Freedom of Speech and its limits

Recently some internet sites have been pumping out news and opinions reporting the reaction to Goodreads cracking down on those few who victimized authors with the goal of destroying reputations and careers in publishing. Some of the comments in this debate are angry; some are celebrating, and some are waiting to see if these changes are real.

I’m not going to go into detail about this issue. Instead, I want to look closely at freedom of speech and its limitations.

Do sites such as Goodreads and Amazon have a right to define limits to freedom of expression on their private sector internet sites? The answer is yes as you will discover.


The Limitations of Free Speech

If you read the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution carefully [it is short and to the point], you will discover that it was clearly meant to protect the opinions of American citizens from government harassment and persecution and in no way does freedom of speech mean you can say or write anything you want anywhere at any time without fear of censorship.

For example, Censorship in America.com says, “For much of the nation’s history, the First Amendment was not held to apply to states and municipalities.  Entities without any prohibition in their own charters [in the private sector these charters are known as terms of use] were free to censor newspaper, magazines books, plays, movies, comedy shows and so on. Many did, as exemplified by the phrase banned in Boston.”

It wasn’t until the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Earl Warren [he served as Chief Justice 1953 – 1969] that the 1st Amendment was extended to local government—with no mention that freedom of expression in the private sector was protected by the U.S. Constitution.

Shaw Valenza.com says, “Federal free speech protections apply only to the government. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, for example, does not regulate private employers.”

North Iowa Today.com says, “A private-sector employer has a lot of latitude as to what’s permitted or not with respect to political speech, or pushing any view for that matter.”


The Consensus of the Public

In conclusion, “The [U.S. Supreme] Court has also decided that the First Amendment provides less than full protection to commercial speech, defamation (libel and slander), speech that may be harmful to children, speech broadcast on radio and television, and public employees’ speech. … Furthermore, even speech that enjoys the most extensive First Amendment protection may be restricted on the basis of its content if the restriction passes strict scrutiny.”

Even international law says, “Freedomofexpression is not absolute and every system of law provides for some limitations on it: For respect of the rights or reputations of others; for the protection of national security or of public order, or of public health or morals. This means that it is permissible to think the most evil and depraved thoughts, although giving expression to them may legitimately warrant a sanction.” Source: Centre for Law and Democracy

For sites such as Goodreads and Amazon, those restrictions are spelled out in their Terms of Use Agreements and these private sector businesses reserve the right to change the Terms of Use at any time.

Goodreads concludes its Terms of Use with “IMPORTANT: These Terms & Conditions of Service for Goodreads Services (“Agreement”) is a legal agreement between you and Goodreads Inc. By using or accepting the Services, you agree to be bound by the terms of this Agreement. If you do not agree to the Terms of this Agreement, do not use these Services. You agree that your use of the services acknowledges that you have read this Agreement, understand it, and agree to be bound by its Terms and Conditions.” For more details about the Goodreads Terms of Use, I suggest you click on the link and read them.

And if you go to Amazon’s Terms of Use, and you will discover, “Visitors may post reviews, comments and other content; and submit suggestions, ideas, comments, questions, or other information, so long as the content is not illegal, obscene, threatening, defamatory, invasive of privacy, infringing of intellectual property rights, or otherwise injurious to third parties or objectionable and does not consist of or contain software viruses, political campaigning, commercial solicitation, chain letters, mass mailings, or any form of ‘spam.’ You may not use a false e-mail address, impersonate any person or entity, or otherwise mislead as to the origin of a card or other content. AWS reserves the right (but not the obligation) to remove or edit such content, but does not regularly review posted content.”

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran and English-journalism teacher.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy that started life as a memoir and then became a fictional suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Global Readers of English

In the United States, Digital Book World.com reported, “In 2012, for the first time ever, online channels accounted for more book purchases than bricks-and-mortar retail in the U.S., according to new data from Bowker Market Research.

“In 2012 (through Nov.), 43.8% of books bought by consumers were sold online versus 31.6% sold in large retail chains, independent bookstores, other mass merchandisers and supermarkets. This is nearly a direct reversal of the situation in 2011, when 35.1% of books were sold online and 41.7% were sold in stores.”

In addition, Jeff Bezos said in the company’s fourth-quarter earnings report, “After five years, e-books [are] a multibillion-dollar category for us and growing fast—up approximately 70 percent last year. In contrast, our physical book sales experienced the lowest December growth rate in our 17 years as a book seller, up just five percent.” Source: Business Week.com (January 31, 2013)

Let’s look at this from a global perspective.

According to the British Council.org, there are about 1.5 billion English speakers in the world living mostly in seventy-one countries where there are at least a million or more English speakers (not counting Hong Kong, mainland China has 10 million), but how many are avid readers of English—someone who might buy books published in English?

With more books—including e-books—being sold online, you may want to know how many global readers are out there who might want to read a book published in English.

To get an idea, in this post, we’ll focus on five countries with a potentially large market for books published only in English.

1. United States
2. India
3. United Kingdom
4.
Canada
5.
Australia

For the United States, Book Business Magazine says 62.4 million Americans (20% of total population) are avid readers and 63% are women—34.9 million—leaving 23 million men.

Among avid readers in America surveyed by the AP, the typical woman reads nine books a year, compared with only five for men. Women read more than men in all categories except for history and biography. Source: npr.org

In India, the Deccan Herald quoted Ken Follet saying India has more English speaking readers than England … and increasing numbers of books are being sold here … There are apparently 89 million people in India for whom English is the first language. It is more than the number in England.

In addition, The Hindu.com reported, “Boom time for English-language books in India” … the number of books published in English is growing by 30 percent a year.

And “India is the only country in which books are published in some 18 languages, with English representing the most significant share at approx. 40-45 %. India ranks third behind the USA and England in the publication of English-language books. Source: buchmesse.de

In the United Kingdom—population 62.6 million—even with discounting, last year UK consumer publishing drew in sales of £1.7bn, up 36% on 2001. Adult fiction saw an increase of 44%, to £476m; and young adult and children’s fiction … saw sales more than double to £325m. Source: guardian.co.uk

Canada—population 34.5 millionCBC News reported January 2011, that Canadians buy about 2.7 million books a week. … Canada’s population is about 34.5 million, but 42% of Canadians are semi-illiterate and probably do not read many books leaving about 8.56 million Canadian adults—24.8%—that may be avid readers. Source: cbc.ca

Australia—population about 23 million—isn’t much better than Canada with 47% considered functionally illiterate. “That means they can’t read the instructions on a medicine bottle, they can’t read a map, they can’t read a recipe.” Source: abc.net.au

However, a major survey of how Australia engages with the arts revealed that 85% of Austrians—who had to be literate enough to read and answer the survey—are avid readers of poetry and literature. Source: the australian.com

Crunch the numbers and Australia may have 8.3 million avid readers—36%.

Note: To arrive at these numbers, children age 14 and younger were subtracted from the total along with the functionally illiterate.

You may be wondering how authors in, say, America, may sell his or her books in India, for example. Well, that’s where Kobo, Amazon and Apple help out.

Amazon has sold my English language e-books—for example—in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Spain, France and Germany.

Kobo has sold my work in the US, Canada and Great Britain while Apple’s iBookstore has sold copies in the US, Great Britain, Canada, and Australia.

In fact, Apple’s iBookstore is available in 51 countries and offers hundreds of categories including cookbooks, history books, biographies, picture books and children’s books with free books available in 155 countries. Source: Apple.com

Countries where there is an Apple iBookstore:

Argentina
Australia
Austria
Belgium
Bolivia
Brazil
Bulgaria
Canada
Chile
Colombia
Costa Rica
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
El Salvador
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Guatemala
Honduras
Hungary
Ireland
Italy
Japan
Latvia
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malta
Mexico
Netherlands
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Norway
Panama
Paraguay
Peru
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
United Kingdom
United States
Venezuela

Source: Smashwords.com

In addition, Amazon sells books in 11 countries:

Austria
Canada
China
France
Germany
India
Italy
Japan
Spain
United Kingdom
United States

 Source: Amazon.com

Note: On March 18, 2013, it was reported that Amazon opened an iBookstore in Taiwan.

And what about KOBO?

According to Kobo, they have attracted millions of readers from more than 170 countries, and Kobo-owner Rakuten’s CEO Hiroshi Mikitani has additionally stated that Kobo is “number one in France; they’re ahead of Amazon in Japan, partially because of us, and Australia and New Zealand as well.”

Then there is the Sony eBook Library store.

Discover more at Authors Finding Readers

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Taking it Global: Online Freedom of Speech versus the 6th Amendment

PBS.kids.org says, “Online bullying often called online harassment is a serious issue, and it’s getting more common.”

In fact, no one on the Internet—especially those that are transparent—is safe from an anonymous online bully, who uses the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution as a shield to abuse the character and/or reputation of individuals that are not anonymous online. For example, authors, who may also be publishers, often find their reputations as authors/publishers damaged by the comments of anonymous online bullies.

I have been doing extensive ongoing research on this issue due to my own run-in with a pack of these anonymous bullies recently (and a few years ago), and I have discovered that this is a problem that permeates Amazon (in addition to other sites such as Goodreads) affecting possibly hundreds and even thousands of people due to the fact that Amazon cannot, at this time, police itself efficiently or adequately to protect transparent people—mostly authors—that have become victims of alleged malicious and obviously premeditated attacks by anonymous people that demonstrate by their own words alleged sociopath-narcissist tendencies.

I have also come to the conclusion that we cannot blame Amazon.com for this toxic environment. Amazon is also a victim due to the “freedom of speech” dilemma. However, the 1st Amendment does not offer total protection from abusers.

1st Amendment Text: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Study these 1st Amendment words carefully. Nowhere does it say in the 1st Amendment that a private sector business and social network like Amazon.com cannot limit freedom of speech on its site. The key words are “Congress shall make no law …”, and Amazon.com does not make the laws.

In addition, The Freedom Forum clearly says that the First Amendment does not say anyone can say anything at any time, and the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an interpretation of speech without limits.

The Supreme Court has ruled regarding libel and slander: “Was the statement false, or put in a context that makes true statements misleading? You do not have a constitutional right to tell lies that damage or defame the reputation of a person or organization.” Source: Freedom Forum.org

The virtual world is a new legal arena and the courts are dealing with hundreds of libel law suits monthly and, true to form, legislation at the state and national level is moving slowly as this hot button issue over “freedom of speech” gives cause for caution. Our elected representatives do not want to be smeared with accusations that they are limiting freedom of speech so they must tread cautiously or lose votes.

However, there is another side to this issue that I haven’t seen expressed yet.  Freedom of Speech is only one of the rights/protections that the US Constitution offers its citizens. What everyone seems to have overlooked is the Confrontation Clause of the 6th Amendment of the United States Constitution.

The Confrontation Clause has its roots in both English common law, protecting the right of cross-examination, and Roman law, which guaranteed persons accused of a crime the right to look their accusers in the eye. In noting the right’s long history, the United States Supreme Court has cited Acts of the Apostles 25:16, which reports the Roman governor Porcius Festus, discussing the proper treatment of his prisoner Paul: “It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man up to die before the accused has met his accusers face-to-face, and has been given a chance to defend himself against the charges.” It has also cited Shakespeare’s Richard II, Blackstone’s treatise, and statutes.

By allowing people to hide behind an anonymous identity on the Internet and allowing them to write negative reviews/comments and even level ad-hominem attacks against easy to identify individuals who are transparent, the 6th Amendment rights of these transparent people have been violated because one cannot look his or her accuser/s face-to-face and eye-to-eye.

After all, how can any author, for example, who is transparent and working under his or her real name, defend against alleged anonymous bullies on Amazon.com (and similar sites such as Goodreads)—that leave negative reviews or even YES votes to support those anonymous, negative reviews/comments—and have a chance to defend his or her damaged reputation by facing his or her critic face-to-face and eye-to-eye?

In this example, knowing the history of your critic might be vital if it is discovered that an anonymous person leaving negative reviews/comments has a hidden history of this sort of behavior on the Internet spreading criticism, lies and ad-hominem insults in addition to using what is known as SockPuppets to gain an unfair advantage thus establishing premeditation—the law says that premeditation is the contemplation of a crime well enough in advance to show deliberate intent to commit the crime; forethought.

In conclusion, because going to court to resolve this hot button issue may be too costly and beyond the average citizen’s ability to pay for justice, this issue may be open to a lawyer or law firm to take pro bono or as a class action suit on a consignment and/or contingency basis. The defendant in this sort of class action case might be a consumer, social networking sites such as Amazon.com—an online community similar to a town, city, state or nation and therefore held responsible to uphold the protections offered by the U.S. Constitution to its Internet citizens.

In this case, a transparent victim online, such as an author or other individual, should have the right to demand knowing who his or her anonymous critic/accuser is that may be smearing his or her good name and/or product. After all, the online environment has created a court of public opinion that if unchecked may damage the reputation and well being of an innocent victim.

Of course, there may be a simple solution to avoid having this issue reach and be defined by the United States Supreme Court: When a transparent person claims his or her 6th Amendment rights when confronted by an alleged online anonymous bully, Amazon.com—for example—automatically provides an online form that the anonymous person may fill out revealing his or her real-life name, location and information leading to his or her online history that could then be verified before publication, or the anonymous person may decide to delete his or her review/comment and remain anonymous. If the anonymous person refuses to cooperate, Amazon may refuse to offer them a forum on its site and remove every review/comment made by that anonymous individual. Eventually, even the SockPuppets an anonymous person may have created might be revealed and vanish under such a policy.

To discover more about this issue visit:

Dealing with Internet Bullies

The Internet is not a Safe Haven for being Anonymous and Behaving Badly

Is this an example of Defamation?—not protected by the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Who’s behaving badly? A culture of arrogance

Ginmar: Alleged Cyber Bully, Troll and Stalker?

Found Guilty because of Reckless and False Speech – based on true events

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Censored but not Silenced: Part 5/5

Disclaimer: Before I conclude this series, I want to make it clear that I support the existence of Israel and its right to defend itself with America’s help, but I do not believe in the neoconservative political agenda of nation building by exporting democracy using America’s troops, bullets and bombs.

But—at the same time—I do not think it is a good idea to allow Iran to develop the bomb. If Iran wasn’t using its nuclear program, as it claims—to build nuclear bombs—why not follow China’s example and build thorium reactors that do not need weapons grade plutonium to generate electricity, but that is another topic. If you are interested, I recommend reading China blazes trail for ‘clean’ nuclear power from thorium.

Does that mean I support America going to war against Iran? Yes, but not to build a democracy but to make sure Iran never has a nuclear weapon. There are too many of these bombs already. Instead of building more, we should be dismantling them, because a conventional war isn’t as total as nuclear war.

Keep in mind that today’s nuclear weapons are much more devastating than what was dropped on Japan at the end of World War II. If you have no concept of that horror, I refer you to this site where there is an info-graphic that will show you. Click on Ingeniously Charting The Horrifying Power of Today’s Nuclear Bombs.

In addition, there are 17,300 of these modern nuclear weapons stockpiled by nine countries: Russia has 8,500; the United States 7,700; France 300; China 240; United Kingdom 225; Pakistan 90 – 110; India 80 – 100; Israel 60 – 80, and North Korea has less than 10.  Source: Ploughshares.org: World Nuclear Stockpile Report

_______________

Censored but not Silenced continued:

Neoconservatism is a branch of American conservatism that advocates assertive promotion of democracy, and American national interest in international affairs including by military means.  Neoconservatives also believe it is okay to lie to the public to achieve their political agendas—and I think that lies and any form of censorship go hand in hand.

To follow this reasoning further, Rupert Murdock, a billionaire and a known neoconservative has “hired Jews as his closest advisers. His support for Israel has been absolute. Arguably, it is his support for Israel, and for neoconism in general (for many years, he owned and funded the losses of the Weekly Standard), that helped solidify rightwing support for Israel.” Source: The Guardian.co.uk

Is it possible that Murdock—and/or other wealthy neoconservatives—are supplying the money supporting the IMED where Julie Lenarz is a fellow?

Before answering that question, you may want to read a post by Andrés Perez-Alonso, Neoconservatism, the Israeli Lobby, and other Power Relations, on a Website/Blog that has 1,536 linked sites compared to the 38 linked to Julie’s Think Tank.

Andrés says, “The historical neoconservative commitment to Israel has been so pronounced that even traditional conservatives like Russell Kirk have charged them with mistaking ‘Tel Aviv for the capital of the United States’.”

This—of course—brings me to the fourth group with another alleged political agenda that might have done almost anything for an American war in Iraq and then later in Iran. This political agenda is based on an old proverb that is both ironically Arabic in addition to being Chinese. It is a foreign policy doctrine commonly used to interact with a significant enemy through an intermediary rather than through direct confrontation.

The proverb says: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

What better way to defend the survival of Israel than to have the only super power on the earth wage wars in the Middle East against your enemies while manipulating the flames of conflict between the Sunnis and Shiites in addition to working behind the scenes to encourage an Arab Spring that has led to clashes between Islamic factions and/or rebellions and civil wars in Muslim countries like those in Libya, Syria, and Egypt. I would not be surprised if a political faction in Israel was behind the Lebanese Civil War that raged for fifteen years. An Islamic Middle East at war with each other and/or at war with America is not focused on the destruction of Israel. Instead of “Blood for Oil”, this is”American Blood for Israel’s survival”.

Return to Censored but not Silenced: Part 4 or start with Part 1

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy, a suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Follow”.

Censored but not Silenced: Part 4/5

I have learned that it is best to be suspicious of political nonprofit organizations with impressive sounding names that promise to achieve wonderful things and make the world a better place. They could be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

For example, some of the libertarian and/or conservative think tanks launched with support from the infamous Koch Family Foundation are: Citizens for a Sound Economy; Citizens for the Environment (the Koch brothers do not believe carbon emissions are causing global warming and want little or no restrictions on what causes air pollution); American’s for Prosperity (the Koch brothers advocate a smaller federal government, lower taxes and less federal oversight of the private sector); Patients United Now (against Obamacare); the Cato Institute; the Institute for Justice; the Institute for Energy Research; the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment, and the Heritage Foundation, etc.

If you want to learn more about the Koch brothers and their political beliefs, I recommend clicking this link.

I discovered that The Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy (IMED)—where Julie Lenarz is a fellow and where she publishes opinion pieces that she may use to support her other opinions posted on Julie’s Think Tank—was founded in 2009 by Sam Westrop.

And the IMED does not reveal its key funders. Instead it states that it receives no money from any government and relies on individual donations. Source: powerbase.info

Transparency is important so we all know where the money is coming from. Without transparency, it is possible to hide the real political agenda of an organization like the IMED.

However, there is another way to discover the alleged political agenda of the IMED by focusing on the people in charge.

Powerbase.info lists Jonathan Sacerdoti as one of the leading directors. If you click on the powerbase.info link, you will discover that Sacerdoti may be a strong supporter of Israel.

For example, powerbase.info said: “Sacerdoti appeared on BBC news programs four times in two days between 14-15 November 2012 and was described as being from the Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy giving the impression that he was a neutral expert on the region. Each time he defended Israel’s attacks on Gaza and each time no alternative perspective was given by the BBC.”

Sam Westrop is another leading director, and powerbase.info says he is a climate change denialist (Do you see a possible link to the Koch brothers, who are also climate change denialists?).

In addition, Westrop has a history of being involved in pro-Israeli politics. Powerbase.info says, “Westrop has also reportedly stated, after visiting Jordan and Syria: I did not find the Arabs romantic. I found them interestingly hostile. A mentality of very irrational hatred was evident everywhere, venom regurgitated by government propaganda. Decades of despotic rule have kept a perpetual mob mentality. There is not the ability for the individual to think about what the reality of their relationship with Israel may be.”

Then along comes Julie Lenarz—with Julie’s Think Tank—who allegedly dismisses and/or censors comments that do not support her own opinion and the alleged political agenda of the IMED that may be one and the same.

Then after considering Julie Lenarz own beliefs and support for the Iraq War, I wondered if there was a link between the IMED and American neoconservatives. More on this in the last post of this series.

Continued on March 6, 2013 in Censored but not Silenced: Part 5 or return to Part 3

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy, a suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Follow”.

Censored but not Silenced: Part 3/5

The “Blood for Oil” theory that some claim was the main reason for the Iraq War was not the only reason behind the war, and I pointed this out to Ms. Lenarz in the allegedly censored comment.

There are at least two other major factors—and maybe three—that have nothing to do with oil.

First, President G. W. Bush’s White House was dominated by neoconservatives who had (and still have) an agenda to export American style democracy by using the U.S. military—better known as building democracies using America’s troops, bullets and bombs to force countries/cultures to become democracies.

A post written by Jacob Heilbrunn and published by The National Interest says, “It seems, in other words, that neocons in the administration (of G. W. Bush) were arguing that what the CIA was warning about was a bunch of hooey. They had their own pet cause—nailing Saddam Hussein, creating a democracy in Iraq …”

Second, on Jan. 17, 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower gave the nation a dire warning about what he described as a threat to democratic government. He called it the military-industrial complex, a formidable union of defense contractors and the armed forces. Source: NPR.org

And today, the military-industrial complex in the United States is a growth industry that depends on war to thrive and continue to make profits. In the allegedly censored comment, I pointed out to Ms. Lenarz that the United States Defense budget is the largest in the world. Without war, there is no excuse for this huge expense. Total global defense spending is $1.738 Trillion and America’s share of that is $711 Billion or almost 41% of the global total.

In addition, I wrote that the private sector weapons industry in the United States is the largest in the world.  This sector sells weapons to other countries and/or political organization—including brutal dictators—and controls 41% of the global market.  Second place goes to China with 8.2% of the weapons market, and Russia is in third place with 4.1% of sales. The United Kingdom, France and Germany combined have 10% of the global weapons market.

Therefore, I pointed out to Ms. Lenarz, there are three different private sector/political organizations that may have lobbied for a war in Iraq:

1. The oil industry

2. neoconservatives (with many working in the G.W. Bush White House) wanting to build democracies with America’s troops, bullets and bombs

3. the weapons industry

In the next post, I want to focus on the The Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy.

Continued on March 6, 2013 in Censored but not Silenced: Part 4 or return to Part 2

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy, a suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Follow”.

Censored but not Silenced: Part 2/5

What is it that I allege was censored by Julie Lenarz?

The comment I’m talking about was a response that Ms. Lenarz made to a comment made by pabilos30 who said (February 21, 2013 at 7:35 am) : “Are you blind, the only (main) reason the US went into Iraq in the first place was to get leverage on the most valuable energy resource on this planet – Crude Oil. Sure Halliburton who CEO from 1995 – 2001 was none other than Dick Cheney. Halliburton oil services are now the main facilitator of Iraqi crude, of the 2.9 mbl/d total production over 70% of this is now exported to the US….. Now tell me the Bush didn’t go in for the oil!!!”

Julie replied to pabilos30 (February 21, 2013 at 12:56 pm): “Drop the ad hominem and people might start taking you seriously. Also, the “blood for oil” conspiracy is dead. http://instmed.org/2013/01/06/iraq-the-blood-for-oil-conspiracy-is-dead-2/

My allegedly censored comment pointed out that pabilos30 did not use an “ad hominem” when he or she said “Are you blind”. My thinking is that “Are you blind” is a question/interrogative and not a logical fallacy/ad hominem, a personal attack on Ms. Lenarz.

In fact, I do disagree with some of pabilos30’s claims. After all, I don’t think Ms. Lenarz is blind. I just think she is wrong. If I were to say, “You are so wrong”, before I offered my evidence, would she accuse me of an ad hominem attack?

I then suggested that Ms. Lenarz did not understand what a logical fallacy was and referred her to three books and a Website to learn.

  • The Structure of Argument by Rottenberg
  • Informal Logic by Walton
  • A Concise Introduction to Logic by Hurley
  • Professor Kevin deLaplante’s Critical Thinker Academy

Second, I focused on Ms. Lenarz’s “blood for oil” conspiracy is dead defense and pointed out that the support she offered for this claim was written by her and posted on the Website/Blog of the The Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy where she is a fellow.

Lenarz’s argument in that IMED post was that “invading Iraq was an extremely expensive undertaking for the US-led coalition with no guarantee or prospect of considerable profitability.”

I pointed out that the cost of the Iraq War was not paid for by any oil companies. I said that there is no tax in the United States to fund its wars. Wars are fought with mostly borrowed money that ends up growing the National Debt and that debt—if it is ever paid off—will be paid off by U.S. tax payers and not by oil companies.

And the American government is not in the business of making a profit, but oil companies are, and the oil reserves in Iraq are a known commodity. It isn’t a question of if they are there but that they are there proving that the Iraq War–that U.S. tax payers will eventually pay for–will benefit oil companies in the long run.

After all, oil reserves in Iraq may be the largest in the world according to recent geological surveys and seismic data. The Iraqi government has stated that new exploration showed Iraq has the world’s largest proven oil reserves, with more than 350 billion barrels. Officially confirmed reserves rank Iraq as third largest in the world at approximately 143 billion barrels. Henry Thompson at Aubrn.edu says “Selling this oil at an average profit of $75 per barrel for the next 100 years will generate $15,000 trillion income.”

And the Iraq War Cost the United States about one trillion dollars. There is a HUGE difference between one trillion and $15,000 trillion.

Continued on March 5, 2013 in Censored but not Silenced: Part 3 or return to Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy, a suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

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