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.
February 1-15, 2005
February 15, 2005
Heavenly Deception by Jeff Wells
"One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal. It has come in from the fringe, to sit in the seat of power in the Oval Office and in Congress. For the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington."
Shiites Take Absolute Majority in Parliament by Juan Cole
Hariri Killing Sure to Bolster U.S. Hawks by Jim Lobe
The Killing of Mr. Lebanon: Rafik Hariri Assassinated in Beirut by Robert Fisk
'We Are a Peaceful People' by Stephen Bender
Greenspanís Whopper by Bill Bonner
In Search of Men Who Want to Marry Mommy by Fred Reed
How I Ripped Off Ayn Rand by Garry Reed
Vin Suprynowicz Paints It Black by Thomas L. Knapp
A review of The Black Arrow by Vin Suprynowicz
I Just Couldn't Have a Black Market in My Sector by Thomas DiLorenzo
February 11, 2005
HR 418- A National ID Bill Masquerading as Immigration Reform by Rep. Ron Paul
"The REAL ID Act establishes a national ID card by mandating that states include certain minimum identification standards on driverís licenses. It contains no limits on the governmentís power to impose additional standards. Indeed, it gives authority to the Secretary of Homeland Security to unilaterally add requirements as he sees fit.
This bill establishes a massive, centrally-coordinated database of highly personal information about American citizens: at a minimum their name, date of birth, place of residence, Social Security number, and physical and possibly other characteristics. What is even more disturbing is that, by mandating that states participate in the 'Drivers License Agreement,' this bill creates a massive database of sensitive information on American citizens that will be shared with Canada and Mexico!
This bill could have a chilling effect on the exercise of our constitutionally guaranteed rights. It re-defines "terrorism" in broad new terms that could well include members of firearms rights and anti-abortion groups, or other such groups as determined by whoever is in power at the time. There are no prohibitions against including such information in the database as information about a personís exercise of First Amendment rights or about a personís appearance on a registry of firearms owners.
This legislation gives authority to the Secretary of Homeland Security to expand required information on driverís licenses, potentially including such biometric information as retina scans, finger prints, DNA information, and even Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) radio tracking technology. Including such technology as RFID would mean that the federal government, as well as the governments of Canada and Mexico, would know where Americans are at all time of the day and night."
Mother Lode by Chris Floyd
"But there's yet another glaring truth that's escaped the media mavens, and most of the war's opponents as well. Even if the grand objective of oil control slips away somehow -- through a falling-out with Sistani, say, or civil war -- Bush has already won the game. The war has transferred billions of dollars from the public treasuries of the United States and Iraq into the coffers of an elite clique of oilmen, arms dealers, investment firms, construction giants and political operatives associated with the Bush family. And this goes beyond the official, guaranteed-profit contracts to favored firms; Bush's own inspector general reported this month that $8.8 billion in unaccounted 'reconstruction' funds have simply vanished -- much of it in bribes for Bush officials and corporate kickbacks, the BBC reported."
Solving Problems in a Free Society by Harry Browne
"Whatever difficulty you think might occur in a free market - people afraid to buy products for fear they're unsafe, no way to raise the money for some huge project, people insecure for some reason - it represents an opportunity for someone to solve the problem and make a profit for himself. The bigger the problem, the bigger the payoff for solving it, and the more people who will turn their attention to solving it - including a lot of very smart people who previously had not had an interest in the subject, especially not before there was a free market to reward them for taking an interest."
What does Freedom Really Mean? by Rep. Ron Paul
"George Orwell wrote about 'meaningless words' that are endlessly repeated in the political arena. Words like 'freedom,' 'democracy,' and 'justice,' Orwell explained, have been abused so long that their original meanings have been eviscerated. In Orwellís view, political words were 'Often used in a consciously dishonest way.' Without precise meanings behind words, politicians and elites can obscure reality and condition people to reflexively associate certain words with positive or negative perceptions. In other words, unpleasant facts can be hidden behind purposely meaningless language. As a result, Americans have been conditioned to accept the word 'democracy' as a synonym for freedom, and thus to believe that democracy is unquestionably good.
Orwell certainly was right about the use of meaningless words in politics. If we hope to remain free, we must cut through the fog and attach concrete meanings to the words politicians use to deceive us. We must reassert that America is a republic, not a democracy, and remind ourselves that the Constitution places limits on government that no majority can overrule. We must resist any use of the word 'freedom' to describe state action. We must reject the current meaningless designations of 'liberals' and 'conservatives,' in favor of an accurate term for both: statists."
Propaganda-Gate; Jeff/Jim Gannon/Guckert Still Does Not Get It by Anthony Wade
"There is only one story here and that is the continuing unraveling of the propaganda machine utilized by this administration. It is not 'Gannongate', because Jeff/Jim does not deserve that much attention. It is about Armstrong Williams, Maggie Gallagher, and Michael McManus. It is about an administration that thinks it can massage the truth, frame the truth, buy the truth or create the truth."
Algebra in the Hollywood Hills by Rodger Jacobs
"'This isnít happening,' Karl said, his voice crackling like brittle paper. 'Iím home, in bed, having a bad dream.'
The coyote snarled. 'Want me to bite you to prove that youíre wide awake, Karl?'"
February 9, 2005
The Pentagon's New Armies of the Night by Eric Margolis
Some 30 Killed in Iraq Violence by Prof. Juan Cole
Don't mention Fallujah: Another unembedded journalist disappears in Iraq by Luciana Bohne
"A silence like the tomb's has descended on what happened during that assault on Fallujah last November, led by US occupying forces, flanked by Kurdish peshmergas, and Israeli military advisers. In Fallujah, no Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was found--the pretext for the attack--but of the 300,000 Fallujah residents only 15,000 remain. The rest have disappeared or have fled. And with some of these Sgrena had an appointment.
If the dots connect, the 'Salvador option' is not a 'debate': it is already operational. Before proceeding to the death-squad phase of terrorizing civilians, uncomfortable witnesses must be removed--humanitarian workers like Margaret Hassan and journalists like Baldoni and Sgrena, and others."
The Enemy Downtown by Jon Christian Ryter
"Civil forfeiture is the biggest revenue bonanza there is in the States because the State gets to keep 80% of what the seized assets generate at auction. Lawmakers like civil forfeiture because it doesn't cost them any votes on election day (since they assume the people whose assets are seized are criminals who can't, or won't, vote). Civil asset forfeiture is spreading like wildfire across the United States. It has proved to be the best revenue generator since the invention of the printing press even though law enforcement people violate the 4th and 5th Amendments every time they seize the property of American citizens without due process - regardless of the number of laws legislators pass that give them the authority to do so."
Final Words on Ward Churchill by Kurt Nimmo
"Moreover, as I state here repeatedly, we do not know for certain who al-Qaeda is or if it is responsible for what happened on September 11, 2001. 9/11, in my estimation, is an unsolved crime and the perpetrators remain at large. Evidence was destroyed. Bush obstructed an investigation until political pressure from the families of victims forced him to set-up a whitewash commission. As I see it, this is the major flaw in Churchillís argument, claiming Muslims are responsible for attacking the United States when this is not an established fact. Churchill is lending legitimacy to Bushís version of events, which I believe is a fairy tale."
Parker Brothers' Politics by Jeff Wells
February 6, 2005
The Republicans' Iraq and the Islamic Republic of Iraq by Prof. Juan Cole
"Even as Cheney was pooh-poohing the notion of Iraqi theocracy, Sistani's close colleague Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Ishaq al-Fayyad said, 'We warn officials against a separation of the state and religion.' Then Sistani's spokesman came out and said that the Grand Ayatollah Sistani 'wants the source of legislation to be Islam.'
A lot of Americans believe whatever Cheney says, though I cannot for the life of me understand why, since he lies to them relentlessly. He is the one who tried to link Saddam and al-Qaeda operationally. He even once said he knew exactly where Iraqi weapons of mass destruction were."
Karl Rove & the Spectre of Freudís Nephew by Stephen Bender
Ward Churchill and the Mad Dogs by Alexander Cockburn
Shiite Religious Coalition Dominates Parliamentary Voting by Prof. Juan Cole
February 3, 2005
U.S. Concentration Camps by Doug Casey
(almost halfway down the page)
"Now, as the Washington Post reported in early January, comes word that the Administration is currently planning lifetime detainment for those 'who are unlikely to ever go through a military tribunal for lack of evidence, according to defense officials.' A new prison at Guantanamo, known as Camp 6, would house some, as would 'Camp Justice,' on the tiny island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. Still other prisoners would be subject to 'rendition' - a tactic often employed by the CIA - whereby undesirables are outsourced to nations willing to hold them without charges forever."
Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens by Ward Churchill
"When queried by reporters concerning his views on the assassination of John F. Kennedy in November 1963, Malcolm X famously - and quite charitably, all things considered - replied that it was merely a case of 'chickens coming home to roost.'
On the morning of September 11, 2001, a few more chickens - along with some half-million dead Iraqi children - came home to roost in a very big way at the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center. Well, actually, a few of them seem to have nestled in at the Pentagon as well."
What They're Not Telling You About the 'Election' by Dahr Jamail
"Now the question remains, what happens when the National Assembly is formed and over 100,000 US soldiers remain on the ground in Iraq with the Bush Administration continuing in its refusal to provide a timetable for their removal?
What happens when Iraqis see that while there are already four permanent US military bases in their country, rather than beginning to disassemble them, more bases are being constructed, as they are, by Cheney's old company Halliburton, right now?"
Living Under the Bombs by Dahr Jamail - introduction by Tom Englehardt
"One of the least reported aspects of the U.S. occupation of Iraq is the oftentimes indiscriminate use of air power by the American military. The Western mainstream media has generally failed to attend to the F-16 warplanes dropping their payloads of 500, 1,000, and 2,000-pound bombs on Iraqi cities -- or to the results of these attacks. While some of the bombs and missiles fall on resistance fighters, the majority of the casualties are civilian -- mothers, children, the elderly, and other unarmed civilians."
But do we have enough freedom to export? by Vin Suprynowicz
"Actually, America was supposed to be the beacon of freedom of the world by example. If Mr. Bush or anyone else in Washington wants to advance the cause of freedom, they could start by ending the domestic 'wars' on Americans' medical liberty (the war on drugs) and self-defense. Then they could follow Mr. Jefferson's advice not to 'steal the bread from the mouth of labor' --- simultaneously restoring our financial liberty and privacy --- by repealing the income tax."
The Drug Crisis by Harry Browne
"Few people are aware that before World War I, a 9-year-old girl could walk into a drug store and buy heroin.
That's right - heroin. She didn't need a doctor's prescription or a note from her parents. She could buy it right off the shelf. Bayer and other large drug companies sold heroin as a pain-reliever and sedative in measured doses - just the way aspirin is sold today. Cocaine, opium, and marijuana were readily available as well. No Drug Enforcement Agency, no undercover cops, no 'Parents - the Anti-Drug' commercials. Just people going about their own business is whatever way they chose.
There were no black-market drug dealers preying on school children. There were no gang wars over drug profits, because there were no drug gangs. After all, who would buy dangerous drugs from a gangster at outrageous prices when he could buy safe drugs made by a reputable drug company at modest prices?"
Making the World Safe for Imperial Democracy by Anthony Gregory
"Now we start to truly understand the implications of democratic peace theory, at least as it is advanced by the advocates of U.S. wars for 'liberation.' Under the theory, a 'democracy' essentially seems to mean the U.S. government and its allies. A 'non-democracy' means any country the U.S. government happens to want to go to war with."
Who's Afraid of Venezuela? by Micah Holmquist
"The vagueness of the 'war on terror' is easily the greatest known-but-hardly-reported scandal of the Bush administration. Words like 'terror,' 'terrorism,' and 'terrorist' have no singular definitions, and Team Bush has added to the confusion with uses that conflict with official U.S. policy. For instance, the State Department's definition of 'terrorism' excludes acts committed by governments, yet U.S. President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have both talked about 'terrorist states.'
This is hardly a smart way to fight a war if the goal is victory. A defined enemy is necessary, even if that definition changes as events and information warrant. If you don't know whom you are fighting, how can you possibly know when you have beaten them? However, if the goal is an all-purpose excuse for various wars, the vagueness of 'war on terror' makes perfect sense."
It's A Go! If only Sy Hersh knew the half of it by Matt Taibbi
"1:36 a.m., Jan. 25. Somewhere along a row of darkened town houses near Arlington, VA, a phone rings..."
Aid for Dependent Corporatcrats by Garry Reed
"...(D)o American conglomerates really pay for the president's party favors from their own profits, or are they actually pilfering from our pockets?"
Resisting Information Technologies of Political and Economic Control by John Young and Deborah Natsios