robert Fisk, Published on Sunday, December 28, 2003 by the lndependent/UK

...In the Shia city of Najaf, 42 ex-members of the Baath have been murdered and not a single arrest has followed. In Basra, controlled by British troops, almost 50 Baathists have been found with their hands bound behind their backs and a single bullet hole in the neck. Again, there have been no arrests. Hussam Thafer, a doctor at the Baghdad city mortuary, says that every day he receives "five or six" bodies of people who worked for the old regime....

...The local police admit that they have not solved a single crime against ex-Baathists, acknowledging that they will themselves become targets if they attempt to do so. The killers are supposedly receiving $250 for every Baathist they eliminate. Another of their victims was a former governor's bodyguard who was tortured by his fellow Baathists in 1991; it did not save him.... [*]


...There are still serious questions about the investigation, the most immediate of which is whether Mr. Comey will give Mr. Fitzgerald true operational independence. Mr. Comey must also allow Mr. Fitzgerald to use the full powers of a special counsel, including the ability to seek Congressional intervention if he finds his investigation blocked by a government official or agency.

We may never know what damage was caused by Mr. Ashcroft's delay of nearly two months in taking the proper action. Further time will now be lost as Mr. Fitzgerald gets up to speed on the investigation. In his announcement, Mr. Comey said that Mr. Ashcroft was displaying "an abundance of caution" in recusing himself from the case. But that sort of care would have mandated the appointment of a special counsel from the start.... [*]


The Iraq Survey Group Progress Report announced yesterday that it "found no evidence that Iraq had taken significant steps to build nuclear weapons or produce fissile material after 1991. No evidence that aluminum tubes had been used to enrich uranium. No proof that two trucks carrying laboratory equipment had been designed to produce biowarfare agents, as the president had claimed. No smallpox, anthrax, or VX. No chemical or biological weapons ready to fire in 45 minutes--indeed, no poison gases or germ weapons at all."... [*]

- They did find that Bush, Rummy, Colin, Dick and Cond are stinkin liars...


WASHINGTON - John Ashcroft announced today that due to heightened security levels, actual New Years has been cancelled and the New Years you experienced was a decoy. Actual New Year's has been rescheduled for July 6, George Bush's Birthday. The rescheduling occured because increased radio traffic indicated terrorists might steal the atomic clock in Colorado Springs for use in a dirty weapon. The atomic clock has been replaced by a Timex.


COSMIC IGUANA is happy to report that he has escaped Vegas at the last minute to visit Pasadena, and is now watching the Rose Parade on Spanish language TV. I notice that the commentary doesn't seem as dumb when I don't understand it.

Wednesday, December 31, 2003


From Cosmic Iguana, proud critic of the McWAR ON TERROR (tm)

See you next year, IF we are here to tell the tale. :o)


Monica Lewinski was denied her request for reimbursement of $1.1 milion in legal expenses by the same 3 judge panel headed by David Sentelle that started Whitewater and named Kenneth Starr chief inquisitor [*].

Don't forget the govt. happily awarded Linda Tripp $600,000 for noting that she lied to get her job [*]. Let's all join the Republican Party! (We can still vote Democratic after all).



As you know, Cosmic Iguana has named DUCT TAPE its 2003 Person or Thingie of the Year because of its role in protecting us against Saddam's WMDs. Here is Rummy joyously celebrating.


That's my conclusion when they say we are supposed to be alert and cautious, but not do anything different. What good is being cautious if I still do the same crazy stuff (heheh)? (but you get the point).


Still snow on the ground here up here where I live. Unprecedented. Hopefully not an omen. Had to scrape ice off my windshield with a CD cover (an old Iguana trick). But the sun is out and it should be gone by noon.

Military helicopters to patrol Vegas Strip during New Year's Eve[*]

WRH[*] comments:

Like so much of the "security" we all pay for, it looks good but is really useless. Notice that the no-fly zone only applies to private planes and tour choppers. Commercial airliners are still allowed over the city, and commercial airliners were the device of choice for 9-11. A plane on final approach to the airport could divert to crash on the strip in less than one minute. What are the military going to do, shoot it down over the city anyway?

- Like I said, I ain't goin down there. FOXNEWS also said there will be police snipers on the rooftops. But what're THEY gonna do - fire into crowds?


Big agribusiness disease

Geov Parrish -, 12.30.03

...consider what happens to “downer” cows. Their meat does not go into the human food supply -- but the diseases that felled them can. The cows’ meat is instead mixed in with grain (for extra protein) and fed to chickens, on the reasoning that viruses, bacteria, and the prions that carry BSE don’t affect chickens’ digestive systems. Assuming that’s true, it goes straight through the birds instead -- into their manure, which is then used by many organic farming operations as a fertilizer. Remember that, vegetarians, and vegans, the next time you eat carrots or potatoes without peeling them... [*]


The new ban on Ephedra will be used to launch an attack on supplements in the coming year, according to CBS News[*] (last paragraph). That this is an excuse is shown by the fact that (as the article points out) Ephedra is pretty much already off the market.

The sad thing is that this comes as news that garlic extract can protect against antibiotic-resistant "superbugs" [*]

And don't forget the longtime press campaign against Vitamin C, which has some seventy years of research showing that it actually prevents and cures colds [*] and flus [*]. (The trick is in high enough doses 20-30,000 mg/daily). The great tragedy is that many (if not most) of the 40,000 deaths in this country YEARLY from flu could have been avoided by this information which has been fought tooth and nail by the AMA since Linus Pauling first proposed it.


LA TIMES article shows many nations including several coalition partners did business in banned weapons and technology with Iraq via a Syrian company SES. A few examples:

• A Polish company, Evax, signed four contracts with Iraq and successfully shipped up to 380 surface-to-air Volga/SA-2 missile engines to Baghdad through Syria. The last batch was delivered in December 2002, a month after the U.N. Security Council warned Iraq that it faced "serious consequences" if it continued to violate U.N. resolutions.

• South Korea's Armitel Co. Ltd. shipped $8 million worth of sophisticated telecommunications equipment for what Iraqi documents said was "air defense." The company is now submitting bids to the U.S.-led occupation authority for contracts to improve telephone and Internet service from Baghdad to Basra....

• Slovenia's STO Ravne company, then a state-owned entity, shipped 20 large battle tank barrels identified as "steel tubes" to SES in February 2002. The next month, Slovenia's Defense Ministry blocked the company from exporting 50 more tank barrels to Syria. Overall, STO Ravne's secret contract called for delivering 175 tank barrels to Iraq. .... [*]


Yesterday, The Washington Post quoted Pentagon officials as saying the change had been under discussion for months.

It said the timing was not related to allegations against a Halliburton subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root, which had been awarded a contract to rebuild Iraq's oil industry... [*]

- HA. and Ha-ha!


The Secret Life of Dick Cheney. In 2 parts. By Manis2society. At Stripcreator [*]


For 2004, I make only one prediction. And it could be for 2005, but what the hey. The stock market is going to tank. There are a few reasons but the most important are these two:

1. the dollar sucks. Atrios has a good but short post (blame blogger for that). [*]. The weak dollar means that foreign investments in the US including stocks risk defacto devaluation. This is what could trigger a crash in 2004.

2. The collective price/earnings ratio is approximately 30-1, nearly double the historic benchmark. What this means is that most of the current stock value is based on speculation, not fundamentals. Key to the stock markets rise, has been the low returns on other investments. Once interest rates start to rise, those investments will start look more attractive, and begin to draw money out of the higher risk stock market. Greenspan will probably not raise interest rates much in an election year, but he will certainly do so in 2005. When he does, watch out, stocks!

Tuesday, December 30, 2003


In God We Camp
Evangelicals pitch religion in the nation’s parks.

Michelangelo Signorile, NY PRESS

...Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a non-profit group that represents park workers and public employees, charged in a release last week that the National Park Service is hell-bent on removing images of anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, pro-choice marches and gay rights marches from an eight-minute video tape located at the Lincoln Memorial covering historic gatherings that have taken place there and on the Washington Mall....

...Park service spokesman Bill Line told that pressure to replace gay and pro-choice images with Christian and pro-life ones had come from conservative Kansas Republican congressman Todd Tiahrt, who’d joined a vocal conservative campaign against the park service last February.

The new tape will reportedly contain footage of a 1997 "Promise Keepers" rally and a march supporting Operation Desert Storm in 1991. Neither event took place at the Lincoln Memorial or on the Washington Mall, which would still make the alteration an ugly, ideological and inaccurate revision of history—even if nothing is being removed from the tape.

.... This summer the Grand Canyon National Park’s bookstore began selling The Grand Canyon: A Different View, which offers a creationist account of the canyon’s origins. As a river guide, author Tom Vail used to tell people that the Grand Canyon was formed over millions of years, as modern science and geology explain its evolution...

....Last July, deputy director Murphy overturned a decision by the Grand Canyon National Park’s superintendent to ban three bronze plaques with biblical verses that had been placed on viewing platforms....After ... [a] bit of media activism, the Bushies decided exactly who would dictate public policy in the park. "We were kindly invited to put up the plaques again," the evangelical sisterhood reports on its site. [*]


Folks, once again I have braved the wingnuts at Newsmax to bring you some late night jokes:

# Today Rush Limbaugh blamed his legal troubles on "the Democrats." You have to understand how Rush thinks - see, Bill Clinton was a real pain in the neck, so he got some drugs for the pain, then he got addicted, then he started buying the drugs illegally ... so really it’s all Clinton’s fault.

# How many guys still have some shopping left to do? How many are going to get out of it by saying: "We’re on a Code Orange – it’s a terrorist threat! I can’t go to the mall!"

# Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said he has contacted his counterpart in Mexico about increasing border security. Mexico, of course, taking this very serious. Now they promise to search every one-millionth person sneaking across the border.

# Well, folks, the ratings are in and the other night Paris Hilton’s show got a bigger rating than President Bush’s interview with Diane Sawyer. Isn’t that amazing? People would rather see "The Simple Life" than the simple president.

# President Bush was in the hospital the other day for an MRI on his knee. That can be a painful procedure. In fact, they had a pretzel standing by in case he needed to be knocked out.

# Apparently he was having pain, they say, which was caused by the constant pressure on the knees while trying to carry all that money out of those campaign fund raisers.

# For security when President Bush visits Thailand next week, all of President Bush’s food will be tested on a mouse beforehand. The hard part will be finding a mouse that likes Count Chocula.

# (rerun) There’s talk that the U.S. might pull out of Iraq within the next eight weeks. They’re out of oil already?!


Ashcroft Steps Down from CIA Leak Probe

48 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft will step aside from the politically charged investigation into a leak related to the Iraq war and the Justice Department will name a special prosecutor, department officials said on Tuesday.... [*]

- This clearly means that things are heating up. See this analysis by Needlenose [*]

"...the CIA ... will not let this die quietly, no matter what Ashcroft tries. "

UPDATE: Josh Marshall has a good take on the latest developments which you can see on his site or in abbreviated form at [*]


Flaws Showing in New Iraqi Forces

Pace of Police Recruiting Leads to Shortcuts

By Ariana Eunjung Cha, Washington Post Staff Writer, Tuesday, December 30, 2003; Page A01

...As the U.S.-led governing authority in Iraq attempts to build a security force of 220,000 in the next few months, the competing priorities of speed and thoroughness have prompted shortcuts in the recruiting and training process. The consequences are starting to become apparent.

According to investigations over the past four months by a newly formed internal affairs unit at the Interior Ministry, more than 200 Iraqi policemen in Baghdad have been dismissed and dozens of others have had their pay slashed for crimes ranging from pawning government equipment to extortion and kidnapping.

In addition, roughly 2,500 people on the payroll of the Facilities Protection Service, which guards government buildings, either do not exist or have not been showing up to work, investigators say. And a number of Border Patrol officers have been disciplined for accepting bribes in exchange for allowing people without proper identification to enter Iraq....

... In the end, those responsible for hiring the new protection forces have had little choice but to rely mostly on recruits' assurances and, as Casteel put it, an interviewer's "gut sense."

"It's a weak system," Casteel acknowledged, "but it's the best we got." ... [*]


As you might as well find out, COSMIC IGUANA has named duct tape its 2003 "Person or Thingie of The Year". To celebrate here's our daily dose:



AFTER (photos from


...The first lady also said that the "Roses are red, violets are blue" poem she read at a National Book Festival gala in October was not actually written by her husband even though it has been attributed to him. She did not say who wrote the poem... [*]

I have to say that I was skeptical from the start. It wasn't just that I knew they lie about everything, even the most mundane. (BTW did you know, Bush isn't from Crawford?[New Republic, August 27, 2001*]) . It was just that dopey as it was, it was clearly above Bush's grade level.


CAP (via kos) has a good recap of the Republican obstructionism that brought us Mad Cow:

1. June, 2001 -voted down $50 million to inspect foreign meat

2. May 2002 -voted down $35 million for inspections against madcow and foot and mouth. Chair Henry Bonilla, R-Texas "said there was no need for the amendment "

3. December 2002- White House obstructed $239 million to cover expanded FDA inspections of imported food [*]


Bush has appointed two new members to PBS's board who have donated over $800,000 to Repub causes.

...“But even more troubling,” said Common Cause President Chellie Pingree, “are the agendas they bring with them to the CPB board.” Both Halperin, who was confirmed by the Senate on Dec. 9, and Hart Gaines, whose nomination is pending, have stated views or espoused causes that call into question their qualifications to serve on a board whose mission is to promote and fund public television and radio programming. ...

...During her confirmation hearing in November, Halpern indicated that she would welcome empowering CPB board members to intervene in program content when they felt a program was biased. Gaines was an ardent supporter of Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-GA), who as House Speaker in 1994 proposed cutting all federal assistance to public TV....[*]

- They would like PBS to be another FOX.


Effort to Promote U.S. Falls Short, Critics Say

WASHINGTON, Dec. 23 — America, the land that gave the world Coca-Cola, "Titanic" and the Marlboro Man, is having a hard time selling itself.

The government's public-relations drive to build a favorable impression abroad — particularly among Muslim nations — is a shambles, according to Republican and Democratic lawmakers, State Department officials and independent experts. They say the effort, known as public diplomacy, lacks direction and is starved of cash and personnel.

Washington has failed to capitalize on the ouster of Saddam Hussein, those critics say, and did not maintain the sympathy generated by the Sept. 11 attacks. In Iraq, occupation officials routinely place blame for their miscalculations on pessimistic American news media, a reflex that even some hawks denounce as deceptive.

Public diplomacy is "a complete and utter disaster in Iraq," said Mark Helmke, a senior staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who holds that the occupation authority has done little to counter criticism that it is an imperial, occupying force. "We have four different agencies running media operations there. There's no coordination, no strategy."

A senior State Department official, who is active in public diplomacy, says he starts his day pondering the antipathy to the United States.

"Why, in Jordan, do people think Osama bin Laden is a better leader than George Bush?" he asked. "It's not just Arabs who are angry with the United States. It's worldwide."

Nearly two years ago, the Bush administration, hoping to tap the expertise of the private sector, hired Charlotte Beers, a Madison Avenue advertising whiz, as officials built their case for war with Iraq. After producing a feel-good video about Muslims in the United States, which was rejected by some Arab nations — and even scoffed at by some State Department colleagues — Ms. Beers retired in March, citing health reasons... [*]

- Maybe sometimes you have to improve the PRODUCT, not just its marketing. (see next article below).


Daughter of slain Iraqi opposition leader says US helped Saddam in 1993 to quash coup attempt

AL BAWABA, 20-12-2003

The daughter of a prominent Iraqi opposition leader, who was assassinated in Beirut by Saddam Hussein's secret service in 1994 said she would sue the ousted Iraqi president before three international courts, charging that the U.S. was a virtual accomplice in her father's murder.

Nora al Tamimi, daughter of slain Iraqi opposition activist Taleb al Suhail al Tamimi, said from Beirut in a newspaper interview published Saturday that her father had planned a coup d'etat to overthrow Saddam in 1993 , operating from Beirut and Amman.

"Zero hour was set for a certain June day in 1993 to stage the coup when Saddam would have been sponsoring an official event in Baghdad," Nora told the London-based Asharq Al Awsat newspaper in an interview conducted at the family house in Beirut.

"But the Americans, who did not want the coup to succeed possibly because they were certain my father would not go along with their polices, tipped off Saddam about the impending putsch by my father and gave the names of his top aides," Nora said. "All of them died in Saddam's torture chambers." ... [*]

- If you don't think it was possible under a Democratic administration, read "Rogue Nation" [*] or the other "Rogue Nation"[*] or the original "Rogue State" [*].

-On the other hand, it's probably good to remember that in 93 the military and intel folks were still so pissed at Clinton over gays in the military that they might not have told him.


Terrorists have apparently scattered 3 inches of snow around this part of town. (Yes, the Cosmic Iguana is a Lounge Lizard). People are dousing themselves with lighter fluid and Bacardi 151 and turning themselves into flambeaux trying to keep themselves warm. (kidding about that.)

Its only snowed here 3 times in the six years I lived here and its never stayed on the ground. But its cloudy for a change, so the snow probably won't melt for hours, if at all today.

BTW, this whole terrorist plot thing supposedly aimed here[*], has gotten ZILCH play in the local media, so either they know something the national media doesn't, or its a case of "say what you like, but don't scare the tourists".

The local media IS reporting about the no-fly zone over the strip [*], where we are expecting 200,000 or so party-ers and some major fireworks, but the no-fly doesn't include commercial airliners, so again maybe they don't believe the Bush Administration, or maybe McCarran Airport is just too close to make it practical. ("It'll cause too many delays, screw the terrorists.")

Some backstory about the fireworks. The casinos were too cheap to have them for the Millennium (Why pay for something that brings people OUT of the casinos?). But the omission embarassed the city Elders who twisted arms, and now we have 'em every year. I think its too nuts to go out there in the cold with the throngs, so I won't go there, but since they launch them from the tops of the buildings, I can see them from where I live (10 miles away) by standing on my car.

It's probably alot more exciting down there, expecially since there's usually a drunk or two that make a suicide leap from a lightpole.

Monday, December 29, 2003


Jobless Count Skips Millions
The rate hits 9.7% when the underemployed and those who have quit looking are added.

By David Streitfeld, Times Staff Writer, December 29, 2003

...The nation's official jobless rate is 5.9%, a relatively benign level by historical standards. But economists say that figure paints only a partial — and artificially rosy — picture of the labor market.

To begin with, there are the 8.7 million unemployed, defined as those without a job who are actively looking for work. But lurking behind that group are 4.9 million part-time workers such as Gluskin who say they would rather be working full time — the highest number in a decade.

There are also the 1.5 million people who want a job but didn't look for one in the last month. Nearly a third of this group say they stopped the search because they were too depressed about the prospect of finding anything. Officially termed "discouraged," their number has surged 20% in a year.

Add these three groups together and the jobless total for the U.S. hits 9.7%, up from 9.4% a year ago....[*]

- Of course, that's only the REALITY. Everyone knows that the PERCEPTION is what really counts. Expect to hear a lot more about the wonderful STOCK MARKET.


A couple new comix over at strip creator:

Click image to view.

5 brownie points if you can guess the 60s TV show being quoted (No, not Hamlet).


THIS ... JUST... IN....

WASHINGTON -- The FBI has warned police nationwide to be alert for people carrying almanacs, cautioning that the popular reference books covering everything from abbreviations to weather trends could be used for terrorist planning.

In a bulletin sent Christmas Eve to about 18,000 police organizations, the FBI said terrorists may use almanacs "to assist with target selection and pre-operational planning." [*]

- Imagine what will happen once they get a hold of ENCYCLOPEDIAS! Or COMPUTERS! But don't worry we can always identify them by their handy KORANS. Aren't you just TOTALLY sleeping BETTER at night knowing the FBI are such GENIUSES?


This Car Can Talk. What It Says May Cause Concern.

By JOHN SCHWARTZ, NY TIMES, Published: December 29, 2003

Last year, Curt Dunnam bought a Chevrolet Blazer with one of the most popular new features in high-end cars: the OnStar personal security system....

...But for Mr. Dunnam, the more he learned about his car's security features, the less secure he felt. A research support specialist at Cornell University, he is concerned about privacy. He has enough technical knowledge to worry that someone else - say, law enforcement officers, or even hackers - could listen in on his phone calls, or gain control over his automotive systems without his knowledge or consent...

...James E. Hall, a transportation lawyer and former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said the monitoring systems presented a subtle blend of benefit and risk. "We are moving toward a kind of automobile that nobody's ever known," he said. "It's mostly good news, but there are negative things that we will have to work through."

Mr. Dunnam said he had become even more concerned because of a federal appeals court case involving a criminal investigation in Nevada, in which federal authorities had demanded that a company attach a wiretap to tracking services like those installed in his car. The suit did not reveal which company was involved. A three-judge panel in San Francisco rejected the request, but not on privacy grounds; the panel said the wiretap would interfere with the operation of the safety services.... [*]


Revealed: how MI6 sold the Iraq war

Nicholas Rufford

12/28/03: (The Times) THE Secret Intelligence Service has run an operation to gain public support for sanctions and the use of military force in Iraq. The government yesterday confirmed that MI6 had organised Operation Mass Appeal, a campaign to plant stories in the media about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.

The revelation will create embarrassing questions for Tony Blair in the run-up to the publication of the report by Lord Hutton into the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr David Kelly, the government weapons expert.

A senior official admitted that MI6 had been at the heart of a campaign launched in the late 1990s to spread information about Saddam’s development of nerve agents and other weapons, but denied that it had planted misinformation. “There were things about Saddam’s regime and his weapons that the public needed to know,” said the official.

The admission followed claims by Scott Ritter, who led 14 inspection missions in Iraq, that MI6 had recruited him in 1997 to help with the propaganda effort. He described meetings where the senior officer and at least two other MI6 staff had discussed ways to manipulate intelligence material.... [*]

-We've never heard about the CIA doing any such thing. After all this is AMERICA, isn't it? Or is it just that in America, it doesn't get out?


from UPI via and WRH:

More Deadly Lies - Did USDA Even Test 20,000 Cattle?

USDA Refuses To Release Mad Cow Test Records

By Steve Mitchell, United Press International, 12-24-03

WASHINGTON (UPI) -- Although the United States Department of Agriculture insisted the U.S. beef supply is safe Tuesday after announcing the first documented case of mad cow disease in the United States, the agency for six months repeatedly refused to release its tests for mad cow to United Press International.

The USDA claims to have tested approximately 20,000 cows for the disease in 2002 and 2003, but has been unable to provide any documentation in support of this to UPI, which first requested the information in July.

In addition, former USDA veterinarians tell UPI they have long suspected the disease was in U.S herds and there are probably additional infected animals.... [*]

PS: states that vaccination records show the US claim that the infected cow came from Canada is probably false. [*]


Journalists Take Flak in Iraq

by LAURA ROZEN, THE NATION, [from the January 12, 2004 issue]

When US Central Command has good news to report in Iraq, as it did after troops from the Fourth Infantry Division captured Saddam Hussein on December 13, it adores the media. But journalists say that when there's bad news--a helicopter crash, a mortar attack--they are increasingly being blocked from covering the story by US soldiers, who frequently confiscate and destroy their film disks and videotapes....[*]


Army Stops Many Soldiers From Quitting
Orders Extend Enlistments to Curtail Troop Shortages

By Lee Hockstader, Washington Post Staff Writer, Monday, December 29, 2003; Page A01

... To the Pentagon, stop-loss orders are a finger in the dike -- a tool to halt the hemorrhage of personnel, and maximize cohesion and experience, for units in the field in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Through a series of stop-loss orders, the Army alone has blocked the possible retirements and departures of more than 40,000 soldiers, about 16,000 of them National Guard and reserve members who were eligible to leave the service this year. Hundreds more in the Air Force, Navy and Marines were briefly blocked from retiring or departing the military at some point this year.

By prohibiting soldiers and officers from leaving the service at retirement or the expiration of their contracts, military leaders have breached the Army's manpower limit of 480,000 troops, a ceiling set by Congress. In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee last month, Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, disclosed that the number of active-duty soldiers has crept over the congressionally authorized maximum by 20,000 and now registered 500,000 as a result of stop-loss orders. Several lawmakers questioned the legality of exceeding the limit by so much. ...

...To many of the soldiers whose retirements and departures are on ice, however, stop-loss is an inconvenience, a hardship and, in some cases, a personal disaster. Some are resigned to fulfilling what they consider their patriotic duty. Others are livid, insisting they have fallen victim to a policy that amounts to an unannounced, unheralded draft....[*]


Kucinich calls terror alert a government scare tactic
Associated Press

CONTOOCOOK, N.H. - The Bush administration is using elevated terror alerts for political gain while confusing Americans and accomplishing little, Democratic presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich said... [*]

- Let it be known that the Iguana was among the first to take this cynical stance one week ago. [*]

Sunday, December 28, 2003


Army admits it has deliberately shortchanged Guard on gear

By PHILIP DINE, Post-Dispatch, 12/27/2003

WASHINGTON - The deployment to Iraq of a combined Illinois-Iowa National Guard Chinook unit without required anti-missile defenses did not reflect an oversight or lack of coordination between the Guard and the Army.

Rather, it was the consequence of decisions made years ago by the Army to buy only a portion of the Guard's air defense equipment, senior Guard leaders say.

To save money, and assuming that Guard units were unlikely to be deployed in great numbers or face hostile action, Army officials ordered just 50 percent of the ALQ-156 flare-launching systems actually needed for the Guard's fleet of Chinooks.

"A conscious decision was made not to buy as many as we need," said Lt. Gen. Roger C. Schultz, director of the Army National Guard. "It's a decision that has some level of risk with it." ... [*]

- This is astounding to me. The Army justifies this by claiming things changed after September 11, but the truth is that military planning called for National Guard callups since Gulf War I. They obviously don't think of the "weekend warriors" as being REAL military. I think it's a result of the Army having control of "the other guy's" money, and that should be changed ASAP. Give the Guard control of their own funding if need be.


I got tired of doing amateurish photoshop versions of Chick Comics. So today I had fun with Strip Creator. Check it out.

Click on picture to link. (5 Brownie Points if you recognize the quote)


GOP Congress Scuttled Meat Protection Measure

by Mark Sherman, Wednesday, December 24, 2003 by the Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Legislation to keep meat from downed animals off American kitchen tables was scuttled - for the second time in as many years - as Congress labored unsuccessfully earlier this month to pass a catchall agency spending bill.

Now, in the wake of the apparent discovery of the first mad-cow case in the United States, the author of the House version of the cattle provision wants to press the issue anew when Congress returns Jan. 20 from its winter recess. The massive, $373 billion spending bill covering several government agencies is still pending in the Senate.

"I said on the floor of the House that you will rue the day that because of the greed of the industry to make a few extra pennies from 130,000 head, the industry would sacrifice the safety of the American people," said Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., chief House sponsor. "It's so pound foolish."

The provision dealing with downed cattle didn't even make it into the compromise version of the legislation that House and Senate conferees brought before Congress late in the year.

The Agriculture Department estimates that 130,000 downed animals that are too injured or sick to stand or walk unassisted are slaughtered every year....[*]


US: Terror threats can be bogus
28/12/2003 18:00 - (SA)

Washington - A top US lawmaker expressed concern on Sunday that the al-Qaeda may be deliberating spreading false information about security threats in the United States in a bid to wrong-foot US authorities and maximise public panic.

"It's a very inexpensive way for terrorists to do great damage and inflict costs on the United States of America," Represenative Christopher Cox said.

Asked if the elevated terror alert over the Christmas holiday could have been caused by al-Qaeda releasing disinformation, Cox, head of the House of Representatives' Homeland Security Committee, replied: "That concerns me a great deal. That's a very real possibility." ... [*]

-Well, duh. But I thought that's what intelligence analysis was supposed to FILTER out.

GEORGE W. BUSH'S (and about 400 million others) ACTUAL HOROSCOPE FOR TODAY

Cancer Horoscope (by 12/28/03

Just when you thought that the whole world was turning on you, dear Cancer, things start to come back around. You will find that you don't need to hide inside your shell. In fact, the more you let your true spirit emerge, the more allies you will gain. Your secret ambition to rule your world is becoming a much more attainable goal than you might have first thought.

-Scary. :0)


Scientists begin measuring pollution in human bodies

By PAUL ELIAS, AP Biotechnology Writer, Saturday, December 27, 2003

...Now, in a process called biomonitoring, scientists are sampling urine, blood and mother's milk to catalogue the pollutants accumulating in humans. They call the results "body burden." Commonweal and the Washington-based Environmental Working Group funded tests for Baltz and eight others at $5,000 apiece....

...Many chemicals such as PCB and DDT, both banned decades ago, remain in the environment for years and build up in the body over a lifetime....

...several studies have been completed:

- In March, California researchers reported that San Francisco-area women have three to 10 times as much chemical flame retardant in their breast tissue as European or Japanese women.

- Indiana University researchers reported at the same time that levels in Indiana and California women and infants were 20 times higher than those in Sweden and Norway, which recently banned flame retardant.

- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this year released data from 2,500 volunteers tested for 116 pollutants and found such chemicals as mercury, uranium and cotinine, a chemical broken down from nicotine.

The CDC also reported that Mexican-American children were found to have three times the amount of a chemical derived from DDT compared with other children. Scientists suspect that Mexico and Latin American countries may still be using the banned chemical.... [*]


Ashcroft Comix returns with the shocking Origin of the Bush Presidency:

NEXT: Ashcroft Crowns a King!


Here at Cosmic Iguana, we've named not Saddam, GW, Schwartzy or the American Soldier but duct tape as the "Person or Thingie of the Year" for 2003. (Remember how useful it was in preventing Saddam's terrorist drone attacks?) So between now and New Years, we're posting daily pictures of OUR ICON.

Today's feature: A GOOD use for Duct Tape:


TODAY'S EDITORIALS: The New Republicans

...Republicans have always enjoyed their reputation as the champions of business. The difference now is that they no longer couple their business-friendly attitudes with tight-fistedness. Discretionary spending has jumped 27 percent in the last two years; budget hawks complain Congressional pork is up more than 40 percent. Some of that money has gone to buy the allegiance of wavering party members in the closely divided House and Senate, but much of it is directly tied to the demands of big business. Agriculture subsidies to corporate farms have swollen to new heights, while energy policy has been reduced to a miserable grab bag of special benefits for the oil, gas and coal companies. The last Bush energy bill, which passed the House but died in the Senate, seems likely to be remembered most for the now-famous subsidy for an energy-efficient Hooters restaurant in Louisiana.

The two halves of Republican policy no longer fit together. A political majority that believes in big government for people, and little or no government for corporations, has produced an unsustainable fiscal policy that combines spending on social programs with pork and tax cuts for the rich. Massive budget deficits have been the inevitable result. Something similar happened in the Reagan administration. But unlike Ronald Reagan, Mr. Bush has given no hint of a midcourse adjustment to repair revenue flow. In fact, his Congressional leaders talk of still more tax cuts next year to extend the $1.7 trillion already enacted. That would compound deficits, which could reach $5 trillion in the decade.

This, it appears, is what compassionate conservatism really means. The conservative part is a stern and sometimes intrusive government to regulate the citizenry, but with a hands-off attitude toward business. The compassionate end involves some large federal programs combined with unending sympathy for the demands of special interests. If only it all added up. [*]


GE expects to make billions in Iraq

Associated Press, 12/27/2003

FAIRFIELD — The multibillion dollar reconstruction of Iraq could brighten prospects for General Electric Co., whose profits have dimmed over recent years.

The company, whose holdings range from light bulbs to aircraft engines, expects to do substantial postwar business in the country.

Jeff Immelt, the company’s chief executive, said in a conference call with analysts that GE has already received about $200 million worth of orders in Iraq so far this year.

"We think Iraq could be a couple billion dollars of orders in terms of power generating equipment and medical equipment," Immelt said.

At stake is $18.6 billion in reconstruction contracts. American companies such as GE will face less competition for the work because of a decision by U.S. officials to bar companies from countries that opposed the war from bidding on the contracts.

If GE wins some of the contracts, the business would take place over the next few years. GE expects to bid in areas such as medical diagnostic equipment, power turbines and water purification.... [*]

- And don't forget: GE owns NBC.


In Iraq, Pace of U.S. Casualties Has Accelerated

By Vernon Loeb, Washington Post Staff Writer, Sunday, December 28, 2003; Page A01

The number of U.S. service members killed and wounded in Iraq has more than doubled in the past four months compared with the four months preceding them, according to Pentagon statistics. From Sept. 1 through Friday, 145 service members were killed in action in Iraq, compared with 65 from May 1 to Aug. 30. The two four-month intervals cover counterinsurgency operations, far costlier than major combat operations, which President Bush declared over on May 1.

Increases in those wounded in action have been equally dramatic this fall. Since Sept. 1, 1,209 soldiers have received battlefield wounds, more than twice the 574 wounded in action from May 1 through Aug. 30.

Nor have casualties tapered off since the capture of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein on Dec. 13. Through Friday, 12 service members were killed in action and 105 were wounded with Hussein in custody..... [*]

-ALSO: US Soldier May Have had Mad Cow Disease [*]
Afghan Prisoner Blows Himself Up, Kills 5 Security Officials [*]
Coordinated Bombings Kill 18, Wounds 167 in Karbala [*] Baghdad Blast Kills US Soldier, 2 Iraqi Children [*]

-We call it a "McWAR ON TERROR" because it has as much resemblance to a REAL war on terror as George Bush has to a REAL President.









*McWAR ON TERROR (tm) is Cosmic Iguana's way of saying thanks for an economy that sucks for 99% of the population and a war on terror that attacked the wrong enemy.


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