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.
March 16-31, 2005
March 30, 2005
What Is To Become of the State? by Butler Shaffer
"...I believe that the American political system may well experience the same fate as the Soviet Union, with a rapid descent into entropy. I suspect the managers of the established order in this country sense the same dynamics at work within; and that recent efforts to exponentially increase government police and military powers reflect an intention to shore up, by the most forceful means necessary, the collapsing vertical structures that define the state. A healthy organism lives in symbiosis with those around it, nourishing and being nourished by one another. Such is not the case with the current state. Mutual distrust characterizes the relationship of the state and the public it pretends to serve. It is fear of the citizenry that causes state functionaries to demand more power over it.
Consistent with lessons from the study of chaos and complexity, either the collapse or major metamorphosis of the state will generate unpredictable social forms and practices. I trust in the self-interest motivations of most Americans to formulate organizational systems that will serve their practical needs. In a rapidly changing world that no longer tolerates the sluggishness of state systems that inhibit creativity and productiveness, men and women will instinctively find ways to profit from the removal of restraints."
The War on Terror Is a War on Freedom by David MacGregor
Which Way for Liberty? by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
Still think this is a free country? by Norman Singleton
Anarchist website under attack by the FBI by Ali Massoud
"One of my favorite websites is under attack. The FBI has served flag.blackened.net administrator with a court order to turn over the IP addresses of certain (maybe all?) vistors of the site. It hosts a number of worthy subdomains and is prolly not involved in anything itself. However, the "chilling effect" as the lawyers like to put it is there for us all to see, and be scared by, they hope."
March 28, 2005
Naomi Klein Reveals New Details About U.S. Military Shooting of Italian War Correspondent in Iraq
Statements in this interview suggest that Giuliana Sgrena was travelling on a restricted access road at the time of the shooting and that they were fired on from behind...
Armyís Own Documents Acknowledge Evidence That Soldiers Used Torture
"The American Civil Liberties Union today charged that the government is attempting to bury the torture scandal involving the U.S. military by failing to comply with a court order requiring release of documents to the ACLU. The documents the government does release are being issued in advance to the media in ways calculated to minimize coverage and public access, the ACLU said.
The reason for the delay in delivering the more than 1,200 pages of documents was evident, the ACLU said, in the contents, which include reports of brutal beatings, 'exercise until exhaustion' and sworn statements that soldiers were told to 'beat the fuck out of' detainees. One file cites evidence that Military Intelligence personnel in Iraq 'tortured' detainees held in their custody."
Resistance in the Middle East is Not a 'Discontinuous Event' by Kurt Nimmo
Sects and Solidarity in Iraq by Dahr Jamail
"Despite Talk of Civil War, Sunnis and Shiites Seem More United Than Divided."
Disconnecting the Stateís Feeding Tubes by Butler Shaffer
Disarming Facts: The road to bad laws is paved with good intentions by John R. Lott Jr.
"To the extent attacks still occurred in right-to-carry states, they overwhelmingly happened in the special places within those states where concealed handguns were banned. The impact of right-to-carry laws on multiple-victim public shootings is much larger than on other crimes, for a simple reason. Increasing the probability that someone will be able to protect themselves, increases deterrence. Even when any single person might have a small probability of having a concealed handgun, the probability that at least someone will is very high."
The Undoing of America: Gore Vidal on war for oil, politics-free elections, and the late, great U.S. Constitution by Steve Perry
Bogart Sleeps Here by Rodger Jacobs
March 25, 2005
The Apocalypse Will Be Televised: Armageddon in an age of entertainment by Gene Lyons
Diving into Falluja: To Hell and Back with Mark Manning by Nick Welsh
"Disregarding howls of protest from concerned friends and family members, Manning set out January 10 on a three-week journey that took him from sunny Santa Barbara to the burned-out remains of the insurgent stronghold of Falluja, where four American civilian contractors were dragged from their cars in March 2004 and killed on the bridge spanning the Euphrates River."
(Also see Mark Manning's website - the Falluja Project)
March 22, 2005
Pentagon Reaffirms Globocop Role by Jim Lobe
"The 24-page public document, signed by Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, is designed to lay out some of the basic assumptions of the U.S. role in the world, particularly as regards peace and security, that will guide the Quadrennial Defence Review (QDR), an important exercise carried out every four years that steers U.S. strategy, the Pentagon's more than 400-billion-dollar annual budget, and military 'transformation' over the next five to 10 years."
Dispatches of War: A Dozen Questions for Dahr Jamail
(An interview with Douglas Herman for Strike the Root)
Congress Stops Short of Extending Authority to Moon (for now) by Scott Kauzlarich
"Congress knows it doesnít have the legal authority to regulate baseball, so it made sure to dress up in the cloak of moral authority instead. That is why they brought in the families of teenagers who committed suicide while using steroids. The sole purpose of those individuals being at the hearings was to give the appearance of moral legitimacy to action that goes beyond the boundaries of federal power and common sense."
Diagnosis: State-Sanctioned Murder by Stephanie R. Murphy
"Can we absolve ourselves of the moral responsibility for annihilating another human life by transferring that responsibility onto the hands of an entity or an institution? Perhaps some may argue that the act of execution is mollified by virtue of the fact that it is carried out by the State and not by an individual.
The death penalty deifies the State. Many religions explicitly denounce killing as one of the worst possible human behaviors, a pronouncement which is said to originate directly from God. However, the State may engage in murder without consequence; furthermore, many people tolerate State sanctioned killing as moral, necessary, and even humane - thus, the State is implicated as the supreme moral authority and power."
The Price of Patriotism (half a million dollars, and dropping fast) by Christopher Manion
"As the war grinds on and troop strength continues to diminish, two options emerge clearly on the horizon. Either the pay received by the 'volunteer' forces will continue to rise toward the market value, or involuntary conscription will become the law of the land. A third option - that the war will end and the need for additional troops will subside - has been ruled out by the Bush Administration, in two steps. First, as all the original justifications for the war have proven false, it has incorporated the Iraq invasion into the 'war on terror.' Second, it has transformed the 'war on terror' - already predicted to last fifty years or more - into a permanent military campaign to democratize the world."
Anarcho-Capitalism: A Primer by Ray Lehmann
Introducing The Tim LaHaye School of Prophecy
I predict that... there's an ass for every seat!
March 19, 2005
Leonid Shebarshin: The Next Target of the US will be Iran
Translation of interview with Bakhtiar Akhmedkhanov, journalist with RIA Novosti
"For three and a half years, Russia has been using US rhetoric about the 'war on international terrorism' for its own ends and has refrained from any commentary on the attacks of 11 September 2001. Breaking with this position, the former number 2 of the KGB, Leonid Shebarshin, affirms that 'international terrorism' is not real and that Osama bin Laden is still today a CIA agent. In an exclusive interview with RIA Novosti, distributed outside of Russia by the Voltaire Network, he analyses the oil-based motives of the bellicosity of Washington and shows that the Pentagonís strategy leads inexorably to war in Afghanistan yesterday, in Iraq today, and in Iran tomorrow."
Iraq as the world's biggest cash cow by Emad Mekay
You want a rabbit? by Riverbend
"I don't understand why Americans are so shocked with this incident. Where is the shock? That Sgrena's car was under fire? That Americans killed an Italian security agent? After everything that occurred in Iraq - Abu Ghraib, beatings, torture, people detained for months and months, the stealing, the rape - is this latest so very shocking? Or is it shocking because the victims weren't Iraqi?
I'm really glad she's home safe but at the same time, the whole situation is somewhat painful. It hurts because thousands of Iraqis have died at American checkpoints or face to face with a tank or Apache and beyond the occasional subtitle on some obscure news channel, no one knows about it and no one cares. It just hurts a little bit."
She's much more generous than I'd probably be if in a similar position. Also note her story towards the end about the events at Yarmuk Hospital - which are somewhat corroborated here.
Unending troubles by Sidney Blumenthal
"Despite calls from the right for 'spiritual warfare' in defending the House majority leader against ethics charges, the fate of DeLay Inc. looks grim."
65 Year old Ernst Zundel Jailed for 2 years without a charge, now deported to Germany for "hate crimes" by Kim Petersen
Congress on Steroids by Dave Lindorff
"If you watched or read about the Congressional hearings yesterday conducted by the House Government Reform Committee, you'd have thought Congress was a real legislature, with bulldog representatives willing to stop at nothing to get at the truth.
The toughness displayed by the representatives on the Government Reform Committee at the silly hearing into an issue that has almost no impact whatsoever on the lives of average Americans contrasted markedly with the way the Senate Armed Services Committee, on the same day, handled its hearing into the CIA's torture policies since 2001."
Spooky Lady's Sideshow by Kris Kristofferson
March 17, 2005
Handmaiden of the State: The role of the media in the age of empire by Justin Raimondo
"How high's the water, Mama?" by Jeff Wells
"There is no understanding these appointments, before we appreciate that uniting them all is one arrogant, fat finger in the face of the world. These are decisions of a White House that doesn't care, knows it doesn't care, and wants us to know it doesn't care. The choices would be bizarre enough if they had been made unconscious of the impression they would make. But Occam doesn't cut that way, especially when multiplied by four. And they keep piling up. That's why the real danger in keeping your ear to the ground these days is drowning."
Truth Is, Bush's Propaganda Hurts the U.S. by Andrés Martinez
"Monday's naming of Karen Hughes as the State Department's global spinmeister - the undersecretary of State for public diplomacy and public affairs - should make matters worse. She is close to Bush and closely associated with his remarkably evasive communications strategy. This White House stays relentlessly on message, even if the facts mock its discipline. Hence there have always been enough troops in Iraq, the budget deficit is under control and will remain so even if we give ourselves another round of tax cuts, and, yes, the Social Security system is in a state of crisis that only private accounts can cure. Most damaging to the American image in the Arab world, and to global perceptions that U.S. leaders are held accountable by reality, was Bush's insistence that prisoner abuses at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere hadn't stained Donald Rumsfeld's swell performance as secretary of Defense."
Bush Strategy for Syria, Lebanon and Iran by Gary Leupp
Wolfowitz Pick for World Bank Prompts Head-Scratching by Jim Lobe
Dueling Demonstrations in Lebanon by Prof. Juan Cole
"Lebanon isn't that big a country-- the total population is a little less than 4 million. So by now most everybody must have been involved in a demonstration."
On Ending Military Occupations in the Middle East by Prof. Juan Cole
Serene Outlaw: Henry David Thoreau in His Second Century by Douglas Herman
Who Do You Trust to Lock Down Your Computer and Data? by Sunni Maravillosa
Xtreme Taxpayer Space Sports by Garry Reed
"Wherever invaders invade, their sports go with them. The Romans introduced bear baiting to far off Britain. Then the Brits concocted cricket and exported it to the New World, where it was turned into baseball by the Yanks who later taught it to little Japanese kids to help them forget about atomic bombs. Even Later, via Alan Shepard's moon walk in February, 1971, they brought the game of golf to Terra's moon. And that was the beginning of taxpayer-subsidized space sports. Libertarians need to beware of the future."