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.
December 1-15, 2004
December 14, 2004
Invitation to Counterfactual Speculation by Jonathan Carriel
Gary Webb - Pulitzer Prize Winner, Author of Dark Alliance CIA-Drug Series Dead of Reported Suicide by Mike Ruppert
The Whole Orange Thing In Ukraine, beware the simple storyline - from either side by Matt Taibbi
"When William Safire starts holding his lighter in the air and waving his hand to the sunny tune of humanist revolution, you know it's usually time to place your bets on the other guys."
Groups Back AIPAC; FBI Setup Alleged by Matthew Berger and Ron Kampeas
"The Jerusalem Post reported Sunday that the FBI directed a Pentagon official to give the two AIPAC staffers intelligence about alleged dangers facing Israeli agents in northern Iraq, which Rosen and Weissman later allegedly shared with Israeli officials in Washington."
Absurd and Frightening by Charles H. Featherstone
"The truth is, 'the Iraqi people are seeing progress' is not about Iraqis, but about the party faithful here, about whether they will continue to be doubleplusgoodthinkers and doubleplusgood duckspeakers of the party line. And that's all. At least wheat export figures, or Brazil orange crop estimates, or natural gas storage data (and even, for that matter, Vietnamese coffee production figures), have some kind of higher purpose before their cyclotron half-lives end and they float out into the universe of expired and pointless numbers, because commodity traders and brokers at least use that information to help stake out positions in the hope of making money. But these Iraqi reconstruction statistics don't seek to inform. No one can profit, either morally or financially, from these numbers. They are noise. They are dust. They don't seek to do anything but cover and obscure, to choke and blind, like ash from a far away - or maybe not so distant - forest fire."
First they came for the odious ones... by Perry de Havilland
"The leader of the neo-fascist British National Party has been arrested by West Yorkshire Police on 'suspicion of incitement to commit racial hatred'. Now let us ponder that for a moment. Incitement to commit racial hatred. He has been arrested for trying to get someone else to hate non-white people. Now if he had incited someone to hate Manchester United supporters, the Old Bill in West Yorkshire would not have hauled him off for questioning, so clearly we are still permitted to suggest to others that they should hate some folks without being dragged into court, just not folks of a given race."
December 12, 2004
Bush's Posse Roundup by James Bovard
"Over the past three years, the Bush administation has accelerated a trend of using the military as a tool in our nationís domestic affairs. From its support of the Total Information Awareness surveillance vacuum cleaner, to its use of Pentagon spy planes during the Washington-area sniper shootings in late 2002, to its attempt to empower military officials to seize Americans' financial and other private information without a warrant, the Bush administration gives grave cause for concern about the growing role of the armed forces in our daily life."
Strange and suspicious behavior regarding the election and recounts from Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell by Steven Leser
Gary Webb: The Story You Won't Read
"From the major media we learn sublimally that the drug industry - aside from selling illegal drugs - is the most honest business in the country. After all, according to the press, it never tries to buy elections, bribe politicians, lobby or influence policy, or infiltrate high positions of influence. Were that Enron and Haliburton so clean."
The killing game by Gary Webb
"For young men, first-person shooters are the hottest computer games around. Thatís why the Armyís spent $10 million making one of its own. But thereís a catch. Big Brother gets to watch you play.
Americaís Army isnít merely a game, recruiting device or a public-relations tool, though it is certainly all of those things. Itís also a military aptitude tester. And it was designed that way from the start."
Citizen Snoops Forever: The intelligence reform bill will turn car dealers into spooks, permanently by John Berlau
"As the House and Senate in this week's "lame duck" session wrangle over differences on immigration and Pentagon authority in the intelligence overhaul bill, civil libertarians should be very concerned about another section of the bill that many members of both bodies seem to agree on. The intelligence bill seeks to end the 'sunset' clause of what experts say is one of the most privacy-harming sections of the USA PATRIOT Act, allowing it to be extended permanently without congressional review. This is the section of the bill supposedly designed to fight money laundering by forcing businesses to conduct even more routine customer surveillance."
Fuel Shortage... by Riverbend
"We're also watching the election lists closely. Most people I've talked to aren't going to go to elections. It's simply too dangerous and there's a sense that nothing is going to be achieved anyway. The lists are more or less composed of people affiliated with the very same political parties whose leaders rode in on American tanks. Then you have a handful of tribal sheikhs. Yes- tribal sheikhs. Our country is going to be led by members of religious parties and tribal sheikhs- can anyone say Afghanistan? What's even more irritating is that election lists have to be checked and confirmed by none other than Sistani!! Sistani- the Iranian religious cleric. So basically, this war helped us make a transition from a secular country being run by a dictator to a chaotic country being run by a group of religious clerics. Now, can anyone say 'theocracy in sheeps clothing'?"
December 10, 2004
Home Cooking by Chris Floyd
"When the devil comes knocking on your front door, looking for a way to spread his evil inside, he won't be sporting horns and a tail. He's going to come dressed as your sweetest dream, clean as a whistle, pious, sincere. He's going to speak your lingo, ape your ways -- and when he opens up his little box of poison, it's going to look like the heaven your mama sang about when she rocked you to sleep in your cradle.
Then one day, when the mind-fog lifts, you see him sitting at the head of the table, the walls of the room smeared with filth, dead bodies swelling on the blood-mucked floor, the still-living victims hog-tied and naked, screaming for mercy as the whipcords strike. He beckons you forward with a welcoming smile. You pause for a moment. It seems so strange: All this horror -- it would have once made you sick, but now it just feels like ... home. You shrug, you grin, you take your place beside him at the feast."
December 9, 2004
Rumsfeld, the Military Irrelevance of Fallujah, and Retina Scans by Prof. Juan Cole
Rebellion in the Ranks: Facing down Rummy by Justin Raimondo
Back in the U.S.S.R by Daniel Hopsicker
"A retired CIA agent, whose illegal and unfettered access to election rolls in Martin County Florida was a major source of legal contention after the 2000 Election, traveled to the Ukraine four years earlier to teach 'grass-roots politics' to people there, The MadCowMorningNews has learned."
Inconstant Interests in Truth by Butler Shaffer
"If we are to live well - in both the material and spiritual sense - truth-seeking and truth-telling must be integrated with an awareness that our efforts will always be clouded in uncertainty and the illusions that the Hindus refer to as 'maya.' Understanding arises from the interplay of the search for truth and a willingness to be comfortable with the uncertainties that increasingly arise from that search. Einstein expressed this relationship well when he observed: 'as a circle of light increases, so does the circumference of darkness around it.'"
A Hard-Boiled Christmas by Rodger Jacobs
Another chapter from Christopher Walken and the Tuna Fish Sandwich and Other L.A. Stories
Will the Real Michael Moore Ever Re-Emerge? by Ralph Nader
December 7, 2004
Ron Paul Denounces National ID Card
"Congressman Ron Paul today denounced the national ID card provisions contained in the intelligence bill being voted on in the U.S. House of Representatives, while urging his colleagues to reject the bill and its new layers of needless bureaucracy."
War Crime by Paul Craig Roberts
"Did the Americans who reelected Bush know that the president who will admit to no mistake is locked on a course that will squander a half trillion dollars for no purpose other than to kill and wound between 36,290 and 73,205 US troops, with 'collateral damage' to Iraqi civilians ranging from 443,941 to 2,825,710 dead and wounded?"
Gold Exposes the Dollar by Rep. Ron Paul, MD
"Washington seems oblivious to the problem. Our current account deficit is roughly 6% of GDP, and our total foreign indebtedness is over $3 trillion. We borrow $1.8 billion every day!"
December 5, 2004
There Are No Limits To The Open Society
"Physicists have just recently realized that the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle can be equivalently formulated as: the information coded in the entire visible universe is finite at any instant of time."
As is said - argue for your limitations and you get to keep them!
Pop goes the Bush mythology bubble - Part 1: The 9-11 Commission by Karl W. B. Schwarz
"The best way to expose mythology as an operative lie is to start at the most recent instances (most easily remembered) and work backwards in time to the source of that lie. As lies often do, they change complexion much like a chameleon does when facts expose the liars and they have to shift gears and spin the lies in different directions. Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, et al have had to shift gears many times in case you have not noticed."
Abu Ghuraib Redux by Prof. Juan Cole
"Although US military spokesmen keep suggesting that the torture practices were confined to a few soldiers in the lower ranks, and that the photos were mere trophies, Seymour Hersh has argued that the soldiers were ordered to humiliate and photograph the prisoners as a way of blackmailing them into becoming informants for the US. The Americans were depending on Orientalist works like Raphael Patai's The Arab Mind in finding ways of controlling Iraqis, and were convinced that threatening males in an honor society with humiliation was the key. The downside of using humiliation against a man whose life revolves around his honor is that he is thereafter bound to hate you, and to someday take his revenge."
Another Day in Paradise by Daniel McAdams
Coming Soon to a Town Near You...
Is the Bush Administration Certifiable? by Paul Craig Roberts
December 3, 2004
All Mosquitoes, No Swamp by Ray McGovern
Jail the War Party... for Treason by Justin Raimondo
Jan. Elections Remain Misunderstood in U.S., Tenuous in Iraq by Lisa Ashkenaz Croke
"Asked last week if Sunni participation was needed to make Iraq's national elections 'free and fair,' President Bush told reporters that he was 'confident [that] when people realize that there's a chance to vote on a President, they will participate.' Bush's statement constitutes a significant misrepresentation of Iraq's upcoming election, albeit one likely believed by millions of Americans. In truth, Iraqis will not be voting for a president or any other executive."
Hollowness of War on Terror: Madrid hit Again by Prof. Juan Cole
"If these bombings had been carried out by al-Qaeda, it would be front-page news and something of concern to Washington."
High Court High Anxiety: The Supreme Courtís medical-marijuana case could send federalism up in smoke by Jonathan H. Adler
"Under the governmentís reasoning there is no activity beyond Congressís grasp - a position the Supreme Court has repeatedly rejected over the past ten years. Essentially, the Justice Department maintains that the power to adopt broad economic regulatory schemes necessarily entails the power to reach the most inconsequential, noncommercial conduct that occurs wholly within the confines of a single state. Even at the height of federal power during the New Deal, the Supreme Court never authorized an assertion of federal power as expansive as is at issue here. Should the Court uphold the assertion of federal power in this case, constitutional limitations on the exertion of enumerated federal powers could well disappear.
From the earliest days of the Republic, the Supreme Court has emphasized that the Constitution creates a federal government of 'limited and enumerated powers.' There is no federal 'police power' authorizing Congress to cure every injustice or right every wrong. Rather, the federal government was entrusted with those limited and discrete powers necessary for national cohesion. Matters of truly national import - matters that cannot be handled by state and local governments acting alone or in concert - are entrusted to the federal government. As made explicit in the Constitutionís texts, all others powers remain in the hands of the states and the people."
December 2, 2004
From Guernica to Fallujah by Pepe Escobar
"Fallujah has been reduced to rubble, and thousands of civilians have died. But Asia Times Online sources in Baghdad confirm that according to residents, the southern - and larger - part of Fallujah is still controlled by the resistance; the Americans control only the north and some eastern spots. Small groups made up of five to 20 mujahideen still conduct hit-and-run attacks. More than 15,000 refugee families may be living in sordid makeshift shelters around Fallujah - not to mention the upwards of 200,000 residents who escaped the city before it was leveled.
Much more than grieve over the dead and the rubble to which Fallujah was reduced, they took note of two very important facts. Not a single government agency, be it American or Iraqi, offered any kind of assistance to the 200,000-plus residents who in a flash were turned into refugees: instead they turned off water and electricity in the city. And the UN High Commissioner for Refugees was nowhere to be seen - as well as any other representative of the "international community". The real story of what happened to Fallujah is being told by these 200,000-plus new refugees, and a few lucky hundreds who managed to escape during the battle. They are the Picassos who will paint the new Guernica for future historians."
A public humiliation to U.S. imperialism by Sara Flounders
Return of the Blacklist by Bob Kerr
"But, she concedes, what she went through was merely an aggravation. Many others are being detained for weeks and months and harassed on a daily basis, she says. And she admits that in times like these, the best place to be is among those who question and challenge and get pulled out of line at airports because they refuse to join the frightened and the silent."
Guns, Drugs and Mucho Dinero by Emiliano Antunez
"Money and power are the main factors that propel the war. The "illegal" drug trade is extremely profitable, making it possible for drug dealers and terrorist to live lavishly, bribe corrupt government officials and purchase sophisticated weaponry. History has already taught us that the legal status of the product (prohibition) will not deter its use or consumption, but will attract criminal elements to its trade and distribution. Drug dealers and terrorists aren't the only ones addicted to drug money. Numerous government agencies and thousands of bureaucrats are also dependent on the perpetuation of the War on Drugs for their employment and livelihood."
25-Year 'War on Drugs' Fails on the Streets by Jim Lobe
"The Tasteless Screeners Awards" by Garry Reed
"The Transportation Security Administration, that federal bureaucracy that keeps the peripatetic public safe from attack by fingernail file-flailing fanatics, threw itself a half-million dollar awards ceremony at the Grand Hyatt in DC."
December 1, 2004
The Jews In The Attic Test by Joe Huffman
"Will this law make it difficult or impossible to protect innocent life from a government intent on their imprisonment or death? Although I pretty much made everything up on the spot I told them I called this test my "Jews In The Attic Test". Furthermore I told them that if it fails this test no further discussion is really needed, the law must be opposed in the most vigorous manner possible."
"The Pianist" of Palestine by Omar Barghouti
"As savage as it is, checkpoint abuse is not unique in any sense. It fits perfectly well into the general picture of viewing the Palestinians as relative humans who are not entitled to the dignity that full humans deserve."
Learning from Wood by Craig Urda Russell
It's said that heating with wood warms one at least 3 times - when you cut and split it, when you carry and stack it, and finally - when you burn it in the woodstove!