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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 11, 2008

Taking the Bait by David Codrea
"An Open Response to US Marshal Judicial Security Inspector David A. Meyer"
What would you do if you were threatened under the color of authority by an employee of the US Department of Justice?

Send them a "Bite-Me-Gram"!

February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!
('ya sickos!)

"One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am - a reluctant enthusiast....a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While itís still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards."
Edward Abbey

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
Hunter S. Thompson

December 2007

The Goal Is Freedom: A Matter of Priorities by Sheldon Richman
"Fortunately, we don't need data on an issue like this. If you don't want people taking welfare benefits, go after the dispenser of the benefits - the state - not the people who simply accept what is offered. If you fear that immigrants will strain the government's schools and hospitals, ask why government is in education and health in the first place."

Scratching By: How Government Creates Poverty as We Know It by Charles Johnson
"Every day and in every culture from time out of mind, poor people have repeatedly shown remarkable intelligence, courage, persistence, and creativity in finding ways to put food on the table, save money, keep safe, raise families, live full lives, learn, enjoy themselves, and experience beauty, whenever, wherever, and to whatever degree they have been free to do so. The fault for despairing, dilapidated urban ghettoes lies not in the pressures of the market, nor in the character flaws of individual poor people, nor in the characteristics of ghetto subcultures. The fault lies in the state and its persistent interference with poor peopleís own efforts to get by through independent work, clever hustling, scratching together resources, and voluntary mutual aid."

Mobile Labs to Target Iraqis for Death by Robert Parry
"Though Duong is best known for designing high-explosives used to destroy hardened targets, she also supervised the Joint Expeditionary Forensics Facilities project, known as a 'lab in a box' for analyzing biometric data, such as iris scans and fingerprints, that have been collected on more than one million Iraqis.

The labs - collapsible, 20-by-20-foot units each with a generator and a satellite link to a biometric data base in West Virginia - will let U.S. forces cross-check data in the field against information collected previously that can be used to identify insurgents. These labs are expected to be deployed across Iraq in early 2008."
I wonder how this will play in the 'domestic market'? Here's a couple pics of the prototypes...

Police State America by Stephen Lendman
"Year end is a good time to look back and reflect on what's ahead. If past is prologue, however, the outlook isn't good, and nothing on the horizon suggests otherwise."

'You Haven't Done Nothing' by Retta Fontana
"There is nothing essential about government. Tell this 'essential' bullshit to the dead and their shattered loved ones. Tell it to the dead children in Waco, Texas and Fallujah, Iraq. Tell it to the dead people who were evaporated without a trace in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Mass murder is not committed by anarchists. It is committed by governments and paid for by the sweat of the working manís brow.

The truth is, if you do not produce your papers and pay the man, one way or another, sooner or later, you will experience the violence of the state. Itís pretty simple. They will taser you, prod you, beat you, hand and foot cuff you, incarcerate you and allow you to be raped in prison or water-boarded abroad. Theyíll lock you up in a concrete cell and feed you garbage that you wouldnít feed your dog. If you refuse to eat it, they will force-feed you because you do not own your own life. They will even ceremoniously execute some of you from time to time. Itís all for security, the greater good and the provision of essential services, of course!"

"Mr. Ten Percent" from Laura Rozen
"Here's the NY Times ten years ago, on January 8, 1998, on the extraordinary corruption of Benazir Bhutto's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, named today as the caretaker head of the Pakistan People's Party until their 19 year old son can run the party."
Methinks it's a class affliction.

Arizona risks all with a nativist plunge by J.D. Tuccille
"Starting with the new year, Arizona employers will be on the hook for 'knowingly' hiring illegal immigrants in a state with a growing economy and a squeaky-low unemployment rate. Businesses fingered for hiring workers who informally crossed the border in search of a better life - and Maricopa County officials, among others, have promised mob-pleasing strict enforcement - face the loss of their business licenses for ten days after a first offense, and permanently after a second offense. It's no wonder that businesses are nervous about the potential impact of the new law. So are illegal immigrants; they've begun an exodus from the state, heading for friendlier U.S. jurisdictions, or back home to Mexico."

Garry Reed of the Loose Cannon Libertarian has been busy recently between his regular twice-monthly volleys and his articles for the River Cities' Reader - check his homepage for links to current and past articles.

Rodger Jacobs has settled into a new location - Carver's Dog. Rodger is now rusting with the dinosaurs in L.A.'s most far-flung suburb - and has resumed regular postings of his writing.

November 30, 2007

Iraq's Laboratory of Repression by Robert Parry
"The Bush administration is turning Iraq into a test tube for modern techniques of repression, from sophisticated biometrics that track populations to devastating weapons systems that combine night-vision optics from drone aircraft, heat resonance imaging and deadly firepower from the sky to kill suspected insurgents."

Imperial opportunities for US builders by Tom Engelhardt
"In late September, when news of Combat Outpost Shocker suddenly came out in the Wall Street Journal, it caused a tiny media ripple (though a blink and you would have missed it). After all, it seemed like one more in-your-face gesture at the Iranians on the noble road to preventing 'World War III'. Far more noteworthy from your point of view, though, is something no one in the US ever discusses: the Pentagon can evidently build bases just about anywhere it pleases.

It seems not to have even bothered to consult Iraqi government officials before announcing that Combat Outpost Shocker was well underway, or perhaps Congress either. But that's pretty much the latitude you get when you're the 'Defense Department' for most of a planet; when you already have 737 or 850 or even 1,000 bases and installations of one sort or another outside the US; when your global properties stretch from Germany, Romania, the island of Diego Garcia, and Kyrgyzstan to South Korea, Guam and Australia and you're still eyeing the few blank spots on that map like, say Africa."

Rise of the Neo-Taliban (Part 1): Death by the light of a silvery moon by Syed Saleem Shahzad

Rise of the Neo-Taliban (Part 2): Pain has become the remedy by Syed Saleem Shahzad

Domestic Spying, Inc. by Tim Shorrock
"A new intelligence institution to be inaugurated soon by the Bush administration will allow government spying agencies to conduct broad surveillance and reconnaissance inside the United States for the first time. Under a proposal being reviewed by Congress, a National Applications Office (NAO) will be established to coordinate how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and domestic law enforcement and rescue agencies use imagery and communications intelligence picked up by U.S. spy satellites. If the plan goes forward, the NAO will create the legal mechanism for an unprecedented degree of domestic intelligence gathering that would make the U.S. one of the world's most closely monitored nations. Until now, domestic use of electronic intelligence from spy satellites was limited to scientific agencies with no responsibility for national security or law enforcement."

The Treasury's Missing Minutes Mystery by John Crudele
"After a year and a half of stalling, the US Treasury finally complied with The Post's requests for information about The President's Working Group on Financial Markets - by delivering 177 pages of crap.

In essence, the Treasury's Freedom of Information officials said that the Working Group - affectionately nicknamed the Plunge Protection Team - doesn't keep records of its meetings."

Should the State License Human Beings by Sheldon Richman
"Democratic presidential candidates are tripping over the driverís-licenses-for-illegal-aliens issue like a bunch of old slapstick vaudevillians.

Whatís so comical about their antics is that the issue demonstrates that politicians are locked into bad assumptions from top to bottom. Start with driverís licenses. In one debate Sen. Chris Dodd said driving 'is a privilege not a right.' Thatís a common belief. But itís incoherent."

Every day diplomacy by Joel L. Merchant
O beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain,
(but don't you dare even think of trying to take those pictures from our train!)
For purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain,
(don't touch that camera!)
Amerika, Amerika...
(don't even think about it or we'll frog-march you outa' here so fast it'll make your head spin!)

Feds Lose Bid for Amazon.com Customer Records by Kevin Flaherty

British Traditions Upheld by David Codrea

It's Time For Private Air-Defense by Billy Beck

Cultural Guerrillas from John Robb

Welcome to Universal Health Slavery by Garry Reed
"Every wannabe recipient of Hillarycare or Socialized Medicine or Republican FedMed Lite or Universal Health Slavery or whatever plan du jour the powercrats are peddling with the promise that everyone can have free medical care at the expense of everyone else needs to study the text below."
(Permalink for article at linked URL)

William Gibson: Sci-Fi Icon Becomes Prophet of the Present
An interview with William Gibson

October 31, 2007

Slum Fights: The Pentagon Plans for a New 100 Years' War by Nick Turse
"Duane Schattle doesn't mince words. 'The cities are the problem,' he says. A retired Marine infantry lieutenant colonel who worked on urban warfare issues at the Pentagon in the late 1990s, he now serves as director of the Joint Urban Operations Office at U.S. Joint Forces Command. He sees the war in the streets of Iraq's cities as the prototype for tomorrow's battlespace. 'This is the next fight,' he warns. 'The future of warfare is what we see now.'

He isn't alone. 'We think urban is the future,' says James Lasswell, a retired colonel who now heads the Office of Science and Technology at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory. 'Everything worth fighting for is in the urban environment.' And Wayne Michael Hall, a retired Army brigadier general and the senior intelligence advisor in Schattle's operation, has a similar assessment, 'We will be fighting in urban terrain for the next hundred years.'"

Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 from Kevin Flaherty at Cryptogon
"So, the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007...

Did I miss something here? Does the U.S. Government have a reason to believe that the American people are about to snap out of their zombie trance and actually do something? Personally, I wouldnít have bet on it happening any time soon. The way I saw it - before I left the United States for good - was that 9.9 out of 10 Americans would gladly dig their own holes, get down on their knees and pull the muzzle of the executionerís weapon against their skulls. Itís their patriotic duty to be spineless followers and boot lickers, no matter what."

Does Senate FISA bill immunize FBI 'black-bag jobs'? by Declan McCullagh

The Turks are coming by Pepe Escobar
"With more than 100,000 troops and all those F-16s, tanks and helicopter gunships massed on the Turkish-Iraqi border, the new George W Bush greater Middle East war - that is, the Turkish invasion of Iraqi Kurdistan - is ready to roll.
...
Behind the usual rhetorical fog of Turkey 'continuing to support the Iraqi people', as far as Ankara is concerned the outcome is predetermined: 'We will launch an operation when it will be necessary, without asking for anybody's opinion,' Erdogan said on Saturday.

General Yasar Buvukanit told NTV in Turkey that the military is essentially just waiting for Erdogan's green light. For all practical purposes, the Turkish military has already invaded Iraqi Kurdistan by a range of 12 kilometers, and Turkish jets have already unleashed air strikes."

The Collapse of Bushís Foreign Policy by Juan Cole
Juan Cole provides an overview of the current state of the "War on Terror" in the Middle East.

The Catastrophic Military Occupation of Iraq is Rarely Described Accurately in the U.S. Media by Kevin Zeese
An interview with Dahr Jamail.

The Stupidification of America by Garry Reed
"People have voluntarily stupidified themselves because they've bought into assorted cultural caca, ideological concepts frequently abetted or opportunistically manipulated after the fact by the nation's political donkey dung dishers and elephant effluvia flingers. Libertarians are uniquely positioned to snicker, sneer and snort at this ongoing social stupidification because they don't subscribe to the lefty-righty fakery of political correctness."

October 13, 2007

Are Presidents Entitled to Kill Foreigners? by James Bovard
"What is the common term for ordering soldiers to kill vast numbers of innocent people?

A war crime.

But not when it is done on the command of the U.S. president."
Not yet anyway...
"In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible."

A Laudable Hiatus: FOE Goes, If Not Tits-Up, Then At Least Tits-Sideways from Fred Reed
"All good things come to an end, and some bad ones, or at least go into hibernation for a bit. Fred on Everything is going to take a month off and ponder, and perhaps come back refreshed. Or perhaps not. The reason is simple, boring old burnout, familiar to any writer who has had to write the same thing for too long. FOE has been around for seven years now. Itís tired of me, and Iím tired of it. Enough is too much. We need a break. Maybe counseling.

More than burnout is involved. People write columns in the (faint) hope of changing things. No, a web site will not alter the majestic course of the planets in their orbits. It was once possible, however, to believe that enough people hollering in the electronic town hall that is the web might push things in a desired direction. In the past, this has worked - not cleanly, nor quickly, nor quite as the senior-civics texts said. But it has sort of worked.

Now it doesnít. Today the United States is politically and socially constipated. Nothing moves, or at least not in a desirable direction. Crooks, frauds, revivalists, the over-empowered under-brained, believers and mouth-breathers and unabashed lunatics - all of these have so firmly gummed up the gears that improvement founders. Someone seems to have poured glue into the political kaleidoscope. Little point exists in curmudgeing at the bastards."

don't call something what it is by charley hardman
In which charley provides a detailed, dispassionate rebuttal to a stupid article... The reviews declare: "Brilliant! Insightful and inciteful."

A Rose By Any Other Name by David Codrea

The WarOn Commission Report by Garry Reed

Excerpt from 'Hey Rube' by Hunter S. Thompson

September 30, 2007

Below are a handful of articles I'd set aside for inclusion at the end of September but hadn't had a chance to review. I've backdated them to maintain chronological order once they're archived.

Unleashing the Dogs of War by John Robb
"If you think the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will end with this US presidency, think again. These wars will likely outlast the next several Presidents. The old Vietnam era formulas don't apply anymore. The reason is that the moral weaknesses that have traditionally limited the state's ability to fight long guerrilla wars have dissipated, and modern states may now have the ability and the desire to wage this type of war indefinitely... Here's what changed:"

Surging Toward Iran: The surge is buying time - for what? by Justin Raimondo
"The 'surge,' as the escalation of the war is being euphemized, is working, albeit not in the way the hapless Democrats and the American public understand it. 'Progress' in Iraq, insofar as this administration is concerned, means we're closer to war with Iran. That has always been our target, and now that we've got the Ba'athists out of the way, we don't mind allying with the 'dead-enders' against the real enemy: the Shi'ite mullahs of Tehran.

In answer to questions from the senators, Petraeus gave away the show when he bluntly stated, 'We cannot win Iraq solely in Iraq.' Oh no, we have to conquer most of the rest of the Middle East, including Iran, Syria, and who-knows-where-else before we can even begin to talk about winning in Iraq."

Imperial Autism: The Petraeus Moment Blots Out the World by Tom Engelhardt
"What exactly could anyone outside of Washington have expected the general - who had a hand in creating the President's 'surge' strategy, is now in charge of the 'surge' campaign, and for months has been delegated the official administration front man for what was, from day one, labeled a 'progress report' - to say? An instant online headline caught the mood of the Petraeus moment while his first round of testimony was still underway: 'Gen. Petraeus Sees Iraq Progress.' Ah, yes..."

The Mega-Lie Called the "War on Terror": A Masterpiece of Propaganda by Richard W. Behan

Death at a Distance: The U.S. Air War by Conn Hallinan
"Besides increasing the number of F-16s, B1-Bs, and A-10 attack planes, Predator flight hours over both countries have doubled from 2005. 'The Predator is coming into its own as a no-kidding weapon verses a reconnaissance-only platform,' brags Maj. Jon Dagley, commander of the 46th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron.

The Air Force is also deploying a bigger, faster and more muscular version of the Predator, the MQ-9 'Reaper' - as in grim - a robot capable of carrying four Hellfire missiles, plus two 500 lb. bombs.

The Predators and the Reapers have several advantages, the most obvious being they don't need pilots. 'With more Reapers I could send manned airplanes home,' says North.

At $8.5 million an aircraft - the smaller Predator comes in at $4.5 million apiece - they are also considerably cheaper than the F-16 ($19 million) the B1-B ($200+ million) and even the A-10 ($9.8 million).

The Air Force plans to deploy 170 Predators and 70 Reapers over the next three years. 'It is possible that in our lifetime we will be able to run a war without ever leaving the US,' Lt Col David Branham told the New York Times."

Leaving Home... from Baghdad Burning
The writer - self-identified as a young woman living in Baghdad - has now become another of the millions of Iraqis who've been 'liberated' from their homes. Thankfully - she and her family escaped before they were 'liberated' in a more grim and permanent sense.

An interview with Paul Rosenberg from Sunni Maravillosa
(featured in Sunni's most recent Salon)

US: Prison Central from Anthony Gregory

The state of the State of Columbia by Garry Reed
"Many states have an official state dinosaur or fossil. Alaska chose, as you might expect, the woolly mammoth. California, ever stylish, selected that La Brea Tar Pits favorite, smilodon fatalis, aka Pleistocene saber-toothed cat.

Columbia's state fossil should be the Twelveterm Slobber-toothed Senile Senatorsaurus."

The End from Claire Wolfe
In which Claire decides to hang it up... Bill St. Clair is mirroring the Wolfesblog in its retirement.

jus 5 moer eons plzkthx
Maybe mornings just seem this way to me...?

August 30, 2007

QOD
"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

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

July 31, 2007

Critical Thinking And The War On Terrorism by Joe Quinn
"The judicious studying(sic) of the discernible reality of 'Islamic terrorism' proves it to be not real at all. This is why the unnamed Neocon stated that 'that's not the way the world really works anymore', because the Neocons cannot have ordinary people judiciously studying reality and arriving at this all-too-logical conclusion. The solution to this problem, from the Neocon point of view, is to create a 'reality' that, while bearing no resemblance to actual reality, nevertheless becomes the reality because it is effectively manufactured in and propped up by the 'belief center' of the general population."

Gay Bombs and Bubble Wrapped Battlefields by Garry Reed
"In today's world, a story once considered too idiotic to be true is now too idiotic not to be true.

Therefore, operating on the principal that where there's smoke there's a whole lot more smoke, a clandestine team of tireless libertarian anarcho-investihackers, using a variety of conventional and 'alternative' analytical tools, have uncovered similar surreptitious government projects.

The following data was gleaned from heavily redacted documents obtained through the little-known Freedom of Information About Really Stupid Wasteful Military Boondoggles Act."

The Group W Bench
(apologies to Arlo Gutherie)

July 26, 2007

"The day will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you are throttling today."
August Spies

Deliberative Democracy Dementia by Jim Bovard
"Deliberative Democracy is different things to different people - but the common thread is that we will gather and be coached on how to discuss politics. Supposedly, if citizens meet and use 'public reason' to deliberate on the major issues of the day, government policies will achieve new legitimacy and citizens will again trust Washington.
...
It is absurd to expect that discussions will resolve differences between people who wish to live as they please and others who demand the power to bring them to their knees. The more power government possesses, the more fruitless deliberations become between aggressors and victims."

The Other War: Iraq Vets Bear Witness by Chris Hedges and Laila Al-Arian

Surge Redux by John Robb

"Dysfunctional" House Intelligence Committee by Laura Rozen
"More evidence if you needed it that the intelligence oversight process is broken, that some of the companies hired to protect the country won their contracts through graft and are unqualified, and that post 9/11 homeland security and intelligence are just a big new trough for some contractors with the added benefit (for them) of no public accountability because the contracts are classified. Evidence as well that the entrenched conflicts of interest continue, to the degree that the committee still will not agree to publicly release even the unclassified version of the report. And that's just the greed factor. Who's looking out that the intelligence and security are any more functional? The same conflicted people."

Oh, Jeez, Now What...? by David Codrea

What Ron Paul Is Doing For The Cause of Liberty... by Robert Kaercher

Photos of cephalopodic playscapes
"For the love of Cthulhu, here are photos of giant cement octopi posing as playground equipment in Japan."

July 8, 2007

New War and the Threat to Globalization
an interview with John Robb of the Global Guerillas blog

National ID plan may have killed immigration bill by Declan McCullagh

A Culture of Atrocity by Chris Hedges
"The American killing project is not described in these terms to the distant public. The politicians still speak in the abstract of glory, honor and heroism, of the necessity of improving the world, in lofty phrases of political and spiritual renewal. The press, as in most wars, is slavishly compliant. The reality of the war - the fact that the occupation forces have become, along with the rampaging militias, a source of terror to most Iraqis - is not transmitted to the American public. The press chronicles the physical and emotional wounds visited on those who kill in our name. The Iraqis, those we kill, are largely nameless, faceless dead. Those who kill large numbers of people always claim it as a regrettable but necessary virtue.

The reality and the mythic narrative of war collide when embittered combat veterans return home. They find themselves estranged from the world around them, a world that still believes in the myth of war and the virtues of the nation."

Evolutionary Cognitive Neuroscience: Dual Use Discipline for Understanding & Managing Complexity and Altering Warfare by John Stanton
"Social science literature and United States' Department of Defense (DOD) documentation also suggests that the time is ripe for an even larger merger between the data-heavy sciences and the social sciences. ECN may serve as both a conduit and foundation for this convergence particularly as the DOD recognizes its importance to national security. However, the entire effort will fail if program directors and researchers exclude general Evolution and Evolutionary Psychology from their methodologies.

Complexity (the number of ways-hows-and-whys a system can act) may become an anachronism as novel research demystifies consciousness reducing human complexity to a deterministic system. Biomachines that bypass time consuming conscious activity ultimately may be fielded by the DOD. The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) is already working towards this end."

The Shockwave Rider from Big Gav
A lengthy and sinuous perspective framed by the novel "The Shockwave Rider" by John Brunner.

June 30, 2007

Beavis and Butthead in London jihad by Thomas C Greene
"But the guys with the guns and cameras and listening devices have been on a roll since 9/11, embarrassing their clip-board-toting rivals in the race for public money, even though, collectively, they've taken or made meaner far more lives than they can ever hope to protect with their strategy of violence in the name of peace, and fascism in the name of liberty.

To keep the billions rolling in, they've got to produce a terrorist every now and then. Only real terrorists are hard to come by, so clowns and stooges with harebrained schemes end up doing bin Laden's perp walk periodically.
...
So why is this such big news? Because clowns have got to be passed off as terrorists. Because a vast industry depends on terrorists, real and imagined, to justify its existence. We live now in the grip of the security-industrial complex, and that hungry beast demands to be fed. We feed it money hand over fist, and in return, it feeds us fear biscuits, which we are expected to accept with gratitude."

Synthetic Environments for Analysis and Simulation

June 27, 2007

Quote of the day:
(with editorial license)

"Many walked by asking, 'who is Ron Paul' to which supporters gladly offerred liberty oriented responses."
...
{{{brrains}}}
...
"Such is the spontaneous order surrounding America's most prominent ambassador of peace and freedom."
(from the LRC blog)
Somewhere in Arizona... (at an airport terminal dedicated to Barry Goldwater...)

The Occupation Troops by Lew Rockwell

Bush Directive for a 'Catastrophic Emergency' in America: Building a Justification for Waging War on Iran? by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky
"9/11 and the threat of a second major attack on America are ostensibly part of the building block of the US National Security doctrine. While, the threat of an impending 9/11 type attack by 'Islamic terrorists' is a fabrication, extensive media propaganda, supported by covert intelligence operations, has ensured that the 'Global War on Terrorism' or GWOT is widely accepted both by the supporters and opponents of the Bush administration."

BIS warns of Great Depression dangers from credit spree by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
"The Bank for International Settlements, the world's most prestigious financial body, has warned that years of loose monetary policy has fuelled a dangerous credit bubble, leaving the global economy more vulnerable to another 1930s-style slump than generally understood.
...
"The levels of leverage employed in private equity transactions have raised questions about their longer-term sustainability. The strategy depends on the availability of cheap funding," it said."
Do bear in mind that this article is written from the perspective of the global banking industry...

Sunni interviews Wally Conger in her most recent Salon.

The war against law-abiding citizens by Garry Reed
"At one time or another, governments have made it officially illegal to be a witch, an African, an Indian, a Jew, or a pothead. At one time, all of these groups were 'law-abiding citizens.' Against whom should the powercrats declare war in the future? Perhaps against you, today's 'law-abiding citizen?'"

I'd like to recommend a few science fiction short stories by Gavin Grant. My first exposure to his writing was last year when Strike the Root linked over to a piece entitled "We Are Never Where We Are". A few weeks ago I tracked down more of his work and enjoyed these three:
Editing for Content
Heads Down, Thumbs Up
Softly, With A Big Stick

Visit the Archives for earlier article links.


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