Sunday, September 15, 2013

Media: Syria's not a simple upgrade

Whether they catch it on HGTV, W or OWN, many Americans have tuned in to Love It Or List It.  The basic premise is that a family finds a home unpleasant, for whatever reason, and they contemplate buying a new one.


On the fan favorite version, Hilary Farr and David Visentin show up to assist the family.  Hilary's goal is to do improvements to the home to make the family love it while David tries to find them a new home so that they will list their current home for sale.

The fan favorite?

There's another version of the show airing on HGTV as Love It Or List It but, elsewhere, it airs under the title Love It Or List It Vancouver.  This version stars Jillian Harris and Todd Talbot.

As with the fan favorite version, it's the woman that stands out; however, for everything Hilary does right, Jillian does a hundred things wrong.

We were thinking of Jillian on Friday.  That's because, on the latest edition of FAIR's weekly radio program CounterSpin, Peter Hart spoke with Rania Khalek begging the question: Why?

First off, if Khalek has a problem with the US Communist Party, why doesn't she just say that instead of hinting?  They're the ones she's furious with for being supportive of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.  Second of all, who the hell is she?

The Communist Party has been clear where they stand, what's the woman's problem with it?  Clearly, she has one.  She'll hint around about the Communist Party but she won't even say what her problem with the opinion is.  Apparently, it's that she dislikes al-Assad.

We don't worship politicians to begin with.  But if we want to call out the Communist Party for something, we'll call them out.  If we think they're wrong about something that matters, we'll note our disagreement.
Rania Khalek has an opinion of al-Assad.  Based on what we're not allowed to know.  Maybe a better interview would be one where the host and the guest explain and not simply repeat White House assumptions?  That is how it came off.

Rania also wanted to slam peace groups in the US for not meeting with her pet-group of 'rebels' in Syria.

Syria's in the midst of a civil war and the US government has helped fuel that.  Certain groups (and, yes, we know who she's pointing the finger at in her cowardly way) don't want to meet with them.  But, guess what, no one is obligated to.

Even more important, no one should.

Raina pet-group is a group of civil activists -- native Syrians -- who are working within their own country to press for civil rights and liberties.  This group -- a small one -- is unarmed.  This group has been working since 2011.  They are similar, in many ways, to the group of Iranians working in Iran to press for increased rights and liberties.

And what hurts that Iranian group?  When they are seen as US stooges or puppets.

That's true of the Syrian group.  The most peace groups in the US could do was amplify awareness of that group's aims.  Anything else, even a sister-cities type partnership would lead the Syrian group to being tarred as 'western' or 'US-backed.'

If she had called out any peace leader in the US -- Socialist, Communist, Libertarian, Democratic, Green, Independent, independent, non-political, etc -- a real leader would have replied and would have noted what we just did.

Now let's deal with Raina's larger nonsense.  The US government is not helping those activists.  Did the White House help the activists in the kingdom of Bahrain.  Does she have a critique of the White House based on that?  If so, fine.  Please offer it.  Offer anything.  You instead engaged in a private conversation with Peter Hart where you both assumed nothing needed to be backed up, no point needed to be explained or established.

We are not spokespeople for the peace movement in the US but we can make a generic statement that A.N.S.W.E.R., The World Can't Wait, International Action Center, MoveOn, and others can agree with: We do not want a military strike on Syria.

Many -- if not all -- would further add that a strike would assist one side in the ongoing war (since a strike would target the Syrian government, a strike would back the armed 'rebels').

In such a climate, why is it necessary to meet with any group of Syrians opposed to their government? If the point is to keep the US military out of Syria, it is only natural that you refrain from allowing yourself to be duped or to look like a dupe.

Raina apparently has yet to learn the dangers of looking like a dupe.

In that way, she is exactly like Jillian.

If you're the person trying to improve the home on Love It Or List It, you've got the hard job.

When Hilary attempts to remodel, she seems to find structural damage in every basement and either black mold or asbestos.  (In one home this summer, she hit the trifecta -- the load bearing wall wasn't present, the home had asbestos and then they discovered black mold.)

The way it works is that the family in question picks a top dollar amount that they can pay for another home.  David (or Todd) then goes looking for properties that meet the budget as well as the family's need.  David's biggest crime -- why he so often loses -- is going out of the area the family wants to live in.  His own ego destroys him more often than not.

Hilary has the more difficult task.  The family tosses in a much lower amount for renovations.  $60,00 is a common number -- even when, as with one family, they're living in a home that's a few thousand short of being worth a million dollars.

With that $60,000 they tend to want a great deal.  In the almost-million-dollar home, for instance, they wanted a bedroom created somewhere in the house, a remodeled bathroom on the third floor, a new bathroom on the second and an additional full kitchen (for catering).  There were other minor details but that was the main thing.

To be the Hilary means drawing up plans that always fall apart because the contractor starts working only to discover black mold or structural or plumbing issues which have to be addressed.  These issues often take up the bulk of the budget.

Hilary handles it all and always manages with little fuss.  Jillian, by contrast, seems to forget she's working for the family she's complaining about.  Jillian's really too young for the role and that's especially obvious when you grasp that she sounds a lot like Lindsay Lohan.

Raina lacks maturity as well.  She's one of those something-must-be-done!!! types.  But the remodel she's proposing for Syria will accomplish nothing.  Again, the peace advocates in Syria attempting to change their government do not need to be tagged "US flunkies."  The further they stay away from the US, the better.  Raina thinks she can slap on some wall paper to cover up reality and that we'll all be taken in.  In other words, she's less a journalist and more a ringer for the White House.   Syria's not going to be fixed by outsiders anymore than the addition of an ever-popular granite counter is going to convince everyone to lay down arms. A few throw pillows won't make the tragedy look any better and it's a real shame that Raina preaches cosmetic flourishes as opposed to anything meaningful.

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