The Plug Nickel Times is proud to bring you website links to select opinion articles that you may not find through your local media. All links are offsite unless otherwise noted - followed links should open in another browser window. Links can become dated or otherwise fail to function, for this reason we quote the actual headline of an article. This may allow you to find an alternate copy of the article through a news index or search engine. Some sites we link to may require a registration process to view an article - this website may be useful to you in those instances. Comments, corrections and submissions are welcome - an email link is at the bottom of the page.
January 1-15, 2005
January 14, 2005
Congressman Ron Paul Denounces National ID Card
"A national identification card, in whatever form it may take, will allow the federal government to inappropriately monitor the movements and transactions of every American. History shows that governments inevitably use such power in harmful ways. The 9-11 commission, whose recommendations underlie this bill, has called for internal screening points where identification will be demanded. Domestic travel restrictions are the hallmark of authoritarian states, not free nations. It is just a matter of time until those who refuse to carry the new licenses will be denied the ability to drive or board an airplane."
Time for an Accounting: The WMD Fraud by Dave Lindorff
Absolutely? by Prof. Juan Cole
"Bush has figured out, apparently, that some in the American public respond, rather like the apes to which they deny they are related, to posture, grunting and body language rather than to reason and evidence. When I see him smirking and gesturing, I can't help thinking of the ape General Thade (Tim Roth) in Tim Burton's remake of the Planet of the Apes, which used scientific findings about primate behavior and hierarchy to inform the acting."
"Fighting for the Work of the Lord": Christian Fascism in America by Gary Leupp
"If fascists, they are of a different if kindred variety. Everyone applying the f-word agrees that the fascists have no regard for civil liberties and have used 9-11 to vitiate the Bill of Rights."
Augusto Pinochet and the Conservative Threat to America by Jacob G. Hornberger
"The so-called commitment to democracy that U.S. officials have used to justify their invasion and war of aggression against the people of Iraq is hogwash. Federal officials no more have a commitment to democracy than did, well, Augusto Pinochet, whose installation into office U.S. officials and U.S. conservatives enthusiastically embraced. After all, what better example than the U.S. attitude toward democracy than what happened in Chile?"
Apparently, Death Squads Neither Quaint Nor Obsolete by Jason Vest
"This may be the best indicator to date as to just how far 'round the bend the current crop of Pentagonistas has gone in their bid to check the insurgency-they-never-thought-could-happen. This is not just because Pentagon hawks are apparently still rationalizing away murdered Salvadorans. It's also because the US military's own scholarship over the past 20 years holds that that the U.S.'s military and political counterinsurgency efforts in El Salvador are at best a case study in how to prolong an insurgency, and not an approach worthy of emulation."
Eyeballing the Inaugural Kill and Maim Zone from John Young
A Photo-essay (graphics heavy, long download for dial-up users)
Dave Barry - Elegy for the humorist by Bryan Curtis
"One week, when Tropic converted itself into a kind of Devil's Dictionary, Weingarten instructed Barry to come up with a definition for 'sense of humor.' Barry disappeared from the office for a few days. He came back with this: 'A sense of humor is a measurement of the extent to which we realize that we are trapped in a world almost totally devoid of reason. Laughter is how we express the anxiety we feel at this knowledge.' Then he promptly went back to writing about exploding livestock."
January 12, 2005
Fear Stalks Baghdad by Robert Fisk
"So, 'full ahead both' for the dreaded 30 January elections and democracy. The American generals--with a unique mixture of mendacity and hope amid the insurgency--are now saying that only four of Iraq's 18 provinces may not be able to 'fully' participate in the elections.
Good news. Until you sit down with the population statistics and realise--as the generals all know--that those four provinces contain more than half the population of Iraq."
Spook Banks by Jeff Wells
"It feels good, albeit in that familiar and bitter I could have told you so kind of way, to see the mainstream media hesitantly lift the rock and shed some light on the wormy business of CIA money laundering.
The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal have begun to do just that, finally, with Riggs Bank, and Slate has followed their lead this week with a couple of articles."
First They Came For The Terrorists... by Thom Hartmann
"The bigger question here is whether George W. Bush has the right to ignore the U.S. Constitution and international treaties, violate human rights and civil liberties, promote 'preemptive' wars, and build concentration camps for the permanent imprisonment of untried and unconvicted individuals - all simply because he says he can, per speciale Mandatum Domini Regis. And whether we want the chief law enforcement officer of the land, the man who would be charged with prosecuting Bush or those in his administration who may break the law, to be a man who agrees that Bush stands above the law and the Constitution."
Fiction destroys U.S. credibility by Youssef M. Ibrahim
"In July 2003, The Washington Post published a heartrending front-page story of an Iraqi woman, Jumana Mikhail Hanna, under the headline 'A lone woman testifies to Iraq's order of terror,' telling how she was falsely arrested, tortured and raped.
Alas, this week an extensive article in Esquire magazine, published in the January 2005 issue, reveals that the entire story of Jumana, from start to finish, is a total fabrication."
Eyeballing Michael Chertoff from John Young
January 11, 2005
The taming of Sadr City by Michael Schwartz
"The US effort to destroy the insurgency can only succeed if it also destroys the ability of Iraqis to govern their own communities. Since the local clerics and tribal leaders have - from the very beginning - been instrumental in the resistance, defeating the guerrillas involves detaining or killing the leaders who form the backbone of local civil society. This became apparent in the fall of 2004, before the demolition of Fallujah, when the US failed to convince 'moderates' in key cities to negotiate truce agreements that delivered militant leaders to the Americans for arrest and punishment. The failure of these negotiations left the US with the choice of conceding rule to the insurgents or attempting to reconquer the cities and removing the local leadership. In Fallujah, the US military leadership decided that they could only accomplish this by demolishing much of the city and converting the vast majority of residents into refugees."
Death of the Constitution and the Doomsday Provision: Nothing More than a Big Yawn by Kurt Nimmo
A Dirty Little Secret About Federal Taxes by Mark Reynolds
"Since the banking cartel has been able to completely control, via the U.S. Treasury and through Federal complicity, the current monetary system, YOU COULD LITERALLY KEEP ALL OF YOUR TAXES and it wouldn’t make a hill of beans difference. As a matter of FACT, if no one in the country paid Federal taxes at all but the public continued to believe that the little, colorful pieces of paper in circulation had value, everything would go on as it does now. The roads would be built, the missiles would fly, the soldiers would be paid and the Homeland Security Gestapo would be still receiving paychecks. Why? Because the COUNTERFEITER can print all the paper money or make all the book entries they want. Why? Because the people lost track of THEIR contract with their public servants known as the U.S. Constitution, and didn’t realize that they were being ROYALLY SCREWED."
Why the emperor has no clothes by Andre Gunder Frank
"The United States is the world's most privileged nation for having the monopoly privilege of printing the world's reserve currency at will and at a cost of nothing but the paper and ink it is printed on. Moreover, by doing so, Uncle Sam can export abroad the inflation he generates by the extra dollars he prints, of which there are already at least three times as many floating around the world as at Uncle Sam's home. Additionally, his is also the only country whose "foreign" debt is mostly denominated in his own world-currency dollars that he can print at will; while most foreigners' debt is also denominated in the same dollar, but they have to buy it from Uncle Sam with their own currency and real goods."
Pt. 2: The center of the doughnut
Government IDs and Identity Theft by Rep. Ron Paul, MD
January 9, 2005
George Walker Bush's Willing Executors by Les Blough
"Did they think that the leaders of this nation with one of the highest literacy rates in the world were stupid? The successful military operations of the Iraqi army over the past year suggest to us that the U.S. has already lost this war. Now, it is only a question of how long and how many deaths and injuries until the U.S. government withdraws its troops. The U.S. has lost the war in terms of military strategy and in terms of their propaganda efforts both within and without Iraq."
Under the Top by Bill Bonner
"Kiplinger magazine aimed a soft glove at us. Here, we pause to see what else is between the covers of the January issue...and look for some brass knuckles."
The Council on Foreign Relations by Aaron Turpen
"I got a curious envelope today with a CFR return address. Hmm... Inside was an advertisement asking me to subscribe to their magazine, Foreign Affairs. Here's my responding letter..."
Words of wisdom from the wasteland from Patrick Yancey
"Ignorance is Strength, in the words of Orwell... The persons in Williams' article can not utilize simple reading skills and cannot calculate simple mathematics. This is good for a power structure to maintain control because these people do have the observational tools to pay any attention to what the government and power elite are doing. They cannot read the news paper and discern anything from it especially if it had any governemnt criticism in it. They do not possess the skill to fill out their own tax forms and see what the tax system is like and what the money goes for and who pays the most. These are all skills that, in the hands of the wrong persons, are dangerous to the slavers. It is no wonder that early slave owners did not want the slaves to learn to read and write. They still don't!"
January 7, 2005
Self-Portrait in a Tortured World by Tom Engelhardt
Iraq: The Devastation by Dahr Jamail with introduction by Tom Engelhardt
Broken Promises - Broken Infrastructure - Broken Cities
Supporting Torture is not Gonzales' Greatest Sin by Brian Foley
"Focusing on torture as the main objection to Alberto Gonzales' taking over as Attorney General distracts us from his greatest sin: his attempt to give the president the power to imprison Americans incommunicado and indefinitely, without recourse to courts or lawyers. Such contempt for our civil rights shows that Gonzales cannot be trusted to protect them."
bush is not hitler? by Charley Hardman
"bush is no hitler? pull your head out of your ass; he's just ramping up. stop apologizing for delving into the obvious. away with the absurd requirement that bush must do everything hitler did before he may be rightfully denounced for dangerous, shameless, increasing imitation. if you are a christian, you should be even more worried that bush's path toward government approval to even exist (i.e., national ID) brands him as the actual, literal antichrist. (don't laugh at me; it's your doctrine.)"
January 6, 2005
The Precursor of National Identification Cards in the U.S. by Carl Watner
Drivers Licenses and Vehicle Registration in Historical Perspective
Washington Is a Sledgehammer; We Are Nails by William L. Anderson
"But doing something stupid and committing an act of terrorism clearly are not one and the same, yet federal prosecutors are using the Patriot Act to throw Banach into prison - and they have thrown a Section 1001 violation into the mix (Banach, in a meeting with investigators, first said his daughter had been shining the laser), reminding us why Martha Stewart currently resides at a West Virginia address. At the present time, Banach’s potential prison term could be as long as 25 years, although it is my guess that prosecutors will throw in a deal in which he "only" will plead guilty to a felony or two and serve a few years in a federal prison camp.
Furthermore, while one can understand why Banach might have been less-than-full-truthful when first confronted with investigators, it would seem to me that the much bigger lie has been told by Bush Administration officials. As pointed out earlier in this article, federal officials promised Congress that they would not abuse the new and extraordinary powers that were given them. That clearly was and is a lie. Lying to Congress is a crime for the rest of us, but for federal prosecutors and their ilk, it is another day at the office."
"Then Tom DeLay gets up to the pulpit, and -- striking a beautiful note in light of the 150,000 dead from the floods referenced by his colleagues -- lets loose with some Matthew 7, beginning at verse 21."
January 4, 2005
Extremism In Defense of the Status Quo by Butler Shaffer
"The establishment’s hostility to 'extremism' is not unlike the charge of 'counter-revolutionary' directed against those Russians who questioned the direction taken during the Bolshevik Revolution. To have a collective resolve weakened by doubt or alternative purpose is a threat to the power base from which all political action arises. Furthermore, 'extremists' often end up being people who operate on the basis of deeply-held and integrated philosophic principles, an attribute unwelcome in a collective atmosphere in which the pursuit of power is an end in itself.
If humans are to survive qua humans - and not as 'resources' to be exploited for the institutional order, or as 'assets' by which military leaders define soldiers - we need to break out of the collective cages in which we have allowed ourselves to be confined. In doing so, we will have to confront the reality that institutional authorities neither care for nor represent our individual interests; that institutions do not feel pain or bleed, suffer degradation to the human spirit, and rarely die. The costs that collective behavior inflicts upon our humanness exhibit themselves only individually, having no relation to institutional interests. In a collective world, the nonmaterial is immaterial."
Will the Islamic Army in Iraq Attack America? by Kurt Nimmo
"Any attack on America in the name of the Iraqi resistance, of course, would go a long way in turning around the American public’s growing skepticism of Bush’s Iraqi quagmire. Either the Islamic Army in Iraq is stupid or they are not who they claim to be. Qui Bono? Certainly not the Iraqis. Bush desperately needs public opinion where it was in the weeks and months following the 9/11 attacks. He needs America’s sons and daughters to willingly donate their lives to the Strausscon-neolib plan to 'reshape' the Middle East. How better to do this than stage Iraqi resistance attacks in America? Imagine the mileage Bush would receive if even a single suicide bomber hit a mall or corporate office complex. It would be invaluable."
Support the Tsunami by Kurt Nimmo
"Imagine millions of people driving around with magnetic car ribbons declaring support for the tsunami that ravaged south and Southeast Asia, killing upward to a hundred thousand people. You’d probably think those people are sadistic mental cases in need of treatment and medication. And yet millions of Americans display 'support our troops' ribbons on their cars, even though 'our' troops are daily killing and torturing innocent Iraqis - at checkpoints, in their homes, on the street, at demonstrations, and in Bush’s gulags such as Abu Ghraib - upward to a hundred thousand of them have died to date, possibly more."
Tin Soldier: An American Vigilante In Afghanistan, Using the Press for Profit and Glory by Mariah Blake
2005 as Seen in My Crystal Ball by Eric Margolis
January 2, 2005
Iraq: The Words of Mass Deception by Mike Rivero
The Reality of Red-State Fascism by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
"The vigor and determination of the Bush administration has brought about a profound cultural change, so that the very people who once proclaimed hated of government now advocate its use against dissidents of all sorts, especially against those who would dare call for curbs in the totalitarian bureaucracy of the military, or suggest that Bush is something less than infallible in his foreign-policy decisions. The lesson here is that it is always a mistake to advocate government action, for there is no way you can fully anticipate how government will be used. Nor can you ever count on a slice of the population to be moral in its advocacy of the uses of the police power.
There has never in my lifetime been a more urgent need for the party of liberty to completely secede from conventional thought and established institutions, especially those associated with all aspects of government, and undertake radical intellectual action on behalf of a third way that rejects the socialism of the left and the fascism of the right."
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man: How the U.S. Uses Globalization to Cheat Poor Countries Out of Trillions
The Christmas Grinch List by Garry Reed
"Immediately following what rabid Rightists dubbed "The most important election in the history of civilization" (i.e., the 2004 presidential vote-fest) came much teeth-grinding, fist-shaking and hair-yanking from losing Lefties about the "Stolen Election." Apparently, after generations of Democrats reportedly stealing elections from Republicans, the liberal set was shocked, shocked that the neocons just might have learned how to steal one from them."