A Note to My Critics
By Wade Frazier
The Degeneration of Internet Discourse, and the Trolling Effect
False Dichotomies, Straw Men and Name Calling
Conspiracy Theories, the “Company I Keep,” Presentism and Dennis Lee
Threadbare Rhetorical Devices
I have often solicited it, and many have provided valuable criticism of my work over the years, both constructive and otherwise. However, most of the unsolicited criticism I received contained serious errors of logic and other flaws. If critics of my work wish to have their criticisms taken seriously, they need to read this introductory essay before they write their critiques.
The Degeneration of Internet Discourse and the Trolling Effect
After the World Trade Center attacks of September 2001, the criticisms of my work greatly increased in their frequency, irrationality and viciousness. They were nearly all variations on killing the messenger, with open threats sometimes accompanying their diatribes. In the winter of 2001-2002, I decided to remove my email address from my site. The continual attacks made it so that it was no longer worth it for me to interact with the public. This site was largely finished in 2002 during a several month period when I had no public contact, and did not receive emotionally unbalancing attacks.
Cyberspace is a great equalizer, but having a public email address is like an author publishing a book and having his home address and phone number on its cover. With email, many feel free to make the equivalent of obscene phone calls, and threaten to come visit my home and kill my pets; such is the state of today’s America. They almost invariably do it anonymously.
After several years of seclusion, in late 2006 I began to interact again with the public, in forums where I had seen my work discussed. The situation has actually become worse in the intervening years. The trolling phenomenon has become full-blown. Somebody who seeks to disrupt, derail, hijack, and otherwise muddy Internet forum discussions is “trolling.” I have had an Internet stalker since 1997, spreading his disinformation wherever he can. After I began joining forum conversations, I probably received more attacks by people trolling than honest, thoughtful responses. One forum where I tried establishing a more-or-less permanent presence ended up being infested by people trolling, and instead of corralling those trolling, as that forum said it would, they banned me instead (which gave weight to the public suspicion that that forum is more of a disinformation mill than a place for productive discussion). That people trolling specialize in attacks that utilize all the logical fallacies described below is bad enough, but the Internet culture that has developed allows them to do it anonymously. Here is a good article on how Internet anonymity has contributed to the degradation of Internet discourse. Internet forums that allow anonymous trolling are doomed to becoming havens for childish behavior, disinformation activities and nothing that approaches constructive dialogue. I will only participate in trolling-free forums in the future.
False Dichotomies, Straw Men and Name Calling
Perhaps the most common fallacy of logic directed toward this site’s writings is a false dichotomy, also known as false alternatives. It is the logical flaw that states that if something is not one thing, then it is another, when it is neither. I went to business school in college and fervently digested my indoctrination. I kept my eyes open after graduation, and eventually became acutely aware of how my indoctrination conflicted with post-graduate reality. I realized that I had been sold a set of lies, not only about capitalism, but also about most aspects of my world. I was a capitalist who finally saw through the game. To some critics, that makes me a "Marxist." I have barely and only recently read any of Karl Marx's work. In addition, calling me a "Marxist" is an example of argumentum ad hominem, or name-calling. I am either a capitalist or a Marxist. That is a false dichotomy. There is no room for a capitalist who became disillusioned with capitalism. That same false dichotomy was handed to Americans for generations, with the continual Red Scare and the fantasy of being invaded by communist armies and conquered by the international communist conspiracy. That might be the most untenable conspiracy theory ever concocted, but was an officially sanctioned one (a la McCarthy, et al.). In addition, Stalinism had little to do with Marx's work.
I have written about the brutal police-state tactics used on non-violent protestors at the WTO meeting in Seattle in 1999, the 2000 Republican and Democratic conventions and the 2000 World Bank and IMF meetings. One critic responded that I should be glad that I do not live in China, because they use real bullets on the protestors there, not rubber ones. That is about the most ethically bankrupt argument anybody can advance: the crimes our state commits are smaller than crimes that other states commit. That argument can be trotted out to justify any crime, and can be summed up with,
“Be glad I only raped you, he would have killed you!”
Such a rationale uses the crimes of others to justify ours. People can always dredge up the specter of Hitler and Stalin to justify our state's crimes, because ours were not as bad as Hitler's, Stalin's, or China's. What makes that fallacy of logic worse is that it is happening in my nation, not somebody else's. I can do something about the state-committed crimes in my nation. I can do far less about the Chinese government's crimes. Both the U.S. and Soviet governments used that type of false argumentation throughout the Cold War to silence their internal critics. Establishment defenders would point the finger at the other superpower, saying, "At least we are not like them. Do you want to live under their rule?" If I can point the finger at somebody else who is worse than me (in actuality or imagined), that seemingly relieves me of the initially painful revelations that introspection would bring, so I can improve my behavior. It is one of the oldest tricks in the book, the same fallacy that Jesus remarked on when he said that people look for splinters in their neighbor's eyes while ignoring the logs in their own.
In the wake of the World Trade Center attacks and the great irrationality that gripped America, a false dichotomy endlessly played out, even led by the White House: any attempt to understand the motivation for the World Trade Center attacks as anything other than George Bush the Second’s “good versus evil” scenario was nearly grounds for treason. In that false dichotomy, if people did not accept that America was attacked because its assailants simply hate goodness and virtue, then they were traitors to the United States. There is thereby no room to try understanding what happened, what motivated those suicidal terrorists, comprehend how America’s actions contributed to the situation, and so forth. It was black/white thinking at its most dangerous.
Another fallacy of reasoning is related to the false dichotomy, and has been used to misrepresent my work. I questioned Mr. Skeptic's judgment in classifying an activist group trying to prevent Mumia Abu Jamal's execution as a "hate group." It is an Orwellism to call people trying to prevent (state-sanctioned) murder a "hate group." Orwellisms turn the meanings of words upside down. The group that Mr. Skeptic called a "hate group" was aggressive in their stance, but so were the WTO (World Trade Organization) protestors in Seattle, getting pepper spray in their eyes, plastic bullets in their faces, being kicked and receiving other violent treatment for laying in the streets. That does not mean that the protestors were violent or hateful. In most cases, it meant exactly the opposite. Was Gandhi "hateful," with his civil disobedience? Was Martin Luther King, Jr.?
Even if Mumia Abu Jamal was indeed guilty of the cold-blooded murder of a policeman, America is about the only "civilized" nation with a death penalty. The rest of the "civilized" world does not agree with executing Abu Jamal, even if he were fully guilty. America is also nearly the only nation on earth that executes people for crimes they committed as children. In addition, there are major doubts about Abu Jamal's guilt, because kangaroo court has been a regular and well-documented feature of Philadelphia's judicial system, and those irregularities are glaringly evident in how Abu Jamal's trial was handled. For just one fact among many that makes the "cold-blooded murder" conclusion untenable, the dead policeman was in the process of administering a beating to Abu Jamal's brother when he was killed. The policeman may have thought that he was beating Abu Jamal, as the police had openly threatened him, and the mayor (and ex-police chief) had publicly called for silencing him and his uncomfortable questions and observations. During the summer of 2001, the courts denied the testimony of Arnold Beverly, who admitted that he shot the policeman that Abu Jamal was convicted of killing. Immediately after denying that confession of murder, the courts soon ruled that Abu Jamal should not be on death row. That ruling probably has everything to do with the protest efforts over many years, including Mr. Skeptic’s “hate group.” To millions of people, the proposed execution of Abu Jamal had far more to do with silencing a critic of the powerful than it did any sense of justice.
To some critics, questioning Mr. Skeptic's judgment became a defense of the organizations that Abu Jamal was active with, including the Black Panthers and M.O.V.E. Questioning the judgment of calling a protest group a "hate group" has nothing to do with supporting the groups affiliated with a person the "hate group" is trying to save. If somebody protested the kangaroo court conviction and execution of the Rosenbergs in the 1950s, does that make them a Bolshevik Communist? Such mischaracterization is also known as the straw man logical fallacy, which is where somebody misrepresents another’s position, and then attacks the “straw man” they created. The attack on the straw man is supposed to substitute for attacking the real thing, trying to fool observers.
That tactic has been used repeatedly against my work and others’. Chomsky and Edward Herman wrote two books together more than twenty years ago, titled The Political Economy of Human Rights (originally titled Counter-Revolutionary Violence). The Warner Communications conglomerate suppressed the work's publication. Its academic book subsidiary, Warner Modular Publications, Inc., was printing ten thousand copies of the book when the president of Warner Modular's parent company (Warner Publishing) saw their ad for the book. Warner Publishing's president, William Sarnoff, whose uncle used to run RCA, then initiated the suppression. Sarnoff had the books destroyed, and even destroyed the catalog that listed the book. He summoned the Warner Modular president to his office, then verbally attacked him in such a way that the Warner Modular president and his staff resigned. Warner Modular was soon sold and then went out of business. Sarnoff destroyed his own company to prevent a book's publication. Did the Nazi book burners ever go that far?
South End Press, located in Boston, eventually published the work. The Boston Globe has had a long-standing policy of never publishing a review of any book published by South End Press, one of the world's leading progressive publishing houses. The American establishment does its best to make sure that Herman and Chomsky's work never makes its way into mainstream awareness, as it does for any critic of America’s political-economic system. In The Political Economy of Human Rights: Volume II, the authors deal with the treatment of America's devastation of Southeast Asia. The book's largest section deals with the American establishment's treatment of the disaster that befell Cambodia. The book's focus was not the nature of Cambodian atrocities against their own people, but how the American press and academics dealt with them, including how America contributed to it. They could not be more explicit in what their work attempted. In their words,
"As in the other cases discussed, our primary concern here is not to establish the facts with regard to postwar Indochina, but rather to investigate their refraction through the prism of Western ideology, a very different task."
Poetically, the book's suppression is a case study that illustrates the book's thesis. In their work, the authors tellingly expose the establishment's blatant double standards of reporting, where ideology (e.g., we are the good guys, and our enemies and victims are the bad guys) takes precedence over reporting the facts, and extremely so.
The American media establishment’s propaganda stated that if the North Vietnamese “won” the war, Vietnam would be the site of a communist-instigated bloodbath, but one never happened. A peripheral nation to the Vietnam War, Cambodia was treated to a devastating bombing by America over several years, killing nearly 10% of the Cambodian population, with another 10% predicted to die in the bombing’s aftermath. What America did to Cambodia was one of the 20th century’s greatest acts of genocide. Although the American media did not predict what happened in Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge eventually became the violent nationalistic overlords that the media predicted would rule Vietnam.
The purpose of The Political Economy of Human Rights: Volume II was to analyze how the American propaganda machine dealt with the facts regarding Southeast Asia, not to debate the facts. The American media focused the false dichotomy, straw man and ad hominem logical fallacies toward its critics during those years. Anybody critical of the media’s handling of the events surrounding Cambodia became supporters of the Khmer Rouge; calling attention to media hypocrisy was dishonestly transformed into supporting the actions of the propaganda targets. While it was concocting a propaganda story, Time magazine tried baiting Chomsky into voicing his support for the Khmer Rouge regime. Instead of a nod of approval for the Khmer Rouge, Chomsky gave Time a list of American media fabrications regarding the situation. Unable to lure a statement of support for the Khmer Rouge from Chomsky or anybody else, Time resorted to reporting that anonymous “political theorists” defend the “Cambodian tragedy.”
Chomsky and Herman took great pains to differentiate criticism of America’s propaganda system from supporting the actions of people such as the Khmer Rouge. On page 256 of their book, they could not have been more explicit:
“It is a common error, as we have pointed out several times, to interpret opposition to U.S. intervention and aggression as support for the programs of its victims, a useful device for state propagandists but one that often has no basis in fact.”
The authors are being charitable in describing such an interpretation as an “error.” They thoroughly dealt with how the media tries making that bogus connection with its critics, and Time even unsuccessfully tried baiting Chomsky into that trap. Chomsky and Herman could not have been more explicit in their position, yet ever since the publication of The Political Economy of Human Rights, many of Chomsky's detractors have made the claim that he was defending or denying the crimes of the Khmer Rouge in that work. To this day, people ask Chomsky “tough questions” about his active support for the Khmer Rouge. To Chomsky, it must feel like being asked the Russian classic, “Have you stopped beating your wife?”
Even worse, the so-called "left" has contributed to that misrepresentation of Chomsky's work (while somehow Herman largely escaped criticism). I received an email from one of my critics that he ignored Chomsky's work (whose work I use significantly in my own) ever since he read Chomsky "defending the Khmer Rouge" atrocities.
That critic either:
1. Did not read Chomsky's work;
2. Did not comprehend it;
3. Or he is being dishonest.
The answer is probably option 1, which also makes option 3 true. He likely read one of the many attacks on Chomsky that fraudulently misrepresent his work, using the straw man fallacy.
Conspiracy Theories, the “Company I Keep,” Presentism and Dennis Lee
Dennis Lee's critic Mr. Skeptic practiced the logical fallacy termed appeal to inappropriate authority when he cited a newspaper article about Dennis' "criminal" record, when Dennis himself reproduced the official documents on his "crimes," which demonstrate that the newspaper articles were lying, and Mr. Skeptic knew it. In Mr. Skeptic's case, it was a case of dishonesty as well as poor logic. Another of Dennis' critics followed Mr. Skeptic's lead (and publicly thanked Mr. Skeptic for his help) when he reproduced newspaper clippings on Dennis' "criminal" record, and he eventually retracted his libel after I repeatedly informed him of it.
On various occasions, I have received this observation: my work is a conspiracy theory. One critic called my essay on the cancer racket an unbelievable conspiracy theory, because the conspiring doctors would not send themselves to their deaths by using orthodox treatments that do not work. I doubt that he read one word of my essay before launching his "conspiracy theory" criticism. Reading that essay will eliminate the notion that it is a conspiracy theory. It is nearly the opposite. There are almost surely wide-ranging conspiracies in the medical racket, as there are in the energy racket. While I will not deny that conspiratorial activities happen during the pursuit and maintenance of wealth and power, the primary thrust of all my work is that we all have a hand in what happens in our world, and what the left calls "structural analysis" (or "institutional analysis") explains more of the dynamic than conspiracies do. I have been called a “conspiracy theorist” for mentioning the billion-dollar bribe we were offered to stop pursuing free energy. The state of affairs in the energy and medical industries are a few percent conspiratorial, at best, and more than 95% "unconscious," largely because people refuse to accept responsibility for what is happening. That was the main lesson of my journey. We all bear responsibility for what happens in our world, which also means that we can do something about it, which should be good news, I would think.
For those who prefer playing the victim game, however, such news is the worst imaginable, which is why those who play the victim game have been my harshest critics. A paradox accompanied that realization. My harshest and most irrational critics are almost exclusively educated white men, who are history’s biggest "winners." Few would readily identify educated white men as victims, but victims and victimizers operate from the same dynamic: both feel powerless inside. When people attain self-mastery and self-love, they do not feel the need to exploit others to attain life’s goals, live the “good life,” etc. Those who feel that they are victims react by seeking situations to become victims, or seek situations where they can victimize others. They want to be winners, which they interpret to mean that there must be losers.
Whatever anybody does to another, they ultimately do to themselves. Jesus spoke about reaping what we sow, and Eastern religions have their concepts of reincarnation and karma. That concept bridges the paradox of why victims and victimizers play the same game. In the end, victimizers are their own greatest victims. It just takes awhile for what goes around to come around. As people endlessly victimize one another, thinking that that is what it takes to be winners, humanity may reap the bitter harvest where everybody loses, as we destroy our planet. We can all be winners. There do not have to be any losers. With love, we can have it all.
This web site’s largest essay is its American Empire essay. It grew from my writings about Iraq, and does more than tell the story of America's latest exercise in genocide, but what it has been like to be an American during those events. Iraq is our genocide, one that America is nearly entirely responsible for. Iraq is not the site of America's first oil-control genocide, and it may not be the last.
One site that published my original Iraq essays was Radio Islam, a decidedly anti-Jewish site that has published the work of many scholars such as Noam Chomsky and Edward Said. Nobody can honestly say that my work is anti-Jewish. Nevertheless, on more than one occasion, because Radio Islam has published some of my work (which barely mentions Israel or Jews), I have been called an anti-Semite. The critics who assailed my integrity because Radio Islam published some of my work never addressed my actual writings. They never made one substantive response to my work, but called me an anti-Semite.
Well-meaning people have repeatedly informed me that my work will be continually assailed because Radio Islam has published some of it. If past experience is any guide to the future, the critics who do so will never address my writings in anything resembling a reasoned critique. Some criticisms will be patently dishonest, while the rest will be filled with the logical fallacies that are presented here. If critics want to assail my work, that is their right, but a critique of my work has little to do with who published it, and this site is my primary publishing conduit. If I cited Radio Islam as a publishing source to try making my work seem more credible, or if I endorsed Radio Islam’s site, my critics' comments may hold water. Anyone who wants to can link to my site or reproduce the writings on it.
My Jewish writings firmly rebut most of the anti-Jewish writings on Radio Islam's site, and it is to Ahmed's credit that he publishes the work of somebody whose work counters his own. Ahmed may remove my work from his site one day (he will not correspond with me anymore), and it would give some of my critics less ammunition, but those critics have never addressed my work.
My critics have told me that allowing Radio Islam to publish my work has allowed them to judge me by the company I keep. For an example of truly keeping somebody’s company, I have kept company with Dennis Lee. Dennis is a literalist Christian. I am not a Christian, much less a Bible-banging one. Does “keeping company” with Dennis taint me? Does Dennis’ keeping company with me taint him in the eyes of his fellow Christians? If I stopped associating with right-wingers, homophobes and fundamentalist Christians, my circle of friends and associates would be far smaller than it is. America is filled with those kinds of people. What would I accomplish by refusing to associate with them? I truly have “kept company” with Dennis, and one of the greatest honors of my life is having been involved with him. I have never met Ahmed. If the KKK publishes my work, or links to it, am I “keeping company” with them? If I am, does that mean that I endorse their views?
Throughout the years, people whose interest in my work was kindled by my relationship to Dennis Lee have often called me “Dennis’ most loyal supporter” and similar phrases. Mr. Professor was a more loyal supporter of Dennis than I was. My loyalty has always been to making free energy happen, and although my respect for Dennis is beyond words, the “most loyal supporter” label tagged to me is often done by people who then portray Dennis’ organization as a cult or with criminal intent, so calling me Dennis’ “most loyal supporter” casts me as a cult member who hero-worships Dennis (something I have never done), or a criminal accomplice, or some other tactic to try dismissing my work. This site is obviously not about Dennis all that much, or even free energy.
Another charge leveled against my work is that it indulges in presentism. Presentism is judging the past by the standards of the present, but what my work demonstrates is how the history I was taught is a pack of lies, although more the lies of omission than commission, as with all good propaganda. That is a distinctly different issue from presentism. In a sense, the presentism argument has been a method of attacking people who bring up the truth of the Columbus Myth and other lies Americans have been taught as "history."
Presentism would be judging Columbus a filthy man, when all fifteenth century Spaniards reveled in their filthiness. To say that fifteenth century Spaniards were a filthy people is not practicing presentism, for they were. They were much filthier than the Moors or Native Americans of the day, for instance, who bathed regularly.
To say that Columbus engaged in mass murder is not engaging in presentism, because he did. Mass murder was a regular practice of the Spaniards of the day, so although Columbus was a mass murderer, he was not a "bad man," relative to his fellow Spaniards. Similarly, Columbus was dishonest, stealing the reward for first sighting land on the first voyage. Thievery is thievery, five hundred years ago or today. Similarly, kidnapping the natives, which Columbus did on the very day he "discovered" the New World, may have been a standard practice of the Portuguese slave runners (Columbus was a slave runner), but those he kidnapped almost all died within a few months of capture. Kidnapping them definitely violated them.
If somebody states that Columbus was a relatively typical Spaniard of the day, that is fine, and I say the same. However, kidnapping, the mass murder of innocent people, theft and the like were as horrible then as now, even if Columbus invoked God as he did it, especially for those who suffered at his hands. The Conquistadors' practice of feeding live native infants to their dogs shocked even the priests of the day. When would the practice of feeding live infants to dogs be in keeping with the mores of the day?
Columbus initiated the first and only complete genocide of millions of people. He led the effort, and one of his early programs was chopping off native hands that did not give him enough gold. He was brutal, self-pitying, greedy, dishonest, cruel and a hypocrite. He also had some virtues, such as persistence, courage, and even some sense of honor, though it was sporadically evident. Even Hernando de Soto, Stalin and Hitler had a sense of honor, however infrequently it was evident. Yet somehow, Columbus was transformed into a national hero, with an American national holiday in his name. A greedy mass murderer was turned into a national hero, and the American history profession participated in whitewashing his image. If we have a Columbus Day, then the Germans could have a Hitler Day and we would have no room to criticize them. Columbus was no monster, not for his day and place, but there is little evidence that justifies making him a hero, and far more that justifies monster status.
Ironically, the heroification of Columbus was a major act of presentism by American historians and others. Columbus was posthumously transformed into a hero when it came time to justify and glorify what Europeans did to the New World, and it reached new levels in the United States. One meaning of presentism is that history can be important to the present, to help us understand today better. In that regard I am a presentist, guilty as charged.
Critics have blamed me for making white people into monsters. White people are history’s most murderous people due to several factors, and being Christians may be one of the most important, as the Judeo-Christian ethic actively justified the violence that Europeans inflicted on the world. The primary reason Europe prevailed (and still does today - the U.S. population is mainly composed of the descendants of invading Europeans) was their mastery of violence. To the Native Americans in Columbus' day, for instance, the invaders were all white, European, Christian, and (not coincidentally) men.
The American history profession, as with probably every profession, has prostituted itself to the prevailing winds of wealth and power, and has served up all manner of criminals and murderers as heroes and saints. I am a white man. I was taught white history. My adult investigations have shown me that most of what I was taught about my noble forefathers was fanciful at best, which crippled my sense of reality, and I am still recovering from it. A Chinese woman could probably study the history she was taught, and discover that she was also taught lies. However, my work is about what I was taught, not what she was taught. Some critics have assumed that my work is supposed to be a multicultural synthesis of what the world is today, or was. I cannot speak for the people of India today, or the extinct Taino, or arrive at a sophisticated cultural assessment of today’s world. I fully admit that limitation. My work is in large part my story. I can do something about the lies being told in the society I live in. The Chinese people will need to correct their own self-serving myths.
Threadbare Rhetorical Devices
George Orwell wrote in his Politics and the English Language, “In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.” If anything, it has become worse since his time. Orwell’s 1984 was also eerily prescient. Orwell simply saw where trends in his time were headed. In his censored preface to Animal Farm, Orwell wrote,
“…it is the liberals who fear liberty and the intellectuals who want to do dirt on the intellect…”
The “defense of the indefensible” has always had the same goal: denying responsibility for what happens in the world, fingering “bad guys,” and justifying violence and exploitation by the powerful, who the defenders of the indefensible either work for, or they benefit from the indefensible actions. Establishment rhetoric is obsessed with finger pointing and rationalizing the victim game, and regularly violates the most elementary rules of logic. The following section is a brief guide on the kinds of logically flawed argumentation that parades across the pages and airwaves of America’s media, and in academic and corporate realms, with pundits holding forth in ways that would have made Orwell cringe.
Those irrational arguments are not difficult to see through, once an eye for them is developed. If people become aware of how false it is, it can no longer influence their thinking, and can also be pointed it out to others, although often at great personal risk. Few want to hear about that tattoo on the emperor’s backside, especially when it sits in plain view.
Chomsky says it is a simple ethical principle: we are most responsible for the predictable consequences of our actions. That principle is abandoned while defending the indefensible. One need not wax mystical to understand the often-subtle ways that we all create the world we live in.
America’s War on Terror during 2001 and afterward, a war that Rumsfeld says may take generations, is not new. It was Ronald Reagan’s theme when he took office. The irony of Reagan’s “War on Terror” was that the United States government was easily the world’s greatest terrorist organization during Reagan’s reign, but establishment pundits simply defined state terror out of existence. Reality is inverted largely by framing it with useful assumptions. If state terrorism is defined out of existence, then states can never commit terrorist acts, as a tautology. That assumption, if hewed to, will guarantee that state terrorism is never even acknowledged, much less analyzed. That is how blinding paradigms are created.Edward Herman’s The Real Terror Network was published in 1982, early in Reagan’s reign of terror. Herman followed it up about a decade later with The Terrorism Industry. Herman is one of the world’s most astute voices regarding terrorism, although his face was never seen in the mainstream media during the aftermath of the World Trade Center (WTC) attacks. In The Real Terror Network, Herman presented the assumptions that underlay the double standard of never calling state terrorism what it is, while the old ladies of Women in Black, who have never hurt anybody and are some of the West’s most courageous people, were dubbed “terrorists” by the FBI in 2001, even after they were nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Below are principles that must be followed so establishment apologists can write about terrorism with a straight face:
The principle of averting the eyes from National Security State (NSS) terror; Herman’s book was written before the reign of terror in El Salvador peaked, but the performance of Elliott Abrams on the issue was an example of how that principle worked; this is also an example of decreasing the negative cognitions;
The principle of reliance on government as the source of the relevant and the true; that principle also became part of the third news filter in Herman and Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent;
Stripping away of context; facts are stripped from their sources so the big picture in obscured; the media consumer thus becomes like the blind men and the elephant; one day the consumer reads about a tail, about a tusk the next day, and a trunk the next, but is never told that they all seem part of an elephant; that principle is similar to the reductionism often seen in Western science, where everything is boiled down to its lowest-common-denominator, so the big picture is invisible;
The principle of balance; it is the pretense that state terror is equivalent to “left” violence, or that the government is trying to be a mediating influence between leftist and rightist terrorists; the Uruguayan military continuing to commit massive violence long after its leftists had been exterminated was an uncomfortable fact not considered by those who saw government actions as “balancing” between the extremes;
The principle that the NSS is led by moderates standing between the poles of extremists; it is related to the prior principle of balance, and in order for the fiction to survive even minimal scrutiny, the “right” violence had to appear independent of the government, something that State Department front man Elliott Abrams was adept at managing;
With the NSS let us look at the bright side; with that principle, the state’s awesome crimes are swept under the carpet, and photo ops and other staged events are emphasized, or journalists who interview U.S.-controlled butcher dictators stress their humanity; those same principles are how Columbus was transformed into a national hero, how Washington became “the father of the country;” that is also an example of increasing the positive cognitions;
With the NSS the relevant world is that seen by the elites; that is a common tactic where the peasants who die by the hundred thousand at the dictator’s hands are never asked how their lives are going, but instead the only voices heard from Indonesia, for instance, are those of the generals ordering the genocides, their sycophants, or the genocide’s beneficiaries;
The United States is a disinterested party; as Herman wrote, that principle is “applied only when convenient;” in numerous U.S.-orchestrated, financed and armed coups and slaughters, the U.S. media completely hid the U.S.’ hand, as if what happened in Chile, for instance, was simply a domestic situation, free from outside intervention; however, the facts coming into the light during the past generation clearly demonstrate that Pinochet was virtually a U.S. puppet, and the overthrow and murder of Allende was orchestrated from the White House;
The U.S. natural right to intervene; that principle is starkly evident today, as there is barely any discernable dissent in America’s mainstream media over the open discussion taking place regarding overthrowing Saddam Hussein, as if it is not only America’s right, but a duty;
Communist Terror as the Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow; with the collapse of the Soviet Union, this principle is dated, but its essence became the worthy-unworthy victim concept in Manufacturing Consent, where victims of communist terrorism received more than one hundred times the media coverage of victims of U.S. terrorism. Herman has recently written about how that principle has played out in the aftermath of conquering Afghanistan.
Those factors helped make state terror invisible in the American media (at least Western state terror, especially U.S.-inflicted), and highly inflated the terror by the powerless, even fabricating it. I have never seen anybody make a credible rebuttal of Herman’s work, and I have looked. However, perusing book reviews from the public at Amazon.com and reading all the one-star reviews that the work of Chomsky, Herman, Parenti and other dissident scholars garner provides good examples of the kinds of rhetorical devices that are discussed below.
See the world as made of heroes and bad guys. That is the comic book view of the world, one that George Bush the Second made explicit when he said the War on Terror was a case of “good against evil,” and then he told the world that everybody was either “with us or against us,” making it clear that “evil” meant anybody who failed to support the War on Terror. That the “bad guys” were “good guys” when they did our bidding makes that argument ludicrous.
Focus on the unintended beneficiaries of our crimes, even vastly exaggerating their benefit, as if helping them was our sole motivation, while ignoring or demonizing those who suffered from our actions. That tactic was especially evident during the 2001 attack on Afghanistan. While the U.S. unilaterally attacked Afghanistan, putting millions of people in immediate risk, the U.S. media downplayed the humanitarian disaster that loomed. The civilian death toll from the U.S. bombardment was barely even reported in the U.S. media, a death toll that exceeded the WTC attacks, and the media instead had photo ops of Afghanis welcoming the Taliban’s opposition, the Northern Alliance (NA), who were the same warlords and their bloodthirsty rabble whose reign in the 1990s helped bring the Taliban to power. Suddenly, the bombing of Afghanistan was freeing its oppressed women. Afghani women are barely any better off than they were under Taliban rule. The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) issued a statement as the U.S. bombs and warlords defeated the Taliban. In part it stated:
“The retreat of the terrorist Taliban from Kabul is a positive development, but entering of the rapist and looter NA in the city is nothing but dreadful and shocking news for about 2 million residents of Kabul whose wounds of the years 1992-96 have not healed yet.
“Thousands of people who fled Kabul during the past two months were saying that they feared coming to power of the NA in Kabul much more than being scared by the US bombing.”
RAWA issued a statement on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2002, which discussed the post-Taliban situation in Afghanistan and the women’s lot. It stated in part,
“The existence of one or two showpiece women in the transitional administration (one belonging to a party infamous for being a lackey of the Iranian regime and the other a former high-ranking member of a party which epitomizes treachery to the motherland) is more an insult to Afghan women than a symbol of the restoration of their status and legal rights. The women of Afghanistan have not been liberated. This fact has been most succinctly summed up by the New York Times in its issue of November 19, 2001, when writing about an Afghan widow with eight children to feed: "Now, at least she is free to beg"!
RAWA gave America a little too much credit however, by stating:
“It is the conscience of the people of the United States that is scourged first and foremost by the slaughter of innocent Afghans in consequence of US bombardment in Afghanistan. Proof of this is amply shown in demonstrations against the war in Afghanistan in most American cities.”
I was in a peace march of a couple thousand people in Seattle, immediately after the WTC attacks. The local media barely covered us. American protestors of America’s bombing of Afghanistan were far less than one percent of the U.S. population. Yes, we made some noise, but it was a whisper compared to the media’s propaganda barrage. Acts of flag-waving during the bombardment outnumbered protests by at least 100-to-1. Fortunately, the Seattle marchers were not subjected to what peace marchers experienced on America’s East Coast and heartland. I have only marched behind priests and nuns, marching alongside post-menopausal women, as they usually do not get their heads busted by cops and counter-protestors.
Similarly, when Iraq was bombed back into the Stone Age, the media played up the freedom Kuwaitis would soon enjoy. In reality, the Kuwaiti government came back into power wielding a steel fist, and the Kuwaiti people did not exactly experience a golden age after the Gulf War, and the media was silent about political freedom in neighboring Saudi Arabia, which has one of earth’s most oppressive regimes. Whatever freedoms the Kuwaiti people may have enjoyed after the Gulf War, the war was obviously not about giving them their freedom. That rhetorical device is always used to cover up the intervening party’s motivation. The United States has never intervened to help the peoples of the lands it invades and bombs. There is no such thing as humanitarian intervention, and there never has been. It can be a useful fiction, however.
Point to flaws in our victims to justify their treatment at our hands. This is one of the oldest tricks in the book, and highly unethical. Julius Caesar remarked on the barbarity of the Celtic people after his first failed invasion of the British Isles. The observation was partly intended to justify conquering them, to bring them “civilization.” When Spaniards overran the New World, in history’s greatest genocide, they constantly played up cannibalism and human sacrifice, even though the cannibalism reportage was a myth from the every beginning, and human sacrifice was greatly exaggerated by the Spaniards in South America, and elsewhere. American propagandists demonized “communists” for many years, as a way to justify killing them en masse, something that Ralph McGehee and many others eventually discovered was a fabrication. However “bad” somebody might be does not confer any integrity to those who bludgeon them to steal their land and lives. During the long dispossession of North America’s natives, the European invaders nearly always concocted rhetoric to make the natives seem subhuman, to justify their extermination and dispossession.
Accepting of one’s responsibility for their participation in dark deeds becomes “self-hating” behavior, or an “attack” on one’s group. That is another false dichotomy, and has been directed countless times toward Americans who try to halt U.S. international aggression, partly because it is happening in their name. In the rhetoric of establishment apologists, we either have no responsibility at all for our behaviors, or we are self-hating. Chomsky becomes a “self-hating” Jew when he takes the Israeli state to task, especially when he also shows U.S. complicity in Israel’s great crimes against the Palestinian people. The U.S.’ mass response to dropping nuclear bombs on Japan is another example of that phenomenon at work. Being in denial or being “self-hating” is a transparently unethical false dichotomy. People who refuse to accept their contribution to, and responsibility for, various problems cannot arrive at constructive solutions to them. Nobody can solve another’s problems. Until we own it, we cannot change it for the better.
Deny, deny, deny the obvious, and when it becomes so overwhelmingly obvious that it can no longer be denied, either claim to have discovered it, or claim it is so obvious as to be trivial, so trivial as to be beneath discussion. That one has played numerous times in long-running discussions that people have had with me, and it plays out in several variations in public controversies. It is related to Orwell’s doublethink. The original adversaries of the idea claiming that they discovered it themselves may seem too fantastic to believe, but it is a well-known phenomenon, remarked upon by William James long ago, when talking about how orthodoxy initially reacts to theories it eventually embraces. When I first read James’ quote in 1990, I thought he took his rhetoric a little too far in making his point, but I began seeing exactly that phenomenon happen, and it may happen again soon in orthodox medicine. Edward Herman calls it chutzpah, an American specialty. People have challenged me on the thesis of Herman and Chomsky about how the media works, or how orthodox medicine works, or how the energy racket works, and for years they would call me wrong. Finally, as it began to sink in, they gradually understood what I was saying, even finally seeing for themselves examples of it in action, dynamics that were previously invisible to them. Then one day, without even an acknowledgment that their new understanding had anything to do with me, they then begin preaching to me about how the energy racket works, as if I had no idea. On denying the obvious for a long time, then trivializing and dismissing it the very first time they acknowledge it, is a cousin to Elisabeth Kübler Ross’ work on death and dying, where people facing the inevitable move from denial to acceptance, after a long, fitful process. Transcendence can follow acceptance, as part of the enlightenment process. What people have done in the trivializing process is play the denial game as long as humanly possible, and then when it is no longer possible to deny, then trivialize it, acting as if they had already achieved transcendence. That not only uses flawed logic; it can be a dishonest practice, engaged in consciously.
Wage ad hominem and straw man attacks, and purvey obfuscating irrelevancies that pose as critique. That nearly sums up the tactics of those who give one-star reviews of Herman and Chomsky’s work at Amazon.com. One review I saw of Parenti’s To Kill a Nation will serve to illustrate part of that dynamic. The purpose of Parenti’s book was to show what the U.S. did to Yugoslavia, and why. His book was not about which Yugoslavians acted honorably or not, but what the United States did there (although he also showed that the U.S. supported the fascists there, as usual). Parenti takes the high ethical ground of taking the motivation of his nation to task. One review by a right wing scholar completely ignored the main thrust of Parenti’s work, to instead write about how Parenti’s understanding of Yugoslavia was not as good as other scholars regarding Yugoslavia. The right wing scholar tried framing the issue as who was the bad guy in Yugoslavia, demonstrating that he unthinkingly accepted the U.S.’ right to intervention, which the purpose of Parenti’s book was to challenge. Parenti wrote an apple book, and the right wing scholar took him to task because it was not an orange book. Such efforts are pseudo-critiques, and also use the straw man fallacy, if even honestly done. The right wing scholar also used big words and cited irrelevant authors, which supposedly showed how sophisticated and well read he was. Such pseudo-critiques never engage in substantive analyses or direct challenges to the author’s work, but instead attack the author’s style, accuse the author of getting his/her facts wrong (but never point out where he/she has), often use big words and refer to other authors, saying the work they are critiquing is derivative or a poor attempt at copying the named author, but present no examples of that “fact,” and so on.
Those kinds of rhetorical devices are increasingly threadbare, although they never seem to go away. One is shown for what it is, and another takes its place. It has everything to do with integrity and being responsible for one’s actions. When people begin accepting their responsibility for how the world is (acting like creators instead of victims), and begin trying to change it, those kinds of arguments will disappear, or at least not be how America’s media, major institutions and establishment defenders ply their trade. In early 2006, I finally realized that the apparent lack of rationality and ethics I was seeing might be something else.
 As an example, here is the last thread that I began in that forum before I was banned, and you can see somebody joining the forum to troll that thread (beginning on the third page). I began that thread to discuss the political-economic aspects of the free energy milieu, not engage in a senseless “laws of physics” debate. His first post, however, began by declaring that “over-unity” devices were “impossible.” “Over-unity” is a measurement concept, similar to stating that a plane can exceed Mach 1 (thought to be “impossible” long ago, just as heaver-than-air, man-powered flight was declared “impossible” more than a century ago, even as the Wright brothers were flying through the air). Not only was the term “over-unity” not even mentioned on that thread before he made his post, nobody even asked any “laws of physics” questions. That person tried taking the thread on an irrelevant “laws of physics” tangent, which is also called “hijacking the thread.” He also demonstrated that he either did not understand what “over-unity” meant when it has been used in the free energy context (I do not use the term myself because it can be misleading, imparting the perpetual-motion concept when it is not intended), or he did not digest the first lesson that anybody with scientific training should learn: nothing should be called “impossible,” particularly something that does not defy the “laws of physics,” but is tapping into an energy source that mainstream science does not currently recognize. The trollish posts on that thread eventually outnumbered the legitimate ones.
On that thread, you can see me mention Sparky Sweet’s name a number of times, while linking to my discussion of his technology. Several months later, that first person to troll that thread used the same pseudonym on a Wikipedia talk page devoted to debunking free energy (Wikipedia will probably never become a forum where an intelligent and honest presentation of free energy concepts and the related milieu can be found – I have had too many encounters with the censorship that happens there), and he claimed to have never heard of Sparky. Whether his statement was due to laziness, low intelligence or dishonesty, his efforts comprise a textbook example of trolling. Another person making trolling posts to that thread lauded Mr. Skeptic’s disinformation efforts.
 Similarly, the Gore/Bush "choice" in the 2000 presidential election is another example of a false dichotomy, where voters for Ralph Nader were told that a vote for Nader was a vote for Bush. One could not vote for what Nader stood for and be against both Bush and Gore's positions, in that logical fallacy. The Gore crowd relentlessly attacked the Nader voters because they said that even if Gore was less than ideal, Bush was worse. It was the lesser evil argument. When people choose the lesser evil, they still get evil. The "lesser evil" argument is known also as realpolitik, where power takes precedence over ideals, because it is supposedly "realistic." Machiavelli was one of the fathers of political "realism."
 America was the only nation in the United Nations that abstained from voting on holding the Convention on the Rights of the Child (the vote was 150-0-1). America also has the world's only standing government that refused to ratify the treaty that the convention created. One of the convention's resolutions was to ban the death penalty for children.
 See Chomsky and Herman, The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, The Political Economy of Human Rights, Volume I. pp. xiv-xvii. See also Bagdikian, The Media Monopoly, pp. 33-34.
 See Chomsky and Herman, After the Cataclysm, The Political Economy of Human Rights, Volume II. pp. 135-294.
 See Chomsky and Herman, After the Cataclysm, The Political Economy of Human Rights, Volume II. pp. 139-140.
 Pol Pot’s effort was more nationalistic than communistic. Targeting people with glasses (which meant they were literate) and the elderly was an attempt to eliminate anybody who knew Cambodia’s history, so Pol Pot could start with a “clean slate” and make himself the father of his country, like George Washington. See Thom Hartmann’s The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight, pp. 151-152.
 It was published in its July 31, 1978 issue, under the title, “Cambodia: An experiment in Genocide.” See an analysis of it in Chomsky and Herman, After the Cataclysm, The Political Economy of Human Rights, Volume II. pp. 163-166.
 See Chomsky and Herman, After the Cataclysm, The Political Economy of Human Rights, Volume II, footnote 85, p. 164.
 See Milan Rai, Chomsky's Politics, pp. 19-32.
 In December of 1998, America began bombing Iraq again, a bombing that continues to this day. The evening the December bombings began, I was literally sick over what we were doing to Iraq. Instead of writing another letter to the editor, that night I wrote an essay titled "In the Service of Empire." The next day I sent it to dozens of web sites, putting “Iraq” into an Internet search engine and firing off my essay to all the sites it hit. Both the political right and left published it. Hank Roth (a.k.a. The Golem) published part of it with other leftist essays the next day, and my work appeared around the Internet. One especially enthusiastic person was Ahmed Rami, who runs the Radio Islam web site. He posted it to his web site and offered to host on his site whatever I wanted to write. His offer spurred me into writing my web site. Ralph McGehee published my synopsis of his Deadly Deceits across the Internet; the Leading Edge International Research Journal published the first draft of my fluoridation essay, and had it on their web site. One of my readers reproduced my entire 600-page web site from 1996; Hank Roth published some of my letters to the editor, and my work was appearing across the Internet. Although I will allow anybody to publish my work (as long as they do not reproduce excerpts that misrepresent it), I decided that it would be best if I had one roof under which to house my work. This web site is that roof. I have to thank Ahmed for spurring me into creating this web site.
If the Ku Klux Klan or General Motors wanted to publish my work on the Internet, I would let them. That would not mean that I was endorsing their views, but it might mean that they were endorsing mine. The light can glimmer into the darkest caves. I would actually like to see my work grace neonazi web sites or corporate America's, as it may be able to reach people and soften their views. We are all in this together. The Radio Islam site is not filled with what I would call superb scholarship. In fact, it reproduces some of the most notorious anti-Semitic writings in history. It also reproduces the work of Chomsky and other scholars who are critical of Israel. I have used the Radio Islam site as a source of information. The only place I could find Henry Ford's International Jew writings (Hitler praised Ford's anti-Semitic crusade in Mein Kampf, and later called Ford one of his most important influences) was on Radio Islam's site. The problem with Radio Islam's site, though, is that writings such as The Protocols of Zion and The International Jew have credibility with Ahmed. His work is decidedly anti-Semitic. Ahmed lives in Sweden and spent time in jail for publishing his work. Even Sweden does not have that much freedom of speech. I did not know the nature of Ahmed's site when I emailed him my work on Iraq, but I certainly do not regret that I did so. I will not be contacting too many right wing sites when my site is finished, partly because it will be a waste of my time, as I doubt they will like what I have to say. Yet, if they want to publish my work, I will happily let them. The left wing will not like everything that I have to write about either. I doubt that any reader will totally agree with my work, as much of it is "out there," and I do not avoid controversial topics.
 See Orwell, The Orwell Reader, 1984 edition, p. 363.
 See the documentary Manufacturing Consent.
 See Edward Herman’s The Real Terror Network, pp. 151-199.
 Statement of RAWA, November 15, 2001.
 See Herman’s Beyond Hypocrisy, which is a hilarious/horrifying look at American establishment hypocrisy, so extreme that it goes beyond hypocrisy, and Herman had to find a new word to describe it, and he hit on chutzpah, and has given the Chutzpah Award to the most egregious cases of media hypocrisy. In his Doublespeak Dictionary in Beyond Hypocrisy, Herman defines the “chutzpah factor” thusly:
“Self-righteousness, arrogance, and a sense of superiority so great that gross double standards seem entirely reasonable and no self-interested action is beyond rationalization. This factor is positively correlated with size, power, and per capita income.”
 A good book on the inability of Rush Limbaugh to make coherent and logically consistent arguments is Ray Perkins, Jr. Logic and Mr. Limbaugh.
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