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 2007

January 31, 2007

Huge majority say civil liberty curbs a 'price worth paying' to fight terror by John Carvel and Lucy Ward   (UK)
"Research finds most support compulsory ID cards, with phone tapping, curfews and tagging for suspects."
Sounds like a press release from Minitrue.

Lying and Spying: How the Administration Slip-Slides Away by Elizabeth de la Vega
"I hope I can be forgiven if animal images kept coming into my mind during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week. On the eve of the first such hearing to be held by the newly-elected Democratic majority, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales sent a letter to Committee Chairmen Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) announcing that, henceforth, the President's Terrorist Surveillance Program would be conducted under the supervision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Listening to Alberto Gonzales 'answering' questions about this development during the hearing, the thoughts I kept having were of seals and snakes: Had the administration really flip-flopped on warrantless electronic surveillance - like, say, a seal - or was it merely attempting to slither away - like, say, a snake?"

The President and the Physician by Per Bylund
"There is really nothing new to this 'new' strategy of President Bush; contrarily, it is essentially the same kind of solution proposed to solve any problem since the worldís second oldest profession was instituted. Political solutions to problems have throughout history offered nothing but 'more' and 'faster' of what has already been proposed. Bushís new strategy is just the same: more, faster."

On not leaving the country by Claire Wolfe
"This is the America worth loyalty. So different from the pseudo-American miasma oozing out of Washington, DC. This is worth taking a stand for. This is worth defending against a million Busheviks, Clintonistas, and their spawn -- defending not so much by fighting as simply by living by these values. Living here amid such decency, it's hard even to believe that the evil emanating from DC is a real threat."

From Local Police to Occupying Army, or LESO: The Greater of Many Evils by William N. Grigg
"Fred Baille, a boileplate-spewing spokesdrone for the DLA's Distribution Realization Policy Directorate (a suitably Soviet title for a police state agency), explains that through the LESO program, 'local' law enforcement agencies can receive 'excess' military gear of practically any description 'as if they were a DoD organization.'

What this means, in practical and tangible terms, is that your local police has the same access to military hardware as any branch of the armed services. In everything but brand name, they're domestic appendages of the Pentagon."

The Unraveling of Dick Cheney by Dan Froomkin

Sunni's Salon for January/February 2007

Playing the I Won't Run game by Garry Reed
"Meanwhile, in Lower Measleyborough, Louisiana, Mrs. L.C. Ledbetter formally announced that her common law husband, Mr. L.C. Ledbetter, will not be running for president on the Patriotic Picayune Party ticket in 2008. 'He's jist gotta git thet dadburned front porch railin' fixed afore it rots off an' falls to the ground,' declared the campaign's treasurer, political advisor and media handler Mrs. L.C. Ledbetter. While neither the bi-monthly Backwater Bugle nor the 15 watt 'Voice of Whoopingcough County' radio station sent a reporter to the hastily convened news conference, the story was eventually covered in depth in the Sunday school program of the Holy United Southern Reformed Synod Evangelical People's Church and Feed Store of East Measleyborough."

Itís all a matter of perspective... by Brad Spangler

One nation, under Choice Point by Uncle $cam
"Why haven't the Apocalypse-spotters glommed onto Choice Point? 'Bout time those wackos did something useful..."

Blast Wall art by Mike Ferner
in Baghdad

the Strike the Root Blog is back with a new URL

January 16, 2007

RAW Essence
"Robert Anton Wilson Defies Medical Experts and leaves his body @4:50 AM on binary date 01/11.

All Hail Eris!

On behalf of his children and those who cared for him, deepest love and gratitude for the tremendous support and lovingness bestowed upon us.

(that's it from Bob's bedside at his fnord by the sea)

RAW Memorial February 2007
date to be announced"

Thirteen Choruses For the Divine Marquis by Robert Anton Wilson
"There is much sadism in popular culture these days, but little Sadeanism."

Bush's Rush to Armageddon by Robert Parry
"George W. Bush has purged senior military and intelligence officials who were obstacles to a wider war in the Middle East, broadening his options for both escalating the conflict inside Iraq and expanding the fighting to Iran and Syria with Israelís help."

Iraqis get all-firing foretaste of Bush's final Baghdad gamble by Jon Swain and Sarah Baxter
"Much depends for the success of the operation on General David Petraeus, the newly appointed commander in Iraq, who is known as King David for his skill in restoring order to Mosul after the American invasion.

One of the armyís 'thinking' generals with a PhD from Princeton, he is the author of the militaryís new counterinsurgency doctrine for fighting 21st- century wars.

Petraeus believes American and Iraqi casualties can be kept to a minimum by a policy of 'cordon and knock'. Instead of kicking down doors, soldiers will politely visit homes where possible, making inquiries and offering assistance. The hope is that in such a tightly controlled environment, the death squads will find it impossible to operate.
Petraeus has been dusting off the British colonial governmentís counterinsurgency programme, which was used successfully in Malaya in the 1950s. The rural population was resettled in fortified villages away from the jungle and isolated from guerillas.
It took the British 12 years to defeat the communist insurgency in Malaya. In Iraq, the Americans do not have that much time. In evidence to the Senate armed services committee last week, Robert Gates, the defence secretary, suggested the extra deployment of troops would last 'months, not years'."

Iraq poised to end drought for thirsting oil giants by Danny Fortson
"The Iraqi Council of Ministers is expected to approve, as early as today, a controversial new hydrocarbon law, heavily pushed by the US and UK governments, that will radically redraw the Iraqi oil industry and throw open the doors to the third-largest oil reserves in the world. It would allow the first large-scale operation of foreign oil companies in the country since the industry was nationalised in 1972."

Hussein in the Membrane: Making lemonade in Iraq by Matt Taibbi
"This is just a modern take on the same old bullshit rap that traveling salesmen all over America have been laying on wide-eyed yokels at 99 Steak Houses and Howard Johnsons hotel bars for decades: So I was having lunch with Jack Welch at the Four Seasons last week when I heard about this amazing opportunity.... And these middle-manager types who live in Midwestern cubicles or in the bowels of some federal bureaucracy in Maryland eat it up: They buy every one of Friedman's books, treat his every word like gospel and before you know it they're all talking about Israeli politics and 'the situation' in Yemen or Turkey or wherever like they're experts.

And so this is how we got where we are. You get a whole nation full of people who spend 99 percent of their free time worrying about their lawns or their short iron game, you convince them that they know something about something they actually know nothing about, and next thing you know, they're blundering into a 1,000-year blood feud between rival Islamic groups, shooting things left and right in a panic, and thinking that they can make it all right and correct each successive fuckup by 'keeping our noses to the grindstone' and 'making lemons out of lemonade'."

An all-consuming 'war on terror' by Ian S. Lustick
"The official mantra is that we fight in Iraq because it is the 'central front in the War on Terror.' The exact opposite is the case.

We are trapped in fighting an unwinnable - even nonsensical - 'war on terror' because its invention was required in order to fight in Iraq. After years of slaughter in Iraq, the neoconservative fantasy of a series of cheap, fast, neo-imperial victories is dead. But the war on terror lives on, stronger than ever.

How did the war on terror take on a life of its own and trap the entire political class, and most Americans, into public beliefs about the need to fight a global war on terror as our first priority, even when there's little or no evidence of an enemy present in the United States? What accounts for $650 billion worth of expenditures, along with baseless cycles of 'sleeper cell' hysteria and McCarthyist policies of surveillance and 'pre-emptive prosecution' not seen in this country since the early 1950s?"

Rogue State by Lew Rockwell
"When Iranian students took over the US embassy in Teharan, kidnapped the employees, and stole the papers, it was a crime of historic proportions, a violation of ancient international law, an act worthy of nightly TV soaps, etc. Now when the US assaults an Iranian consulate in Irbil, kidnaps the employees, and steals the papers, there is no comment. It's just another day in the life of the empire."

The Statist Mindset of Anarchists by Per Bylund
"It seems many anarchists canít think out of the box: they want something 'instead of' the state, and so they put a lot of thought into making plans and defining what society they would want to see. The problem is that they think so much about this dream of theirs that they get stuck in the system they call anarchism. But anarchism isnít a system, it is non-system. Anarchism is spontaneous order, not contrived order.

This is the terrifying part of the story: the system approach many anarchists subscribe to is a product of their inability to get rid of their boxed thinking. They are stuck with a statist mindset. They have managed to get rid of thinking of the state as some kind of guarantee, but they still canít get rid of the idea that there must be a guarantee. But as we all should know: there are no guarantees!"

Major Interests of the State by Michael S. Rozeff
"In this article I ask: Why do states behave as they do? Why do they select the interests or concerns that they exhibit? How do we prove that their interests are not humanitarian? Economists have answered these questions by suggesting that politicians act out of self-interest. I take a different tack. I seek answers to these questions by asking: What interests of the state are implied by its very nature as an organization?

The answers are simple and obvious, which makes them no less true and powerful. Yet I doubt that they are fully and widely realized or appreciated. One implication, also simple, is well-known among libertarians: The state is not a humanitarian institution.

I will stress that the state naturally is an organization whose membersí acts are designed to keep the state going with its powers intact so as to maintain the benefits that flow to members of the state. While free market organizations also wish to survive and benefit their members, the difference is that they canít lawfully achieve those aims without benefiting society; while the state canít achieve its aims without harming society."

This jargon disease is choking language by Robert Fisk
"There is something repulsive about this vocabulary, an aggressive language of superiority in which 'key players' can 'interact' with each other, can 'impact' society, 'outsource' their business - or 'downsize' the number of their employees. They need 'feedback' and 'input'. They think 'outside the box' or 'push the envelope'. They have a 'work space', not a desk. They need 'personal space' - they need to be left alone - and sometimes they need 'time and space', a commodity much in demand when marriages are failing.
This is the language of therapy, in which frauds, liars and cheats are always trying to escape. Thus President Clinton's spokesman claimed after his admission of his affair with Monica Lewinsky that he was 'seeking closure'. Like so many mendacious politicians, Clinton felt - as Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara will no doubt feel about his bloodbath in Iraq once he leaves No 10 - the need to 'move on'."

Big Brother: What it really means in Britain today by Nigel Morris
"Moves to share people's personal details across Whitehall have provoked a civil liberties uproar and accusations that the Government has taken another step towards 'a Big Brother state'.

Ministers say the scheme - which will be endorsed by Tony Blair today - is aimed at improving public service delivery. But it faced protests that it was dealing another blow to personal privacy by creating a 'snooper's charter' and enabling thousands of civil servants to access sensitive information with ease."

Pee No Evil: The anti-steroid crusade jeopardizes everyone's privacy by Jacob Sullum
"When federal agents searched the offices of Comprehensive Drug Testing in Long Beach, California, on April 8, 2004, they officially were looking for the records of 10 baseball players suspected of buying steroids from the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO), a sports nutrition center whose owners had been charged with illegal steroid distribution. They left with information that went far beyond what their warrant described, including data on 1,200 baseball players and almost 3,000 computer files unrelated to Major League Baseball drug testing.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit recently told the government it may keep these records because they were 'intermingled' with the records of the 10 original targets. But you needn't worry about the privacy of your electronic records, as long as you're confident they haven't been hanging with the wrong crowd."

Are you a citizen? Prove it by Kavan Peterson
"Going to the DMV never has been a walk in the park, but itís likely to get even more difficult as states across the country begin to comply with stringent federal identification rules required by the 2005 Real ID Act."

A Question for Anti-Immigration Libertarians by Roderick T. Long
"A wall that can be used to keep people out can also be used to keep people in."


Too late to Barr the door by Garry Reed
The evolution of Bob Barr - Libertarian

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