occupied w/ democracy

us helicopter over baghdad

Numerous correspondents filing from Iraq this morning on NPR.

Details least likely to be reported again today:

[paraphrased]: Someone riding a bicycle dropped a suspicious satchel on a road leading into Baghdad this morning. The roads are closed to cars, and now the military is informing boys on bicycles to bring their bikes on back home.

also: report of people not knowing HOW to vote… and only men going to vote – very few women.


Iran: Top Ministers Implicated in Serious Abuses

While the world’s attention remains on the pathetic, yet not surprising remarks by Iranian President Ahmadinejad denouncing the Holocaust, Human Rights Watch has just released:

The briefing paper, Ministers of Murder: Iran?s New Security Cabinet, details credible allegations that Minister of Interior Mustafa Pour-Mohammadi and Minister of Information Gholamhussein Mohseni Ezhei were involved in extremely serious and systematic human rights violations over the past two decades.

The debunking-the-Holocaust thing is nothing new, and does not even deserve press. Perhaps Ahmadinejad keeps repeating this to overshadow today’s HRW release – just as all of the apparently bogus reports of Iran tampering with Iraqi elections could be fluff for Iran’s far nastier undertakings. Pundit Guy has documented ths history of Holocaust-doubters.

Ahmadinejad may be that bad but it looks like the real problems run much deeper in his cabinet.

The Human Rights Watch report, to be officially released tomorrow, calls for the immediate removal of Mustafa Pour-Mohammadi and Gholamhussein Mohseni Ezhei from the president’s cabinet:

Iran?s cabinet is now dominated by former security and intelligence officials, Human Rights Watch said, raising fears that President Ahmadinejad?s government will readily resort to violence to suppress dissidents and punish critics.

AFA is OWND (by force of blogosphere)!

Congrats to John Aravosis at Americablog for spearheading perhaps the most effective campaign for action in the history of the blogosphere.

Over the past two weeks, the devilish American Family Association has produced multiple media reports stating that it had met with Ford behindn closed doors and convinced the corporation to pull support and advertising from the gay-related events and publications.

In response, Aravosis began posting contact information of Ford execs on Americablog, and wrote several spirited posts encouraging action. More recently this outrage spread to the Daily Show (video), Dan Savage’s nationally syndicated column and beyond.

This afternoon, Aravosis, who had already solidified his position as a patriotic hero of the blogosphere with his Katrina coverage, over the course of this campaign on his site serve as an excellent how-to resource for implementing effective activist operations through the blogosphere. Henry Ford had a history of bigotry – and the AFA’s media flood recently should have red-flagged the MSM – but thanks to the viral spirit of the ford tough blogosphere, this potential insult to humanity (as nearly everything that AFA proposes is) has been quashed and rectified — and quickly.

Congrats – to all bloggers and activists involved – we can directly affect and influence corporate bullying via the simple means of the blogosphere alone.. Read John’s post including a letter from Ford.

Bastardized Bush Bombs

Nearly all news news outlets of record repeated Bush’s claim of 30,000 Iraqi’s killed as if it is no big deal.

“He was citing what he has read in media reports,” said spokesman Scott McClellan.

Another Iraqi Civilian Death The 30,000 figure isn’t inaccurate by any count — but isn’t it downright shocking? The media should elaborate instead of chuckling along with cute Georgie, perhaps providing figures from the Oxford Research Group’s thorough “A Dossier on Civilian Casualties in Iraq, 2003-2005.” (.pdf here). Among other things, the report clarifies that:

Post-invasion, the number of civilians killed was almost twice as high in year two (11,351) as in year one (6,215).

David Sirota delivers a poignant post this morning, admonishing the shamefully distant reactions of the media and the public to Bush’s speech in Philadelphia yesterday.

Sirota writes:

His comments, the media’s reflexive complicity, and the audience’s laughter, is an incredible, if silent, commentary on just how callous our society has become to the real consequences of our government’s behavior.

Sirota is referring to this grotesquely absurd exchange during Bush’s Q & A yesterday:

QUESTION: Since the inception of the Iraqi war, I’d like to know the approximate total of Iraqis who have been killed. And by Iraqis I include civilians, military, police, insurgents, translators.

THE PRESIDENT: How many Iraqi citizens have died in this war? I would say 30,000, more or less, have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence against Iraqis. We’ve lost about 2,140 of our own troops in Iraq. Yes.

QUESTION: Mr. President, thank you —

THE PRESIDENT: I’ll repeat the question. If I don’t like it, I’ll make it up. (Laughter and applause.)

Laughter??? Applause?!?!?

Well, chuckle on – no worries, because as an AFP wire story has it today, the White House is distancing itself from the 30,000-killed figure, “blaming terrorists for ‘a significant number’ of the dead and saying the figure is not official.”

If the terrorists are to blame for most of these deaths, how then did they increase during the so-called “last throes” of the insurgency?

And if the MSM can’t pick it up from here… perhaps Howard Fineman’s fingernails-to-the-blackboard portrayal of the real Bob Woodward last night (via Atrios) can serve as inspiration:

“He’s a great reporter, but he’s become a great reporter of official history.” Fineman, Newsweek’s chief political correspondent, concluded his uplifting lecture with this: “The news about news is really bad.” AP Photo

The Heretik spots, and outlines a new four-point narrative being revealed in Bush’s speeches leading up to Thursday’s elections in Iraq…. check it out.

After the jump, a word from our bold leaders, followed by a little story outrage regarding our fallen soldiers’ wooden box homecoming…
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