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 16-31, 2004
December 30, 2004
Pravda, Izvestia, Time - On the 'Person of the Year' issue by Matt Taibbi
Platform of the United Iraqi Alliance by Prof. Juan Cole
"The Iraqi newspaper "al-Adalah" published on Dec. 23 the platform of the United Iraqi Alliance, the mainly Shiite coalition sponsored by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani. It was translated by BBC World Monitoring. Since this party very likely will dominate parliament, it is worth looking at the platform.
The rest of the statement promises security, fighting terrorism, a depoliticized military; a state guarantee of a job to every Iraqi, social security and workmen's compensation, state support for the building of houses for homeowners; providing health services and medicine and health insurance; supporting women's participation in politics, the economy and social life; support for youth and for families; developing industry and agriculture and the provision of basic services; education; etc."
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busy-bodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
Why the Japanese Internment Still Matters by Daniel Pipes
"For years, it has been my position that the threat of radical Islam implies an imperative to focus security measures on Muslims. If searching for rapists, one looks only at the male population. Similarly, if searching for Islamists (adherents of radical Islam), one looks at the Muslim population.
And so, I was encouraged by a just-released Cornell University opinion survey that finds nearly half the U.S. population agreeing with this proposition. Specifically, 44 percent of Americans believe that government authorities should direct special attention toward Muslims living in America, either by registering their whereabouts, profiling them, monitoring their mosques, or infiltrating their organizations.
Also encouraging, the survey finds the more people follow TV news, the more likely they are to support these common-sense steps. Those who are best informed about current issues, in other words, are also the most sensible about adopting self-evident defensive measures."
Keep up yer' crowin' - Danny - maybe you'll wind up sharing a cattle-car with this guy!
December 28, 2004
Iraq edges towards civil war by Richard Sale
"'We are starting to play the ethnic card in Iraq, just as the Soviets played it in Afghanistan,' said former CIA chief of Afghanistan operation Milt Bearden. 'You only play it when you're losing and by playing it, you simply speed up the process of losing,' he said."
Inconstant humanitarianism by Butler Shaffer
"That so many Americans can be truly touched by the deaths of some 24,000 southeast Asians from a natural disaster reflects a cheerier side of our humanity. But, at the same time, most Americans - and the political establishment's lapdog media - are woefully silent about the number of Iraqis killed (and maimed) not by natural forces, but by intentional, duplicitous acts of moral depravity cheered on by so many who now lament the tectonic casualties."
Government 'Freedom' Is No Freedom At All by Charles H. Featherstone
"We are entering, I believe, another illiberal age, an age in which frightened men and women who have known little real hardship and have had their fears and anger stoked to white heat surrender to a Leader with a Vision. Whether this new illiberal age will prove as destructive as the last one remains to be seen. Regardless, the desire to choose one's own meaning for life will survive, even prosper, because there simply is no way of making unfreedom a permanent part of the nature of men and women short of breeding it out. And I don't see that as a possibility either."
The American Dream by Sara Solovitch
"In all of Iraq, Jumana Hanna was the bravest witness to the horror of Saddam's regime, telling the Americans of torture, rape, and mass murder. In Washington, Hanna became a potent symbol of Iraqi liberation, and the Bush administration brought Hanna and her children to the United States for their protection. Then the author discovered the really horrible truth."
The Anatomy of Slavespeak by Frederick Mann
December 26, 2004
Poison Pen by Chris Floyd
"Now FBI agents, in official reports, have traced the responsibility for these crimes directly to the pen of George W. Bush. Despite the patently false White House denials, the torture directive cited by the FBI not only echoes the legal briefs cited above, it also perfectly complements Bush's earlier executive orders allowing the secret execution of anyone on earth, including American citizens, whom Bush or his designated agents arbitrarily declares a 'terrorist' -- without charges, evidence or trial."
Sending Insane Signals by Mark Reynolds
"George Orwell had a concept in the book 1984 called 'double think,' the ability to keep two opposing views in your mind and at the same time consider them both to be true. Double think is what we are engaged in here, people. Children being taught that using a squirt gun is 'bad' and yet somehow using an F-16 or an Abrams tank to get your way is 'ok.'"
On Concealed Carry and the NRA by L. Neil Smith
"A license -- government permission -- to carry a concealed weapon is nothing but the latest kind of gun control, the latest kind of groveling. There's no way to euphemize it; there's no way to excuse it. It isn't necessary: nobody needs the government's permission to carry a weapon, concealed or otherwise. And it's illegal under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution for government, at any level, to require it. That's right, it's illegal; and it's a primary goal of the Libertarian Second Amendment Caucus to jail those in government, elected or otherwise, who obstruct the Bill of Rights in any way.
It's also dangerous: it converts a fundamental human right into a privilege which the government may see fit to deny to anyone, for any reason, at any time is wishes. How anyone could be aware of history for the last hundred years -- especially the last fifty -- and not acknowledge this basic truth is beyond understanding."
December 24, 2004
Burn Christmas Burn by Matt Taibbi
"I hate Christmas. I hate it more than anyone in the world. Put me in a room with the man you think is the world's biggest Christmas-hater, and within 10 minutes he'll be shining my shoes. Christmas is the world's most compelling argument for immediate nuclear attack against the territory of the United States. American Christmas makes heroes of Osama bin Laden, Jim Jones, the Shining Path, the Baader-Meinhofs, Jack the Ripper and the virus that causes AIDS.
It is true that American Christmas has not yet reached the point where it excuses the crimes of the Nazi Party. Still, even the regime of Adolf Hitler was probably too burdened by humanity to dream up an endless loop of I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, blared over the speakers in the escalator entrance to Bed Bath and Beyond. We are the first explorers to set foot on this region of hell."
Merry Christmas, Damn It by Margaret Kimberley
The Aerodynamics of Reindeer by Rodger Jacobs
Best Scenario for Iraq: Get Out Now by Kurt Nimmo
"In Bushzarro world, bombing large cities, killing innocent civilians, targeting hospitals and medical staff is considered a 'best scenario' and for some unexplained reason - contrary to common sense - so-called 'experts' believe such wanton mass murder and savagery will defeat the 'insurgency' when, in fact, it does the exact opposite."
The Christmas Truce by Laurence M. Vance
"After a silent night and a day, the war continued - the commanders saw to it. A British general who visited the front was aghast that 'sufficient attention' was not being paid to fighting the Germans. In a memorandum to his commanders he stated:
I would add that, on my return, I was shown a report from one section of how, on Christmas Day, a friendly gathering had taken place of Germans and British on the neutral ground between the two lines, recounting that many officers had taken part in it. This is not only illustrative of the apathetic state we are gradually sinking into, apart also from illustrating that any orders I issue on the subject are useless, for I have issued the strictest orders that on no account is intercourse to be allowed between the opposing troops. To finish this war quickly, we must keep up the fighting spirit and do all we can to discourage friendly intercourse. I am calling for particulars as to names of officers and units who took part in this Christmas gathering, with a view to disciplinary action."
Eyeballing Presidential Protection from John Young (cryptome.org)
A presentation in photos and text spanning over a century (graphics heavy - long download for dial-up users)
Joy To The World by Hoyt Axton (3/25/38-10/26/99)
December 22, 2004
The End Of Warfare by Abhay Mehta
"Against the most heavily armed opponent in the history of War, Fallujah has still not let itself be "taken" to date (As of 20th Dec, 2004). Falluah and indeed the rest of Iraq post April 2003, heralds 'supersymmetrical' warfare and the end of conventional warfare. This represents a turning point in military affairs - the end of warfare--as practiced by the Americans i.e the application of overwhelming force to obtain a victory."
The Iraq War - A Catastrophic Success by Robert Higgs
"Moreover, to appreciate the warís success, we must keep in the forefront of our thinking the instrumental rationality of its perpetrators. We must ask: Who bears the responsibility for launching and continuing the war? What are these individuals trying to achieve? And have they in fact achieved these objectives? Having answered these questions correctly, we shall be obliged to conclude that the war has been a huge success for those who brought it about, however disastrous it has been for many others, especially for the unfortunate people of Iraq."
Hyping Terror For Fun, Profit - And Power by Thom Hartmann
"What if there really was no need for much - or even most - of the Cold War? What if, in fact, the Cold War had been kept alive for two decades based on phony WMD threats?
What if, similarly, the War On Terror was largely a scam, and the administration was hyping it to seem larger-than-life? What if our "enemy" represented a real but relatively small threat posed by rogue and criminal groups well outside the mainstream of Islam? What if that hype was done largely to enhance the power, electability, and stature of George W. Bush and Tony Blair?
And what if the world was to discover the most shocking dimensions of these twin deceits - that the same men promulgated them in the 1970s and today?"
Now They're After Rummy: Why the neocons turned on their former 'stud muffin' by Justin Raimondo
"Positioning the U.S. to be inexorably drawn into a wider war is the whole point of the current Orwellian propaganda offensive, which is supposed to convince us that growing disenchantment with the war really means support for 'staying the course' in spite of it all. Because the longer American troops are fighting the Iraqi insurgency, the greater are the chances that the conflict will spill over into neighboring countries."
Unedited Footage by Boris Karpa
"The first scene is in a prison. Hundreds and hundreds men and women in orange jumpsuits file by. Who have these people hurt? Nobody. You probably don't know that but over 1,500,000 people are arrested each year for drug offenses - not for hurting anyone, but for owning, using or selling an illegal substance of some description - more than double the amount of those arrested for violent crime.
Any law is in part violence - note the use of the word 'force' in 'enforce'. Let's say you had a neighbor who grew marijuana - would it be fine for you to use force against him? It wouldn't, right? So why is it fine for you to hire other people (the DEA) to do it? Now, get this: all of the above and more - the enhanced murder rate, the increased prison population, the reduction in personal liberties and the killings of people by drug cops at home and abroad - is paid for by your tax money."
Libertarians and the Warfare State by Anthony Gregory
December 20, 2004
It Can't Happen Here by Rep. Ron Paul, MD
"Undoubtedly many Americans and members of Congress donít believe America is becoming a police state, which is reasonable enough. They associate the phrase with highly visible symbols of authoritarianism like military patrols, martial law, and summary executions. But we ought to be concerned that we have laid the foundation for tyranny by making the public more docile, more accustomed to government bullying, and more accepting of arbitrary authority - all in the name of security. Our love for liberty above all has been so diminished that we tolerate intrusions into our privacy that would have been abhorred just a few years ago. We tolerate inconveniences and infringements upon our liberties in a manner that reflects poorly on our great national character of rugged individualism.
It may be true that average Americans do not feel intimidated by the encroachment of the police state. Americans remain tolerant of what they see as mere nuisances because they have been deluded into believing total government supervision is necessary and helpful, and because they still enjoy a high level of material comfort. That tolerance may wane, however, as our standard of living falls due to spiraling debt, endless deficit spending at home and abroad, a declining fiat dollar, inflation, higher interest rates, and failing entitlement programs. At that point attitudes toward omnipotent government may change, but the trend toward authoritarianism will be difficult to reverse.
Those who believe a police state can't happen here are poor students of history. Every government, democratic or not, is capable of tyranny. We must understand this if we hope to remain a free people."
The Exploitation of Soldiers by Butler Shaffer
"The life-sustaining value to insubordination is most clearly revealed in the face of death. As Samuel Johnson stated, 'when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.' It is unfortunate that most of us wait until our lives are threatened to energize our consciousness, rather than seeing the dangers implicit in the prior behavior of our revered systems.
Perhaps, in the example of the woman at the WTC, the rest of us may discover that our lives depend not on fighting authority, but on walking away from the crumbling structures in which we are expected to remain."
Put Saddam's Backers on Trial by Eric Margolis
"What an irony it is to see US forces in Iraq now behaving with much the same punitive ferocity as Saddam's army and police: bombing rebellious cities, arresting thousands, terrorizing innocent civilians, torturing captives and sending in tanks to crush resistance. In other words, Saddamism without Saddam. A decade ago, this writer predicted that when the US finally overthrew Saddam, it would need to find a new Saddam."
December 19, 2004
Pop goes the Bush mythology bubble - Part 3: 9-11 served a multitude of purposes by Karl W. B. Schwarz
A System Bereft of Justice by Paul Craig Roberts
Civil Disobedience and the National ID by Devvy Kidd
Gott Mit Uns by Laurence M. Vance
Christmas Wishlist... by Riverbend
"Future Regulators of America" by Garry Reed
December 16, 2004
Evildoers, here we come by Pepe Escobar
Business as usual: More Pentagon lies and dissimulation by Kurt Nimmo
Attack of the Mommy Monster by Bob Wallace
"Freedom to slavery to going bonkers. How did all of this creep up on us? I think lots of people wanted it, without the foggiest idea of where it invariably leads. They started wanting security, to be taken care of by the Mommy State, to be protected from life, to have the world made of Nerf. It's a delusion. They'll find that out, in the long run."