6/22 Roundup: Surface Calm in Iran, Chuck Schumer Goes it Alone, Draft Ramirez!

Leader: Surface Calm in Iran

- After another day of massive street protests in Iran on Saturday (check out this video I posted here of the protesters chasing off the government shock troops), yesterday was a day of "relative calm," at least on the surface of society. Peel back that veneer, however, and one finds evidence of a serious struggle in the highest reaches of power, and millions of Iranians preparing for a showdown with their government this week.  Ayatollah Khamenei arrested several members of Ali Rafsanjani, a former president who leads several important councils, and was seen as an attempt to quiet Rafsanjani's challenge to Khamenei.

- The government of Iran has admitted a discrepancy of three million votes in their election-- more ballots were cast than there are eligible voters in the country.  The Guardian Council said it is "not clear" if the discrepancy would "decisively change" the election result.  Remember last week Ayatollah Khamenei was telling us the election results were fair, and that an 11 million vote gap was too big to fake.  Well, 11 million doesn't seem so big anymore, and and the Ayatollah seems to have jumped before counting.

Politics

- Paul Krugman has written off the Republican side of the Senate, but sees the possibility for a few renegade "centrist" Democrats to scuttle health care reform.  Chuck Schumer, for one, is ready to go it alone.

- Sen. John Ensign has seen a 14-point slide since announcing his extramarital affair. If he's through, who will replace him as the Senator from Nevada?  Draft Ramirez!

Economy

- The welfare rolls are growing for the first time since Bill Clinton reformed the program more than a decade ago. And reporting from the WaPo indicates that it could be a long time before jobs start returning to our economy.

- Oil has fallen to near $68/barrel, but this isn't really good news for our economy.

International

- The Chinese government has ordered all PC manufacturers to load Green Dam censoring software on their computers.  Purportedly, this is intended to filter pornography, but it could be used to censor politically sensative content, as well.  The U.S. State Department has filed an official complaint with the Chinese government.

- The U.S. Navy is tracking a North Korean cargo ship that appears to be headed for Myanmar.  This could be the first test of just how far the U.S. is willing to go in its new commitment to stop DPRK military shipments.

New From NDN

- We've been tracking the situation in Iran closely.  Keep up with our ongoing analysis here, or just watch the blog.

- Check out this backgrounder of our best, recent economic work assembled by the crack team in our Globalization Initiative.

One More Thing

- Last, more video from the protests on Saturday in Iran: