BTS 6/15/09: Iranian Election Turmoil; California Budget Disaster; KPFK Fund Drive

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Iran has been plunged into turmoil since Friday when the government declared that Ahmadinejad had won 63%of the vote to his opponent Mousavi’s 34%. This was immediately disputed and many believe the election was stolen.  Shots were fired at an Opposition protest rally in Tehran killing at least one, while the more than 100,00 protestors were met with violence, beatings and tear gas.  Iran's leaders spent the weekend urging people to accept the result but today Khamenei ordered an investigation into allegations of vote-rigging and fraud. Stephen Zunes joins us to discuss the elections and the US response. He says the best response to a stolen election – if that proves to be the case – is to stay out of the way.  Otherwise it could be a dream come true for those pushing for confrontation with Iran.

Plus: Today we are featuring Avi Lewis’ brand new documentary on the California budget disaster -- “California: Failed State.”  California’s economy is the largest in the US and eighth largest in the world, as big as Brazil and three times the size of Saudi Arabia. If California fails, the shock waves of this economic crisis will be felt around the globe. This terrific film is an activist organizing tool and a local story with global implications from the filmmaker who directed “The Take” (co-produced with his wife Naomi Klein) about Argentina’s movement of worker-run businesses, an emotional story of hope and resistance in the global economy. “California: Failed State” will be our thank you gift for a $50 pledge to KPFK.

Read More for info on tonight's guests:

1. Stephen Zunes is a Professor of Politics and chair of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco, and senior policy analyst for Foreign Policy in Focus. He is the author of scores of articles for scholarly and general readership on Middle Eastern politics, U.S. foreign policy, international terrorism, nuclear nonproliferation, strategic nonviolent action, and human rights. His books include Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism (Common Courage Press, 2003), Nonviolent Social Movements and the forthcoming (with Jacob Mundy) Western Sahara: Nationalism, Conflict, and International Accountability (Syracuse University Press.)   Dr. Zunes is a foreign affairs columnist for the National Catholic Reporter and a regular contributor to the Common Dreams website and Tikkun magazine. His op-ed columns have appeared in major daily newspapers throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. 

2. Avi Lewis is the presenter of Fault Lines - a fortnightly show that digs deeper into what is driving the big news stories of the day. In 2008, he was the host of Al Jazeera's Inside USA, a weekly series examining the real issues at stake in the US presidential election. He also directed the feature documentary The Take, an emotional story of hope and resistance in the global economy which follows Argentina's new movement of worker-run businesses.