On March 1st, author/blogger Lila Rajiva, http://mindbodypolitic.com
, posted a critical piece on a couple-or-three paragraphs I’d written about Baltimore publisher Agora Inc. Ms R. seems to have hung on every word, maximizing her “hit” ratio with verbal ammunition, although she does not
give her readers an actual link or title citation to my article that she quotes, as one might expect a responsible journalist would do. To make up for her shortfall, the article in question is “The Debt-For-Nature Scheme” and was not designed as a hit-piece on Agora Inc. The Agora paragraphs are brief and general within the context of Debt-For-Nature. http://jenniferlake.wordpress.com/2009/10/10/the-debt-for-nature-scheme/
Who is Lila Rajiva? She is Agora Inc. founder Bill Bonner’s co-author of “Mobs, Messiahs and Markets”. She has a Wikipedia biography http://mindbodypolitic.com/about/
listed on her ‘about’ page (here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lila_Rajiva
) A native of India (one assumes from the bio), Rajiva did doctoral work in the US and resides in Baltimore (and Argentina as well?), and has authored 2 books: (quoting wiki) ”The first book examines the place of Iraqi prisoner torture in U.S. culture and politics and is a study of propaganda; the second book details mass delusions and explains why they continually arise.”
I wonder why Ms. Rajiva has even bothered to critique me, small fish that I am. By taking the Agora material out of context and supposing me a ‘rookie’, is she making sport of a ‘soft’ target? or did she perceive an opportunity to weave ‘spin’ according to her credentials as a somewhat-authority in “propaganda” and “delusion”? I have no doubt that my regular readers have an interest in unwinding the ‘spin’ and getting down to fundamentals about real world problems and their causes. I also don’t doubt that Ms. Rajiva has similar interests, if she could just figure out which side of the fence she’s on, but that’s purely my wish. Maybe she knows exactly her position. As it stands, she straddles fact and fiction and moves the fence when it suits her.
Rajiva claims “while googling, I stumbled on some weird material by a blogger Jennifer Lake, who seems to have gotten some facts mixed up about libertarian newsletter publisher, Agora Inc. [I've since had time to read through her archives and many of her entries are overtly anti-semitic]“
The first thing LR wants to tell you before launching her critique is “weird” and “overtly anti-semitic”. The second hyperlink leads to 3 posts that quote from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. I’ve referred to the Protocols myself as “hoax or not” they seem to be acted upon in the implementation of official policy. The quotes are supported by demonstration in the body of the blog. Is it “weird”? –ee-yeah! We’ve all heard the maxim ”fact is stranger than fiction” and in the world of advanced technology and medical science, which is a dominant theme in my blog, this is surreal weirdness. The objective existence of the Protocols makes it “fact” but only in demonstration can it be determined if it’s true, and I’ve found the principles of the Protocols underlying much ‘truth’ in the outcome of events. Apparently, as Ms. Rajiva will have it, that makes one an anti-semite.
Anti-semitism is certainly an issue as a ‘weaponized’ charge and confessed “trick” that has been used to generate opposition to legitimate claims, criticisms, and dissent against Israeli or Jewish actions. In Ms. Rajiva’s blog post “Israel-Palestine Problem Exhibits Wound of PTSD”, she writes, “For Jews, the great trauma is, of course, the Holocaust itself, the systematic and ultimately incomprehensible slaughter of one-third of world Jewry
Slaughter of one-third? Is that a “fact”? If I question the source and accuracy of her statement, I would be labeled ‘anti-semitic’ and a (worse) ‘Holocaust denier’, however I deny no one the legitimacy of their personal suffering. In fact, I agree with Lila that “they need therapy”. What’s interesting is that this hyperlink is the top of her critique, not related to the content of Agora or the article she is quoting from, which is never cited in the first place.
As for ”some facts mixed up” about Agora: how badly did I do?
“[Lake]“Agora Inc. was established as a publishing company in Washington D.C. in 1979 by its founders; William Bonner, Jim Dale Davidson, Porter Stansberry and Lord William Rees-Moog.
(Lila: I don’t believe Stansberry was involved in founding it…he might not even have been born would have been very young at the time; and it’s Rees-Mogg. Moog is the electronic synthesizer. Also, most people who’ve written on the subject don’t mention Rees-Mogg as a founder, except Lyndon Larouche. Besides Larouche, the person who harps on Rees-Mogg is a minor Internet spammer…”
—like I said, in context I was generalizing. Stansberry founded 2 or more later divisions of the various businesses under Agora’s umbrella. That makes him a founder, or ‘partner’ if you prefer, in the expanding establishment. He was not an original incorporator in 1979. If I erred, it was for being too brief and nonspecific but I’ll take a lesson. It was not my intention to belabor the Debt-for-Nature article. Instead, I offered a source link which details the original founders as Bill Bonner and James Dale Davidson. Rees-Mogg was included in my statement precisely because others identify him as a founder, one of whom LR describes as “ a credible left-oriented writer”. Good thing LR caught that “Moog” mix-up so nobody thinks I was referring to a synthesizer! It was probably a typo on my part and I’ve been criticized before for not correcting typos. Consider me ‘slapped’. I only used his name once, so who knows if it was a typo or not– I don’t even know. A lot of what follows this is apologist drivel, which Rajiva couches as “Not to defend Agora, but…” and proceeds to defend Agora. LR confirms rather than refutes more of what I’ve written, such as disreputable stock promotion, government connections, charges of fraud, etc. and writes this about her own efforts at exposing Agora:
“.. I’ve been quite critical of Agora (within the limits of what you can say of a place where you once worked)”…”I posted a detailed criticism of Agora that I later took down to avoid claims of defamation“
We’ll have to take her word for it that such a publication existed and was as damaging as she suggests, though I do not find Ms. Rajiva a credible exposer under the circumstances. As she points out by way of another veiled hyperlink, noted as “other facts” concerning the murder of an Agora employee who may have found out inconvenient truths as his widow believes, knowing or exposing things about Agora could be hazardous. Much safer just to talk about how honest and forthright you’ve attempted to be.
The larger criticism in all this appears to be a “lack of evidence” charge. Since her readers probably don’t know that LR quoted every single word about Agora in the Debt-For-Nature article, and wasn’t simply highlighting the passages of some ‘tell-all’, it stands to reason that there just isn’t very much there. She says she’ll do some homework, but will she post it? Considering the off-putting nature of the “overtly anti-semitic” content on my blog, which begins and ends the article, LR had already censored herself with ”confirming my decision not to link the material” that was otherwise supportive (of something at variance with the sanitized Agora, one gathers?)…and so, in all, she has demonstrated the limits of her offering as just another disingenuous propagandist willing to protect and apologize for criminals.