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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, January 04, 2003

shrubco smallpox scam dumped on local health officials with tight budgets, making them cut back on other services -- such as screening for diseases people actually are suffering from
"This is the price of preparedness," said Dr. Ed Thompson, who recently became the agency's deputy director for public health programs and services after serving as Mississippi's health director. "It's going to cause some delays and slow the progress of other public health programs, but it's something we're just going to have to realize -- that there's going to be sacrifices."


In recent years, many expert panels have warned that budget cuts were causing the nation's public health system to crumble. On top of traditional services for mothers and children, health departments have had to apply more sophisticated laboratory techniques and newer methods to counter the resurgence of tuberculosis and to keep other infectious diseases in check.

The latest demands involve a vaccine that few practicing doctors have ever given because the United States abandoned it as a routine in 1972, eight years before smallpox was eradicated from the world. Now health departments must train workers how to use two-pronged needles to administer the vaccine and recognize its many complications, some rare but potentially lethal.

6:04 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Wildlife migrating from lower elevations/warmer climate zones [nausea manifesto]
Two groups of US biologists say they have detected a consistent pattern of response by wild species to warmer temperatures.

They say this is evidence that climate change is affecting living systems, as climatologists have predicted.

Many species are forsaking their ranges to find cooler or higher habitats.

And several regular springtime events are now happening earlier than they did a few decades ago.


...wildlife is aware of and responding to a new reality, whatever its causes.
The weird ambivalence I have about reporting environmental news is that I can sense (if not prove) that there is a reversal of policy coming on these issues. This could allow the application of "anti-terrorist," super-national police/military forces to be used to "monitor environmental compliance" in a way that is restrictive and intrusive, not to mention the potential for corruption and abuse. Meanwhile, corporate policies would continue under "special security mandates," for example. Or simply defy them with tacit government approval.

Not that I don't think the environment is changing, for a number of reasons, some related to human behavior and some not.

11:29 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

DeCSS case effectively dropped by Supreme Court

3:08 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Speaking at the Fifth Defense Ministerial of the Americas (kind of Stalinist-spooky right there) in Chile in November, Imperial Defense Secretary Ramsbottom established his intention to create a police presence which does not recognize national sovereignty "foster regional cooperation" to monitor the entire Western Hemisphere "unstable areas" prone to "organized crime, arms trafficking, piracy, money laundering" as well as dissidents of every stripe "unknown threats, which can emerge without warning."

1:13 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

"Female sexual dysfunction" latest BigPharma scam
"In this particular case, let's face it: There's more to be gained from prescribing medication to almost half of the female population for an invented disorder than for a disease that may affect only a fraction of the population," she said after reviewing Mr. Moynihan's article.

"That's not to say that female sexual dysfunction doesn't exist, but it's simply not likely the case that it affects almost half of women over 18. And if almost half of the female population is considered to have sexual dysfunction, it makes it very difficult to believe that this is a dysfunction at all, as we normally understand the term.

12:52 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Powerful winds and flooding rock Northern Europe; cold snap may cause electricity rationing in Finland

12:48 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Friday, January 03, 2003

MIT scientists get cold feet, admit coverup on missile defense viability [a]
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is considering an investigation into accusations that fundamental flaws in the proposed "Son of Star Wars" system have been covered up.

The criticism is led by Theodore Postol, a physicist and missile defence critic at MIT, who has said that the institute is sitting on what is potentially "the most serious fraud that we've seen at a great American university".

After months of demanding an inquiry into the affair, Ed Crawley, the chairman of MIT's aeronautics and astronautics department, has reversed previous refusals and recommended an investigation.
See past posts here and here.

3:00 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

shrubco/Frist Medicare plan would likely mean free drugs, higher premiums

If they get it past Congress - and AARP.

11:01 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Mars company hired the CIA to scout the Russian chocolate market

Ten Things You Didn't Know About Hershey, Mars and Chocolate

Missed this book (The emperors of chocolate: inside the secret world of Hershey and Mars), have to check it out.

3:01 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Was the fact that schools started getting $400 for each student diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) in 1991 behind the soaring number of cases? [Stratiawire]

My politics have little in common with the American Policy Center, and I'm well aware of how religious conservatives mistrust psychology because it threatens their worldview. But I also suspect many parents are being manipulated into giving their kids Ritalin etc. when it's not really a good idea.

2:31 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Brit ecologist studying Lake Baikal hassled by FSB (Russian Intel) [cicentre]
The FSB had made it clear that it was not interested in the group's work, she said, although a local FSB officer had suggested in local newspaper articles "that we were spies". The Irkutsk branch of the FSB was not available for comment. The articles have singled out the group's work late last year to highlight the environmental impact of an oil pipeline from the Siberian town of Angarsk to Daqing in China, Ms Sutton said. "An FSB officer was quoted as saying that we were undermining the regional economy and were finding environmental reasons why Russian oil could not flow to China.

"They also said our information about the environment around the uranium plant might cut back production in the area. This was designed to put the local population against us, because 'cutbacks' mean a loss of jobs. The headline of the article was 'Green spies undermine the economy of Angarsk'."

The computers were returned on December 19, she said. "We are not stopping our environmental work, as we are doing what the law encourages us to do" - meaning the citizen's right in Russian law to address the environmental impact of new projects.

"Apparently we had been treading on the toes of some pretty big commercial interests here."

1:51 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

MI5 spied on schoolboys in the 60s by order of Heath [cicentre]

1:42 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Thursday, January 02, 2003

Brian Eno on the US as a gated community [NerveNet list]
Too often, the U.S. presents the "American way" as the only way, insisting on its kind of free market Darwinism as the only acceptable" model of human progress." But isn't civilization what happens when people stop behaving as if they're trapped in a ruthless Darwinian struggle and start thinking about communities and shared futures? America as a gated community won't work, because not even the world's sole superpower can build walls high enough to shield itself from the intertwined realities of the 21st century.

There's a better form of security: reconnect with the rest of the world, don't shut it out; stop making enemies and start making friends. Perhaps it's asking a lot to expect America to act differently from all the other empires in history, but wasn't that the original idea?"

7:10 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Short David Rees (Get Your War On) interview [Buzzflash]
I had to get this off my chest. Late one night I was going to update my Web site with the regular, apolitical comics, and it just struck me that I just couldn't continue with business as usual. Since I was sitting at my computer with the clip-art open, it was like, "Hell, I'll make the clip-art characters say what I'm actually feeling." It wasn't like I was sitting around thinking, "God, I have to come up with a really powerful anti-war tool." I'm not an activist. I'm not coming from that background. But after September 11, I really had to come to terms with my own death -- what felt like an imminent death -- because I live in New York City.

6:57 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

"There's only one person who is responsible for making that decision [to go to war], and that's me. And there's only one person who hugs the mothers and the widows, the wives and the kids on the death of their loved ones. Others hug, but having committed the troops, I've got an additional responsibility to hug, and that's me, and I know what it's like." -- GWB to Barbara Walters, ABC "20/20," 12/13/02

Mark Crispin Miller on shrub hugging himself
No, as he makes this grave decision to send men and women to their deaths, Bush is not indifferent to the pain that it will cause their families (the way he was when having all those men and women executed in the state of Texas). No, Bush does take this whole thing very, very seriously. He really does. No kidding.


Not only does the president believe himself to be "the only person" who decides to take this nation into war -- a view at odds with what our Constitution has to say -- but he's claimed as well to be "the only ... person who hugs the mothers and the widows, the wives and the kids on the death of their loved ones." Does Bush actually believe that he's "the only person" who can comfort the bereaved? ("Others hug," he added quickly, but too late.)

6:41 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Worm turns at Los Alamos lab
[Director John] Browne submitted his resignation after a meeting with Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham last month. "It is crucial that we restore public confidence in the management of the laboratory," Abraham said Thursday.

The FBI, Energy Department and at least two congressional committees are looking into alleged credit card abuses at the lab over the past several years and the disappearance of high-tech hardware and other equipment.

Two lab-hired investigators were fired in November and they went public, alleging a cover-up of the wrongdoing. The lab gave no reason for the dismissals and has not replaced the two men.

"They continue to cover up and to conceal the situation at the lab, and finally they've had to pay for what they've done," said Steven Doran, one of the fired investigators.
Saw this one coming.

Gotta clean up shop, got work to do.

Replacing Browne is retired Navy Vice Admiral George Nanos, former Commander of Naval Sea Systems, who has specialized in laser technology and missile systems. While UC clearly bungled this and there are a whole lot of unanswered questions (like what was the real deal with Wen Ho Lee?), the turnover to a military Director may be significant, particularly in light of the new weapons research mentioned in the link paragraph above. Will they cordon off Los Alamos completely?

5:09 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Preliminary ruling goes against Homeland Security in EPIC suit
U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ordered the office to prove it has no authority other than helping and advising President Bush if it wants to dismiss a lawsuit seeking access to its records.

The ruling last week favored the Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Center, which is trying to get Homeland Security records on proposals for a national driver's license and for a "trusted flyer" program that relies on biometric information to identify airline passengers.

4:45 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

The common sparrow has completely disappeared from some European cities -- and no one is sure why

12:47 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

CSM review of Hal Clifford's Downhill Slide: Why the Corporate Ski Industry is Bad for Skiing, Ski Towns, and the Environment, which speaks for itself I guess

Ever since I was in high school, skiing has seemed to be more about status and socializing than skiing -- though not for everyone, I know. While that was clearly the focus for my classmates busing up to Vermont from NJ for the weekend, my mom grew up in Northern Ontario and had to cross-country ski to school every winter's day. I remember the pungent creosote (or whatever) smell of her old wooden skis.

Never had much interest either way. Don't like wearing a lot of clothes for one thing. But X-country is good exercise, and you don't have to put up with the yahoos.

12:40 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

AL Jazeera to inaugurate English-language website in early 2003, cable/satellite later in the year
Headquartered in this small, wealthy Persian Gulf kingdom, Al Jazeera has won American praise for raising media standards in the Arab world, where virtually all news outlets operate under some form of government control. In efforts to address the Arab world directly, Secretary of State Colin Powell and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld have granted the channel interviews since Sept. 11, 2001. In mid-December, during a visit to Doha, Mr. Rumsfeld scheduled another interview with the channel, but pulled out following a testy exchange with an Al Jazeera reporter at a press conference.

Al Jazeera, says Kenton Keith, a former US ambassador to Qatar, "no more than other news organizations, has a slant. Its slant happens to be one most Americans are not comfortable with.... But the fact is that Al Jazeera has revolutionized media in the Middle East.


Oddly enough, Al Jazeera's journalists face severe restrictions in several Middle East countries that are considered allies of the US. Saudi Arabia, one of the US government's leading partners in the region, has never allowed Al Jazeera to open an office; Bahrain, where the US Navy's Fifth Fleet is based, has banned the network's journalists from visiting.

Two other US allies - Jordan and Kuwait - have shut down Al Jazeera bureaus this year. "They hate Al Jazeera," says chief editor Ibrahim Hilal, "because they hate transparency."

12:10 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Wednesday, January 01, 2003

Our Illustrious Emperor speaks

"You said we're headed to war in Iraq. I don't know why you say that," Bush told reporters. "I'm the person who gets to decide, not you."

And his words descended like ambrosial petals of amber, swelling and lifting his admiring and docile subjects, floating on balloons of Prozac into the langourous, apricot sunset.

"Is Jackass a rerun tonight?" someone asked.

2:20 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Post-9/11 paranoia supercedes Cold War paranoia as the CIA insists (with the eager backing of Herr Ashcroft's Justice Dept., natch) its 1947-48 budget should remain classified -- even though the 1997-98 budget is in the public record

To stop terrorism, no doubt.

Perhaps outgoing Senate Intellligence Committee chairman Bob Graham has a better answer:
"I am concerned that a lot of, I think, an excessive amount of the rationale for classification and, then, declassification has more to do with avoiding the embarrassment of what it would mean to an agency and possibly to individuals by letting the American people know how their agencies are functioning," Sen. Graham said.
But as I mentioned last week, the new regime at the SIC will certainly disavow such heretical and clearly unpatriotic sentiments.

The government and the corporatocracy are unaccountable. The public has no protection from 24-hour scrutiny, and is pretty much guilty unitl proven innocent. Or just guilty, period.

And if you don't like it, you're a terrorist.

Happy New Year.

1:23 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Desperate to counter the considerable opposition to GM foods outside the US, multi-nationals staged a demonstration of "poor farmers" at the Johannesburg Earth Summit
Giddings also notes that the farmers expressed their contempt for the "empty arguments" of many of the Earth Summiteers by honoring them with a "Bullshit Award" made from two varnished piles of cow dung. The award was given, in particular, to the Indian environmentalist Vandana Shiva, for her role in "advancing policies that perpetuate poverty and hunger"

A powerful rebuke, no doubt. But if anyone deserves the cow dung, it is the President of BIO, for almost every element of the spectacle he describes has been carefully contrived and orchestrated. Take, for instance, Chengal Reddy, the "farmer" that Giddings quotes. Reddy is not a poor farmer, nor even the representative of poor farmers. Indeed, there is precious little to suggest he is even well-disposed towards the poor. The "Indian Farmers Federation" that he leads is a lobby of big commercial farmers in Andhra Pradesh. On occasion Reddy has admitted to knowing very little about farming, having never farmed in his life. He is, in reality, a politician and businessman whose family are a prominent right-wing political force in Andhra Pradesh -- his father having coined the saying, "There is only one thing Dalits (members of the untouchable caste) are good for, and that is being kicked".

If it seems open to doubt that Reddy was in Johannesburg to help the poor speak for themselves, the identity of the march's organizers is also not a source of confidence. Although the Times' headline said "I do not need white NGOs to speak for me", the media contact on the organizers' press release was "Kendra Okonski", the daughter of a US lumber industrialist who has worked for various right wing anti-regulatory NGOs -- all funded and directed, needless to say, by "whites". These include the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Washington-based "think tank" whose multi-million dollar budget comes from major US corporations, among them BIO member Dow Chemicals. Okonski also runs the website, where her specialty is helping right wing lobbyists take to the streets in mimicry of popular protesters.

1:05 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

A Classic American Headline

Jack Ass sues Jackass

Now I can sleep soundly.

2:24 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Shameless shrubco gutting of Clean Air Act immediately challenged in court by 9 states already choking on coal smoke

Maybe it's time for the states to impose their own pollution rules.

Not that states are immune to corporate hegemony, but perhaps it would be easier to mount a campaign divesting corporations and re-investing citizens at that level.

If the multi-nationals have to bring in the troops (through their Washington lapdog proxies) to force citizens to allow them to poison their air and water, the cards wil finally be on the table.

2:13 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Tuesday, December 31, 2002

From the BBC site
Tight security is in force around the globe for New Year festivities, but governments tell their citizens to enjoy themselves.

Nice of them to give us permission, eh?

Now we can really let loose. Kind of.

11:42 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


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


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

(link to list against Iraq War)


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[Get Opera!]


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

*       *       *       *


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

-- John Cale

© me