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.
October 1-15, 2004
October 15, 2004
George W. Bush and the Mandate of Heaven - What the final debate revealed by Justin Raimondo
"Something's on the march, alright, but it isn't freedom: it's fanaticism fueled by a dangerous theology, and a mortal threat to the peace of the world. Such rhetoric is meant to fire up his core constituency - snake-handling holy-rollin' Bible Belters and neocons alike - who see the American State as the instrument of God's Will on earth."
This week's casualty: the legal case for war in Iraq by Robin Cook
"Tony Blair appeared conscious of this problem when he answered questions this week. He does not now rely on the need to disarm Iraq, but on other breaches by Saddam of UN resolutions. But the only breach that could have justified a war would have been failure to disarm."
Breaking Ranks: More and more U.S. soldiers are speaking out against the war in Iraq -- and some are refusing to fight by David Goodman
The making of the terror myth by Andy Beckett
"During the three years in which the 'war on terror' has been waged, high-profile challenges to its assumptions have been rare. The sheer number of incidents and warnings connected or attributed to the war has left little room, it seems, for heretical thoughts. In this context, the central theme of The Power of Nightmares is riskily counter-intuitive and provocative. Much of the currently perceived threat from international terrorism, the series argues, 'is a fantasy that has been exaggerated and distorted by politicians. It is a dark illusion that has spread unquestioned through governments around the world, the security services, and the international media.' The series' explanation for this is even bolder: 'In an age when all the grand ideas have lost credibility, fear of a phantom enemy is all the politicians have left to maintain their power.'"
Oh Rapture! from WhatReallyHappened.com
"So, I thought it might be appropriate to list some of the many other times in history that religious fanatics of all kinds have decided the world was about to end, what they did about it, and what really happened to those who followed them when the world did not end as scheduled."
The Brownshirting of America by Paul Craig Roberts
"American troops are in Iraq on false pretenses. No one knows all the fateful consequences of this mistaken adventure. Bush’s reelection would be seen as a vindication of aggression, and more aggression would likely follow. A continuing expenditure of blood, money, alliances, good will, and civil liberties is not a future to which to look forward."
Dream Team by Chris Floyd
"Yes, it's the story of Custer Battles LLC., a mercenary firm run by two former covert operators and Bushist Party bagmen who sharked up more than $40 million in the usual no-bid conquistador contracts from the rape of Iraq -- and may have skimmed an extra $50 million in fraudulent cream, the Los Angeles Times reports."
Custer Battles Dismisses Baseless Allegations
"Custer Battles has been reported to be a 'nine-month old' company when it was awarded its first contract in Iraq . Custer Battles LLC was originally incorporated in October 2001, and had been running a profitable business since that time."
Ok, that's 36 months of carpetbagging, not nine! Transforming Risk into Opportunity my arse!
October 14, 2004
Sci-Fi Superwarriors by Tom Engelhardt & Nick Turse
"It may be true that, when it came to post-invasion Iraq, the Bush Pentagon was incapable of planning its way out of yesterday, no less into tomorrow, but when it comes to imagining global domination by force into the wee distant future, it's the undisputed global planning champ. Nothing is too sci-fi to be on the drawing boards for America's future war-fighters: paralyzing microwave rays from the heavens for use in crowd control; ray guns (familiarly called "pain rays") for deployment here on Earth; laser beams to destroy incoming missiles; anti-satellite weaponry for the sort of space wars that once were the province of science fiction. You name it and someone somewhere in the military-industrial-academic complex is probably at work on it - or it's already a weapons system heading for deployment."
October 13, 2004
Babylon A Go-Go by Matt Taibbi
"There is absolutely nothing in the world funnier than a fundamentalist Christian in a state of high spiritual agitation, happily injected into the middle of a grotesque secular disaster. Hand him a pen, camera or guitar in these situations, and he is likely to outshine even the pre-rehab Sam Kinison for pure comic power."
The Hidden War by Juan Cole
"On a single day in August, U.S. warplanes bombed the southern city of Kut, killing 84 persons and wounding 176, according to the al-Zahra Hospital. Its spokesman said that many of these were women and children. The U.S. military explained that they had targeted the city quarter of Sharqia because of intelligence that Mahdi Army fighters had congregated in it. I watched U.S. television news all day on August 12, and never heard Kut mentioned."
October 12, 2004
Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh spills the secrets of the Iraq quagmire and the war on terror
No WMD But Plenty of Death and Destruction by Jacob G. Hornberger
"While U.S. officials people blithely cast off the Iraqi dead and wounded as 'casualties of war' and 'collateral damage,' every single one of these tens of thousands of dead and maimed people were as innocent as the victims in the World Trade Center, given that none of them had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks on the American people. No matter how tragic were the deaths, injuries, and destruction on 9/11, those attacks cannot morally justify the death, injuries, and destruction wreaked by the Pentagon and the CIA on tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi people."
October 11, 2004
How Would Cheney Complete the "War on Terror"? by Juan Cole
"So if the Bush administration is not at war with terrorists like ETA, not at war with Muslim governments, not at war with Muslim publics, then with whom exactly is it at war, and why?"
Yellow Journalism in Washington by Tom Engelhardt
"For knowledgeable Washington media or political insiders, perhaps it's not terribly difficult to sort out more or less who was speaking to Shanker and Schmitt. The question is: why is it important that the rest of us not know? What made this piece worthy of such a blanket grant of anonymity, except the fact that Important Administration Figures were willing to speak on conditions of anonymity about a subject they were eager to put before the public? Under these circumstances, what anonymous sourcing offers is largely a kind of deniability. The "sources" will remain unaccountable for policy statements and policy that may soon enough prove foolish or failed. We're clearly not talking of the leaking of secrets here, but of the leaking of advantageous publicity material."
Al-Qaeda, Baader-Meinhoff and the Patriot Act from Juan Cole
"One last analogy is the personal information the Germans collected. They had the world's largest computer dedicated to tracking down the RAF. Information on their favorite cars, cigarettes, etc., were kept and run against other people buying these products. In other words, I experienced the PATRIOT Act in the original 1970s German version."
CHAOS . . . The State of the State by Mark Reynolds
"Every day, millions of man hours are wasted because of someone working for the state causing CONFUSION. Confused people make for good slaves because they are always looking for someone to bring order into their lives. The state agents will say, 'We are here to help you!' HAA!"
October 10, 2004
Collectivist Utopias by Butler Shaffer
"None of this should have surprised cogent minds. From the outset, the United States Constitution represented, in the words of Lord Macaulay, 'all sail and no anchor.' What else, other than expansive state power, ought to have been expected from a document whose preamble speaks of such purposes as 'to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, [and] promote the general Welfare?' When, to such purposes, are added such powers as the 'Power To lay and collect Taxes, . . . to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare,' as well as the power 'To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the united States,' one should have wondered where lay the 'limited' nature of the state! Conservatives continue to bleat the need to 'get back to the Constitution.' The reality is that the state never deviated from this instrument. It is exercising the virtually unrestrained powers that were spelled out for it!"
October 8, 2004
Samarra Burning... by Riverbend
"As if Allawi's gloating and Bush's inane debates aren't enough, we have to listen to people like Powell and Rumsfeld talk about 'precision attacks'. What exactly are precision attacks?! How can you be precise in a city like Samarra or in the slums of Sadir City on the outskirts of Baghdad? Many of the areas under attack are small, heavily populated, with shabby homes several decades old. In Sadir City, many of the houses are close together and the streets are narrow. Just how precise can you be with missiles and tanks? We got a first-hand view of America's 'smart weapons'. They were smart enough to kill over 10,000 Iraqis in the first few months of the occupation."
What If We Were Occupied by Iraqis? by Daniel D. New
Massacre, Not a War in Iraq by Sam Hamod
"This is a massacre, not a war in Iraq. The U.S. bombing Samarra, Fallujah, Baghdad and other cities, killing hundreds of civilians and calling them terrorists is like the massacres of the Native Americans during America's push westward. In this case, it has to do with America's push eastward. What is also troubling is that no major media outlet, no major politician--none are calling this what it is, an immoral, unmitigated killing of hundreds of Iraqi civilians every week."
Blowing up Zarqawi by Brendan O'Neill
"How the coalition transformed a failed fringe fanatic into The World’s Most Dangerous Terrorist."
The oil that drives the US military By Michael T Klare
The thin white line - The 'war on drugs' is off its head by Jamie Douglass
"However, the link between drugs and crime has been made by the law. Prior to the criminalisation of cocaine and opium, organised crime had no reason to be involved in the drugs trade. But now it makes sense. Way back when, if you wanted to be a crook, you had to start at the bottom, learn the trade by mugging a few old dears, and then - if you were lucky - you might get to hold up a bank with a sawn-off and a stocking for headgear. Nowadays, all a youngster has to do is import one batch of Class A and distribute it, and he's made. And all of this was made possible by government legislation."
the Culture of Control by Derrick Jensen and George Draffan
"When the people at the Information Awareness Office translate Scientia est Potentia as Knowledge is Power, they’re not only defining knowledge very narrowly (and in a way my therapist friends would say 'is highly diagnostic of their own personal issues and difficulties'), but they’re also perpetuating another scam, one that most of us participate in more or less willingly, to our own detriment and to the detriment of the planet. This is that they have translated scientia--the root of the word science--as knowledge.
The 9-11 Intelligence Bill: More Bureaucracy, More Intervention, Less Freedom by Rep. Ron Paul, MD
National Identity Cards
Bush Like Me - Ten weeks undercover in the grass roots of the Republican Party by Matt Taibbi
"The story's only saving grace was that the truth was so much more unbelievable. Republicans are paranoid enough to expect a mole from the Kerry campaign, but I was far worse than that -- a dissolute, drug-abusing anarchist who reads the battle diaries of Vietnamese generals on rainy days, roots for Russia at the Olympics and once published an article titled "God Can Suck My Dick." I was, in short, the most offensive individual who could conceivably be planted in the campaign of George W. Bush. I was tempted to feel guilty about this. But in the end I figured that it was only fair. Since John Ashcroft has made it easy for FBI agents to infiltrate anti-war groups, it seemed to make sense that an anti-war journalist should infiltrate Ashcroft's party."
October 7, 2004
Bush Ed Sec: Belsan in Baltimore or Boston? by Kurt Nimmo
"Apparently, since the election is less than four weeks away, and the shock and awe of Bush’s duct tape and plastic sheeting terror alerts no longer have much of an effect on the American people--who generally like to get on with their lives unencumbered by stupid warnings of Arab Freddy Krugers lurking about with dirty bombs--the Bushites have stooped to issuing irrational terror threats against America’s kids."
Larry Franklin's October Surprise by Justin Raimondo
Sidelined Neo-Cons Stoke Future Fires by Jim Lobe
"Sidelined by their failed predictions for Iraq and U.S. President George W Bush's efforts to reassure voters he is not a warmonger, prominent neo-conservatives and their Christian Right allies are nonetheless trying hard to prepare the ground for future U.S. adventures in the Middle East."
Bush's Case for War Crumbles by Jim Lobe
October 6, 2004
More of the Same, Israel Wins the Debates by Tarif Abboushi
"Our leaders on both sides of the aisle trip over themselves to trumpet another of Sharon's hypnotic mantras: 'Israel has no partner for peace.' The truth is Sharon can find no Palestinian who will accept Israel's definition of peace: a Palenstinian entity the contours of which are defined by Israeli settlements, the borders, airspace and aquifers of which are controlled by Israel, and the disjointed non-contiguity of which more resembles Apartheid South Africa's reviled Bantustans than any viable state in the world today."
A very British coup by David Carr
"No, the weapon of the revolution to come is made only of paper and it is called the 'Civil Contigencies Bill', due to become law next year. Envisaged, ostensibly, as a means of giving the government sufficient emergency powers to deal with terrorist threats (as if they do not already have enough powers), the actuality is a lot darker and goes a great deal further than that."
Kneeling in the Grass by Bob Jackson
"Irritation gave me unnatural calm in this instance, and I did nothing to get a cap busted in the back of my head. 'I can’t get out of the car - I’m belted in,' I replied when ordered out of the car. I waited until he told me to use one raised hand to release my belt and get out of the car. In a sad case that happened nearby two years ago, an innocent man was shot in the face by a trigger-happy FBI guy when he tried to undo his seatbelt to comply with an order to get out of his car. Nothing ever happened to that FBI guy - his superiors explained that he was doing his job. I’m sure nothing would have happened to my guys, too, if they’d left me facedown on my blood-spattered steering wheel."
Think this type of stuff is fiction? A similar story is on our 'News Articles' page today - 'Man shot in head had no weapon'. The case is being investigated as 'an assault on a federal officer'...
October 5, 2004
Government Contractors versus Real Business by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
"Halliburton makes a mockery of the term private enterprise. The profits are private, to be sure, but the risk is socialized. It has very little to sell you and me or any other member of the consumer class. It has vast amounts of stuff to sell the state, and what it produces it does with that goal in mind."
Phantom of the Opera: Cheney Emerges from His Bunker to Snarl at John Edwards by Daniel Patrick Welch
"But most of my disappointment stemmed from the growing realization that Edwards is neither Theodore Geisel nor Boris Karloff, and expecting him to come right out and say that Cheney is 'a three decker toadstool and sauerkraut sandwich with arsenic saauuuuuuce' may have been setting my sights too high. For the most part, Cheney got away with it all--again. And you couldn't help but see the outline of the script Bush was supposed to be following the other night: keep hinting at Saddam/Al Qaeda, keep bluffing about Iraq and Afghanistan going swimmingly, question your opponent’s patriotism, say he’s dishonoring the sacrifice of brave Iraqi soldiers, and on and on. So what if your own staff wrote the speech delivered by CIA stooge Allawi before Congress--throw that on the fire too, and accuse the other side of being tactless for not giving him a standing ovation. Cheney rarely bares his teeth on camera, and it is almost always off the Senate floor when he tells opponents to 'Go fuck yourself.'"
October 4, 2004
Withdrawal On the Agenda by Tom Engelhardt
"Now, it would be a promising beginning to any withdrawal strategy to state up front that the United States has designs neither on Iraqi oil, nor on permanent bases in the country, despite the $2-3 billion or more that has already gone into building our elaborate base structure there. At best, then, there's a potential withdrawal strategy lurking somewhere under Kerry's 'winning' strategy, but more on that later. Let me first turn to those '14 military bases' with that 'rather permanent concept to them.' Their sudden appearance in the first presidential debate was nothing short of a strange miracle, given that our media has essentially not mentioned them, no less covered them for almost the last year and a half."
Corruption in the Interim Government - "The Planet's Supreme Kleptocracy" from Juan Cole
"My involvement in Iraq through contracts and contacts over the past year has led me to the sad conclusion that the United States has created the planet's supreme kleptocracy in record time. The exiles have no legitimatacy among native Iraqis, but have the support of our troops. They are using their appointed positions in the ministries to extort enormous bribes either to finance a rapid return to London and New York or to secure enough finance to buy legitimacy in coming elections. Many contracts being awarded in reconstruction programs are to friends and family who invoice for large staffs of non-existent employees and never deliver anything of value."
U.S. opts for risky tactic in Iraq: As airstrikes grow, who will win hearts and minds? by Richard Whittle
"'When we make a strike, it is a precision strike based on our intelligence in coordination with the Iraqi security forces and the coalition forces,' Marine Maj. Jay Antonelli, a spokesman for U.S.-led forces in Iraq, said in a telephone interview from Baghdad. He declined to discuss how targeters can verify that the houses targeted are the right ones or that those inside aren't innocent but said, 'We plan the strikes through analysis of the most up-to-date intelligence we have available, on the ground and overhead.'"
7 Habits of Highly Effective Imperialists by James P. Pinkerton
Paradise Cleansed by John Pilger
"There are times when one tragedy, one crime tells us how a whole system works behind its democratic facade and helps us to understand how much of the world is run for the benefit of the powerful and how governments lie. To understand the catastrophe of Iraq, and all the other Iraqs along imperial history's trail of blood and tears, one need look no further than Diego Garcia."
Who’s Minding the Store? by Richard Cummings
"The political classes in America exist entirely separately from the citizenry, as a separate and distinct interest group responsible to no one. The end result of this is that the very existence of the state is inimical to the well-being of the people who inhabit it. The crowds cheering Kerry and Bush are fools, which leaves the rest of us in the same situation as the taxi driver in Groucho Marx’s famous skit. Groucho gets into the taxi and says to the driver, 'Over a cliff. I’m committing suicide.'"
October 3, 2004
Reinventing the Bushman by Fred Reed
"They are pitiable without knowing it. Being innocent of history, they live in temporal isolation. Knowing nothing of painting, literature, or music, they are aesthetically crippled. Never having acquired a taste for reading, they are incorrigible. This is remarkable. The society has managed in a generation to overcome everything that civilization has strived for, replacing it with - nothing."
Drug Connections: Dennis Hastert steals a move from John Kerry by Jacob Sullum
"In other words, politicians who support the war on drugs serve the interests of the thugs who tend to take over a business when it's banned. I'm not saying Hastert and Kerry receive money from drug traffickers. I'm saying I don't know."
Resistance Is Futile, Under-People! by Bob Wallace
Comments on The Pentagon's New Map: Peace and War in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas P.M. Barnett
October 1, 2004
Betrayed by Bush by Pat Buchanan
"Yet all republics, all empires, all civilisations pass away. For the United States the invasion of Iraq and the war to impose democracy upon that Arab and Islamic nation may yet prove a textbook example of the imperial overstretch that brought down so many empires of the past."
Iraq: One word says it all: disaster by Thomas F. Eagleton
"President George W. Bush often asks, rhetorically, "Isn't the world better off with Saddam Hussein out of power?" The answer is no, no, no. Saddam, a brutal dictator, is in jail. That's good. But we have paid a bloody, awful price; a price we will be paying for years to come. The Iraq we created now is an international menace, a citadel for terrorism far more dangerous than the declining Saddam regime we deposed."
It Was a Rout by William Rivers Pitt
"The second embarrassing moment came after Bush repeated his mantra about 'staying the course' until the paint started to peel off the podium he was slouching over. We have to be resolute, we have to stay the course, we cannot send mixed messages to our troops and the world...and yet after an hour of bombardment from Kerry, Bush finally said, 'Well, I think -- listen, I fully agree that one should shift tactics, and we will, in Iraq.' So, OK, let me get this straight: We have to stay the course and not send mixed messages, and you've been blowing voluminous amounts of sunshine up the collective American backside for weeks about how boffo the Iraq situation is, but after an hour of taking rhetorical body blows from your opponent, you suddenly claim we are going to change tactics?"
Jurassic Park, Psuedo-events, and Prisons by Stan Goff
The fallout from US Torture at Abu Ghraib in Baghdad; Basra; Mosul; Bagram AFB in Afghanistan; Ad Nauseam
Reason Severed from all Reality by Bob Wallace
"As for that 'constructively planning for the future,' when the State does it, it's called 'social engineering' and involves shoveling people around like heaps of gravel. It's leftism, too, which could be described as, 'If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.'"
"Pot and the Art of Felt Tip Whipping" by Garry Reed
"Yeh, when it comes to taxpayer-funded dope dispensing you're suddenly a libertarian. But when it comes to bashing in doors, bashing in skulls, handcuffing people, dragging them off to jail, prosecuting and imprisoning them, all for the crime of harming no one, and all at taxpayer expense, you're still just a Narco Nazi."
Winning or Losing the Lottery by David Calderwood
"Someday, perhaps our neighbors will see that the people they threaten with a life-ruining criminal record is their own next generation, their kids, doing exactly what mom and dad did when they were young - playing fast and loose with the rules. Until then, it seems that as science conquers the arbitrary dangers of nature, humans will replace nature’s horrors like polio and periodic starvation with man-made alternatives. As we know, the institution best constituted to breathe life into these lunatic fantasies is government."
Meanwhile: When selling a president meant there were buyers by Adam Cohen
The fruit fly's guide to human mating by Dave Barry
"With all due respect: We don't NEED to find more stuff in the universe. We already have more stuff than we could use, right here in our garages. We need the scientific community to focus on a topic that is of far greater importance, yet remains a baffling mystery to humanity: sex. You know the painting of Washington crossing the Delaware, where the guys in the boat have facial expressions of grim resolve as they approach a battle that will determine their fates, and the fate of the revolution? Those guys are thinking: 'Maybe there will be women in New Jersey.'"