Sunday, November 20, 2005

White phosporous and Pentagon lies

To National Public Radio

Isn't it time to tell the truth about the American occupation of Iraq? Sadly, Friday’s "All Things Considered" presented a dissembler of the first rank, who played the euphemism game to defend the Bush administration’s failed policies.

During your discussion on the controversial use of white phosporous and Napalm by US troops during the assault of Fallujah, John Pike of defended the Pentagon. At worst, according to Pike, the US government was guilty of “imprecision,” making “counter-factual statements,” or of an “economy with the truth.”

In other words, the US government lied. And continues to lie. And this dishonesty is what has caused most of the world to be suspicious of US motives and actions. This distrust won’t diminish with the appearance of obscurantists like John Pike on NPR broadcasts.

Your listeners deserve an honest discussion. The world is waiting for American honesty.

Paul Dorn
San Francisco, California

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Go right-wing "peaceniks"!

Hawkish Democrat Calls for Iraq Pullout

I'm disgusted that this call for immediate withdrawal from Iraq comes NOT from my "representative," the "liberal" Nancy Pelosi, whose San Francisco district just voted overwhelmingly against military recruiters in city schools.(1) No, it seems the right-wingers like Hagel, McCain and this Murtha dude will be leading the charge against the war. (2)

Abundant torture by US troops and their Iraqi flacks; depleted uranium shells and other toxics; dogs and lions (?) used to threaten prisoners; secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe; flesh-burning white phosphorous dropped on women and kids; indiscriminately lethal 500-lb bombs; billions of dollars allegedly for Iraqi "reconstruction" missing (likely gone to the likes of Halliburton)--can there be any question that the US has the most evil, vile, and reprehensible government on the planet?

Given how lame the Democrats are and will continue to be as an "opposition" party, the best hope Iraqis have for peace seems to be dissension in the GOP. Or mutiny among the US military.

(1) The College Not Combat Proposition I vote in SF was merely symbolic. It won't actually require the removal of a single military recruiter, despite Bill O'Reilly's flustering nonsense. Generated a lot of media attention, we'll see what political momentum it really adds.

(2) Of course, I don't have any illusions. Right-wing hacks like John Murtha are, like, totally for American imperial domination of the planet; they're merely anxious that such hegemony is being undermined by the present Iraq quagmire. When they say "out" they mean "redeploy" to some other imperial objective.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Halloween With a Bang!

The scariest thing I encountered on October 31, 2005

Short story: Pablo (moi) was stupid.

Long story: It was Halloween. I was bicycling downhill on Fulton at the intersection of Webster in San Francisco. The green light was counting down, but I had plenty of time to get through the intersection, and didn't want to lose my momentum. I wasn't going an excessive speed, maybe 20 mph or so. It was just after 5 pm, kind of dusky light, and I had my headlight on. I was on my way to French class at the Alliance Française.

An oncoming SUV making a left turn basically didn't stop, and I didn't have enough time to decide whether to swerve left behind her (and risk colliding if she didn't continue her turn) or make a too fast hard right and perhaps spill or slide out. So basically she continued with her turn, I veered slightly right and collided with my upper left side (forearm and shoulder) against her right front fender.

I was a bit dazed, but very lucky. No clothes torn, just a scrape on my left forearm and some soreness. The handlebars twisted around, and I may need a new wheel; it's wobbly but rideable, and I'll see if I can true it up this weekend.

I remember saying to myself "it's gonna happen!" There was just no avoiding it. And then tumbling and spilling. I got up and a bunch of neighborhood residents on a nearby porch were shouting "I saw it! I saw it! I saw everything!" I think they were drinking, and perhaps enjoyed the spectacle. It was Halloween, remember. The SUV driver stopped, said she hadn't seen me and that the kids in her vehicle were distracting her. A couple other drivers stopped, offering to call if I needed it. I was kind of hazy, quietly angry, waved them off. "I have a cell phone," I remember saying, thinking that they were the type of motorists that assume anyone on a bike is too poor to drive.

I got up, started gathering my stuff that had scattered around. I had a messenger bag on, and an open shopping basket-type pannier with some stuff in it. I mostly ignored the driver. In my haze, I remember saying "I had the right-of-way, I had the right-of-way." Said it at least twice, firmly, but didn't use any profanity or really angry language, surprisingly. Later I wished I'd gone off, but...

I picked up everything and went to the sidewalk and out of traffic. Again, I didn't pay too much attention to the driver. I have just a few images: brief glimpse at driver, brief glimpse of the male and female drivers who stopped, and a big--hopefully expensive--dent in her fender. I repacked my stuff, twisted my handlebars back, spun my wheel, took a breath, tried to compose myself. When I looked up finally, all the motorists were gone! The one who hit me, the ones (at least two) who stopped. Just the party people on the second floor porch shouting stuff like "Man, she was wrong..."

Anyway, I was late to my French class--which turns out to have been canceled anyway!--so I just rode off. Slowly, to be sure. I was lucky. The past few nights, before getting to sleep, I've kind of replayed it in my mind. That horrible instant when you realize that you can't avoid a collision. "It's gonna happen!" It could have been much worse. I could have bought it, and I ain't ready to buy it.

I hope a body shop somewhere has tagged this motorist with a huge estimate for the fender. A ticket would have been another nice penalty. My wife scolded me for not getting her info; and clearly the driver was very wrong to drive off. But my initial thoughts were, "Was I wrong? Am I liable for that fender repair?" (My previous collision with a vehicle, when I was clearly at fault, cost me $1,000. The lesson I took from that: don't exchange info, ride away as quickly as you can.) I also don't like cops, who usually have a bias favoring motorists. And I was late for French class!

So, I'm fine. A little sore, a lot wiser. I assumed she saw me. Bad thing to do. "When you assume, you..."