Tag: bloggers

How Many “L’s” Are There In “Gullible”?

Egg meet face. Or maybe not. Yesterday, your Bloguero became incensed that Syrian authorities or other bad people had seized or kidnapped Syrian Blogger Amina Abdallah, and your Bloguero rushed to post about it, not just here but at about five other sites, using a photo your Bloguero (and most of the world’s media) then thought was Amina Abdallah.

Almost immediately, the claim arose that the woman in the photo wasn’t really Amina.  No, it was apparently somebody else, from England, named Jelena Lecic.  OK, your Bloguero thought, somebody is trying to undercut the kidnapping story. Then your Bloguero, ever suspicious, thought, no, Amina had used somebody else’s picture so that she would not be so easily identified by Syrian police thugs.  That made sense.  Then your Bloguero thought, well, and maybe her nom de ecran isn’t her real name either.  And then, gnawing at your Bloguero’s brain stem, the thought arose, “Ut oh.  Maybe you’re gullible and maybe this whole thing is just an enormous hoax.”  That ugly, reptilian thought was one your Bloguero immediately filed in his vast personal filing cabinet of ugly, reptillian thoughts.

Your Bloguero thought, “Well, let’s see what is next.”  Today what was next was not pretty. MSNBC reported that Jelena Lecic claims that Amina stole her identity:

The reported disappearance of a gay Syrian-American blogger has attracted skepticism after a London woman claimed the photos published by news organizations worldwide are of her, not of the blogger, and that the blogger stole her identity a year ago.

… News sites, including msnbc.com, reported the 36-year-old writer’s disappearance on Tuesday, along with a photo of her.

On Wednesday, a London publicist said photos circulating are actually of Jelena Lecic, a Croatian woman who works as an administrator at the Royal College of Physicians in London. Lecic believes her identity has been used before by Arraf.

Jelena Lenic, who lives in London, said her photo was used alongside stories about a missing Syrian blogger. The blogger has previously claimed photos of Lecic were of her, she said.

“Just over a year ago, a friend called Jelena up and said, ‘Do you have another identity up on Facebook? Because there’s someone else who has your pictures up but not your name,” publicist Julius Just told msnbc.com. “She and her friend complained, and Facebook removed it, and she believed it was the end of the matter.”

But when news of Arraf’s disappearance broke, Just said Lecic saw her photo alongside the story in London’s Guardian newspaper. It was one of the same photos her friend had spotted on Facebook a year ago under a different profile name: Amina Abdalla Arraf….

[Lecic’s] publicist said he questioned whether Arraf was a real person.

“She could be a composite. Who knows? She claims online that she was born in the United States, but researchers can find no records of her born in the U.S.,” Just told msnbc.com. “Why would you take another woman’s identity and claim it as your own? If she is real, Jelena is extremely concerned for her and her family, but her identity has been stolen. This is a serious situation.”

Egged on by the “publicist” MSNBC reported that apparently nobody had seen Amina in person.  And it wondered aloud whether she existed. It accepted without investigation that claim that there was no record of her in the US.  Heaven knows how the “publicist” could know that. One thing is for sure: if she didn’t exist, the story of the kidnapping was baloney. Hmmm.  That too sounded odd.

So apparently a woman who is an administrator at the London College of Physicians has a “publicist”.  And that publicist is now speculating on whether or not Amina really exists.  And talking about an investigation of US records about Amina.  How curious.

Maybe your Bloguero should go around with a shirt with an enormous “G” for gullible stenciled on it.  Maybe not.  The compelling part of the story is that a blogger would be targeted by the government or thugs because of what she said and would be kidnapped or seized or maybe even disappeared.  As a blogger, your Bloguero felt compelled to speak out about this.  And he did.  But today there is still that loud gnawing on your Bloguero’s brain stem.

Is your Bloguero (and the rest of the Blogosfero) being played for the sentimental, self righteous fool?  And if he is, is this just the latest attempt by Syrian and other despotic authorities to silence the chattering Blogosfero?  Or is the story a real one?

Amina’s blog, “A Gay Girl In Damascus,” hasn’t been updated since late Monday.  The story in the Traditional Media is now no longer about a kidnapping.  It’s about whether there was a hoax.


cross-posted from The Dream Antilles

Free Amina!!


MSNBC reports that Amina Araf, who under the nom de plume Amina Abdallah, wrote the blog, Gay Girl In Damascus, and was “an unlikely spokesperson for the largely anonymous anti-government protests sweeping Syria” has been seized (or is the word “kidnapped”) and is missing:

American-Syrian Amina Araf… was walking with a friend when three men in their twenties grabbed her, someone claiming to be her cousin wrote. Being openly gay is very unusual and risky in the region.

“One of the men then put his hand over Amina’s mouth and they hustled her into a red Dacia Logan with a window sticker of Basel Assad,” a person identifying calling herself Rania O. Ismail wrote on the blog Monday night.

In other words, she is much like you, dear reader.  She was just a blogger.  She wrote about what she was experiencing in a Syria in flux. And she talked about her life.  But in that corner of the world, her views, her life were both enough to bring serious reprisals.  Like kidnapping.  Like summary arrest.  Like being disappeared.  

The blog reports:

I have been on the telephone with both her parents and all that we can say right now is that she is missing. Her father is desperately trying to find out where she is and who has taken her.

Unfortunately, there are at least 18 different police formations in Syria as well as multiple different party militias and gangs. We do not know who took her so we do not know who to ask to get her back. It is possible that they are forcibly deporting her.

From other family members who have been imprisoned there, we believe that she is likely to be released fairly soon. If they wanted to kill her, they would have done so.

That is what we are all praying for.

What an extremely scary story.  She is someone other bloggers should immediately stand up for.  We should be demanding her immediate release.

Please contact the Syrian Embassy in Washington and demand that Amina be freed.  Please broadcast this request widely.


cross-posted from The Dream Antilles

Bloggers Behaving Badly: FDL Moderating Team

In follow-up to a post I made regarding an entry by Rusty1776 at FDL, I want to let people know that the site moderators have falsely removed the entry in question as spam and banned Rusty from posting.

Rusty’s entry, which in no way violated site rules, argued that it is immoral for Democrats not to issue a primary challenge to Barry Obama in next year’s election for the office of the presidency.  He was subsequently flamed by Bill Egnor, Rayne, RBG, Kelly Canfield, and a suck-up named newtonusr, who apparently took it upon himself to stalk Rusty across at least two threads with the intention of goading him to angry outburst.  The plan worked, and the moderators got the pretense they required to ban Rusty from FDL.

That this happened should not be surprising.  FDL is, like Daily Kos, Open Left, and other so-called leftist blogs, in reality a right-wing gatekeeper blog designed to neuter any real organization by the Left that is independent of the right-wing Democrat Party.  Its moderators have proven over and over again that their sole purpose is to maintain an online environment wherein people may complain about how bad the Democrats have become, but are not allowed to do anything beyond that.  People like Jeff Roby are similarly intimidated with the same tactics used to rationalize the banishment of Rusty1776, with the same message sent loudly and clearly: “You are here as window dressing for the veal pen.  Dare try to be or do more than that, and you are gone.”

This is why it is so important for genuinely independent blogs and activism sites to be independent of the Democrats, or for that matter, any political party.  As long as the Left remains tied to political parties, it remains subservient to the ambitions and interests thereof.

If there is anything positive about this latest abuse of power by a self-proclaimed liberal blog’s moderators, it’s that its agenda is now official, and now publicly exposed.


Egypt Explodes, US Video Media Gape

For the past five days, Egyptians have been in the streets protesting, calling for President Mubarak, who has served for thirty years, to step down.  It is a very big story.  Print media, understandably have trouble keeping up with it because so much is happening so quickly in so many places.  Putting up a written story takes time, time to write, time to edit, time to post.  Even if you’re lightning fast, print media (and the part of them that is on the Internet) aren’t built for this kind of speed.  But what about television?

This Post Was Originally Written on Daily Kos (And What’s Wrong with That?)

It is at least interesting to see the latest mainstream media insult circulate liberally across the country,  one designed to reduce bloggers to little more than reactive agitprop sensationalists.  This week it’s “(insert example of ridiculously overblown commentary here) could have been found on Daily Kos”.  I might take more offense, except when I know the major players frequently fall far short of their own lofty journalistic standards.  We’ve consistently recognized, called out, and sometimes outright mocked op-ed columnists, television commentators, pundits, and members of the fourth estate.  We shouldn’t expect a mea culpa any time soon.  But when we can produce all sorts of facts to prove our point, we can certainly make a strong case on our own behalf.  And we can certainly keep sharing our own voices for the benefit of all, unimpeded by what anyone might say.  

Comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable

What are journalists supposed to do?

They call handpicked invisible people on the phone and then write columns summarizing what they claim they said without identifying or describing a single one of them.

(They) just faithfully serve(s) as a mindless stenographer for hidden people whose credibility you’re told to accept even as they do nothing but spout manipulative, vapid idiocies about Churchillian Resolve designed to promote endless war.


(A)s excited as I am to be here with the President, I am appalled to be surrounded by the liberal media that is destroying America, with the exception of FOX News. FOX News gives you both sides of every story: the President’s side, and the Vice President’s side.

But the rest of you, what are you thinking? Reporting on NSA wiretapping or secret prisons in Eastern Europe? Those things are secret for a very important reason: they’re super-depressing. And if that’s your goal, well, misery accomplished.

Over the last five years you people were so good, over tax cuts, WMD intelligence, the effect of global warming. We Americans didn’t want to know, and you had the courtesy not to try to find out. Those were good times, as far as we knew.

But, listen, let’s review the rules. Here’s how it works. The President makes decisions. He’s the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put ’em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration? You know, fiction!

Wednesday Music; for Jill and for Adam

Jill Richardson runs La Vida Locavore, a blog about food. Jill writes her heart out about the politics of food safety, and her blog has attracted gardeners and farmers and people like me, who write there too sometimes.

Jill’s brother died last year. He was in his 20’s. Jill posted an essay late this evening about Adam, about how this would have been his birthday. “What can I give him?” she wrote.

Jill’s essay is here:  http://www.lavidalocavore.org/…

Adam died when he was 23. Jill’s essay is painful and beautiful.

I went to a concert the other day and I couldn’t stop thinking about him. He was so into music and he knew so much about it. He would have been happy I was going to a concert.

Below the jump is the music I posted over there. A moment of silence for a fellow blogger, please.

How do we HTML enable leftist bloggers?

I’ve been writing to and at and fro and and from and all over the place, with and from and to and for leftist bloggers since the early 90’s, way before there were bloggers..well, we were bloggers then, but the word had not been invented.

I’m now someone who knows some stuff about html, and where to find it. I can even put a photo in a post, and position it some.

But I see more and more that there are really good leftists out there who are sort of into the internet but are foggy and scared about it.

These people have so much to tell us. But still, they’re not only afraid to talk, but they don’t understand the photographic stuff that we work with here on the net, how we can do so many things with  our visuals.

We need these people. We need their help, their love, their photos, their stories.

Lots of them are just hanging around blogs like DocuDharma. I occasionally get a nice email from some great person like that, and I write back to these nice people; this is WONDERFUL.

So, how do we do it; how do we help the shy scared people get up here with the rest of us and recognize that they TOO can format HTML and post photos and not be afraid, not be afraid, not be afraid.

and have friends, have friends, have friends.

Srsly. I’m just starting to do this with BrokenRoots and it’s working. I have to keep my contact private, but, OMG!

There’s PEOPLE out there!

It’s so scary and amazing too!

I’m getting more and more feedback, as I go romping around YouTube and the blogs and writing and yelling louder.

What strikes me most is that I’m quickly running out of time to work with all the feedback I get. This means there are people out there all over the Internet looking and wanting to hear what I write, and what my tribe people write (like Dodudharma people) and contact me about it.

About how we must take charge of our world, and not wait for the authorities or politicians to do so.

It’s blowing me away.

So, how do we fix this to make it even easier for the peoples to help us take over the world and be friendly tribes with each other?


Whom Do You Trust?

There is a book by Vernor Vinge called a Fire Upon the Deep. It is a great space opera read, but that is not what this post is about. In the book there are many alien civilizations that use an intra-galactic network to communicate with each other. It is obviously modeled on the early internet. In this book it is often called “The Net of a Thousand Lies” as there is no way to verify every piece of information posted on it by ever poster. This too is similar to the internet. Which leads to the Dog’s question today; how do you decide what to trust and what to ignore?

Originally posted at Squarestate.net

How to change the bailout meme.

Let’s face it, we’re facing giving the bankster frauds and bosses another trillion (or two or, who knows where it will end). We all know that the Republicans will be happy to give that money to their natural allies, so we have to find a way to stiffen up what spine remains in the Democratic side of the duoparty (those who aren’t members already have shown spine). The question is, how to do this?

Cuba Stifles Blog Freedom. Again.

cross posted from The Dream Antilles


La Bloguera Yoani Sanchez

Cuban Blogger Yoani Sanchez, the 2008 Gasset y Ortega Prize winner for digital journalism, and her husband, Reynaldo Escobar, have been forbidden by the Cuban government from attending a blogger conference in Cuba.

Join me 90 miles South of Miami.

The elites’ pathetic props for the current system

This diary is about the G20 summit and the economy, but really it’s about the larger implications of a society which cannot let go of its status quo assumptions in time to save itself.  Here’s the false dilemma: either the current system must be saved, or the current system will fail.  The idea that we could switch over to another system, through a set of radical changes, cannot even insinuate itself into the conversation, outside of (perhaps) a marginal section of the blogosphere.  Yet this is what the world most needs.  In light of this, I recommend that we (bloggers) attempt to overcome resistance to some basic premises of thinking about the current situation.

(crossposted at Big Orange)

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