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Fri: Women Martial Artists to Sue Reuters For Inventing News of Female Ninja Assassins in Iran

March 29th, 2012 - by:

I am in Boston today, Friday, and had to leave real early. I Hope to blog tomorrow.

Here’s One essay from The Nation of special Interest: Tom Hayden on the Port Huron Statement and Occupy

From Thursday’s Blog:

Dissecting the New York Times: My take On Yesterday’s “Newspaper of Record” in NYTeXaminer.com

RT: I am interviewed In Story On Media Self-Censorship



Propaganda as News

I had a call yesterday from Press TV from Iran. They wanted a comment on a bizarre story being carried by Reuters reporting that Iran is training female martial artists as “Ninja Assasins.”

Here is the story:

“In Iran, a group of female martial artists have taken legal action against a British news agency that has described them as assassins. Reuters said last month that Iran trains female ninjas to kill any possible foreign invaders. The news agency later tried to ammend the report. The Iranian girls accused by Reuters of being assassins say the damage has already been done. (Note Reuters is actually owned by Thomson, a Canadian media company.)

Reuters claimed last month Iran has trained more than 3-thousand female ninjas as assassins. It showed a number of Iranian girls training martial arts in a city near Tehran. The Reuters claim was repeated by some other British media.”

Now the women are threatening to sue for defamation, fearing that this fabrication will make it impossible for them to compete in international competitions.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? One more story that appeal to fantasy and fear: more demonization in the service of a PysOps operation.

Just in Time:

Stony Brook University School of Journalism announces that the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has awarded a $285,000 grant to the Center for News Literacy to fund the creation and delivery of digital materials demanded by the rapid spread of News Literacy courses.

“This is the rocket fuel we need to launch Stony Brook’s web-based News Literacy education system in 2013,” said Howard Schneider, Dean of the Stony Brook School of Journalism, “so that students can learn to separate legitimate news and information from propaganda, spin and uninformed assertion masquerading as fact.”

Quote of the Day: Lisa Graves writes, “Winston Churchill reportedly said, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to put its pants on.” That was before corporations had perfected the art of public relations, investing millions of dollars in PR campaigns to advance their commercial and political interests.

The fact is, there are a number of things most people know are true—except they’re not. That’s the result of well-planned, well-funded, long-term propaganda campaigns designed to make people believe things that are against their own best interests.”

Supremes Divided on Healthcare Bill, Day 3

The Hill: Supreme Court divided over striking down entire healthcare law

The nine Supreme Court justices were divided Wednesday over whether to strike down all of President Obama’s healthcare law if they find that its individual mandate is unconstitutional.

The court’s conservative members, including possible swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy, leaned toward invalidating the whole law, while the liberal justices said the court should leave it to Congress to determine how much of the law depends on the mandate.

Chief Justice John Roberts, another possible swing vote, pressed the attorneys on both sides of the issue about equally.

Arguments about the issue of “severability” come a day after the court engaged in two hours of intense debate Tuesday over whether the insurance mandate violates the constitution. Five justices appeared skeptical that the mandate met constitutional muster on Tuesday, meaning the debate over whether the rest of the law must also be tossed could come into play.

New York Times: The political side of the president may need to draw upon his judicial patience as he awaits a ruling that will help shape the final stages of the presidential race.

For all of the fretting by liberals and the tea-leaf reading by legal analysts about the pointed questioning from the justices about the health law, there is but one certainty: There will be substantial political fallout no matter how the court rules.

AP: Legal Shmegal: It’s All Political Ideology

WASHINGTON (AP) – Concluding three days of fervent, public disagreement, a Supreme Court seemingly split over ideology will now wrestle in private about whether to strike down key parts or even all of President Barack Obama’s historic health care law. The justices’ decision, due this June, will affect the way virtually every American receives and pays for care.

National Journal: The Supreme Court went into overtime as it finished up three days of oral arguments on the 2010 health reform law today. Justices repeatedly interrupted attorneys trying to make the case for and against the 26 states challenging the validity of President Obama’s signature domestic initiative…

The Obama White House, beset by a barrage of liberal criticism over an allegedly inept defense of its signature domestic policy achievement, today defended the health care law’s constitutionality not on legal grounds but on purely partisan ones. (Note: A recent poll put Obama’s approval rating at over 50%. “Obamacare” may be going down but so fare he is not!)

New Yorker: “Forgive me if a wry tone eludes me when it comes to today’s proceedings in the Supreme Court. As far as I am concerned the whole thing is absurd – yet another example of how America’s antiquated system of government, and its determined refusal to accept the economic realities of the modern world, is undermining its future.”

Daily Beast: With the fate of health-care reform looking more imperiled than ever, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli is getting panned for his performance defending the law in front of the Supreme Court—what CNN analyst Jeffrey Toobin called “a train wreck” and a “plane wreck” for Obama. But Harvard Law Professor Einer Elhauge writes that it’s not all Verrilli’s fault. Had the White House gotten its act together and delivered a cohesive message about its legislation, his job would have been much easier.

James Kwak, BaselineScenario.com on the Mandate issue:

Mark Thoma makes an important point about the “individual mandate” that applies equally well to health care and to Social Security:

“I don’t see anything wrong with asking people to pay the expected value of their health care — a mandate to get insurance to cover the catastrophic things that society would cover in any case — to avoid this type of gaming of the system. Yes, it’s true that many healthy people will pay, remain healthy, and seem to get nothing. But that’s the wrong way to look at it. They have insurance whether they pay for it or not. Society will not let them die of a standard, treatable illness so insurance services are present. In fact, it’s the knowledge that society is providing these services that motivates many people to take a chance and go without.”
This is the relatively common argument that, since people already have guaranteed access to a basic level of emergency care, they should have to pay for it.

NYT: THe Man Behind The Mandate

Karen Higgins, National Nurses United:
With nearly half the Supreme Court justices who will pass judgment on the 2010 healthcare law beyond the age where they have to worry about their access to basic care, a leading voice for nurses said today that “all Americans should have the same level of security about their health.”

Higgins is a registered nurse and co-president of National Nurses United. Today she said: “For these judges, that means no concerns about being bankrupted by medical bills, denied needed treatment because some insurance agent deemed it ‘experimental’ or ‘not medically necessary,’ barred from choosing the provider of their choice because they were ‘out of network’ or forced to keep an unwanted job to maintain their present employer-paid coverage.”

“That guarantee could be achieved by extending Medicare, for which four of the nine judges already qualify, to everyone, without raising constitutional questions posed by the individual mandate that forces everyone without coverage to buy private, commercial health insurance” said the 170,000-member National Nurses United in a statement today.

Higgins added: “The Obama administration and Congress could have pre-empted the legal fight over their law by instead just expanding Medicare, a more humane, cost effective system which has no constitutional questions, to everyone under 65.

“Even now, Congress and the President could pre-empt an adverse court ruling by passing Medicare-for-all legislation currently in Congress, S 915 and HR 1200, and end our healthcare nightmare once and for all.

Mclatchey: The Trayvon Case Not The Only one With “Stand Your Ground” Laws

Progressive Alternatives Buried by GOP and Media

Progressive Caucus: Washington, D.C. – Reps. Raul M. Grijalva and Keith Ellison, co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), are decrying House Republican leaders’ decision to move debate on the CPC’s Budget for All to late Wednesday night to avoid public attention.

The co-chairs are calling the move “an admission that our budget creates too many jobs and saves too many popular government programs to be discussed when the public is watching.”

The CPC alternative Budget for All proposal was supposed to be debated as an amendment on Thursday. However, GOP leaders decided a few hours ago to move debate on the CPC budget until approximately 10:00 p.m. tonight. The Budget for All preserves Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, a stark contrast to the House majority budget that eliminates the Medicare guarantee and shreds the middle-class safety net.

Grijalva and Ellison call the decision “cheap political posturing and an attempt to sweep the competition under the rug.”

“Decisions like the nation’s budget affect each and every American.”

BOA: More Moolah Flows to the Top, Reports eWallstreeter

Bonus Watch ’12: Third Year Bank Of America CEO’s

After a year of layoffs, topless hecklers, people who won’t stop yelling at him, jokes that sting, and continuing to “reap the benefits of what Countrywide sowed,” things are looking up for Brian Moynihan.Bank of America Corp., the second- biggest U.S. lender, more than quadrupled Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan’s 2011 compensation to $8.09 million. Salary was unchanged at $950,000 while his stock awards surged to $6.1 million from zero the previous year, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based lender said today in a regulatory filing.

Global News

BBC: Three Explosions Heard In Iraq as Arab Summit Opens

Credit Writedowns: How Greece Spends Its Money (Is this a quid pro-quo for European bailouts?)
Greece is a huge importer of French and German weaponry

Greece argues that its needs to strong defense spending for two threats. The first is from Turkey. Yet relations have improved and a military confrontation between these two NATO members seem quite remote. The other threat Greece is thought to face is refugees from Northern Africa and Middle East. Yet the kind of weapons Greece buys, like submarines and fighter jets, do not seem like suitable for border protection. Consider that Greece is the world’s third largest arms importer after the behemoths of China and India. Greece was Germany’s number one customer for munitions, accounting for 15% of Germany’s arms sales. Greece is also France’s third largest customer, though the largest in Europe

Pope in Cuba: HAVANA (AP) – Pope Benedict XVI demanded more freedom for the Catholic Church in communist-run Cuba and preached against “fanaticism” in an unusually political sermon Wednesday before hundreds of thousands at Revolution Plaza, with President Raul Castro in the front row. Before the pope’s departure, he met with the president’s brother, revolutionary leader Fidel Castro. Castro grilled the pontiff about “freedom” in the Catholic Church.

Occupy In The News

AM New York and from the playbook of Abbie Hoffman: Political Prank Encourages Feee Use of Subways.

Gothamist: Free Subway Rides in New York. Movement Builds for May Day Mega Protest

Metro: New York’s Transit Authority Says Cops Can use City Busses to Transport Occupy Prisoners

OWS: “Start Training for May Day and Join the Spring Resistance! Marches Every Friday, 2pm in Liberty Square! Trainings, skill shares, games, and theatrics from 2:00-3:30pm followed by a march to disrupt the 4:00pm NYSE closing bell with The Peoples’ Gong. Participants are encouraged to wear athletic gear, march with their affinity group, and use the street tactics discussed prior to the march.”

Independent: Palestian Leader Appeals For Non-Violence: Jailed Palestinian Leader Calls for New Civil Revolt Against Israel

Marwan Barghouti declares peace process dead and appeals for non-violent resistance

FBI Revises Internal Training Materials After This Report Went Public

FBI Taught Agents They Could ‘Bend or Suspend the Law’

The FBI taught its agents that they could sometimes “bend or suspend the law” in their hunt for terrorists and criminals. Other FBI instructional material, discovered during a months-long review of FBI counterterrorism training, warned agents against shaking hands with “Asians” and said Arabs were prone to “Jekyll & Hyde temper tantrums.”

•Related:‘Taliban sympathizer’ arrest prompts new questions about FBI tactics

Khalifah al-Akili emailed the Guardian shortly before his arrest to say he thought he was the target of an ‘entrapment’ sting

Fluent: ‘Prosecutors: Democratic campaign treasurer embezzled at least $7 million from multiple clients’

We Are Family

I spent part of the day and night with The Global Teen Leaders selected to take part in the “Three Dot Dash” (Morse Code For Peace) Just Peace Summit. The We Are Family Foundation brought 30 kids from 18 countries to New York for training and to help them launch social change and problem solving initiatives. I helped in a small way with media training.

These kids and this program is SO impressive, inspired by the poetry and peace activism of the late Matti Stepanek who crusaded for peace before his young life was claimed by a fatal disease. (You may remember him from the Larry King Show.) Last night, they partied at the Bitter End and heard socially relevant improvisational theater and performances by Kid Lucky and Mariela, The Full Circle Dance Group and the amazing IMPACT youth theater whose rousing songs rocked the house whole promoting youth activism and social engagement. You must see these artist. Special thanks to Robert Galinsky for MC’ing the incredible charged evening, and for musician Nile Rogers and Foundation Presidente Nancy Hunt –and their many supporters–for making it all possible.

See Wearefamilyfoundation.org and Threedotdash.org for more.

New York: Park Slope Food Co-Op Votes Against Boycott of Israel.

Back to Beattown

I am off to Boston Friday to do some work on a new film project and be interviewed for Bill Lichtenstein’s promising American Revolution film on the life and times of WBCN, the great rock station I was privileged to serve as News Dissector for a decade.

So I probably wont have much time to blog.

Honoring Our Artists

‘Bluegrass Legend Earl Scruggs Dies at 88 in Tenn.’

Poet Adrienne Rich (NYT) Adrienne Rich, a poet of towering reputation and towering rage, whose work — distinguished by an unswerving progressive vision and a dazzling, empathic ferocity — brought the oppression of women and lesbians to the forefront of poetic discourse and kept it there for nearly a half-century, died on Tuesday at her home in Santa Cruz, Calif. She was 82.

More Media Death Toll: Two journalists killed in Brazil, and two freelance British journalists of Syrian descent in Syria.

Your comments always welcome to dissector@mediachannel.org. Check out the new Mediachannel1.org for the latest media related news and views.