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ABBREVIATIONS FOR SITES I OFTEN STEAL NEWS ITEMS FROM:

u = Progressive Review's Undernews





PUBLIC AFFAIRS/HISTORY READING:
(r) = re-reading





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The Buying of the President 2004: Who's Really Bankrolling Bush and His Democratic Challengers -- and What They Expect in Return

The Buying of the President 2004: Who's Really Bankrolling Bush and His Democratic Challengers -- and What They Expect in Return


Arrogant Capital

Arrogant Capital


Great American Political Repair Manual

Sam Smith's Great American Political Repair Manual: How to Rebuild Our Country So the Politics Aren't Broken and Politicians Aren't Fixed


American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush

American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush


Death in the Air: Globalism, Terrorism & Toxic Warfare

Death in the Air: Globalism, Terrorism & Toxic Warfare


The Velvet Coup: The Constitution, the Supreme Court and the Decline of American Democracy

The Velvet Coup: The Constitution, the Supreme Court and the Decline of American Democracy


into the buzzsaw

Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of the Free Press



Amazon Light








Stop Policeware


Campaign for Audiovisual Freedom




Just consider what current events will sound like two thousand years from now -- the greatest nation on Earth bombing some of the smallest and weakest for no clear reasons, people starving in parts of the world while farmers are paid not to plant crops in others, technophiles sitting at home playing electronic golf rahter than the real thing, and police forces ordered to arrest people who simply desire to ingest a psychoactive weed. People of that era will also likely laugh it all off as fantastic myths...

It is time for those who desire true freedom to exert themselves -- to fight back against the forces who desire domination through fear and disunity.

This does not have to involve violence. It can be done in small, simple ways, like not financing that new Sport Utility Vehicle, cutting up all but one credit card, not opting for a second mortgage, turning off that TV sitcom for a good book, asking questions and speaking out in church or synagogue, attending school board and city council meetings, voting for the candidate who has the least money, learning about the Fully Informed Jury movement and using it when called -- in general, taking responsibility for one's own actions. Despite the omnipresent advertising for the Lotto -- legalized government gambling -- there is no free lunch. Giving up one's individual power for the hope of comfort and security has proven to lead only to tyranny.


from Rule by Secrecy by Jim Marrs





You had to take those pieces of paper with you when you went shopping, though by the time I was nine or ten most people used plastic cards. . .It seems so primitive, totemistic even, like cowry shells. I must have used that kind of money myself, a little, before everything went on the Compubank.

I guess that's how they were able to do it, in the way they did, all at once, without anyone knowing beforehand. If there had still been portable money, it would have been more difficult.

It was after the catastrophe, when they shot the president and machine-gunned the Congress and the army declared a state of emergency. They blamed it on the Islamic fanatics, at the time.

Keep calm, they said on television. Everything is under control.

I was stunned. Everyone was, I know that. It was hard to believe. The entire government, gone like that. How did they get in, how did it happen?

That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary. There wasn't even any rioting in the streets. People stayed home at night, watching television, looking for some direction. There wasn't even an enemy you could put your finger on.

. . . Things continued on in that state of suspended animation for weeks, although some things did happen. Newspapers were censored and some were closed down, for security reasons they said. The roadblocks began to appear, and Identipasses. Everyone approved of that, since it was obvious you couldn't be too careful. They said that new elections would be held, but that it would take some time to prepare for them. The thing to do, they said, was to continue on as usual.


from The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood





By the time Oscar reached the outskirts of Washington, DC, The Louisiana air base had benn placed under siege.

The base's electrical power supply had long since been cut off for lack of payment. The aircraft had no fuel. The desperate federal troops were bartering stolen equipment for food and booze. Desertion was rampant. The air base commander had released a sobbing video confession and had shot himself.

Green Huey had lost patience with the long-festering scandal. He was moving in for the kill. Attacking and seizing an federal air base with his loyal state militia would have been entirely too blatant and straightforward. Instead the rogue Governor employed proxy guerrillas.

Huey had won the favor of nomad prole groups by providing them with safe havens. He allowed them to squat in Louisiana's many federally declared contamination zones. These forgotten landscapes were tainted with petrochemical effluent and hormone-warping pesticides, and were hence officially unfit for human settlement. The prole hordes had different opinions on that subject.

Proles cheerfully grouped in any locale where conventional authority had grown weak. Whenever the net-based proles were not constantly harassed by the authorities, they coalesced and grew ambitious. Though easily scattered by focused crackdowns, they regrouped as swiftly as a horde of gnats. With their reaping machines and bio-breweries, they could live off the land at the very base of the food chain. They had no stake in the established order, and they cherished a canny street-level knowledge of society's infrastructural weaknesses. They made expensive enemies. . .

Louisiana's ecologically blighted areas were ideal for proles. The disaster zones were also impromptu wildlife sanctuaries, since wild animals found chemical fouling much easier to survive than the presence of human beings. After decades of wild subtropical growth, Louisiana's toxic dumps were as impenetrable as Sherwood Forest.


from Distraction by Bruce Sterling


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Saturday, March 08, 2003

Anti-war protests continue across US; Maxine Hong Kingston and Alice Walker arrested

10:29 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


Rep Bernie Sanders introduces law that would exempt libraries & bookstores from certain provisions of the PATRIOT Act

4:25 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


Protests continue in Europe

3:59 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


Edward Said on Who's in charge [Booknotes News]
But to return to the US and its current actions. In all my encounters and travels I have yet to meet a person who is for the war. Even worse, most Americans now feel that this mobilisation has already gone too far to stop, and that we are on the verge of a disaster for the country. Consider first of all that the Democratic Party, with few exceptions, has simply gone over to the president's side in a gutless display of false patriotism. Wherever you look in the Congress there are the tell-tale signs either of the Zionist lobby, the right-wing Christians, or the military-industrial complex, three inordinately influential minority groups who share hostility to the Arab world, unbridled support for extremist Zionism, and an insensate conviction that they are on the side of the angels. Every one of the 500 congressional districts in this country has a defence industry in it, so that war has been turned into a matter of jobs, not of security. But, one might well ask, how does running an unbelievably expensive war remedy, for instance, economic recession, the almost certain bankruptcy of the social security system, a mounting national debt, and a massive failure in public education? Demonstrations are looked at simply as a kind of degraded mob action, while the most hypocritical lies pass for absolute truth, without criticism and without objection.

The media has simply become a branch of the war effort. What has entirely disappeared from television is anything remotely resembling a consistently dissenting voice. Every major channel now employs retired generals, former CIA agents, terrorism experts and known neoconservatives as "consultants" who speak a revolting jargon designed to sound authoritative but in effect supporting everything done by the US, from the UN to the sands of Arabia. Only one major daily newspaper (in Baltimore) has published anything about US eavesdropping, telephone tapping and message interception of the six small countries that are members of the Security Council and whose votes are undecided.


3:47 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


Wrong results?

War poll yanked from Bill Frist's site due to "tampering"
[Eclecticity: Dan Shafer's Blog Universe]

8:07 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


Inspectors question US claims and say US forged documnents

7:47 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


What a coincidence file:

Cheney alma mater Halliburton/Kellogg, Brown & Root gets contract to douse Iraqi oil fires


So you know they will catch fire, one way or another.

1:47 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


Friday, March 07, 2003

The Business Council and their code of silence

The BizJournal link in skimble's post is for registered users only.

If you were an invited journo, you were sworn to secrecy too. It's the only way the plutocrats can get away with their shenanigans in the Internet Age.

One thing about the '00s -- you know where you stand in the Order of Things.

In, or out.

9:47 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


If Charles Sell is forced to take anti-psychotic drugs to stand trial in Missouri, it could be a chilling precedent [free registration required for second link]
Sell's case raises questions that could apply more broadly to, for example, government programs requiring vaccinations against anthrax or school mandates that children with hyperactivity or attention deficit disorder take drugs to remain in class.


9:27 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


New site claims most comprehensive coverage of 2002 -- and 2004 -- election on the Web: politicalweb.info [u]

8:59 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


A timely reminder [u]
"You can not yoke a government whose fundamental maxim is that of liberty to a government whose first law is that of force and hope to preserve the former. These things are in
eternal war, and one must ultimately destroy the other. You may still keep for a time the outward form, you may still delude yourself with appearances and symbols, but when you shall have committed this Republic to a scheme of world control based upon the combined military force of the great nations of the world, you will have soon destroyed the atmosphere of freedom, of confidence in the self-governing capacity of the masses, in which alone a democracy may thrive. We may become one of the dictators of the world, but we shall no longer be master of our own spirit. And what shall it profit us as a Nation if we shall go forth to the domination of the earth and lose that fine sense of confidence in the people, the soul of democracy?" -- Senator William Borah, November 19, 1919 [attributed to Saul Landau on Undernews, but I can't find it on Landau's site]
Borah led a group of Senators opposed to the League of Nations as a smokescreen for imperialism.

8:49 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


Aside from helping to prevent strikes, arthritis and heart attacks, aspirin apparently also "cuts the risk of mouth, throat and oesophagal cancers by two-thirds" according to a new Italian study

I wonder if taking aspirin would help with my RSS-tightened wrists?

8:32 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


USA Today begs to differ with docs and shrubco on the malpractice insurance issue [u]
...a six-week study by USA TODAY finds that while some doctors in particularly vulnerable specialties -- obstetrics, neurosurgery and some high-risk surgical fields -- face severe problems, most physicians are minimally affected. Premiums are rising rapidly, but no more than other health care costs. They represent only a small slice of doctors' expenses. Even for the hardest-hit specialists, the most severe problems are concentrated in a handful of states.

[...]

USA TODAY found:
Some states have rapidly rising malpractice premiums, especially in obstetrics, neurology and some surgical fields. But, on average, doctors still spend less on malpractice insurance -- 3.2% of their revenue -- than on rent.

Large jury awards play a limited role in causing premiums to rise, despite allegations that greedy trial lawyers and frivolous claims are to blame. Less than 2% of malpractice claims result in a winning verdict at trial, according to insurance industry estimates.

Settlement payouts are up, but that has less to do with pain-and-suffering claims than with higher awards for what are called economic damages -- the patient's medical bills, lost wages and other expenses.


8:22 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


The Transportation Security Administration announced Friday that it will test a new system to screen airline passengers, which will for the first time check the credit reports and criminal histories of anyone trying to board a plane [u]

So if this becomes SOP, we could have a situation eventually where your credit report keeps you from flying and gas prices soaring to $5 a gallon.

But you'll want to be home so you can watch the military doing urban anti-terror drills in the streets anyway.

What fun we'll have.

And, you know, freedom too.

8:15 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


CNN's TalkBack Live dies

Because there's no talking back during wartime, buddy.

8:02 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


Will the Turks hold firm on the basing vote, despite the army's alliance with the US? [a]

It's hard to imagine the whifflehead boys in the WH can manage the unstable tri-partite nature of Iraq post-Saddam, and the Kurdish question and instability in Iraq in general is justifiably worrying the Turks.

shrubco is in single-minded pursuit of Iraq as a foothold in the MidEast and the (oil) engine the tailspinning economy needs to recover (as well as a goldmine for them and their energy mogul chums). Everything else is secondary.

For now.

Think they have some surprises coming?

7:55 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


Robert Novak sees shrubco bringing down the conservative house over Iraq [a]
Military victory is anticipated inside the Bush administration as the tonic that will prompt corporation officers and private investors to unleash the American economy's dormant power. Although it is impolitic to say so, the fact that the United States will be sitting on a new major oil supply will stimulate the domestic economy. That puts a high premium on quickly gaining control of Iraq's oil wells before they can be torched -- a major uncertainty in an otherwise strictly scripted scenario.

"This is Texas poker, with the president putting everything on Iraq," a Republican senator (who thoroughly approves of this policy) told me. The extraordinary gamble by Bush leads to deepening apprehension by Republican politicians as they wait for the inevitable war. They consider the Democratic Party divided, drifting to the left and devoid of new ideas. Yet, Bush's re-election next year is threatened by two issues: the economy and the war on terrorism. Success on both is tied to war with Iraq.
This is only a small part of what's going on, of course.

But if the Iraq debacle doesn't play out like shrubco wants it to -- and I think this is quite unlikely for a lot of reasons -- it will doom them and the horse (the GOP, the neo-con Plan for World Domination) they rode in on.

Then things will get really interesting.


7:44 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


Not until crocs are waddling through the streets of Washington

Unsurprising but revealing Republican memo on their increasing vulnerability on the environment
"The scientific debate is closing [against us] but not yet closed. There is still a window of opportunity to challenge the science," Mr Luntz writes in the memo, obtained by the Environmental Working Group, a Washington-based campaigning organization.

"Voters believe that there is no consensus about global warming within the scientific community. Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly.

"Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate."


11:27 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


So much for the "George Washington of Iraq" -- and large plates of crow for Wolfowitz & Co
Iraq is to be effectively directly ruled for at least a year or two by a U.S. general overseeing reconstruction after the devastation caused by the war, according to widespread, well-sourced reports. These accounts have outraged longtime Chalabi supporters both idealistic and naive who believe their hero has been the victim of a cynical sell-out.

This unexpected U-turn in policy only weeks before the United States is expected to be launched in a military drive to overthrow Saddam was a totally unanticipated and even humiliating U-turn for the Bush administration.

First, it provided a huge morale boost for Saddam and his 35-year-old Baath, or Arab Socialist regime in Baghdad.

Second, it was a devastating international humiliation for the Bush administration which was left looking as if it did not know what it was doing.

And third, it was a public diplomacy catastrophe for the United States in both Western Europe and the Arab World where it appeared to confirm widespread accusations that the self-proclaimed idealistic champions of democracy pushing the war had been cynical opportunists al along, using their high-minded talk only as a cover for seizing Iraq's vast reserves of oil.

The sudden policy reversal was widely - and correctly - seen as a belated victory for the skeptics of the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department under Secretary of State Colin Powell who had long been critical and disbelieving of Chalabi's claims that Saddam was on his last legs and that the INC commanded vast sympathetic support and intelligence assets guaranteeing there would be widespread civilian uprisings and mass defections of Iraqi forces when war loomed, or as soon as it started.
Perhaps only a minor development as far as those outside the WH power vortex are concerned, but worth noting.

10:59 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


The Core, The Gap and the Seam States, or Our Way or the Hell of the Heathens

MetaFilter links to "The New Pentagon Map"


A rich and very strange fantasy of Why America Must Rule the World.

I'm sure most of the points I'd make are made in the MeFi comments.

Kind of the policy equivalent of the launching of the Titanic.

1:45 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


Thursday, March 06, 2003

Sen Richard Shelby's independent report on US Intelligence
Noting that "The CIA's Directorate of Operations usually refuses been to let CIA analysts see its own operational cable traffic," Sen. Shelby establishes that dysfunctional information policies, including inappropriate controls on information, are at the root of much of what ails the U.S. intelligence bureaucracy.

[...]

It is far past time for the CIA to recognize the sharp limitations of its traditional Cold War approach to HUMINT, and to begin serious development -- in a large-scale, programmatic way, rather than simply on an ad hoc or "volunteer" basis -- of nontraditional HUMINT "platforms" and the use of NOCs. A greater emphasis upon non-Caucasian NOC officers would also probably pay dividends out of proportion to the investments necessary to recruit and train such individuals. Indeed, it is perhaps in getting undercover agents out (and at risk) amongst the "target" population that the HUMINT operators of the DO perhaps have the most to learn from their law enforcement counterparts. If the Drug Enforcement Administration can put actual, salaried American officers undercover in clannish narcotrafficking organizations in foreign countries, surely the CIA can learn to penetrate aggressively proselytizing Islamic fundamentalist organizations. We depend upon them to do just that.
It's long but is worth reading if Intel interests you.

10:28 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


Russia has bottom-line economic and political reasons not to support the invasion of Iraq

9:34 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


Of 62 indictments by the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey in "terrorism cases" -- the most of any office in the country -- 60 of those cases were against "Middle Eastern students charged with paying others to take their English proficiency tests" [u]

9:22 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


Companies can now rent Liechtenstein for retreats or whatever

Heard about this on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me a couple weeks ago.

Though they pretty much own everything anyway, don't they? Maybe it's just nostalgia for the old titles.

9:15 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


"Election.com, a struggling Garden City start-up scheduled to provide online absentee ballots for U.S. military personnel in the 2004 federal election, has quietly sold controlling power to an investment group with ties to unnamed Saudi nationals, according to company correspondence" [u]

9:02 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


Extensive summary of murky and suspect Khalid Shaikh Mohammed story [xymphora]

8:57 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


shrubco not acting like North Korea's a threat much

'Course wherever there's US/ally investment, and a big army with potential nuke capability, we're unlikely to see any deployments, aren't we?

I think we're going to see a lot fewer deployments period soon, when the bill comes in.

7:05 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


disinfo on the acclaimed new book Why Do People Hate America?
Ziauddin Sardar and Merryl Wyn Davies dissect this question and get to the root of the all too complicated answer. An answer that is not a straightforward counterblast to the hatred expressed for America but rather a look at the consequences of interaction in a world in which gross disparities of power, wealth, freedom, and opportunity must be factored into each and every situation.


9:42 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


An Undernews reader on the Donahue show cancellation
ANTHONY GANCARSKI - Why didn't anyone watch Phil Donahue's show? Because it was booked to be as dull as possible. Think of all the snoozer guests -- Brokaw, Studs Terkel [a show where Phil and he wore matching togs], Jerry Falwell. Interesting and controversial, if it were 1983, maybe. Donahue should've booked Hitchens vs. Chomsky on the first night and gone from there, building up guests and perspectives that the mainstream wouldn't give a fair hearing. Michael Savage vs. Norman Mailer? Could've been booked, but Phil was busy devoting a week to 'The Angry White Man.' So don't cry for Phil Donahue; he had his shot, and delivered six months of whiny crap that pandered to the center at every opportunity.


9:30 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


List compiled by Vietnam Vets Against the War of countries where bombing did not result in democracy or improved human rights: [u]
China 1945-46
Korea 1950-53
China 1950-53
Guatemala 1954
Indonesia 1958
Cuba 1959-60
Guatemala 1960
Congo 1964
Peru 1965
Laos 1964-73
Vietnam 1961-73
Cambodia 1969-70
Guatemala 1967-69
Grenada 1983
Libya 1986
El Salvador 1980s
Nicaragua 1980s
Panama 1989
Iraq 1991-99
Sudan 1998
Afghanistan 1998
Yugoslavia 1999


9:26 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


Santa Fe passes a city ordinance mandating an $8.50 living wage for all businesses and non-profits (25 employees or more) in the New Mexican capital, not just government positions like most cities

9:19 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


67 things you might want to know before the bombs drop [u]
"AL." Most words beginning with "al" -- such as "algebra" -- date back to medieval Arabic and are now a big un-American no-no. Just as anti-German hysteria swept the U.S. in 1917 (when Americans renamed hamburger and sauerkraut), it's possible we'll soon see the final prohibition of alcohol -- the word, not the hooch. First mass-distilled by Arabs in potent proofs called alembics, alcohol may disappear with "alfalfa," "Aladdin" (who has already been replaced by an Asian actor at Disney's California Adventure), "albacore" tuna, "alchemy," Al Sharpton and, sadly, Al Green.

ISRAEL. The No. 1 recipient of U.S. foreign-military aid. Its decades-long occupation of the West Bank and Gaza strip has made life miserable for Palestinians, violates international law, and is a major source of instability in the Middle East. In violation of global nuclear-arms-reduction treaties, Israel has (like North Korea) developed a nuclear-weapons program, which it continues to deny exists. Israel is also currently violating several United Nations resolutions, including Nos. 1322, which calls upon Israel to "scrupulously abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention regarding the responsibilities of occupying power"; 1402, which demands that Israel withdraw from Palestinian cities; and 1403, which urges Israel to withdraw its occupation forces to their positions as of September 2000 and to "end its military activities in and around Ramallah, including the destruction of security and civilian infrastructure." On the other hand?Sammy!


9:11 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


"If it's not a conflict of interest, it's certainly being tone deaf."

Good lowdown on Gen Jay Garner (ret.), shrubco's pick to "re-build Iraq" -- including his immediate past as a defense contractor (un-building Iraq being their main concern), and membership in The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), a collection of ex-US military hotshots (and Richard Perle, natch) which basically lobbies for US/Israeli world dominance


8:50 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


All 19 alleged 9/11 hijackers were being tracked beforehand by the CIA, FBI or other intel agencies

8:01 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


From Undernews last week: a quote from a Washington Times column on Stupid Airport Security Tricks
The nation's commercial airline pilots are literally breaking out of the cockpit to help Inside the Beltway identify the world's most absurd terrorism-related security measures.

"My name is Andy Hays and I am a pilot with American Airlines," writes the Virginia-based aviator. "We recently had a female pilot - in uniform - passing through airport security where she was slated to fly the airplane on her regular three-day trip. "As she was having her carry-on bag searched, she inquired, 'What are you looking for?' The response she received from the security [person]: 'Anything that you could use to break into the cockpit.' Not only was she working the flight but in her pocket, as is the case with all of us, was a cockpit key."


7:38 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


Arrogant shrubco flak Chao succeeds in alienating labor leaders, reigniting solidarity -- against Republicans
Some on the AFL-CIO's 54-member executive council said today that Chao's statements Wednesday united a sometimes fractured leadership -- including Teamsters President James P. Hoffa, a supporter of President Bush -- in opposing Bush's reelection.

Participants said Chao shocked the group by opposing any increase in the minimum wage, showing no sympathy for retired steelworkers who lost pension benefits, and reciting a list of legal actions her department has taken against unions and their leaders.

"We had a pretty unbelievable session," AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney said after hearing Chao. "She was angry at points, insulting at points. I said that in all my years in labor, I've never seen a secretary of labor so anti-labor."


7:33 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


A snapshot of Baghdad before invasion by the latest in a long list of occupiers

7:12 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


On shrubco's Iraq payoffs
There is little debate that America's war is also Britain's. Equally, little is said about the rewards of such a position. With some nations, the cost of building alliances and the price of friendship is highly visible.

Take the billions offered to Turkey, or the loan guarantees Israel has asked for to cover the black hole at the heart of the nation's finances. Or the request by Poland, a staunch US ally, that its companies get a slice of the oil action after Saddam is toppled.

No opposition seems principled enough to resist the lure of lucre. America has dangled enough cash in front of Russia to cover the $8bn (£5.3bn) it is owed by Iraq since the last Gulf war. The US public should worry about this trend. A billion here, a billion there, and sooner or later you are talking real money.

The mask of noble gestures and fine diplomacy has disappeared to reveal a rather unappealing emotion: greed.


7:03 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


UK government helped Iraq build chemical weapons plant in the 80s and hid fact from US
The papers show that Mr Channon rejected a strong plea from a Foreign Office minister, Richard Luce, that the deal would ruin Britain's image in the world if news got out: "I consider it essential everything possible be done to oppose the proposed sale and to deny the company concerned ECGD cover".

The Ministry of Defence also weighed in, warning that it could be used to make chemical weapons.

But Mr Channon, in line with Mrs Thatcher's policy of propping up the dictator, said: "A ban would do our other trade prospects in Iraq no good".

The British taxpayer was even forced to write a compensation cheque for £300,000 to the German-owned company after final checks on the plant, completed in May 1990, were interrupted by the outbreak of the Gulf war.

The Falluja 2 chlorine plant, 50 miles outside Baghdad, near the Habbaniya airbase, has been pinpointed by the US as an example of a factory rebuilt by Saddam to regain his chemical warfare capability.


7:00 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


Argentine Supreme Court overturns ruling converting deposits to devalued pesos -- though where the billions depositors are owed will come from is the question

And what will the IMF say? Will the US invade to impose economic sanctions and defend the elites and banks?

Where will this kind of economic chaos happen next?

6:55 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


Thanks and cheers to incublogula for the link!

It's a very cool site worth your time.

Permanent link at right.

12:27 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


Ha'aretz:

"According to Israeli intelligence, Palestinians are still not connected to the global terror network, and neither is Iraq"
[a]

12:19 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


Turkish military with a menacing grunt calls its allegiance to shrubco, parliament may buckle despite 95% of Turks opposed to war

I think everyone senses the tremendous pressure being exerted by shrubco for demurring states to fall in line, leading up to an Ides of March (or thereabouts) invasion.
It was a thought I'd had before: few things are more frightening than a person who's rendered his life down to this single thing. Religion, sex or alcohol, politics, racism -- it doesn't matter much what the thing is. You look into his eyes and see the covered light, sense something of the very worst we can come to, individually and collectively. But one of the things that's even scarier is people who haven't rendered their lives down to anything at all. --James Sallis, Black Hornet


12:13 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


Wednesday, March 05, 2003

I agree with xymphora that the propitious "capture" of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed seems a bit too . . . convenient, shall we say?
One reason that the arrested man looks so bad may be because he is dead! Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was supposed to have died in the police raid on September 11, 2002 when Binalshibh was captured. The Pakistani Rangers are supposed to have shot him, despite the fact he had his hands up. It gets even better:

"Later, the Pakistani press carried pictures of a message scrawled in blood on the wall of the flat, proclaiming the Muslim refrain of Kalma, in Arabic: 'There is no God except Allah, Mohammed is his messenger'). An official who was present in the flat at the time of the shooting has told Asia Times Online that the message was written by Shaikh Mohammed with his own blood as his life drained from him."

His wife and child were supposedly taken from the apartment and handed over to the FBI. Three terrorists were supposedly captured, though only two of them were seen by reporters, their faces obscured by rags. One was described as "a burly, curly haired man" who was brought out "with his entire face covered by a blindfold."
There are embedded links in the original post.

10:40 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


Oregon's lauded prescription plan falls to the budget ax
Unable to raise taxes, and having cut financing for police, prosecutors and schools, state officials turned to the Oregon Health Plan. They ordered the board that governs the plan to decide how and where to cut. It chose to revert to more basic coverage, stop paying for many prescription drugs and charge higher premiums and co-payments.

Dr. Patricia Kullberg, medical director of the health department of Multnomah County, which covers Portland, said she just did something she had never done in 21 years as a family physician: she advised a patient which medications he could stop taking and suffer the least. The patient lost his prescription drug benefit for arthritis, depression, high cholesterol and hypertension.

"I feel like I'm living in some foreign country where suffering is routine," she said. "It's scary. What we're doing is condemning people to the long-term consequences of their diseases."

[...]

David Eisen, clinical director for Central City Concern, a private nonprofit agency that provides care for drug addicts and the mentally ill, said people whose basic medical needs were met by prescription drugs costing the state about $90 a month per person, were now going to start showing up in hospital emergency rooms, or jail, where they will cost the state far more.

"The people who made this decision thought they could save a few million dollars," Mr. Eisen said. "But the crime rate will rise, emergency rooms will be flooded with people, and in the end, the state is going to pay five to eight times more than they would have saved."


9:54 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


Maureen Dowd on shrubco's dreams of Genghis Glory
Niall Ferguson, a professor at Oxford and New York University who wrote the coming book "Empire," said that while "it was rather sweet" that the Pentagon was studying ancient empires, he thought the lessons were no longer relevant.

"The technological and economic differences between modernity and premodernity are colossal," he said.

Besides, he says Americans aren't temperamentally suited to empire-building. "The British didn't mind living for years in Iraq or India for 100-plus years," he said. "Americans aren't attracted to the idea of taking up residence in hot, poor places."

He's right. America doesn't like to occupy. We like to buy our territory, like the bargain Louisiana Purchase and the overpriced amount we were going to pay Turkey (the old Ottoman Empire) to use its bases, before its Parliament balked. At the outside, we prefer to time-share.

As the brazen Bush imperialists try to install a new democracy in Iraq, they are finding the old democracy of our reluctant allies inconvenient.   


9:49 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


3-strike law upheld by Supreme Court

Do the justices have stock in private prisons? Because those stockholders are the only ones who will benefit from this ruling.

9:44 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


Now Russia has a different problem: too much money
Russia's economy is awash in oil dollars. Through oil sales abroad and copious foreign borrowing by Russian oil companies, cash has been flowing into the country faster than the economy can cope. The central bank's currency reserves have risen by $4.8 billion, or more than 10 percent, since mid-January.

[...]

But the higher wages and spending bring the problem of inflation. In its fight with the strengthening of the ruble, Russia's central bank has been buying dollars. But as it fills its coffers with the U.S. currency, it pumps more rubles into the economy, thus driving inflation.


9:35 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Ismail Cem of Turkey explains Turkey's "surprise" parliamentary veto in the Wall Street Journal [the link is subscriber only; I got this as a free newsletter email from Benador & Assocs.]
In retrospect, it seems that the present confusion was first triggered by the unintentional but misleading impression that the Majority Leader Tayyip Erdogan gave in his meeting with President Bush. Turkish government officials gave the same positive impression to visiting U.S. officials Paul Wolfowitz and Marc Grossman. As a result, Washington believed that Turkey had given an assurance of unconditional participation in a military operation. In fact, that's more or less what U.S. officials -- and CNN -- reported, following the visit by Messrs. Wolfowitz and Grossman. Objectively, they were correct in their reading, and they developed their plans for Iraq accordingly. But the Turkish political and popular reality was at odds with the impression that the Americans took with them.

Second point: The U.S. administration took Turkey for granted. And the Turkish government took its own people and parliament for granted. Both Washington and Ankara undervalued the Turkish people's concerns and sensitivities. Besides, in political and academic circles here, there is a strong belief in the need for a new, explicit U.N. resolution in order to initiate a war. If all ongoing disarmament activities derive their legitimacy from a U.N. resolution, this logic goes, then a war legitimized by the noncompliance of Iraq must be based on a U.N. resolution as well. There is strong criticism of the U.S., which is seen as conferring its approval on the U.N. only when the latter does Washington's bidding. This gives the U.S., and especially its president, an image generally interpreted as that of a bully.

As for the average Turkish citizen, overlooked by his government, war on Iraq connotes nothing but economic problems, insecurity and terrorism. It is widely accepted that the more Turkey is involved in Iraq, the greater will be her losses, both human and material. This is understandable. The last Gulf War had a devastating impact on Turkey. The economic and human strife provided the terrorist-secessionist groups in Turkey with fertile ground, and the growing terrorism was largely due to the activities of militants who had crossed the borders as refugees fleeing Iraq. Billions of dollars were lost in revenues, or used up in extra military spending to fight terrorism. For the Turkish people, the present day is like watching a scary old film again. Plus, in their consciences, they do not see a justification for an act that would cause death and misery to a neighboring people. Scenes from the 1991 war are present in their memories, and on TV scenes rerun for the occasion.

Third point: The Turkish government has over-emphasized the economic aid that the U.S. was to provide in compensation for Turkey's losses. And Washington did not help by implicitly, even openly, blaming Turkey for "horse-trading." This provoked an anti-Turkish media campaign in the U.S., with satirical banners and cartoons portraying Turkey as an ugly belly-dancer trying to charm President Bush for his money. These, of course, took their due place in the Turkish media. The Turkish people, who traditionally considered the U.S. as a friend, realized that American public opinion could easily turn hostile if Turkey deviates from U.S. demands. The new U.S. attitude hurt deeply. It probably caused as much damage as all other factors put together.

All of these culminated in a negative parliamentary vote, to the surprise of almost everyone. But why should it have surprised? After all, Turkish legislators, like their American counterparts, listen to their conscience, and are sensitive to their constituencies.


9:28 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


Had to mention the lawyer arrested for wearing a peace T-shirt in New York (again!), even if you have heard about it

This is truly sick.

7:06 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


Suffolk County NY bans ephedra

Not saying you shouldn't be careful what you take, but the shit BigPharma is shelling out hand over fist is at least as dangerous. Clearly they have friends in New York.

Keep gobblin' those SSRIs though.

6:40 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


Unedited (so they claim) bin Laden (so they claim) address to Arab world from last month -- with parts critical of Arab regimes, particularly the Saudis, restored from version floated before [World Net Daily -- Christian crusaderesque news]

Note how Iraq/Saddam isn't criticized directly, but clearly would be a target if not for the US/UK threat.

10:40 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


Selected referrals
punching holes saudi firewalls
sharon tate ktla news anchor
-bowling 2002 michigan militia babes calendar
plastic canvas patterns of poodle dogs
faked incontinence
mariah carey kidnap fantasy
"life size" rifle target soviet
"Pictures of Maggots" not evidence
why the cia installs unstable regimes
drugs "passion killers" slang
ashleigh banfield a jew
caspar weinberger reptilian
who is rudi bakhtiar a muslim
cato's arguments against war with Iraq are getting silly
pics of distorted iraqi babies
music-related suicides rates in 1980
medical term for unibrow
cartoon dog fouling pics
willeford teeth characters love fear
photos or videos with killing a turkey on thanksgiving


12:32 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Zapatista Subcomandante Marcos's message to the protesters in Italy on Feb 15th [xymphora]
This is the war of fear.

Its objective is not to defeat Hussein in Iraq. Its goal is not to do away with Al Qaeda. Nor does it seek to liberate the people of Iraq. It is not justice, nor democracy, nor liberty which drives this terror. It is fear.

Fear that the entire world will refuse to accept a policeman which tells it what it should do, how it should do it and when it should do it. It is fear.

Fear that the world will refuse to be treated like plunder.

Fear of that human essence which is called rebellion.

Fear that the millions of human beings who are mobilizing today throughout the world will be victorious in raising the cause of peace.


9:24 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


Return of the Hollywood blacklist?

9:12 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


Is the indirect dissembling of the DoD labs by allowing the best researchers to drift into the private sector bad or good?

Perhaps it's just the new trend of outsourcing government to death. Politicos have friends in the private sector they want to throw biz to.

And there's the fact that the rapid distribution of new tech beyond the old military quarantine (that things like DARPANET grew out of) is a fait accompli now. Coke networkers in Latin America devise networks that Fortune 500 companies would love to have.

They can't keep it to themselves like they used to.

Of course that means all kinds of folks will have access to the latest tech.

More responsibility to the citizen means just that.

4:48 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


Lowday

A lot happening in the news, but I'm feeling porely. Try to post what I can.

3:27 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


A respected Japanese journo has written a best-seller on a system of secret tunnels under Tokyo -- but the media doesn't want to know about it [MetaFilter]
During the Gulf War in 1991, Shun Akiba was one of only two foreign journalists reporting from Baghdad, along with Peter Arnett of CNN. With such experience and expertise, it would be reasonable to imagine him in great demand right now. Wrong.

Shun Akiba, a former high-level foreign reporter, has identified hundreds of kilometers of Tokyo tunnels whose purpose is unknown and whose very existence is denied.

Shun is on some kind of invisible blacklist. His book "Teito Tokyo Kakusareta Chikamono Himitsu" ("Imperial City Tokyo: Secret of a Hidden Underground Network"), published by Yosensha in late 2002, is already in its fifth edition. Yet Shun has found it impossible to get the media to take serious note, write reviews or offer interviews.

This is very strange because he has a great story -- evidence of a network of tunnels and possibly an underground city beneath Tokyo that the public is totally unaware of. "Why am I ignored? Can I be on to something, and there is a conspiracy to silence me? I believe so."


3:24 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


Palast says he found no evidence shrubco had advance knowledge or involvement in 9/11 -- but he wonders why there is a Bubble of Immunity around the Saudis
In my opinion, much too much has been made of the bin Ladens's Carlyle connection to the Bushes. It would be absurd to say that President Bush spiked the investigation of the bin Laden family and Saudi funding of terrorists in return for packets of cash. The system is not so crude. Gentlemen of the club do not act that way. Rather, what's created is a prejudice, call it a disposition, to conclude that these smiling Gulf billionaires, whose associates made you and your family wealthy, are unlikely to have funded mass murder of Americans, despite the evidence.
Having listened to Whitley Strieber's interview (click on "The War on Freedom" in left column) with Nafeez Ahmed today, I know there's more to this story -- and the involvement of Americans high in the political/intelligence/military pyramid.

2:09 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


Top SF cops indicted, political chaos descends (salon premium, ad viewing required)

Talk Left summary here.

AP update.

1:39 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


Former "Falcon" Christopher Boyce on the hell of prison, why he sold secrets, his regrets about hurting his father, the mistake of Congress's abolishing parole for federal prisoners since 1987, and birdwatching

1:26 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


Australian Intelligence today: humint-oriented, out of the ops arena (counter-terror and the military run those, apparently) and a diplomatic channel to unstable regimes

Staffed by only 200(!), they are the premier intel agency in SE Asia -- or so this article claims.

1:08 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


Homicidal informants used as a matter of course by FBI for decades [cicentre]
An AP review of court cases and published accounts identified 11 criminals who are known to have killed while working with the agency or to have been shielded by their bureau handlers from prosecution for murders committed before they were recruited.

Those 11, including three mobsters involved in the Boston scandal, are believed to have killed at least 52 people between the 1960s and the mid-'90s.

Previously, these cases had been reported as isolated incidents, but in the light of the interviews with former agents, they appear to be a part of a wider pattern.

Clifford Zimmerman, a Northwestern University law professor who studies informant practices, says it is immoral, and perhaps illegal, for agents to shrug off violent crimes.

"They're doing their own little cost-benefit analysis and really not taking into account, in my opinion, the damage to society that these people are causing," he said. "Is a federal official entitled to make that decision -- that one person's life is more valuable than another's?"

Sometimes it amounts to that, former agents acknowledge.


12:57 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


Monday, March 03, 2003

First official admission?

Powell acknowledges "mistake" of US involvement in 1973 Chilean coup


9:11 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


More on Google and privacy

An Undernews reader tied Google's
financing to VC CIA cozies Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital.
Here's the google search page for these companies + google.


8:42 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


Military Police Internment/Resettlement Operations manual [u]

1:16 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


With stories like these happening every day now, expect a bonanza for lawyers as suits against the feds and their operatives become legion [u]
A St. John's College Library visit by a former public defender was abruptly interrupted February 13 when city police officers arrested him about 9 p.m. at the computer terminal he was using, handcuffed him, and brought him to the Santa Fe, New Mexico, police station for questioning by Secret Service agents from Albuquerque. Andrew J. O'Conner, 40, who was released about five hours later, said in the February 16 Santa Fe New Mexican, "I'm going to sue the Secret Service, Santa Fe Police, St. John's, and everybody involved in this whole thing."

According to O'Connor, the agents accused him of making threatening remarks about President George W. Bush in an Internet chat room. Admitting he talked politics face-to-face in the library with a woman who was wearing a "No war with Iraq" button, O'Connor recalled saying that Bush is "out of control", but that "I'm allowed to say all that. There is this thing called freedom of speech."


1:09 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


Sen Joe Lieberman Erases Ties to Apocalyptic Fundamentalist Group [u]

12:45 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


BBC techguy Bill Thompson is up in arms about the Google/Pyra buy

I can't believe he's whining about the "power of blogs" -- like people don't know better than to verify what bloggers say (or media outlets co-opted by MI5/6 either, eh Bill?).

The issues of Google's cookies and public accountability are more interesting.

I don't necessarily think government regulation of Google would make things better. It could easily make things worse. But there should be an alternative to being tracked so assiduously too.

There are some good comments at the bottom too.

12:35 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


"Code of Honor" or Culture of Secrecy and Abuse?

99 rapes at the Air Force Academy in the last 7 Years: 20 investigations, one trial, one acquittal, no convictions
[Astroworld]

12:24 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


Soft drink peddler attempts to bribe "key influence bloggers" [boing boing]

Geez, where's my invite? ;D

12:09 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


China intends to mine the moon

12:01 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


Health Problems Plague Ground Zero Workers

8:55 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


If "Khalid Shaikh Mohammed" was just captured, who was the "Khalid Shaikh Muhammed" who was killed in Karachi six months ago?

8:33 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


Central African War escalates

8:26 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


Iraq War escalates

8:23 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


Food bad

The EU proposes legislation to scotch bogus health claims on food packaging, while the WHO blames processed food for "obesity and chronic disease" around globe


Though the WHO's high-carb diet suggestion isn't for everyone either, IMO.

8:20 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


Worldwide reading of ancient Greek anti-war play Lysistrata demonstrates theatre world's opposition to Iraq action

8:14 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


Shameless Gangsters file:

Media Mobsters to retry teen DeCSS programmer after acquittal


Clueless too.

8:07 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


Sunday, March 02, 2003

Ellis Medavoy/Jon Rappoport on US/Iraq
Q: As long as government and corporate leaders in the US insist that oil is the basic fuel of the empire---

A: That becomes the Achilles heel. It is foolish to imagine that no one else sees this, that everyone has declined to take advantage of it. Those people we could loosely call the globalist elite are determined to make the US weaker and weaker in every possible respect. So Bush has been given the mantle of a little Napoleon drawn into his Waterloo. It may not come all at once, but the empire beast is tiring by degrees.


Q: In this respect, the oil companies reap their own whirlwind.

A: They keep finding ways to suppress the use of technologies that would put the planet on a firm energy footing, and they are starting to pay the price.


Q: So, from the White House and Pentagon point of view---

A: From that point of view, these people feel they are very much in charge, a new day is dawning, the gloves are off, the US is finally going to flex its muscles, the empire is really on the move. That's how they see it. You know, they are "doing God's great work, representing the superior gene pool." Excuse me for going literary on you, but when you read the old Greek tragedies, you see the pride, the hubris that comes before the fall. And you also see the outer air of confidence in this tale---these current people think they are very much in charge, and no one on Earth is above them. But that's not true. There are plans afoot to bring them down. To bring them down by playing on their impulses to exercise the very kind of power that will, it so happens, boomerang.


9:36 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


Antibiotic-resistant staph germ breaks out in Boston following L.A. and San Franciso [drudge]

9:22 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


NSA memo article drudge wheezes about
While many diplomats at the UN assume they are being bugged, the memo reveals for the first time the scope and scale of US communications intercepts targeted against the New York-based missions.

The disclosure comes at a time when diplomats from the countries have been complaining about the outright 'hostility' of US tactics in recent days to persuade then to fall in line, including threats to economic and aid packages.

The operation appears to have been spotted by rival organisations in Europe. "The Americans are being very purposeful about this," said a source at a European intelligence agency when asked about the US surveillance efforts.


11:25 AM - [Link] - Comments ()





REVIEWS

from Sassafrass (9/23/02)
"Unconventional viewpoints at 'charging the canvas'

Opinions that will ruffle feathers, from someone who clearly knows their way around information and the blogosphere."


Blog of the Day
1/18/02




WEEKLY QUOTE

In the eyes of posterity it will inevitably seem that, in safeguarding our freedom, we destroyed it; that the vast clandestine apparatus we built up to probe our enemies' resources and intentions only served in the end to confuse our own purposes; that the practice of deceiving others for the good of the state led infallibly to our deceiving ourselves; and that the vast army of intelligence personnel built up to execute these purposes were soon caught up in the web of their own sick fantasies, with disastrous consequences to them and us.

-- Malcolm Muggeridge



Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.

-- Mark Twain





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(link to list against Iraq War)




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[Get Opera!]


K-Meleon







They were past the motels now, condos on both sides. The nicer ones, on the left, had soothing pluraled nature-names carved on hanging wooden signs, The Coves, The Glades, The Meadowlands. The cheaper condos, on the right, were smaller and closer to the road, and had names like roaring powerboats, Seaspray, Barracuda's, and Beachcomber III.

Jackie sneezed, a snippy poodle kind of sneeze, God-blessed herself, and said, "I bet it's on the left, Raymond. You better slow down."

Raymond Rios, the driver and young science teacher to the bright and gifted, didn't nod or really hear. He was thinking of the motels they had passed and the problem with the signs, No Vacancy. This message bothered him, he couldn't decide why. Then Jackie sneezed and it came to him, the motels said no vacancy because they were closed for the season (or off-season or not-season) and were, therefore, totally vacant, as vacant as they ever got, and so the sign, No Vacancy, was maximum-inaccurate, yet he understood exactly what it meant. This thought or chain of thoughts made him feel vacant and relaxed, done with a problem, a pleasant empty feeling driving by the beaches in the wind.


from Big If by Mark Costello


*       *       *       *


Bailey was having trouble with his bagel. Warming to my subject, I kept on talking while cutting the bagel into smaller pieces, wiping a dob of cream from his collar, giving him a fresh napkin. "There's a pretense at democracy. Blather about consensus and empowering employees with opinion surveys and minority networks. But it's a sop. Bogus as costume jewelry. The decisions have already been made. Everything's hush-hush, on a need-to-know-only basis. Compartmentalized. Paper shredders, e-mail monitoring, taping phone conversations, dossiers. Misinformation, disinformation. Rewriting history. The apparatus of fascism. It's the kind of environment that can only foster extreme caution. Only breed base behavior. You know, if I had one word to describe corporate life, it would be 'craven.' Unhappy word."

Bailey's attention was elsewhere, on a terrier tied to a parking meter, a cheeky fellow with a grizzled coat. Dogs mesmerized Bailey. He sized them up the way they sized each other up. I plowed on. "Corporations are like fortressed city-states. Or occupied territories. Remember The Sorrow and the Pity? Nazi-occupied France, the Vichy government. Remember the way people rationalized their behavior, cheering Pétain at the beginning and then cheering de Gaulle at the end? In corporations, there are out-and-out collaborators. Opportunists. Born that way. But most of the employees are like the French in the forties. Fearful. Attentiste. Waiting to see what happens. Hunkering down. Turning a blind eye.


from Moral Hazard by Kate Jennings


*       *       *       *


HANKY PANKY NOHOW

When the sashaying of gentlemen
Gives you grievance now and then
What's needed are some memories of planing lakes
Those planing lakes will surely calm you down

Nothing frightens me more
Than religion at my door
I never answer panic knocking
Falling down the stairs upon the law
What Law?

There's a law for everything
And for elephants that sing to feed
The cows that Agriculture won't allow

Hanky Panky Nohow
Hanky Panky Nohow
Hanky Panky Nohow
mmmmmmmm

-- John Cale



© me