June 27, 2010

McCrystal's Rolling Stone Interview: A Modern Pentagon Paper

General McCrystal has done us all a big favor by his frank exchange in the Rolling Stone article, "The Runaway General."

Perhaps it was his subconscious at work, but McCrystal has laid bare some of the realities of the situation... Michael Hastings and the Rolling Stone magazine editors also deserve some of the credit.

Don't get me wrong; McCrystal is a murderer, and a danger to our democracy. He covered up the Pat Tillman cause-of-death, he surely condones the use of torture, and fails to understand that the United States should be run by civilians, not the military. But, he's like the Washington (Moonie) Times; he says things others won't say, and in that way, he has been valuable. McCrystal has released the effective equivalent of the Vietnam Pentagon Papers on Afghanistan.

For Your Convenience:Sources:


June 25, 2010

Financial Underhaul

The Yahoo! News headline "Bank stocks soar on financial regulation agreement" pretty much says it all. We are a corporate state. Reclaiming the power of the people over the corporate state is the next major multi-generational struggle on par with overcoming slavery, child labor standards and women's suffrage.

"They come out of this big-time winners," Bob Froehlich, senior managing director at Hartford Financial Services, said of financial companies. "Two years later, people will look back and say 'My gosh, nothing really changed.'"
Democrats in charge... Republicans in charge... "My gosh, no difference."


June 23, 2010

Good News for Tea Baggers & Anarchists

Who me not posting enough?! True.

Saw the headlines today: "Atlantic Divide: Europe and US Disagree on Continued Simulus Spending."

What's in it for Tea Baggers and anarchists? Tea Baggers want Obama to stop deficit/stimulus spending, and anarchists want to smash the system. Well, Europe is poised to stop stimulus spending and that very well could accelerate the crumbling of the system.

The UK Independent reports:

[German] Chancellor Angela Merkel flatly rejected warnings from President Barack Obama that Europe's attempts to save its way out of the debt crisis could put fragile global economic growth in danger.

Not to get into nerdy economics, but the track record from the US Great Depression and the Japanese malaise of the 1990s indicates that deficit spending to prop up a flagging economy has merit. However, the debate on both sides is a bit moot. Stimulus spending might work, but it would probably just prolong the inevitable.

My judgment is that the US has crossed the Rubicon; the US is now a great power in decline. It has been going that way for decades... Detroit, MI and surrounding area is a stark case-in-point, but books are filled with all sorts of statistics on the decline in manufacturing, jobs, income, etc..

Now, with Europe cutting the spigot of stimulus spending, and putting the screws to the needy in the face of the rich getting richer, the Tea Baggers can say "What's good enough for Europe is good enough for the US," and the anarchists can sit back and smile as the establishment system teeters.


The Independent of UK, "Merkel rejects Obama warnings that cuts will damage global recovery," June 23, 2010.


June 16, 2010

Fixing Wobble in Dahon Folding Handlebar

Problem: The hinge where the handlebars fold down from the frame has a slight wobble as if the locking mechanism has a little play. The locking mechanism includes a pad on the handlebar-side of the hinge, which has several allen key screws.

Short-term Fix:
Building off the shim concept of break_2_fix, consider the following (it's working for me):

Material: Get some heavy foil, just a little 3 x 3 square is fine... heavier the better, within reason.

General Concept: Create a foil shim to mold over the locking mechanism to make it have a tighter lock. Warning: This is a bit crude, so use some good judgment in adopting this solution.

Tools: scissors.

Setting: Observe the part of the hinge attached to the handlebars. In the center is a silver metal pad that has the allen wrench screws on top and on one edge. This is the pad that moves to lock the handle bar. The part of the pad that is arch-shaped has a lip on it. That lip slips into a grove on the part of the hinge attached to the bike frame when locking.

Process: Cut a 3" x 3" square of foil. Lightly press the foil over the "pad" referenced above to create an impression of the nearly square-shaped pad (square-shaped except for the arch along one edge).

Use the scissors to trim the foil to within about 1/8-1/4-inch of the outline of the pad that is now molded into the foil.

Carefully mold the remaining foil over the pad. Fold it down firmly on all edges taking particular care to fold under the part on the arched lip of the pad.

Extra: You can use a blade of the scissors to carefully cut little half-moon slits in the two holes on top of the pad where the allen wrench screws are; carefully fold the edges of foil, at the slits, down into the holes to improve the foil's grip to the pad (I considered glue, but.. doesn't seem necessary).

Trial: Carefully lock the handlebars into place. If it seems too tight, don't force it. If too loose, you could try two layers of foil or other refinements.

My outcome seems to be just right. Locking it into place seemed, if anything, to make the foil better molded to the locking pad mechanism.

Good Luck


June 15, 2010

Revoke BP's Corporate Charter

Surely you've heard about British Petroleum's track record from the British colonial days through a litany of felony crimes. Being a "corporation" a privilege, not a right.

By now you also know about corporations being defined as "persons" by a corrupt robber baron era US Supreme Court. So, if a person is a serial felon, including negligent homicide, they "go away," usually to prison. They can no long do business, or anything else in society for that matter.

It's time to seriously consider taking the corporate privilege away from BP. And, in these days of internet activism, there is a Facebook campaign to revoke BP America's corporate charter.

Details here: http://bit.ly/9djBTb

Join the "Revoke BP's corporate charter" (facebook) group .


The Punk Patriot.


June 14, 2010

Iraq War: March 2003?

June 2002:

Iraq bombing begins. US military will fly 21,736 sorties and attack 349 targets between June 2002 and the start of the war.


Mother Jones, Chronicle of a War Foretold, Tim Dickinson and Jonathan Stein, Sept/Oct 2006.


June 13, 2010

Sad State of Corporate Media

Progressives know the corporate media generally sucks. But it's sad in another way too.

From a Kentucky political strategist:

"The newspapers are gutted – and everybody who is left is doing three other jobs. As a result, it feels like there is little accountability for candidates about what they say. It's cover at 2:30 and file at 4:30 without thought or research."

Walter Shapiro continues:

As a veteran of eight presidential campaigns, I know there is a virtue to being there in person rather than virtually. Reading the polls and watching TV ads may equip you to loudly opine on cable news shows, but it is no match for interviewing the candidate, listening to the stump speech, gauging the mood of the crowds, and quizzing voters in diners and BBQ joints. Traveling with candidates (particularly in states like South Carolina and Kentucky where personal campaigning matters) gives you a sense of nuance about who they are as people and politicians.

Woody Allen got it right: "Showing up is 80 percent of life."


Walter Shapiro, Nikki Haley and Rand Paul Races: Where Have All the Reporters Gone? June 11, 2010