Old Dogs, Old Tricks
1 day ago
New analysis of President Obama's Budget finds that he is targeting the nation's highest earners for greater income redistributions. By 2012, the federal government is scheduled to be redistributing an extra $79 billion from the top-earning 5% of American families, and $71 billion of that will be paid by the top-earning 1% of families.
The House came very close last night to delivering an historic defeat to the Pelosi-Obama agenda for bringing every activity under their control. After Minority Leader John Boehner displayed impressive leadership by taking over an hour to read out egregious examples of overreach from the 300 page amendment that no-one had had a chance to read (and I'll have more to say about that outrage later), 44 Democrats voted against passage of the Waxman-Markey energy tax bill. Ordinarily, this would have been enough to defeat the bill, but 8 Republicans voted for the bill. They were:
Bono Mack (CA)
Without just 4 of these votes, the energy tax would have gone down and months of scheming by Henry Waxman and Speaker Pelosi would have been for naught. Two of them have hopes of a Senate run, I note. Twitter users are already calling them the #capntr8tors...
As Kool Aid–allergic columnist Robert Samuelson has noted, such sycophancy is a serious public-policy problem because the president is proposing a radical overhaul of pretty much everything, and for the most part the press hasn’t cared that his explanations are iffier than gas-station sushi and his assurances are more dubious than a North Korean press release. Obama’s ongoing promise that he’s “creating or saving” jobs is as plausible as the chess-team captain’s claim that his supermodel girlfriend can’t fly down from Canada for the prom.
I saw the movie The Stoning of Soraya M., at a private showing in Washington, D.C. and, although I have seen many pictures of the stoning of the women and young girls by the Iranian Islamic regime, I could not believed that the human race is capable of such cruelty. Apparently our words and cries are not strong enough to raise human-rights awareness, but this movie can help our cause. After all, one picture is worth a thousand words.SNIP
It is a fact that the feminist American culture, the culture of Hollywood, is one of the major issues that Islamists like Khomeini, Bin Laden, Hezbollah, the Muslim brotherhood, and the Taliban have against America and the West. But this culture supports the Islamists by its silence and indifference to the issue of human rights. The Stoning of Soraya M. should have received many academy awards, many Cannes awards, and many movie reviews. It is the least this culture can do for the Iranian women suffering to gain the same human rights that American feminists exploit.
The free market-based Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington has obtained a set of internal e-mails exposing Team Obama's willful and reckless disregard for data that undermine the illusion of "consensus."The above was in this article in The New York Post about how Obama promised in his election campaign to make environmental decisions "based on the science."
In March, Alan Carlin, a senior research analyst at the Environmental Protection Agency, asked agency officials to distribute his analysis on the health effects of greenhouse gases. EPA has proposed a public health "endangerment finding" covering CO2 and five other gases that would trigger costly, extensive new regulations of motor vehicles. The open comment period on the ruling ended this week. But Carlin's study didn't fit the blame-human-activity narrative, so it didn't make the cut.
The collapse of the "consensus" has been driven by reality. The inconvenient truth is that the earth's temperatures have flat-lined since 2001, despite growing concentrations of C02. Peer-reviewed research has debunked doomsday scenarios about the polar ice caps, hurricanes, malaria, extinctions, rising oceans. A global financial crisis has politicians taking a harder look at the science that would require them to hamstring their economies to rein in carbon.
The stink surrounding the Pelosi-Waxman-Markey cap-and-tax bill has become vomit-inducing overnight. Representative Waxman has decided to replace the 1091-page bill with a 300-page bill that will be debated for no longer than three hours today. So your elected representatives will have virtually no time to debate the merits of an economy-spanning bill they will not have had time to read. Speaker Pelosi and her sidekick Waxman are displaying nothing more than complete contempt for the democratic process.
If you're as utterly disgusted by this as I am, you can send a message to Pelosi and her cronies by telling your Congressmen to vote against this bill. You can e-mail them, call them (202-225-3121), or text the National Taxpayers Union on 54608 and they will help.
And would anyone like to help push the Constitutional Amendment I suggested around the time of the stimulus?
UPDATE: The e-mail link is now correct.
This week, CEI released evidence to the public, by means of a filing of comments with the Environmental Protection Agency, that the EPA was suppressing science skeptical of the harmful effects of global warming. By taking this action, Obama's EPA demonstrated its hypocrisy when it comes to the role of science in its decision-making. Shortly before assuming office, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson declared: “As Administrator, I will ensure EPA’s efforts to address the environmental crises of today are rooted in three fundamental values: science-based policies and programs, adherence to the rule of law, and overwhelming transparency.” Jan. 23, 2009. This followed the president’s own January 21 memo to agency heads on “Transparency and Open Government.” And in an April 27 speech to the National Academy of Sciences, the president declared that, “under my administration, the days of science taking a back seat to ideology are over.”
What is particularly interesting is the way the EPA has tried to brush this under the carpet. Rather than take my word for it, as an interested party, best to follow the work of the San Francisco Examiner's Thomas Fuller. He reported the story, then, faced with a dismissive response from EPA, decided that there was no story there. However, as you'll see from the link, further investigation proved that there was indeed a real story, and two further updates confirm this. Despite the administrator's and president's declarations, political considerations are clearly dominating scientific discussion at EPA. Now, this is in many ways to be expected as part of the political process, but not when the EPA head and her boss have told the public otherwise.
What is also interesting is that so far, it seems that the traditional media read our evidence and the EPA's denial and stopped there, without further digging. Thomas Fuller, however, did go further, turned over the stone, and found the worms wriggling there.
CEI released the actual suppressed study last night, which it did not obtain from the scientist concerned. You can read more at Watts Up With That.
So add this to the attempted railroading through of the cap-and-tax bill and you can be left with only one conclusion. Democrats currently in government aren't just incompetent, they are contemptuous of the American people.
As a great man just noted to me, now the president has thrown immigration reform into the media mix, along with Sanford, Farrah, health care and, ahem, D.C. church rebuilding . . . Anything to distract people from the biggest tax rise in U.S. history that is going to be voted on tomorrow or Saturday. Several House waverers have now said they'll vote no. If we can keep the pressure up, we can beat this thing. But that takes focus!
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
Under Waxman-Markey, the economic pain would be severe, indeed. President Obama's own aides have admitted that it could cost hardworking Americans up to $2 trillion. The burden, moreover, would fall disproportionately on the poor, who spend a greater proportion of their income on energy - 26 percent compared to a median-income family that spends 4 percent of its earnings on energy. It would also affect the South and Midwest much more than the West Coast and Northeast. In fact, the effect would be a wealth transfer from the South and Midwest to the West Coast and Northeast. Overall, the bill would cost the average American family $1,500 in increased energy costs.
Those increased energy costs would hit businesses hard, resulting in an average loss of 1.1 million jobs a year. And that is after counting the effect of so-called "green jobs," which would largely be temporary and, according to a recent study, pretty low-paying - most green jobs that have been created to date pay below the average wage.
I don't want bureaucracies making those decisions, but understand that those decisions are already being made in one way or another. If they're not being made under Medicare and Medicaid, they're being made by private insurers.. The key to understanding Obama is not to let his surface talk lull you into complacency. He's repeating patient-doctor relationship but there are key words he also uses like "evidence" which is a reference to rationing, etc.
We don't always make those decisions explicitly. We often make those decisions by just letting people run out of money or making the deductibles so high or the out-of-pocket expenses so onerous that they just can't afford the care.
And all we're suggesting -- and we're not going to solve every difficult problem in terms of end-of-life care. A lot of that is going to have to be, we as a culture and as a society starting to make better decisions within our own families and for ourselves.
But what we can do is make sure that at least some of the waste that exists in the system that's not making anybody's mom better, that is loading up on additional tests or additional drugs that the evidence shows is not necessarily going to improve care, that at least we can let doctors know and your mom know that, you know what? Maybe this isn't going to help. Maybe you're better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller. (italics mine)
And those kinds of decisions between doctors and patients, and making sure that our incentives are not preventing those good decision, and that -- that doctors and hospitals all are aligned for patient care, that's something we can achieve
However, the company attributed much of its trouble to the State Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP, a federal program that provides health insurance to low-income children. It is funded, in part, by a new federal tax on cigars and cigarettes. McKenzie couldn't say how much sales of Hav-A-Tampa cigars had fallen off, but the numbers have dropped significantly, he said.. This is exactly what Big Tobacco wants, elimination of the smaller competition.
Previously, federal excise taxes on cigars were limited to no more than a nickel, said Norman Sharp, president of the Cigar Association of America trade group. The tax increase, which took effect April 1, raises the maximum tax on cigars to about 40 cents, Sharp said.
Before the tax increase was passed, the cigar industry warned that consumption of cigars could fall as much as 30 percent in the year after its passage. It's not clear yet how big of an impact the law is having on sales, Sharp said.
Harrison said she understands the company's predicament and that Altadis has tried to treat its employees fairly, including guaranteeing employees two months of pay. Like her employer, she put part of the blame on the SCHIP tax hike
Pitney said the White House, though not aware of the question's wording, asked him to come up with a question about Iran proposed by an Iranian. And, as it turned out, he was not the only prearranged questioner at yesterday's show. Later, Obama passed over the usual suspects to call on Macarena Vidal of the Spanish-language EFE news agency. The White House called Vidal in advance to see whether she was coming and arranged for her to sit in a seat usually assigned to a financial trade publication. She asked about Chile and Colombia.
I've decided "gerbilism" is a pretty good word for what's been going on in the news media these days. Gerbilism is an apt term for something that's soft and warm and cuddly, safe and timid, with no sharp teeth and no bite whatsoever. Gerbilism, I've decided, is partly responsible for a lot of our nation's problems today.
Dambisa Moyo grew up in Zambia. She holds a master’s degree from Harvard, an MBA from American University, and a doctorate from Oxford, and has worked for the World Bank and Goldman Sachs. She is the author of Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa.
President Obama said at his press conference yesterday that no second stimulus package is being contemplated right now. Well, I sincerely hope that’s the case, because the current package is a disaster. It spends far too much for far too little in return. All of this frenzied fiscal nymphomania is placing a tremendous burden on Treasury-bond rates and the U.S. dollar. It is undermining the confidence of key foreign investors like China, Brazil, Russia, and others who have to buy our bonds.
But the worst thing I heard yesterday was the snare-and-delusion proposal announced by Vice President Biden. Apparently, Joe Biden wants to create a new government council to help laid-off autoworkers who are supposed to transition to solar, wind, and biotech industries. Huh? Are you kidding me?
Look, if you really want to help manufacturing workers everywhere, then cut that ridiculously high business-tax rate by 15 to 20 percentage points. Then allow full cash expensing for immediate tax write-offs for new business investment. Heavy industries will soar. This is FedEx CEO Fred Smith’s idea, and I totally agree with it. It would boost the manufacturing, auto, and transportation sectors.
And by the way, let’s move forward and deregulate the energy industry so we can drill, drill, drill and nuke, nuke, nuke. We’re talking about an enormous potential job-creator here. The fact of the matter is that alternative energy will be a tiny part of the energy calculus for many years to come. That’s just the reality. So let’s get real and eliminate all these ridiculous regulatory roadblocks standing in the way of American job-creation and energy independence.
And what’s this about a sub-czar for cars? Talk about a sub-par idea. I’m sorry Mr. Biden. Personally, you’re a good man. But economically, this is a terrible idea. Tax incentives are what will help the blue-collar middle class rise out of the doldrums.
In his press conference today, President Obama talked about the cap-and-trade energy tax that the Democrats are trying to ram through Congress. Obama's nose grew a couple of inches as he uttered this howler:At a time of great fiscal challenges, this legislation is paid for by the polluters who currently emit the dangerous carbon emissions that contaminate the water we drink and pollute the air we breathe.
The idea that the energy tax will come to rest with "polluters"--that is to say, power companies, manufacturers, agribusinesses, and so on--is absurd. The cost will be passed on to consumers, as Obama himself admitted during a moment of candor during the campaign, when he said that electricity costs would "skyrocket" under his cap-and-trade proposal.
Obama isn't dumb enough to believe that the many billions of dollars in costs that his proposal will impose on energy companies, etc., will somehow disappear thereafter. But he thinks you are.
Meanwhile, others are putting out information, rather than disinformation, on the disaster that is Waxman-Markey. Like the National Mining Association, which produced this map showing, state by state, how many millions of dollars in costs will be imposed on each state annually under the bill's allowance allocation formula
The rupture was telegraphed at a pre-inauguration meeting with the Washington Post, during which the incoming president argued that “freedom from want and freedom from fear’’ are more urgent than democracy, and that “oftentimes an election can just backfire’’ if corruption isn’t fixed first. Muravchik points out that when Obama gave Al-Arabiya, an Arabic-language satellite channel, his first televised interview as president, he focused on US relations with the Middle East and Muslim world, yet “never mentioned democracy or human rights.’’
Well done, Jim, for pointing out all those inconvenient truths on Waxman-Markey. The timing of the vote shows that the House leadership recognizes the problems. They appear to have the vote scheduled for Saturday, when House members' jets will be warming up on the runways to take them off for the July 4th recess, so ensuring that debate on this critically important bill will be kept to a minimum.
We can't let them get away with yet another display of contempt for the democratic process! This bill will impose a $2 trillion drain on the economy for absolutely no climate gain. Yet the House leadership wants to get this through without any debate time. This is a scandal and we need to get angry about it.
You can take action via the National Taxpayers Union's campaign site here. Please take the time to demonstrate your anger at the way this House is treating ordinary consumers of energy by imposing this massive tax in order to please Al Gore and his cronies.
ROBERT MAYER SENDS THIS IRAN VIDEO.
I don’t know if you’ve seen this video, but this is by and large my favorite video of of the Iranian revolt so far. It shows a large mass of people being kept back by riot police throwing tear gas grenades. At some point, a few people begin throwing the grenades back at the police and eventually the entire crowd joins in and rushes the police as they run away in fear!
The coming two to three weeks will be decisive. Will this be a revolution or not? It obviously will not be a bloodless event such as the Orange Revolution, as people have already been murdered in cold blood. The context is completely different. I do believe that, just as the journalist Gongadze was a martyr in the cause of Ukrainian democracy, the slaying of the martyred Neda is a symbol for what the ayatollah regime has represented for thirty years. And, much like Ukraine, the regime has undergone a severe regime split that has been developing for the past few years and is culminating right now. Oftentime the masses can be put down when there is no regime split, but it’s do or die at this point. They have to go full speed ahead because if they don’t overthrow Ahmadinejad, and possibly Khamenei, the defectors will all be shot. What we need to see now is the security forces turning. We’ll know the answers to that in these 2-3 weeks.
I chose this video because it perfectly demonstrates that a government that rules based on fear can be overcome by the people when they are willing to fight it. And even as governments all over the world try to harness technology for repressive means, individuals and informal organizations can stay one step ahead.
I see the biggest challenge to all governments in the beginning of the 21st century is the issue of their own legitimacy — even democratic governments. Albert Einstein said that he did not know with what weapons WWIII will be fought, but WWIV will be fought with sticks and stones. I see WWIV as a general revolt against the legitimacy of most governments worldwide, and in [most] countries where citizens may not own guns, it will be fought with sticks, stones, and proxy servers.
Today is the 40th anniversary of an "unremarkable" fire in Cleveland that local firefighters said "wasn't a big deal." The fire lasted for about thirty minutes and was out before news cameras could get there. Today, it is known as the Cuyahoga River Fire and everyone swears they remember seeing the flames. The EPA is making a big deal out of the anniversary, for the simple reason that it is one of its founding myths. The fact is that the sorry story of the Cuyahoga is more an indictment of how government contributes to environmental degradation by destroying property rights than anything else. Our own Jonathan Adler compiled the definitive research on the subject in an article entitled "Fables of the Cuyahoga." There's also a chapter in my book on the subject.
Neda Soltani. 16 years old, murdered in the Streets, protesting peacefully with her father yesterday.
Neda, a young woman who was watching the protests in Tehran was shot dead by the regimes baseeji militia. Yesterday, along with Neda, 30 others were killed and 300 wounded. There are reports that the security forces were arresting the wounded from their hospital beds. Ali Khamanei is personally responsible for Nedas death and the death of protestors. Yesterday, the peoples solidarity was truly immense. They provided support, gave shelter and offered food to the protesters all day until late at night. Demonstrations took place, in many parts of Tehran, Shiraz, Rasht, Isfahan.
Here is the price of freedom: every drop of courage, ounce of pain, pint of blood. Paid in advance...
Dear Father, today I am Iranian.
Spread the word (and this vid if u want). lets not let these heroic people down. knowledge is freedom.
We pundits like to analyze our presidents and so, as Barack Obama deals with difficult problems ranging from health care legislation to upheaval in Iran, let me offer my Three Rules of Obama.Read the whole thing.
First, Obama likes to execute long-range strategies but suffers from cognitive dissonance when new facts render them inappropriate. His 2008 campaign was a largely flawless execution of a smart strategy, but he was flummoxed momentarily when the Russians invaded Georgia and when John McCain picked Sarah Palin as his running mate. On domestic policy, he has been executing his long-range strategy of vastly expanding government, but may be encountering problems as voters show unease at huge increases on spending.
His long-range strategy of propitiating America’s enemies has been undercut by North Korea’s missile launches and demonstrations in Iran against the mullah regime’s apparent election fraud. His assumption that friendly words could melt the hearts of Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have been refuted by events. He limits himself to expressing “deep concern” about the election in the almost surely vain hope of persuading the mullahs to abandon their drive for nuclear weapons, while he misses his chance to encourage the one result — regime change — that could protect us and our allies from Iranian attack.
Second, he does not seem to care much about the details of policy. He subcontracted the stimulus package to congressional appropriators, the cap-and-trade legislation to Henry Waxman and Edward Markey, and his health care program to Max Baucus. The result is incoherent public policy: indefensible pork barrel projects, a carbon emissions bill that doesn’t limit carbon emissions from politically connected industries, and a health care program priced by the Congressional Budget Office at a fiscally unfeasible $1,600,000,000,000.
He quickly announced the closing of the prison at Guantanamo Bay and now finds his administration begging the likes of Palau and Bermuda to take a few detainees off its hands. His acceptance of Arabist insistence that all problems in the Middle East can be solved by getting an Israeli-Palestinian settlement has put us in the absurd position of pressuring Israel not to expand settlements by a single square meter but pledging not to “meddle” in Iran.
Third, he does business Chicago-style. His first political ambition was to be mayor of Chicago, the boss of all he surveyed; he has had to settle for the broader but less complete hegemony of the presidency. From Chicago he brings the assumption that there will always be a bounteous private sector that can be plundered endlessly on behalf of political favorites. Hence the government takeover of General Motors and Chrysler to bail out the United Auto Workers, the proposal for channeling money from the private nonprofits to the government by limiting the charitable deduction for high earners, the plan for expanding government (and public employee union rolls) by instituting universal pre-kindergarten.
John O'Sullivan wrote me this note today.
Thanks for your note. I am happy to give you my judgment on the Iranian revolt. In brief, it’s one of the most important movements of our time. It radically undermines both the realist argument that Muslims are uninterested in democracy and the Jihadist claim to represent the mass of Muslims. And if it continues—whether it is crushed or triumphs in the immediate future—it will add immeasurably to the forces of evolutionary change in the Muslim world since it strikes me as being more like the Glorious, American and “velvet” revolutions (i.e., it is a revolution against a radical revolution) than like the French, Bolshevik, and 1979 revolutions.
Well, that’s a bigger mouthful than you expected. But this is an issue on which I would prefer you to take the advice and opinions of my Iranian colleagues on Radio Farda and the English language website of RFERL. So I am attaching two documents below that I think you will find helpful.
The first is a private e-mail form my senior colleague, Abbas Djavadi, a former head of Farda and now the Associate Director for the service as a whole. I had asked him to predict what might now happen. Here is his reply (which I quote with permission) from a hurried discussion yesterday:Defiance? Definitely, but I don't know for how long. Nobody says it loudly but everybody understands this is about the Supreme Leader and not only Ahmadinejad. Yesterday after Khamenei's speech I thought they would back off. Today in the morning I thought it may be primarily students. This afternoon surprised me. Not only students, not only Tehran. Maybe Mousavi has been pushed up as opposition leader against will. He had the motivation for it for the last 20 years when he kept away from government. He seems to be emboldened now, seeing the masses and the ripening of something in the society, in "masses" and in most big cities.That is the judgment of a shrewd and experienced observer of Iranian politics.
I wish I could know if it would continue and how. I think nobody knows. I am seeing here two big issues, based on what I am hearing and reading the live inputs and feedback from the "foot soldiers":
1) Mousavi has to further establish himself as a popular leader. Today he again said he has prayed to God that he is ready for martyrdom, sign of strengthened resolve. He needs support from more, hundreds of thousands and millions of middle and upper classes (villagers never attended the Islamic revolution 1979, workers joined just in the last few months of the revolution, middle class did it with a bit upper classes). Bazaris, for example, teachers, doctors, vendors, municipality workers, mid-level state employees, lawyers... And the most important: he needs to get more support from moderate or other clergymen opposed to Khamenei and Ahmadinejad — people who have been critical, but have rarely spoken out. If we have that trend growing in the next few weeks and months, we will have a new ball game in Iran. If not, the resistance will gradually fade out while reprisals intensify.
2) Security and organization as well as communication of the opposition leaders (Mousavi and Karroubi). Today and last weeks were typical. Will they join the demonstrations? Are the meetings cancelled? There were hundreds of conflicting news, information and disinformation until it really happened. And it happened, mainly thanks to the websites, Facebook and Twitter. 20 years ago it would be unimaginable. But the communication is distorted and disorganized. Security for the leading figures is also extremely important. What if Mousavi just disappeared? (detained, under strict house arrest) etc.? Khomeini in 1978 had the security provided to him in Paris and his big group of executives in Europe instructing his army of mullahs inside Iran what to do and how to lead the movement. In the case of Mousavi, once he is out of the country, he would be disregarded and would play no role after a year or so at all. [Yet] staying safe in Iran while the movement is intensifying is a contradiction per se. And we don't have any relieving indications that they are well organized. That's also bad. Things may change and would change if both the defiance continues and if the leadership grows together with the defiance.
The second item, just below, is the most recent in a series of letters from Tehran by one of the many opposition protesters. Much of the time the Western media has to post items that cannot be confirmed. I’m not criticizing this. We all have to do it in these circumstances and, provided we are absolutely candid with our readers and listeners, they can judge the worth and reliability of such reports. But our services are fortunate in having ordinary Iranians whom we know and trust to keep us informed in very vivid personal accounts. The writer below is one. I think you’ll be impressed by what he writes.Saturday, June 20, 2009
“Maryamo gereftan, rooznamaro bastan…(Maryam has been arrested, the newspaper has been closed, there are guards everywhere, don’t come to work, there is no more work) screamed Hooman on the phone and he hung up. This was a rude awakening. The mobile phones were still working so I called Jaleh and asked her if she was going to attend today’s rally. “mage dishab javabe mardomo be rahbar nashnidi?....” (didn’t you hear people’s reply to the leader? Didn’t you go to the rooftop and did’nt you scream Allah Akbar (God is great)? asked Jaleh as if she knew all of the answers before hand and then in a sarcastic remark she said “vasiatnamato benevis, saate 3:30 Daneshgaah Tehran, bia ghadam dar raahe be baazgasht bogzarim..” (write your will, 3:30pm in front of Tehran University, lets step into the path of no return, no turning back, no turning back….”
I had lunch with Jaleh and Hooman in Farahzaad (North West of Tehran) and decided to park the car near Azadi square and take a taxi back to Enghelaab square in order to be able to get out of the way in case there were a disturbance. As we reached Azadi avenue (coming south from Yadegar Highway) we saw that the whole area looking like a big fort. “hameye doostan jam-an” (all of our friends have gathered) murmured Hooman as he looked at the “armed-to-the-teeth” group of “anti-riot” Police, plain clothed militia, black Sarallah force, Basij paramilitary forces and the Police. We parked the car to the north of the street near a highway exit. “colt, tofang, gase ashkavar, gase felfel, tofang loole kootah,… mesle inke darim mirim mehmoonee bache ha”( Hand guns, sharp shooter riffles, short barrel riffles, tear gas, paint ball guns, pepper spray, boy we are going to a party)said Jaleh sarcastically. There was no news from Maryam and the mobile phones went dead at 3:15 pm
Dogs of war
We started our march somewhere close to the Tehran University. Near the gates of the University the “Dogs of war” (including all of the militia, police, guards, sarrallah, plain cloth paramilitary,..) pushed people to the south side of the street beating anyone near the gate and we found out why as Hooman (who is about six feet tall) reported to us “daneshjoo haa daran shoar midan,…” (the university students are chanting behind the gate and the dogs are standing right outside the gate) he reported. We saw about 100 guards in black armors that looked like a full blown Japanese Samurai army facing the gates of Tehran University which was and is a symbol of defiance (the picture of people demonstrating under the gates of Tehran University are printed on some money notes). By the time we got to Enghelab square tension was mounting. People were walking in small groups of five without chanting and without showing off any colors. But all that changed at 4:10pm right after we passed the Jamalzadeh avenue (west of enghelaab square towards Azadi square) as the small groups of people slowly joined each other automatically.
“Natarsim, Natarsim Maa hame ba ham hastim”
A short figured girl who was walking next to me reached in her purse took out a green wristband and then raised her hands up in the air with a Victory sign. We all followed and the crowed automatically became a quiet and defiant freedom seeker band; “be tarafe azadi..” (towards Freedom) Hooman said aloud in a muffled bass voice. Azadi means freedom in Persian so towards Azadi can mean either going towards Azadi square or going towards freedom. His voice was horse from nights of chanting “Allah Akbar” on the rooftops. The guards had all things planned and they stopped us in front of the Dampezeshki University (Veterinary University). They actually blocked us from the front, back and from the streets. So we pushed ourselves into the street and then the war started. The evil guards charged towards us and scream replaced the victory signs. Jaleh, Hooman and I held each others hands as the wild dogs attacked and the people scrambled and fell over each other. Within seconds they reached us and they were swiping people up their feet with clubs, chains, and some innovative black rubber piece (that looked like a short water hose). We hid behind Hooman but he was hit on the leg and fell on top of us, Jaleh was hit on her face and I fell on my right ankle. Screams and yells were everywhere and we were at first very scared but it seems that the fear disappears after the first hit. People started chanting “Natarsim, natarsim maa hame ba ham hastim” (we are not afraid cause we are united).
If you want blood, you got it
5:00 pm Tehran is officially a war zone
Our peaceful demonstration quickly turned into a riot. Charges by the guards and return favors of the people quickly got out of hand. Jaleh, Hooman and I just joined the flow and we were attacked three times by the time we got to Navab avenue. Blood was everywhere. Right after Navab avenue the guards started firing tear gas into the crowed and boy did that hurt. As all three of us escaped into a small street choking from the gas the guards attacked us from behind and we all got hit on the back by many painful things. I looked back and saw a young man fell on the ground, I screamed “khodaaaaaaa” (God), Hooman quickly ran towards him and the three of us carried him to a corner. He was hit on the head and his eyes were rolled up and could not comprehend anything. Young people started throwing stones back towards the guards and charged back towards them and this gave us a bit of time to take the young man to a corner and try to help him. Jaleh is a nurse so she started treating him, I held his head on my lap and Hooman held his legs high in order to get the blood circulation back to his head. We did not care what was going on around us for a moment and just wanted to revive the young man who seemed to be only 18 years old. “esmet chieye?” (What is your name?) I asked him trying to make him talk in order to find out if he can concentrate. He sat up, shrugged us off and started to walk again. I yelled “esmet chiye?” (what is your name?); “Omid” (Omid is a name and it also means hope) he said and marched on towards Azadi. None of us could keep up with Omid as we were all hit on the leg and were limping. Also we could not see things clearly and our eyes were burning (because of the tear gas) badly so we lost sight of Omid for a couple of minutes.
5:30 pm, the battle zone
“Ely………….., Hooman,….. bodoeen, Omid…” screamed Jaleh. The police and plain clothed militia had cornered Omid and were beating him. We ran towards him and attacked the dogs. Hooman charged towards the guards in the street, opened his arms wide and with his operatic bas voice screamed “Bezan, Bezan,..(hit me, hit me), maadar gh.. bezan (mother xxx hit me). The guard raised the club but his hands were shaking and then brought his club down. I arched over Omid as Jaleh was screaming “bee gheirat” (a man without virtue) and people started chanting “bee gheirat” to the guards and the police. I felt the burning on my back as I tried to shield Omid, he was crying “man faghat mikhaam beram khooneh (I just wanna go home). They were hitting me hard, my hands, and my legs and suddenly there was darkness as I felt a terrible pain on the back of my head and the sounds and vision blurred into oblivion.
Go west my dear
“baba,…kojaee, kojaeey ke bebini dokhtare azizeto mikoshan..”(Daddy where are you? they are killing your dear little girl) was the sound circling in the sea of darkness. “Ely,…Ely,..Ely” Jaleh as whispering as she was spraying water on my face. We were in my car speeding away from the war zone, cars, busses, trash cans and motorbikes were on fire, stones were flying in the sky. Tear gas canisters were flying with a white trail behind them, gun shots were heard. I looked out of the car window and for the first time I had tears in my eyes. “maa gharar bood berim Azadi, pas kojaa mirim?” (we were supposed to go to Azadi, freedom, where are we going?) I muttered. “felan har jaaee begheir az injaa..” (for now anywhere but here) Hooman turned back his head towards me, dried blood on his right shoulder and with a glaze in his hazel eyes said again “for now, of course..."