Saturday, June 20, 2009

on the unfolding revolution in Iran

Sixteen days ago I was commenting on the twentieth anniversary of Tienanmen Square. I said that "[T]he world will change again, but when?"

Turns out, last Friday was the answer. The people of Iran were shocked that their government would so blatantly overturn their will for the election of president. If leaked results from the Interior Minitry are to believed, then
Mr Mousavi had won 19.1 million votes while Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won only 5.7 million.

The two other candidates, reformist Mehdi Karoubi and hardliner Mohsen Rezai, won 13.4 million and 3.7 million respectively.
A far cry from the landslide 63-30 official results for Ahmadinejad over Mousavi. But the people of Iran, half of whom are my age (30) or younger knew that the official results were a sham.

They have organized using online tools, and have kept the world informed via Twitter, YouTube and listsrvs. The videos and pictures and tweets coming out of the "Islamic Republic" show a brave people facing down thuggish government directed goons who delight in beating to death men and women for merely protesting.

The world watches with its heart in its throat. We pray for the Iranians to have their voices heard, for the police forces to put their batons down, and for the election to be annulled. While we sit comfortably thousands of miles wishing we could help. But we are neither as brave or as able to lend a hand because the government would like nothing more than to claim this organic uprising to be the product of a Western plot.

Like Obama, Mousavi is a vessel that these young Iranians have poured their hopes and dreams into. Now they are going to have to fight for their dreams on the streets of Tehran and other Iranian cities, and on the internet. Mousavi and Obama are but men, but the ideas of the revolution of 2009 cannot be beaten away or tear gased out of existence. Governing through fear only lasts so long. The people of Iran overthrew a government 30 years ago, we just might be watching them do it again.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Jim, please decide

Jumping the gun, the Desert News ran with the headline "Utah Governor Gary Herbert questions whether climate change debate is 'over'." This might lead you believe that a) Gary Herbert is governor already not Lt. Gov. who is supposed to be governor any day now b) that Herbert sides with the thousands of scientific studies that confirm that our climate in rapidly changing and warming and that the cause is (at least to some degree) human activity. But you would be wrong on both counts.
"I've heard people argue on both sides of the issue, people I have a high regard for," Herbert said. "People says man's impact is minimal, if at all, so it appears to me the science is not necessarily conclusive."
This is GOP code for "I don't want to hear the bad news that hurts my friends in the polluting industries." Case in point comes a few sentences later in the article.
"What are we doing to bring people together? Is there a hidden agenda out there?" Herbert asked. "Help me understand the science."

He had stepped out of the discussion during a presentation by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu on the latest research. "The indications are not only that the climate is changing but is changing more than what were thought to be doom and gloom predictions," Chu said, warning the future could be bleak.
Actually it is the governor-in-waiting, not the science, that is still out. Dr. Steven Chu is not just the Secretary of Energy but a Physicist and knows what he is talking about. Herbert, on the other hand is willfully ignorant.

The reason the Western Governor's Association is even talking about climate change while they are here in Utah is because of Govs. Huntsman and Schwarzenegger. Which brings me to the title of this post.

Jim Matheson has been toying with the idea of running for Senate because he might face some loony or AG Mark Shurtleff and not incumbent Bob Bennett. And even if he isn't, Harry Reid probably has been calling him repeatedly to convince him to run. He has probably also been thinking about running for governor since Herbert is become less and less of an incumbent with each passing day that Obama dithers with sending his nomination to the Senate. I am sure it is no fun to be a moderate Democrat when folks in the leadership is yelling at you to get out of the way and vote more liberally than you are inclined to, given your district.

Plus as governor, Matheson would actually get to do something. And instead of being 1 of 100 senators, you get to be 1 of 50 governors, and go toe to toe with those lovely folks up on Utah's Capitol Hill.

But really, Mr. Matheson, we Democrats need you to decide to have a fighting chance at any of the three offices you are considering. 2010 is not too far away and money needs to be raised. If you decide not to run for governor, then everyone focus on pushing SL Co. Mayor Peter Carroon to run rather than waiting to see what you do. And then people can go work for Sam Granato, knowing that you don't need their help. But if you do choose to run statewide, money and staffing will come out of the woodwork to help you. But please, the sooner the better.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

VP Joe Biden (still sounds odd to me) toed up to the line about Iranian election fraud by saying he was "suspicious" ... The reformers need to do this themselves though (in order for the movement have credibility within Iran), with help from the outside world but not the US leading the charge. So it seems like Biden might have actually struck the right balance and not said to much...this new Joe Biden is going to take getting used to.