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AJE: The Morality Police And Enforcers Stalk The Globe, Biden; US Can Talk To Iran, Real Superbowl Stats

February 3rd, 2013 - by:

Disectorgram

Most Americans are obsessed with one event today—the Beyonce blessed Superbowl. So. enjoy without any lecture this year from me about the potential physical dangers to the players in this testosterone tango, or the cultural damage to our country of these often violent head-banging ultra-commercial sports spectacles that distract us from our daily distractions.

And, irony of ironies, this most super-American of moments takes place in the Mercedes Benz superbowl in the still Katrina-challenged and impoverished Big Easy.

On this small piece of non-commercial virtual not for profit “real estate,” we are hoping that this will be the week we bring you the newest version of the long departed MEDIACHANNEL.org, and that all the effort and the ordeal will turn out to be useful and worthwhile….

Tomorrow is our Supersite Day. Be There or Be Square for the relaunch of Mediachannel.org as still defined by the slogan: “As the Media Watch The World, We Watch The Media”

TUNE IN: I will be joining Reverend Jesse Jackson on his weekly radio program today Sunday Morning from 8-10 AM (EST online at KeepHopeAliveRadio.com

The Rev Jesse Jackson in Chicago. Jackson said: ‘My greatest fear in Chicago is that we might be taking death for granted.’ Media Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

•Jackson in the news–in England: Reverend Jackson Calls On Obama to Come to Chicago to Speak on Gun Violence

•NBC: Report: New York City mom found dead in Turkey

*Huff Post, Joe Biden: Iran Talks Possible As Long As Government Is Serious

•Guardian Report On Biden’s Signal To Tehran

Pardon Iran if they are not euphoric:

•NR: Ahmadinejad unveils Iran’s newest fighter jet

Dissection on Al Jazeera.Com: Enforcers and morality police stalk the globe

Enforcing a political line: Pressure tactics are used from Tehran to Brooklyn to Washington, DC.

When I was in Tehran, I learned about the odious practices of the morality police that hound women without proper head scarves, high heels, or immodest clothing.

Their practices and arrests of wrongdoers have been denounced widely as a case of Islamic authoritarianism and intimidation.

But then, we learned that Orthodox Jews have similar squads, perhaps without the power of the state behind them, to assure similar outcomes in their communities. Women are often the targets, but in certain Brooklyn neighborhoods so are stores that violate the sensibilities of the religious enforcement patrols. They demand that shops showcasing mannequins modestly or take them down.

In Iran, there seems to be a lot of political acrimony, with politicians blasting each other and the President.

But in America, political differences are often deliberately muzzled as if there is an enforcement unit that operates to insure that certain subjects and points of view are verboten, beyond the pale of respectable debate.

Take the case of Chuck Hagel, the somewhat oafish Former Republican Senator and Vietnam war “hero” that President Obama named to head the Defense Department.

He was a conservative who left the reservation and began, or so it appeared, to think for himself, especially on issues that cross the red lines that make for ideological conformity transcending polarised party lines.

He didn’t take a kneejerk approach to giving Israel everything it wanted, He questioned the impact of the Israel Lobby which does so much to keep American politicans in line as an echo chamber for whatever the government there wanted. He became critical of selective US military practices.

Who is Chuck Hagel?

To many he looked like a refreshing alternative to the many politicians who slavishly do what they are told in fear of losing donors or becoming targets of the de facto enforcers with no tolerance for any ideological deviations, no matter how slight.

It was clear that researchers on the right were pouring over every comment Hagel had made over the years to turn him into a symbol of a betrayal of Israel by the Obama Administration.

They were sharpening their knives and anticipating a fight that could bloody the President and discredit his nominee,

They reached into their trick bag, first with a coordinated campaign aided and abetted by Fox News and right-wing radio with anti-Hagel message points. Then, they bought ads with the use of SuperPacs funded by anonymous super wealthy funders including gambling mogul Sheldon Adelson, a big donor to the Israel right. No doubt, this campaign was “coordinated” with the lobby and the right wing forces in Israel. A parallel campaign targeting liberals distorted Hagel’s records on gay rights with flyers and direct mail.

Hagel tried to neutralise what he called distortions by doing interviews with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and other outlets to say his views were solidly pro-Israel.

The enforcers had forced him to get in line, reported the Daily Beast:

They say there are no atheists in foxholes, and while the Senate Armed Services Committee is hardly a warzone, it is proving to be the scene of a battlefield conversion for Chuck Hagel.

Obama’s nominee for secretary of defence, who has spent the past eight years an avowed critic of what he saw as the wasteful militarism of the last Republican president, sounded at his confirmation hearing in Thursday like a tried-and-true neoconservative. He assured his former Senate colleagues that when it comes to Iran, “all options are on the table.” “My policy is one of prevention, and not containment,” Hagel said. This is quite a different tone for a man who said only a few years ago that he supported “unconditional and comprehensive talks” with the Islamic Republic.

The hearing – which, whatever his responses – is unlikely to stop Hagel in his tracks because Democrats control the committee and the Senate and will vote for him even after he was pummeled by his former Republican comrades, one of whom took a clip of him on Al Jazeera out of context.

Historian/blogger Juan Cole commented on the role played by the GOP’s Morality police, noting, “What is important in Washington is willingness to conform orally, regardless of what one actually believes or how one acts.”

“The confirmation hearing in the Senate for Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defence, was painful to watch because it displayed the tomfoolery, pretense, self-righteous know-nothingism, and embarrassing lack of contact with reality that dominate the landscape of America’s broken democracy,” he writes.

“It was like watching a Nebraska ordinary Joe set upon by circus freaks – a phalanx of moral midgets, stalking cat-men, vicious lobster boys and ethical werewolves.”

For the rest, visit AlJazeera.com.

•Related: The Nation: Ten Ridiculous Questions From Chuck Hagel’s Confirmation Hearing

Republican Chuck Hagel, a former two-term senator from Nebraska and President Obama’s choice to lead the Pentagon, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

•Guardian: Hagel Hearing Discredits All

•Reuters: A Second Republican Backs Hagel

Da Nooze:

ABC: Punxsutawney Phil Predicts Early Spring

When the Pennsylvania groundhog emerged from his dwelling at Gobbler’s Knob Saturday morning, he did not see his shadow.

•AP via Poilico: MILAN – A Milan appeals court on Friday vacated acquittals for a former CIA station chief and two other Americans, and instead convicted them in the 2003 abduction of an Egyptian terror suspect from a Milan street as part of the CIA’s extraordinary rendition…

•HP: New York Fracking Opponents, Binghamton Mayor Escalate Efforts To Block Natural Gas Industry

•LA Progressive: Why Immigration Reform Now?

• Newsmax: Immigration Debate Fractures Tea Party

•News Republic: The IMF Has Decided To Put Argentina On The Road To The Worst Punishment It Can Possibly Give

•Remembering Ed Koch: Ed Koch and the Cost of the Closet

*Atlantic: Drone Cameras Watching You From Space

•BBC: Netanyahu asked to form coalition

Israeli President Shimon Peres asks Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a new government following last month’s parliamentary election.

•8 Government Conspiracy Theories (And How They Could Be Right)

Grab your tinfoil hats. It’s time to get paranoid.

•AJE: Nepal Maoists vow no return to warfare

•CNN Money: Your antivirus software probably won’t prevent a cyber attack

•What America is Debating: Subway Restaurant Chain Apologizes For Failing To ‘Fully Deliver’ On Footlong Promise

Media Credit: Gawker.com

•Inc: Confessions of a Corporate Spy

****And if you think, that’s bizarro:

•Finally, Some Superbowl Numbers from Walter Brasch that you are unlikely to see touted on the air

From: Numbering the Super Bowl
by Walter Brasch

There are a lot of numbers for this weekend’s Super Bowl. Let’s begin with ticket prices.
Tickets are $850 to $1250. That’s right. $850 to $1250 per ticket. That’s if you can find one. Most tickets are bought by the super-wealthy and corporations, and then deducted as business expenses.
If you’re desperate, scalpers can get you a ticket for the upper decks for somewhere between $2,000 and $5,0000.
A suite in the 400 level goes for between $100,000 and $300,000. It’s also tax-deductible for most who want to bring a few of their closest friends and business associates. The first Super Bowl tickets in 1967 maxed out at just $12 a seat.
Hotel rooms cost a minimum of $400 a night, and escalate into the thousands. Want to rent a house near the game? Several are going for $10,000–$15,000 for the week.
If you want to place a bet, that’s just between you and your friendly neighborhood bookie. If you plan to do it legally in Vegas, you’ll be among thousands who spend $90 million.
Let’s say you want to just stay home and join 110 million others watching the game on your TV. All of them will watch a plethora of 30 second ads, each one costing almost $4 million. And that doesn’t include production costs. In contrast, the first Super Bowl ads cost about $42,000 for 30 seconds.
As in most Super Bowls, the Anheuser-Busch leads the league in ad placement. This year, it bought four and one-half minutes of air time, as hefty a buy as its much-loved Clydesdales.
About eight million TV sets will be bought in the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. Probably 10 percent or more big-screen TVs will be returned to the store in the week after the Super Bowl.
The fans will buy about $ 1 billion in snacks. This includes about 53 million cases of beer and 1.2 billion wings. Domino’s alone will be delivering about 1.4 million pizza on game day. Americans—even racists who don’t want any more Hispanics in the U.S. – will dip millions of pounds of nacho chips into 80 million pounds of guacamole.
About 5,200 media credentials have been issued. That’s 5,200 persons from the media whose newspapers, magazines, radio and TV stations, and even Internet websites, have paid a small nation’s gross domestic product so they can cover the Super Bowl.

What a country!

HELP MEDIACHANNEL.org RETURN STRONGER THAN EVER THIS WEEK!

First, some not so good news.

Last Spring, we woke up one morning to find that we could no longer access many of our domains including Mediachannel.org and NewsDissector.com, two well-known and respected websites that we launched in the year 2000 to provide a global platform for media analysis, criticism, debate, and activism. I’ll spare you the details of our externally created travails; it was an ordeal no one should have to go through!

But now…

With help from good friends, colleagues, and supporters, we have recovered our domains.

Finally, Mediachannel.org will be back This Week!

We are rededicating ourselves to revitalizing the fight for media accountability and transparency, because every day, consolidated corporate media shapes our future by disseminating and reinforcing government and corporate propaganda. Too often, this mechanism inhibits social and political change by artificially restricting public debate, and undermining democracy for the benefit of narrow interests, rather than strengthening it for us all.

Mediachannel.org will, we hope, once again become a “one stop shop” for the best writing, reflections, and investigations on the power and impact of media in our world. We will name and shame dishonest journalism, feature stories on best practices, and showcase media resources. We know we have important information and analyses to share, and hope you will join or rejoin us.

Additionally, we will resume sending out our newsletter, Media Savvy, and my blog, News Dissector, recognized as Blog of the Year by the Hunter College Media Department in New York City, directly to your inbox, free of charge.

How You Can Help Mediachannel:

Please write to us at support@mediachannel.org and tell us:

•How do you think Mediachannel.org can be most effective?
•What do you think we should be covering and offering in this new media age?
•Which media websites do you find most useful and why?

Donations to this not for profit effort can be made payable to:

The Global Center
PO Box 677
New York, New York l0035
(Please cite Mediachannel on the check)

Your support will enable us to finally get back into action, providing you with unique investigative journalism that spans the globe.

As a token of my appreciation for any donation above $50, I will happily send you a copy of my latest eBook, Dissecting the News and Lighting the Fuse, published with help of Coldtype.net. This new 220-page book features updates some of our best work along with new articles and essays. It is a collection of timely dissections.

Thank you for your support over the years. We didn’t disappear voluntarily, and we know you will be pleased to read our latest reporting and commentary again regularly as a member of Mediachannel.org

Onward,

Danny Schechter
Editor and News Dissector

PS: I want to extend a special thank you to Rob Kall of OpEdNews.com, who rebuilt Mediachannel when our site was taken down, and Aaron Krowne of ML-Implode.com, for hosting Newsdissector.net.

•¥our comments welcome to dissector@mediachannel.org

News Dissector Resources

•••Thank you Polar Levine/Polarity1 for this rockin’ hip-hop and critical collage for my birthdayPolarity 1 – Dissector

Listen Up: Podcast of a News Dissector Radio Hour On PRN.fm

Features personal reflections and readings from my recent books. Lots of intensity and passionate conviction.

•••PalTalk News Network: Interview on My Two New Books

Just Out From Cosimo Books: Occupy, Dissecting Occupy Wall Street

New Book: OCCUPY: Dissecting Occupy Wall Street

The Other New Book From Your News Dissector From Cosimo Books

Commentaries, Analysis, Rants, Dissections

Both books can be ordered on Cosimo.com or from Amazon.com.