PressLinks: BLOWS AGAINST THE EMPIRE

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Absolute capitalism corrupts absolutely ?  Watch as the world’s sole ‘SuperPower’ descends into the jaws of hell and depravity. Again.The Shadenfreude at moments like this is delicious. Go sheeple, go! Now, is there a hole for me to get sick in?

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/opinion/os-ed-black-friday-tradition-112913-20131126,0,6022172.story

It gets better?

SeeMeFeelMe

See me? Feel Me? Touch Me? Heal Me?

Share the love guys, you could be kicked to death over an iPad in the coming hours.

http://www.seattlepi.com/news/crime/article/BLACK-FRIDAY-2-hurt-near-Chicago-area-store-5020286.php

In response to many American friends and acquaintances who ask in all sincerity? Beirut, OMG, how could you live there, OMG…..

The alternative is what? Walmart and Gommorrah?  That twisted wreckage you call a free country? Maybe changing the motto on the dollar to “In God We Shop”?   Look on the bright side, if you missed the holy shopping pilgrimage, you can still find a random elderly person and punch them in the head for no reason, and post the phone cam images to YouTube. Yes, you too have something to live for.  Question is? is it worth it?    Whoever thought we’d see the fall of Rome twice in two millennium. You go boys!

We know the economy is bad everywhere, but when retail starts to flag here, people just do fifty percent sales on Winter Clothing in…..OMG! Winter.   I swear though, when imported cigarettes reach the two dollar mark in Lebanon, I may just quit.

Enjoy your freedoms. If that’s what you think they are.

News about News: Why the West won’t Trust “Citizen Journalists” in Syria

 

imageshttp://www.newrepublic.com/article/115020/syrias-news-smugglers-they-go-where-professional-journalists-wont

An excellent story from New Republic, on the changing face of reportage. Time to rethink what constitutes a journalist , and what separates Journalists from Propagandists. Or whether such distinctions are, or were, ever possible.  The tone is balanced, but the underlying itch is how the world tends to relegate citizen journalists as activists and to demand corroboration and verification.

How far is this kind of amateur coverage of events different than the newest nonce phrase : ‘ An official who cannot be named because they are not authorized to speak to the press” ???  When double speak is the lingua franca, where do we go from here?

The information may want to be free, but it’s got a helluva way to travel before that happens.

“I read the news today, oh boy….about a lucky man who made the grade,

He blew his mind out in a car, he didn’t notice that the light had changed……”

-Lennon & McCartney

“A Day in the Life”

THE FAUX-LERS GUIDE to JOURNALIST’S CLICHES (Updated)

1203_words-FB

Once, several years back, I ran a list of words used by bullshit journalists to make their job easier. Words that lose meaning fast but save time. You might consider the following in light of the civil war in Syria. Feel free to comment and add your own.

ACTIVISTS: from the beginning of the conflict in Syria? ‘Activists’ have become some new breed of human being. These were the people supplying a lot of on the ground footage. Such footage was always ‘unverifiable’ first off. Secondly, does someone taking phone cam pictures make them an activist?  Or writing what they saw. And why the proviso that it is not up to some international standard of journalism?

Add to that the fact that acvist is usually reserved for people who demonstrate and protest wrongs in their society or world. The term activist then, implies that these people are the ‘good guys.’ Poliitcal good guys. I’m not going to argue that points

Just not good enough for us to believe them. Suggested  proper  words: ‘civilian’ or ‘Free Army supporters” or “Assad supporters. Though most of them meriting  government support or bear the golden stamp of SANA approval.  SANA, to be frank, is not an independent news agency. It is the government’s press outlet.

STRONGHOLD: usually called an attack on a Hizbullah ‘stronghold’ The word stronghold conjures automatically a central base of military forces.  As it stands, the Dahya in South Beirut,or  Hermel, and Ba’albak, is reported along the lines of “Hizbullah Stronghold Hit’  These places may be predominantly Shia.  Hizbullah offices may be in that particular block. Very often  Press Offices, Arhve Centers, Charity organizations and naturally, poliical offices.  What of the civilians, pro and anti Hizbullah, subjected to the engines of terror. As the situation deteriorates, will we start seeing Christian Strongholds…….Lebanese Forces strongholds, Sunni Strongholds? That makes it much more palatable to news readers around the world despite the fact that very often it is the civilian population being rocketed. It’s safe, its good strategy, to target military centers of your enemy. Targeting neighborhoods of Shia, Druze, Sunni or Christian? is not usually a military target.  Can’t you be a  bit more to the point ? And more human?

AN OFFSHOOT OF SHIA ISLAM: ie, the Allawis. Do your homework people. More apropros might be a heterdox sect arising from Orthodox Shiism. As it stands, this offshot adds fuel to the fire on the ground that somehow they are the same thing. If they were the same thing , former Syrian Mufti Ahmed Kuftaro would not have needed a fatwa to assure people that the Allawis are considered a sect within the confines of Islam. Its simple word crunching to readers who now see a very grey and volatile situation boiled down to a Sunni/Shia war.

SUNNI: Sunni’s have usually made a point to distance themselves from the extremists sects known as Salafi, Wahhabi, or Takfiri, depending upon who you speak with. Again. Get it right. Sunni extremists are far more misleading than the term Salafi, often freely used by Salfists themselves. Among the real scholars of Islam in Sunni circles? The Salafis are a corrupEyted, relatively new innovation in Islam.

REGIME: An oldy, but goodie. Just a bit too colorful to label a regime as black, evil and dictatorial. Assad’s government is a regime. The US government is ? A ‘government’….go figure. Iran is naturally a ‘regime’. Turkey is not. Say the latest news reports on their crackdowns on dissent. Egypt   it appears, may be in between regimes. Most regimes are autocratic rule. Nearly all of them are reserved for what George Carlin once called ‘brown people’. Or in his particular rant, people we white people can bomb.  Is Saudi a regime?The pieces of Afghanistan? North Korea versus South Korea? China? Russia? Pakistan? Sri Lanka? Jordan?

Especially in light, from a US-centric point of view, that country has often stopped at nothing to keep their favorite ‘ regimes’ in power.

Define your terms people. Otherwise we are in for another long bout of lazy, bullshit journalism that only several years ago all ‘copypasta’ed’ the infamous “worst fighting since the 1975 to 1990 civil war to describe Lebanon’s unrest. A few journalists out there do bother to use appropriate language.  Most don’t .    If you can’t come up with an accurate phrase by deadline time? I suggest you find another job.

ROCKET ATTACKS IN SOUTH BEIRUT: IS THIS THE TIPPING POINT?

Two men inspect their damage house after two rockets hit their area in a Beirut suburbs

The political and military brinksmanship of the last fortnight may have just reached critical mass with Sunday’s rocket attack on the Dahya, a day after Hizbullah frontman Sayyid Hassan Nasrullah committed his party to a direct and public role in the Syrian War.

Beirut

May 26, 2013

We can’t say we didn’t see it coming. It’s been a  hardcore waiting game now for weeks. Between the growing border crisis in the Hermel region, and sectarian mudslinging and provocation between the countries numerous splinter factions; it was clear that some kind of war would be delivered to our doorstep.  It was a ‘when’ , not an ‘if’ question.

While Tripoli has seen escalations in fighting between pro-Asad and pro-Syrian Free Army supporters, it burst onto world headlines in the past week as the city burned in reaction to the crucial battle being fought across the border in Qusayr.  A battle that saw Hizbullah fully acknowledge their role in backing Syrian President Bashar al Asad and his troops.

World attention, and policy makers meanwhile, have been growing increasingly uneasy about the nature of the ‘rebel’ factions fighting for Syria.  The influx of foreign military aid and jihadis as well as the swiftly changing face of the rebellion in places like Aleppo, made for nervous second thoughts about ousting Asad.  The most organized and zealous of the rebel forces were clearly the  Salafi-Islamist splinter groups. Sharia law was being implemented where the jihadi presences were strongest. When one of the leading Islamic militias openly claimed allegiance to Qaeda?  International politicos begin mouthing the word ‘ blowback’ and calling their stockbrokers. An image of  jihadi elements dominating  any new system of rule in Syria tended to piss on the cornflakes of a lot of people.

There are a lot of unanswered questions in the wake of the rocket attacks this morning in the Dahya district of Beirut.  The Lebanese Armed Forces quickly discovered the rocket launches outside the city near the Mount Lebanon governate.  The rockets, identified as GRAD rockets point up the role many nations have chosen to play in the spreading conflict.  Whether or not they were recent  Russian made or the more widely dispersed Cold War models was not stated.  Since Russia has firmly committed to Asad in the conflict, and Hizbullah is also an ally of the embattled regime; it seems likely the weapons were of an older make.  International players have turned the Syrian conflagration into an international one as the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others have aligned with rebel forces in varying degrees, while Iran, the Lebanese Hizbullah and Russia favor Asad and his troops.

It was only a matter of time before the isolated pockets of street battles, political backstabbing and the occasional car bomb would begin its escalation to what may very well break Lebanon in pieces -yet again-  according to sectarian divides.  The engine of war is primed, this time to pit the often Western backed Sunnis against Iranian backed Shia.  Lebanese politicians were quick to advise caution and circumspection in the wake of the attacks, pointing out that to give into knee jerk retaliatory reprisals would only play into the hands of those vested in weakening Lebanon.  President Suleiman and caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati urged caution in the coming hours and days; fully aware that the latest escalation could quickly degenerate into fighting reminiscent of the country’s  fifteen year civil war.

While Louay Meqdad, spokesman for the Free Syrian Army, denied FSA involvement,  a less cautious member of the FSA , Ammar Awawi claimed responsibility citing it as a warning to Lebanon to reign in  Hizbullah for its involvement in the Syrian conflict. His comments were dismissed by FSA Brigadier Selim Idriss.  The fact that the FSA may have a sufficient presence in Lebanon to pull off such an attack doesn’t bode well.  Nor does the possibility that it is a homegrown jihadi assault. This, as the saying goes, cannot end well.

Whether or not this latest volley in fast spreading conflict is really the final straw or just another in a series of acts that ratchet up local tensions till the inevitable descent of the region into all out war remains to be seen.  It might be safe to borrow another less poetic metaphor than straw and camel’s backs, though.  No matter how you slice it, it’s “Mr. Shit? May I introduce you to Mr. Fan?” time.

JH