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Michael Ubaldi, October 30, 2004.

Iranians defy their oppressors:

Based on received reports, more than 150 riots were organized by people of various social classes, around Iran between September 15th and October 15th.

During this period 153 instances of strikes, sit-ins, conflicts and protest occurred in dozens of cities around Iran against the ruling Mullahs. Cities like Tehran, Esfahan, Sabzehvaar, Birjand, Miaandowaab, Karadj, Khorramabad, Torbat-jaam, Rasht, Hamadan, Orumi´yeh, Maybod, Bojnourd, Mash´had, Zanjaan, Baabol, Qom and many more.

Knowledgeable and active students organized sit-ins and demonstrations in 60 of said cases.

Every one of these demonstrations, even if only marginally successful, removes a plank from under Tehran's mullocracy. As long as Western elites don't replace each one, Iran's democratic revolution continues apace.

Michael Ubaldi, October 27, 2004.

Titan in ultraviolet false color. Feast your eyes and curiousity, for there's more to come.

Michael Ubaldi, October 26, 2004.

The four-month countdown to NASA probe Cassini-Huygen's historic flight past Saturnine moon Titan is nearly over. At 9:30 PM Eastern, the spacecraft will pass by at a distance of about 800 miles and execute a meticulously planned mission. You can connect to Cassini's webstream here when zero hour approaches — or before, depending on how excited you are.

Michael Ubaldi, October 21, 2004.

So I was right: the Frag Dolls are the Spice Girls of the gaming industry. Butterflies in the stomach, gentlemen?

Michael Ubaldi, October 18, 2004.

Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi is publicizing a new Iranian news website called the Iran Press News. Most of the news is bad, but unfortunately that's what comes from a totalitarian theocracy — and what we should lobby Washington to end.

Michael Ubaldi, October 15, 2004.

Foreign opinions of the United States, even those of allies, are never the last word in domestic politics. But since some politicians are concerned about our maintenance of "strong alliances," they'd be overjoyed to know that the current administration of at least one is duly satisfied:

Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Tsutomu Takebe said Friday there will be trouble if Democratic challenger John Kerry beats incumbent George W Bush in the U.S. presidential election.

Takebe, who is seen as a right-hand man of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, told a Nippon Broadcasting System radio program, referring to the Nov 2 presidential election, "It would mean trouble if it is not President Bush. Mr Kerry is trying to address the North Korean problem bilaterally. That is totally out of the question."

...Takebe made the comments a day after Koizumi expressed explicit support for Bush ahead of the November poll.

Spoken like an ally. Just how many countries whose broad national interests coincide with our own wouldn't agree?

Michael Ubaldi, October 5, 2004.

Spirit and Opportunity send their best.

Michael Ubaldi, October 2, 2004.

The Iranian democratic struggle continues:

Hundreds of protesters have been injured or arrested following the sporadic but often violent clashes which rocked, on late Thursday and early Friday, several Iranian cities. Popular demonstrations took place, following last Sunday's unrest and as many Iranians seized a state sponsored religious ceremony and then a consecutive banned Ancient Iran's tradition named "Mehregan", in order to break Islamist taboos and show their rejection of this ideology and its concordant regime.

Cities such as, Tehran, Esfahan, Hamadan, Ardebil, Shiraz, Kermanshah, Ahwaz, Falavarjan, Oroomiah (former Rezai-e) and Yazd were widely affected by these unrests. The most violent clashes have been reported from Esfahan where the crowd attacked public buildings, banks, Islamist centers and patrol cars in retaliation to the brutal attack of militiamen which were sent to stop their public peaceful demonstrations.

...The [ferocity] of some of the clashes, which were reported immediately by SMCCDI in the very early hours of Friday, were to the point that even the official Baztab Daily has acknowledged [today] the seriousness of some of them and the damage made to some of the regime's institutions, homes of officials and symbols of Islamist power.

Washington should testify that there is far more at stake in Iran than Islamists' acquisition of nuclear weapons.

SPEAK OUT: Via Glenn Reynolds, Jonah Goldberg laments the radio silence from Washington and the greater free world on Iran. We don't need another Hungarian Revolution; a pile of dead heroes for history to shuffle past.

Michael Ubaldi, September 29, 2004.

Iranian freedom advocates are reporting heavy clashes in Iran (emphasis mine):

Reports over the past 24 - 48 hours via several important information services such as SMCCDI, Peykeiran, Zagros and direct email reports and phone calls from Iranian citizens is beginning to shine light on what at this time looks to be country-wide fighting and quickly escalating into what could potentially become a freedom revolution.

Several independent citizen sources have reported the formation of significant crowds throughout the country, and have heard many loud explosions and gun shots, including in the cities of Tehran, Esfahan, and Shiraz. SMCCDI and Peykeiran have both reported intense battles between freedom-loving Iranian citizens and the regime's fanatical militias in the village of Meeyan Do Ab. Both sources are reporting many deaths and injuries both to the villagers and regime's forces.

In the past week and recent days, many regional commanders and leaders of the regime's militias have been targeted and killed along with many of their militiamen. Initial reports from Iranian online news sources as well as from western satellite news media are reporting intense fighting throughout Iran, and report that such fighting is increasing at a constant rate.

If accurate: God be with the Iranian democrats. An Iranian revolution would unquestionably tip the balance of the war to the free world. There's this, too, from Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi:

A few weeks ago, Mamoun Fandy, a media analyst, syndicated columnist and former professor of Arab Studies at Georgetown University, was interviewed on the subject of Michael Moore. Fandy stated that Iraqis who were familiar with the film found Moore’s portrayal of them to be exceedingly racist; he went on to say that Moore’s callousness to the plight of the Iraqi people and to the unbelievable human rights devastation in Iraq was outrageous.

And that was only the verdict of the Iraqis.

After 25 years of living in a virtual concentration camp, Iranians have become exceedingly socio-politically savvy. Moore’s anti-American propaganda did not attract anywhere near as many viewers as the Mullahs had hoped for. Tehran’s despots had hoped the film would challenge the Iranian people’s favourable notion of President Bush and promote John Kerry.

But Iranians are too smart.

The comments from students and citizens are worth your time to read — and worth the time of Americans suckered by a man who gives such succor to America's enemies.

MORE: Michael Ledeen received information from Iran.

Michael Ubaldi, September 24, 2004.

Britain's Independent is a devotee of the European left and makes no bones about it, so the snide characterization of President Bush's visits and allotment of aid to hurricane-stricken localities that Craig Brett found is what one expects — and if a subscriber, looks forward to — in the paper's pages. The Telegraph is the Conservative Party's paper; the Mirror is Labour's rag. This morning, Jay Nordlinger happened to praise the candor — if not the wisdom — of the press overseas:

This is how it's done in Europe, largely: There's the Socialist newspaper, the Christian Democratic newspaper, the Communist newspaper. Everyone's all nice 'n' labeled, or nice 'n' known. I would prefer that the New York Times, L.A. Times, etc., be objective, disinterested organs, but if they're not going to be, let's be open about it. That is so much better than the pretending so many have engaged in, for so long.

Objectivity in American reporting is a 20th-Century phenomenon, the currency in which anchor-led, corporate news organizations have conducted business in nearly all of living memory. Newspapers of the 1800s were party advocates, sharply partisan and sought after for that reason; the most striking example of this (and the palliative effect of time on politics) would be the Union's widely varying editorial reactions to Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Pick up the wrong paper and one found an armful of contrary views.

Yesterday, Michelle Malkin spoke about the blogosphere as a guest on Fox News' the Big Story with John Gibson. Gibson, otherwise firmly on the right, is an old media Tory, soft on Dan Rather and CBS News' travesty; happy to note the network's half-admission of wrongdoing without adding that ten days of evasion came before it. He was derisive of bloggers and tried to bat Malkin around with a straw man about blogging's niche in public discourse, subtly introducing the idea that blogging would replace professional journalism — whereas bloggers actually pride themselves as hobbyist media commentators, making use of deliveries from the milkmen of information like Julia Child. Gibson's insistence of no standards among the internet — a dismissal that sounded very reminiscent of talk radio's critics in the early 1990s — was a direct defense of the American public's decades-long appeal to authority, not veracity, and the slowly fading ideal of fact through trust.

Fact, of course, can only be established by proof. Bloggers defend the legitimacy and integrity of their work primarily by demonstrating the ability and operational inclination to correct oneself immediately and conspicuously. By definition, an agency that performs once a day will correct itself once a day — maybe. But there's more to the example of bloggers, and that is the social inclination to scrupulously maintain a good reputation, precisely because bloggers are "nobodies" who might just post an entry in their pajamas. Online, there is no value in brand name: the dial can turn to any number of places, thousands upon thousands upon thousands of addresses. True, there is some politics, fashion and plain luck in blogging. But like all mediums empowering the individual, where a completely unknown website can be reached just as easily as the internet's most popular page, meritocracy governs bloggers. Respect depends upon accuracy and honesty; as the fall of "the Agonist" blog for plagiarism in early 2003 demonstrated, bloggers who linked to a popular website were just as quick to shame and abandon it when the author violated traditional intellectual principles.

Yet Gibson and his sympathetic guest, foil to Malkin, grinned, aren't there countless nutty sites on the internet? Of course — but how many of these are, partisan differences aside, leading the blogosphere? In the world of "objective," professional journalism, the audience is expected to be satisfied with a by-line: that's how brand-name journalism works. You buy it on their promise for product quality. There's no brand name in the blogosphere. You like it, you link it; if the blog jumps off the deep end or is consistently unreliable, you back away. As James Lileks noted, a blogger links to the original statement he refutes: readers are invited to decide for themselves. Old media all-too-often puts it in their own words. Powerline and Little Green Footballs would not have won the attention they did in discrediting CBS's documents if they weren't right on the money. CBS News tried to ply the American public with claim of entitlement for ten days because that brand name had long since subsumed fact by proof. America should have believed in the forged memos, we were told, just because Dan Rather said so.

Should the American media organizations admit their biases and craft them into mission statements? Maybe; the greatest sin of a partisan press office is omission. I'll argue any day that while Fox News is staffed by many anchors on the right, it daily invites guests on the left to present their case and, most importantly, reports everything. Its competitors, the broadcast networks and CNN, could easily make a separate 24-hour channel out of all the events and information they refuse to cover. The media could take enormous strides forward simply by reporting the news.

But we can all agree old media is kidding itself by seeing the blogosphere as anything but an audience that has now become active, knowledgable and nationally capable in its own right. Gibson's sympathetic guest yesterday went one step too far in the segment, chortling at the excessive "ranting and raving" found regularly on political websites. Excuse me, sir, have you ever watched 24-hour cable news?