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.

August 2007

August 30, 2007

"On every side, our paternalistic culture is tightening the noose around those of us who just want to opt out of the system - and it is the freedom to opt out that differentiates tyrannical and free societies.

How a culture deals with its misfits reveals its strength. The stronger a culture, the less it fears the radical fringe. The more paranoid and precarious a culture, the less tolerance it offers.

When faith in our freedom gives way to fear of our freedom, then silencing the minority view becomes the operative protocol."
Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal by Joel Salatin

You, Too, Can and Should Be an "Intelligence Analyst" by Arthur Silber
"It is important to recognize the two perspectives and the two kinds of analysis, and to keep them separate. Almost all of our public debate is conducted on the first level of analysis: what various political leaders say their goals and objectives are. In terms of those stated goals, their decisions in foreign policy are uniformly calamitous, and they lead to results that are the opposite of what they claim they hope to achieve. No public figure will admit the truth of the second kind of analysis and, I regret to note, most Americans are not the least bit interested in hearing such unpleasant truths. Nonetheless, they are truths: a huge swath of our economy is now devoted to preparing for war, making war, and cleaning up after war. To one degree or another, most members of Congress are beholden to the economic powers that drive the obsessive concern with war, and its cornucopia of economic opportunity. Both parties are enmeshed in the War State, and the current corporatist warmaking apparatus devours almost all those who go into public service."

The Great Iraq Swindle
"Operation Iraqi Freedom, it turns out, was never a war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq. It was an invasion of the federal budget, and no occupying force in history has ever been this efficient. George W. Bush's war in the Mesopotamian desert was an experiment of sorts, a crude first take at his vision of a fully privatized American government. In Iraq the lines between essential government services and for-profit enterprises have been blurred to the point of absurdity - to the point where wounded soldiers have to pay retail prices for fresh underwear, where modern-day chattel are imported from the Third World at slave wages to peel the potatoes we once assigned to grunts in KP, where private companies are guaranteed huge profits no matter how badly they fuck things up.

And just maybe, reviewing this appalling history of invoicing orgies and million-dollar boondoggles, it's not so far-fetched to think that this is the way someone up there would like things run all over - not just in Iraq but in Iowa, too, with the state police working for Corrections Corporation of America, and DHL with the contract to deliver every Christmas card. And why not? What the Bush administration has created in Iraq is a sort of paradise of perverted capitalism, where revenues are forcibly extracted from the customer by the state, and obscene profits are handed out not by the market but by an unaccountable government bureaucracy. This is the triumphant culmination of two centuries of flawed white-people thinking, a preposterous mix of authoritarian socialism and laissez-faire profiteering, with all the worst aspects of both ideologies rolled up into one pointless, supremely idiotic military adventure - American men and women dying by the thousands, so that Karl Marx and Adam Smith can blow each other in a Middle Eastern glory hole."
One issue I must raise with that last line is the choice to reference the dying of people who volunteered to violently enforce this invasion and occupation - while saying nothing of the deaths of tens or hundreds of thousands of civilians - those targets of 'liberation'.

Bush Fails Upward in 'War on Terror' by Ivan Eland
"If a restaurant, dry cleaner, or home repair business provided inferior goods or shoddy services, it is likely that the concern would go belly up. Yet when the U.S. government makes a blunder, the more its citizens reward its failure with further money and authority."

New Spy Law Broader Than Thought by Robert Parry
"U.S. news reports mostly parroted the White House claim that the law 'modernizes' the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 and 'narrowly' targets overseas terror suspects who call or e-mail their contacts in the United States. But the 'Protect America Act of 2007' actually casts the wiretapping net much wider."

Is the ATF creating a Gun Registration? by Ryan Horsley

Baghdad on the Potomac by Retta Fontana
"It matters not that conscription is slavery, plain and simple. It matters not that perpetual war cannot create peace. It matters not that victory was declared in Iraq a couple thousand dead GIís ago. What matters is this: I believe that there is a limit to what Americans will tolerate. When enough of us are homeless, unemployed and broke and they try to force our sons to be their patsies, to kill and to die for the machine of government, I think there will be some blood flowing and it wonít be in Iraq. Itíll be right here at home in the streets."

A Dog to Its Vomit: Chatoic Reflections on the Nation's Capital by Fred Reed
"A lot of people think that all this fearaganda springs from some closely calculated plot to make people support the wars, or give the feds unlimited power so they can protect us. Well, it looks that way. Perhaps a few in government take it seriously. You know, eternal vigilance is the price of freedom, rather than a good way to lose it.

I donít know. But it is a bureaucratized terror, coated with a sort of Madison Avenue inanity. Terror by Disney. I get the impression that it is a response more to boredom than to peril. Life is pretty tedious going to the cubicle farm every day. Living in an imaginary war zone relieves the ennui. The Homeland Security people, not exactly a scintillating crew, get to feel important, have a sense of mission and maybe even be noticed. In a meaningless life, the chance to go mano a mano with bin Laden, even if only by tilting at trash cans, is better than nothing."

Gorram It. Whyíd You Have to Prove Butler (and Me) Right? by Sunni Maravillosa
"Look, I understand that people go to forums with differing goals and visions in mind. And I understand that those things change over time, and thus cause the community to change too. But what some individuals seem to have failed to realize is that they are now trying to create (or maintain or regain, Iím not exactly sure which) something that never really existed. From the time Debra shared her idea of TCF with the first person she told about it, the monolithic vision vanished. Each person sees the place a little differently, values the members differently, would like it to go in differing directions. In trying to keep a thread on topic, for example, one person is trying to wield influence - and his or her own personal vision of what 'on topic' means - with another. That some people are trying to have a high level of control over a forum ostensibly devoted to freedom is the height of absurdity and contradiction. That it is destroying relationships is tragic.

And thatís whatís really important; that individuals are apparently separating themselves over such absolutely ridiculous shit. Itís just a fucking forum!!! Is your vision of it - or the master plan that youíre trying to get everyone to march along with - really more important than a flesh-and-blood friend? More valuable than someone whoíll watch your back or help you out when the shit hits the fan? Those web pages of pontificating and bugger-all else arenít going to lock and load when itís your property that the feds want to steal. Only individuals can do that. Is protecting a chimera really worth pushing them away?"

Endangering Endangered Entities by Garry Reed
"It appears, from reading public reports on the matter, that the very people in charge of keeping our officially governmentally designated endangered species free from endangerment can't catch a clue. Perhaps it's because their generation grew up permanently parked before interminable Saturday morning cartoon shows where they were repeatedly taught that animals are just cute little peoplelike creatures who can talk and sing and dance and knock one another on the noggin without enduring damage."

Bleg for Fred Woodworth from Kevin Carson
"And you may also be familiar with Fred's situation over the past couple of years: serious health and financial trouble resulting from chronic kidney problems. Peter Good of The Cunningham Amendment has passed on the word that Fred has been admitted to the hospital again."

Blows Against the Empire: The return of Philip K. Dick by Adam Gopnik

Tales from the Plug Nickel Outfit
Where Walden meets High Chaparral
(onsite link)

August 10, 2007

What do Citizens Owe Government? by Jim Bovard
"When politicians are not promising new benefits to citizens, they continually remind citizens what they owe the government. From their first years in government schools, children are indoctrinated with the notion that government provides them some grandiose benefit. This seed often produces a harvest of servility in later life.

But few people stop and try to accurately calculate this supposed debt. What does the citizen owe the state? Or, more accurately, what does the citizen owe the politicians and bureaucrats who claim to represent and embody the state?"
Well - I can certainly find it in my heart to afford them the very same respect and dignity they've shown me - in spades.

Bush's Secret Spying on Americans by Robert Parry
"The dispute over whether Attorney General Alberto Gonzales committed perjury when he parsed words about George W. Bushís warrantless surveillance program misses a larger point: the extraordinary secrecy surrounding these spying operations is not aimed at al-Qaeda, but at the American people."

A Map Of Mankind by George Potter
Compiled and mirrored by Bill St. Clair

Prospects of Armageddon by Abbas Edalat and Mehrnaz Shahabi
"Even as Iran discusses renewed inspections with the IAEA, the risk of a military attack on its nuclear facilities remains high. Israel's threat to deploy nuclear bunker busters to destroy Iran's weapons potential is in line with the US's national security strategy of 2006 and the Pentagon's doctrine for joint nuclear operations which justifies use of tactical nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states as a 'deterrent'. The ultimate irony is that the leading violator of the treaty, the US, and the region's sole nuclear power and non-signatory, Israel, are contemplating nuclear strikes on the pretext of nuclear limitation."

Beyond Disaster by Chris Hedges
"The war in Iraq is about to get worse - much worse. The Democratsí decision to let the war run its course, while they frantically wash their hands of responsibility, means that it will sputter and stagger forward until the mission collapses. This will be sudden. The security of the Green Zone, our imperial city, will be increasingly breached. Command and control will disintegrate. And we will back out of Iraq humiliated and defeated. But this will not be the end of the conflict. It will, in fact, signal a phase of the war far deadlier and more dangerous to American interests."

Right-winger openly calls for new terrorist attack on Americans by Brad Spangler
"In the mind of Bykofsky, blowing up women and children is so evil that it justifies blowing up women and children. In and of itself, thatís not unusual for the warmongers. Usually, though, they attempt to maintain the pretense of justice, albeit justice jingoistically and unforgivably skewed, by effectively saying that blowing up American women and children is so evil that it justifies blowing up foreign women and children. Not so Bykofsky, who has now crossed even that line. With the desperation of cornered rats, Bykofsky and other advocates of the war scam are lashing out blindly. Like a sick cult of human sacrifice, they would slaughter any innocent person on the altar of their God, the State.

When the advocates of more and more government power are so brazen, what the heck is holding you back from giving anarchism serious consideration?"

Coming Soon To A Bus Stop Near You by Michael Jarrell
"From the people who brought you pat downs and feel ups at the airport comes a new travesty. The TSA has decided that bus stops in the Mid-West and across the nation should be graced with their groping and rights violating presence."

How scary is anarchism? by Wally Conger

Peanuts, by Charles Bukowski

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