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 31, 2005
CSI: American Mammoth, R.I.P. by Douglas Herman
"And that is how we conduct our foreign policy. The obvious is ignored for a clever veneer of fakery. 'Terrorists'--like those cardboard characters seen in the True Lies--cause all the mayhem in the world, while our imperial foreign policy has neither cause nor effect. Meanwhile, the tar pits quietly swallow the elephantine former republic known as the USA."
Bringing It All Back Home: The Emergence of the Homeland Security State by Nick Turse - introduction by Tom Engelhart
"When we last left this story, we were knee-deep in the emerging Homeland Security State, a special place where a host of disturbing and mutually reinforcing patterns have emerged - among them: a virtually unopposed increase in military, intelligence and 'security' agencies intruding into the civilian sector of American life; federal abridgment of basic rights; denials of civil liberties on flimsy or illegal premises; warrant-less, sneak-and-peek searches; and the undermining of privacy safeguards."
Part I here
Abandoning Liberty, Gaining Insecurity by Paul Craig Roberts
Election Fallout by Prof. Juan Cole
Objective Journalism and Hen's Teeth by Fred Reed
I Want My Flying Car! by Bob Wallace
January 27, 2005
Here comes "The Freedom" by Dahr Jamail
The Bill of Rights: Searches and Seizures by Jacob G. Hornberger
"How would U.S. officials operate without a Fourth Amendment and an independent judiciary to enforce it? Worse than British officials did with their general writs and writs of assistance! How do we know this? Because we’ve seen how they have operated with omnipotent power in occupied Iraq.
In occupied Iraq, armed U.S. soldiers routinely barge into people’s homes and businesses and conduct intrusive searches of the premises and of the persons who are unfortunate to be there at the time. If they find any contraband, including weapons, they seize it and take it with them. Not having to answer to any court, they operate with omnipotent power, and their searches and seizures in Iraq are arbitrary and indiscriminate."
Saw footage of yet another Iraqi home invasion this evening on the PBS Newshour - in addition to the small inventory of household weaponry confiscated - they also showed a pile of ... (gasp) - Baathist literature and books that had been buried in the courtyard!
Shills, Paid and Unpaid by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
"We've Been Taken Over by a Cult" Seymour Hersh interview on Democracy Now!
"We have a President that -- and a Secretary of State that, when a trooper -- when a reporter or journalist asked -- actually a trooper, a soldier, asked about lack of equipment, stumbled through an answer and the President then gets up and says, 'Yes, they should all have good equipment and we're going to do it,' as if somehow he wasn't involved in the process. Words mean nothing -- nothing to George Bush. They are just utterances. They have no meaning. Bush can say again and again, 'well, we don't do torture.' We know what happened. We know about Abu Ghraib. We know, we see anecdotally."
Do you know this woman? by Jeff Wells
"This is Sibel Edmonds, a 9/11 whistleblower, formerly of the FBI translation department. She speaks English, Farsi, Turkish and Azerbaijani. She does not speak Arabic.
She is someone the Department of Justice doesn't want you to know. She is subject to an extraordinary 'State Secrets Privilege' gag order, which prohibits her going public with her classified testimony. The DOJ even retroactively classified her public testimony. Quietly, it recently also admitted the validity of her claim of espionage in the translation department, just so you know we're not talking about a crazy woman here.
Edmonds is prohibited from speaking in detail - naming countries, business, names - but she's still been able to tell us much. She has hinted that people ought to look behind administrations, to the confluence of state, business and criminal interests. Including big oil, and big drugs.
Yet if you don't know this woman, you don't know what you're talking about when you talk about 9/11."
Good Riddance, Douglas Feith by Kurt Nimmo
Charles Clarke's CV: The new man at the Home Office is more bad news for civil liberties by Jamie Douglass
"Charles Clarke's first major action on assuming his seat of power did not augur well for those who like their civics served on the liberal side. It would have been naive to expect him, upon hearing of the Law Lords' verdict on the detention of terrorist suspects without trial at Belmarsh prison, to dash to SE28 with the keys shouting 'put down those thumbscrews!', but a more considered response than the 'says you' the Law Lords received would have been welcome. True, Clarke did explain that the Home Office would be 'studying the judgment carefully to see whether it is possible to modify our legislation to address the concerns raised by the House of Lords', but all the modifications in the world probably won't mean much to people locked up indefinitely without trial."
Researchers Who Rushed Into Print a Study of Iraqi Civilian Deaths Now Wonder Why It Was Ignored by Lila Guterman
"In late October, a study was published in The Lancet, a prestigious British medical journal, concluding that about 100,000 civilians had been killed in Iraq since it was invaded by a United States-led coalition in March 2003. On the eve of a contentious presidential election -- fought in part over U.S. policy on Iraq -- many American newspapers and television news programs ignored the study or buried reports about it far from the top headlines."
This Pollyanna army by Sidney Blumenthal
"Travel Advisory" Reveals U.S. Media Campaign vs. Mexico by Al Giordano
"In other words, U.S. prohibitionist drug policy is to blame for the "wave of violence" (if there is one: as a reporter who has covered Mexico and the drug war extensively since 1997, it is my sense that the amount of violence is at more or less the same levels that it has been at consistently for these eight years: the only difference now is that U.S. officials are pushing the story through their toadies in the Commercial Media).
Prohibition has always been the cause of all drug-related violence in Mexico and elsewhere. It is the prohibition of the drugs that makes their commerce a no man's land outside of the law.
So pay close attention to the 'news reports' that will now come out of the U.S. Commercial Media from Mexico. Take names and take notes, kind readers. You will see, if you watch carefully, which media correspondents take dictation from the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, from whom those 'journalists' are dependent for their supposed scoops."
Narco-Dollars for Beginners by Catherine Austin Fitts
January 25, 2005
Pentagon Comes Clean on the Strategic Support Branch by Kurt Nimmo
"'To cut out Congress and set up an under-the-radar capability which Congress doesn’t know about is not O.K.,' Representative Jane Harman of California, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said in an interview, demonstrating her complete lack of knowledge and comprehension of the Strausscons and Bush foreign policy, a particularly boneheaded comment for somebody supposedly sitting on the House intelligence committee. Meanwhile, John Warner, who had the little chit-chat with Stephen Cambone along with Carl Levin, said not to worry because forming terrorist groups and waging private wars cooked up by the Pentagon Strausscons is 'vital to our national security interests.'"
The Sociopathic Cult by Butler Shaffer
"President Bush tells the world that his second term will employ state power - presumably in the form of military action - to promote 'freedom' throughout the world. He talks of 'freedom' in much the same way that a streetwalker might speak of 'love.' Are mass killings, torture, and other forms of state violence to be considered tools of liberation? Minds that have been thoroughly inculcated in sociopathic dogmas will have no difficulty synthesizing such rhetoric into their confused and contradictory thinking. It will doubtless get shoe-horned in between the lies about Saddam Hussein’s 'weapons of mass destruction' and his involvement in 9/11 that have already become an integral part of popular thinking."
A Party Without Virtue by Paul Craig Roberts
"After listening to his inaugural speech, anyone who thinks President Bush and his handlers are sane needs to visit a psychiatrist. The hubris-filled megalomaniac in the Oval Office has promised the world war without end."
9/11 in Laymen's Terms by Jeff Baxter
"Attempting logically to follow the progression of reasoning and subsequent events courtesy of our so-called freedom-loving, freedom-worldwide-perpetuating government, makes the disconnect almost unbearable. Any urge to blame the Elephants is tempered by the fact that the Jackasses are complicit up to their earlobes!
As I have written before ... I do not despair over any of this. While others might fear such a colossal growth in the power of government to control and manipulate true freedom to its own ends, I believe quite the opposite.
I believe 9/11 marked the lighting of the fuse for the implosion of the entire concept of government as we have known it."
"The Illusion Is Liberty - The Reality Is Leviathan": A Voluntaryist Perspective on the Bill of Rights by Carl Watner
"Many nations have been brutally tyrannized by governments that ruled according to constitutions, but the question about government is not really whether it is tyrannical. The question is: Should there be a state, however weak or strong it might be? A man who is a slave asks: by what right is he enslaved, not whether he has a good or kind master. All governments and all slavemasters are unjust. The weakest or strongest of governments must necessarily make the same claims and both attempt to exercise a monopoly of power within their borders. They must both have exclusive possession of and control over the military and the police. They must both demand the right to declare war and peace, conscript life, and expropriate income and property, levy taxes, and regulate daily life. The main point is, as Robert Nisbet has so ably put it in his essay, The State: 'With all respect to differences among types of government, there is not, in strict theory, any difference between the powers available to the democratic and the totalitarian State. We may pride ourselves in the democracies on Bills or other expressions of individual rights against the State, but in fact they are rights against a given government and can be obliterated or sharply diminished when it is deemed necessary.' Constitutions and bills of rights are legitimizing tools of the ruling elite. Both are badges of slavery not liberty, and should be rejected. It is only when people awaken to these facts that they will become free."
January 23, 2005
Sinking to our enemies' level by Michael Kessler
"This administration has cloaked itself in the garments of moral values and universal goods, defending them in the face of 'liberal cultural relativism.' The president has pledged to protect the 'the nonnegotiable demands of human dignity.' But in this matter, instead of choosing to extend to 'enemy combatants' the most basic legal rights (such as representation) or moral treatment (no debasing torture tactics), the administration has rejected the spirit of the law and its obligation. Under the banner of 'extreme emergency,' it chose to create a climate in which these detainees could be treated in a subhuman and strategically beneficial manner. The stakes of that choice are devastating for our government's claims to moral legitimacy on the one hand and political expediency on the other. While grave emergencies sometimes require dire actions, the principle by which the administration has operated in this situation is strictly one of utility: The ends justify the means."
Israeli joker in the Iranian poker game by Amir Oren
"The quotes were accurate but the interpretations were wrong. U.S. Vice President Richard Cheney did indeed say, last Thursday, that Israel 'might well decide to act first' to eliminate an Iranian nuclear threat. However, the headlines that claimed Cheney was apprehensive about such a development misunderstood the point he was making. Cheney is not worried about the Israeli context, nor is he warning Israel not to act without coordination with Washington. He is using the possibility of an Israeli operation against Iran to threaten Tehran, while shaking off American responsibility for that kind of escalation. His comment was not a warning to Israel but a means of deterrence against Iran."
Unusual Suspects by Tara McKelvey
"What happened to the women held at Abu Ghraib? The government isn’t talking. But some of the women are."
January 19, 2005
W.H. rejects Bush-Saddam duel offer (Oct. 3, 2002)
"The White House scorned an Iraqi leader's suggestion that President Bush and Saddam Hussein could resolve their differences in a duel, calling it an 'irresponsible statement' that did not justify a 'serious response.'"
Bush shows off Saddam's pistol (May 31, 2004)
"Ousted Iraq president Saddam Hussein's pistol has made its way to the White House with United States President George W Bush proudly showing it to select visitors, Time magazine said in a report. The pistol was seized from Hussein when he was captured near Tikrit last December. Some troops who caught the deposed president gifted it to Bush, the report said."
"Most of the stone a nation hammers goes toward its tomb only. It buries itself alive. As for the Pyramids, there is nothing to wonder at in them so much as the fact that so many men could be found degraded enough to spend their lives constructing a tomb for some ambitious booby, whom it would have been wiser and manlier to have drowned in the Nile, and then given his body to the dogs. I might possibly invent some excuse for them and him, but I have no time for it."
Henry David Thoreau
Can You Imagine?: Hussein Was Right & Bush Was Wrong by Harry Browne
Iran is Not a Nuclear Threat!!! by Jude Wanniski
Satire, RIP from Christopher Manion
"Back in the 1920s, Karl Kraus explained why it is so difficult to have a sense of humor in such perilous times: 'It is next to impossible to write satire when a situation has become so grotesque that reality surpasses the flight of a satirist’s imagination.'"
Eyeballing the Inaugural Kill and Maim Zone: Parts IV and V from John Young
Photo-essays (graphics rich - long downloads for dial-up users)
The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce
January 16, 2005
From Afghanistan to Iraq: Transplanting CIA Engineered Terrorism by Kurt Nimmo
"If Iraq is a 'magnet for international terrorist activity,' as NIC Chairman Robert L. Hutchings told the Post, it is not far off the mark to conclude it is a magnet useful for Strausscon foreign policy objectives, i.e., Bush’s overblown 'war on terrorism' that will last for generations, as promised by Dick Cheney and others. In fact, considering past behavior, detailed above, it is not far off the mark to conclude that what is going on in Iraq--an influx of 'professionalized' terrorists, trained and sustained by the CIA in Afghanistan and Bosnia--is precisely what the 'intelligence community,' now firmly under control of the Bushcons with Porter Goss knocking heads together, want and have long strived for. After all, terrorism defines the CIA, Bush, and the entire foreign policy establishment. It is their raison detre, their reason for existence."
The Phantom Weapons... by Riverbend
"Over here, it's not really 'news' in the sense that it's not new. We've been expecting a statement like this for the last two years. While we were aware the whole WMD farce was just a badly produced black comedy, it's still upsetting to hear Bush's declaration that he was wrong. It's upsetting because it just confirms the worst: right-wing Americans don't care about justifying this war. They don't care about right or wrong or innocents dead and more to die. They were somewhat ahead of the game. When they saw their idiotic president wasn't going to find weapons anywhere in Iraq, they decided it would be about mass graves. It wasn't long before the very people who came to 'liberate' a sovereign country soon began burying more Iraqis in mass graves. The smart weapons began to stupidly kill 'possibly innocent' civilians (they are only 'definitely innocent' if they are working with the current Iraqi security forces or American troops). It went once more from protecting poor Iraqis from themselves to protecting Americans from 'terrorists'. Zarqawi very conveniently entered the picture.
Zarqawi is so much better than WMD. He's small, compact and mobile. He can travel from Falloojeh to Baghdad to Najaf to Mosul... whichever province or city really needs to be oppressed. Also, conveniently, he looks like the typical Iraqi male- dark hair, dark eyes, olive skin, medium build. I wonder how long it will take the average American to figure out that he's about as substantial as our previously alleged WMD."
The Tax-Reform Racket by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
"The public campaign does not speak of these matters. Instead, they claim that they will make taxes less complicated and more fair. The reform promises to increase incentives to save and invest, and to stop punishing people for doing things they should do and start punishing them for things they should not do. It promises to stop rewarding lawyers and tax preparers, and permit people to plan their finances on their own. It must also promise not to raise taxes on the middle class. It must also reassure the rich and not punish the poor. It must not repeal beloved deductions, but it must hammer abuses.
What all this means in practice is anyone's guess. And truly the point is not to contrive a precise plan or even to pass a plan that does all of the above. In fact, there is no way all these promises can be kept. There is no simple, fair, non-distorting way to collect $2 trillion per year from a population by force. The politicians tell us that they will find a way, that the problem is not so much the goal but the means and the process, that if we can just replace the current ways and means with a new ways and means, that $2 trillion will appear without pain or suffering. As the vice chair of the Bush panel said: 'Our tax code should not scare people, should not threaten people, should not confuse people.' Well, you can try this at home: go collect $2 trillion, while offering not much in return, without threatening, scaring, or confusing."
"You Blighted Nations" by Garry Reed
"According to a New York Times article, the United Nations wants to 'reform' itself in the manner of bureaucracies everywhere, by expanding its size, either by adding six new permanent members to its Security Council or by adding another whole layer of worldcrats with six new semi-permanent countries. Libertarians would rather trip the fire alarm at the East River address and, once empty, quickly sell the building to The Donald and turn it into a casino.
Since that's not likely to happen in the next five minutes (or decades), let's play along and see if we can 'pack' the Security Council, as FDR threatened to pack the Supreme Court, to the benefit of libertarians. After all, libertarianism, according to the International Society for Individual Liberty (ISIL) is a worldwide movement. So let's consider the UN's first scheme, which would add two countries from Asia, two from Africa and one each from Europe and 'the Americas.'"
Robot Factories by Fred Reed
"How is it possible to spend twelve years in school and not be able to read? How? It is beyond me. A sheet of dry wall would be reading in less time."
Eyeballing the Inaugural Kill and Maim Zone: Parts II and III from John Young
Photo-essays (graphics rich - long downloads for dial-up users)
The 108th Congress: An Analysis by Laurence M. Vance