Culture of Resistance

sustainableprosperity:

Toms River: How a Small Town Fought Back Against Corporate Giants for Toxic Dumping Linked to Cancer

Published on Apr 23, 2014

http://www.democracynow.org - Environmental reporter Dan Fagin joins us to discuss his book, “Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation,” which has just won the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. Fagin tells the story of how a small New Jersey town fought back against industrial pollution and astronomical rates of childhood cancer, and ultimately won one of the largest legal settlements in U.S. history. “We don’t look for patterns, we don’t analyze those patterns. That is a terrible tragedy,” Fagins says of the failure to examine environmental and industrial data gathered by local, state and federal agencies. “People are dying because we do not do effective public health surveillance in this country.”

Watch the full interview with Dan on Democracy Now!:
http://www.democracynow.org/2014/4/23…

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Posted by
Warlike Parakeet

Reblogged from Sustainable Prosperity

In March, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) awarded a $145 million contract to [Elbit Systems, an] Israeli company, through its US division. Elbit Systems prides itself on having spent ‘10+ years securing the world’s most challenging borders,’ above all deploying similar ‘border protection systems’ to the separation wall between Israel and Palestine. It is now poised to enter US indigenous lands. …

Americans may increasingly wonder whether NSA agents are scouring their meta-data, reading their personal e-mails and the like. In the borderlands no imagination is necessary. The surveillance apparatus is in your face. The high-powered cameras are pointed at you; the drones are above you; you’re stopped regularly at checkpoints and interrogated. Too bad if you’re late for school, a meeting or an appointment. And even worse, if your skin complexion, or the way you’re dressed, or anything about you sets off alarm bells, or there’s something that doesn’t smell quite right to the CBP’s dogs—and such dogs are a commonplace in the region—being a little late will be the least of your problems.

As Rivas told me, a typical exchange on the reservation might involve an agent at a checkpoint asking an O’odham woman whether, as she claimed, she was really going to the grocery store—and then demanding that she show him her grocery list.

People on the reservation now often refer to what is happening as an armed ‘occupation.’ Mike Wilson, an O’odham member who has tried to put gallon jugs of water along routes Mexican migrants might take through the reservation, speaks of the Border Patrol as an ‘occupying army.’ It’s hardly surprising. Never before in the Nation’s history under Spain, Mexico or the United States have so many armed agents been present on their land.

Tracking a Marked Population in the US Borderlands (via nezua)

Reblogged from imaginando

socialismartnature:

Happening NOW: 30,000 Chinese workers strike at the world’s largest producer of athletic shoes such as Nike and Adidas over pay, benefits, and the right to choose a union. The strike, China’s largest in decades, has shutdown production for two weeks and caused the company’s stock price to plummet.

Bloomberg News reports:
"Workers have disrupted production in Yue Yuen’s Dongguan factory complex, which employs more than 40,000 people, since April 14 in a dispute over pay, benefits and the right to pick their own union. More than 50 percent of the workers were on strike today, Liu said. China Labour Watch, which estimated the striking workers at about 30,000, said a small number had returned to work, without quantifying it.”

socialismartnature:

Happening NOW: 30,000 Chinese workers strike at the world’s largest producer of athletic shoes such as Nike and Adidas over pay, benefits, and the right to choose a union. The strike, China’s largest in decades, has shutdown production for two weeks and caused the company’s stock price to plummet.

Bloomberg News reports:

"Workers have disrupted production in Yue Yuen’s Dongguan factory complex, which employs more than 40,000 people, since April 14 in a dispute over pay, benefits and the right to pick their own union. More than 50 percent of the workers were on strike today, Liu said. China Labour Watch, which estimated the striking workers at about 30,000, said a small number had returned to work, without quantifying it.”

(via nezua)

Source facebook.com

Reblogged from Socialism Art Nature

sustainableprosperity:




Published on Sunday, April 20, 2014 by Common Dreams

The Myth of the Pro-Labor Democrat

by Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer



As the standard of living of working people continues its four-decades-long steady decline, the number of people who classify themselves as “middle class” has correspondingly dropped, including by almost 10 percent in the past six years alone. Under the circumstances one might assume that leaders of organized labor are furiously rethinking their single-minded, long-held strategy of “defending” working people by simply electing Democrats to office. Surely, the disastrous track record of this strategy has given rise to a pause. Unfortunately, there are few encouraging signs on the horizon that top union officials are engaged in any serious contemplation of a dramatic new strategic departure.
 
Instead, labor leaders have chosen to refine this dead-end approach by narrowing its focus: elect “labor Democrats,” not “business Democrats.” At the recent California state Democratic Party convention, San Francisco Labor Council Executive Director Tim Paulson drew cheers when he declared: “We want Labor Democrats, not business Democrats. We’re talking about the fact that there’s more wealth in this nation and state than there’s ever been…. I don’t care if (Democrats) have a supermajority, if people aren’t voting for the values of the American dream.”
 
Aside from the problem that labor Democrats will be a minority in relation to business Democrats who side with Republicans, this declaration naturally raises the question: Are there really any politicians who could qualify as “labor Democrats” or should this category be consigned to the status of fiction? To answer this question one must carefully disentangle appearances from the underlying reality because mainstream politics breeds on deception.
 
Of course, everyone knows that politicians need votes to win elections and that consequently they have a perverse incentive when running for office to make promises to working people – the vast majority of the population – they have no intention of keeping. Lyndon Johnson ran on a peace platform and then rapidly escalated the war in Vietnam. Jimmy Carter promised a $50 tax rebate to each taxpayer but when elected decided the proposal was not practical. Bill Clinton promised to lower taxes on the middle class. When elected he slapped the middle class with a massive tax increase.
 
Obama, too, promised tax cuts for the middle class: “I will cut taxes – cut taxes – for 95% of all workers and their families,” and added, “If you make under $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes go up one dime.” But the Huffington Post reported that his 2013 budget proposal “would steadily boost taxes for middle-class households over the next 10 years, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.” 
And in fact he did allow the 2011 tax cut for working people to expire in 2013, meaning that workers had to pay an additional 2 percent in taxes thereafter.
 
There is an obvious reason why politicians do not keep campaign promises: although working people represent the vast majority of the electorate, small campaign contributions represent only 13 percent of all donations; large donors contribute 48 percent.
 
And while unions donate heavily and usually to Democrats, their donations are dwarfed when compared with the combination of corporate and wealthy individual donations. Contrary to popular opinion, the wealthy do not give primarily to the Republican Party: the top 20 big donors recently gave 62 percent of their money to Democrats.
 
Given this context, it was hardly surprising that The New York Times reported on “a dirty secret” of both parties when they were trying to negotiate a “grand bargain” to lower the deficit:
 
“Republicans oppose further tax increases on the rich, as Democrats demand, so Democrats will not support major changes to Medicare and Social Security, as Republicans insist.
 
“But the dirty secret – a phrase used independently, and privately, by people in both parties – is that neither side wants to take the actions it demands of the other to achieve a breakthrough.
 
“That is, many Republicans are no more interested in voting to reduce Medicare and Social Security benefits than Democrats are, lest they [Republicans] threaten their party’s big advantage among the older voters who dominate the electorate in midterm contests like those in 2014.
 
“And Democrats are no more eager than Republicans, with control of both houses of Congress up for grabs, to vote for the large revenue increases that a grand bargain would entail. They do not want to limit popular but costly deductions, as Mr. Obama and past bipartisan panels … have proposed. That is especially true for Democrats from states, like California and New York, where affluent voters value deductions for mortgages on first and second homes, charitable giving, and state and local taxes.” 
 
In other words, Democrats do not want to alienate their wealthy benefactors.
 
Not surprisingly, while working people are struggling to get by, the very wealthy are enjoying a strong winning streak, thanks to the power of money.
 
Leaders of organized labor, while conceding that the Democratic Party is strongly subsidized by the very wealthy, point to individual Democratic Party politicians who seem to have progressive records on issues impacting working people. Yet here again appearances and reality can diverge. Democrats will often parade as pro-labor politicians as long as their vote doesn’t matter. However, when forced to actually vote when it does matter, their allegiance suddenly evaporates.
 
For example, organized labor was intensely lobbying for the Employee Free Choice Act because it would have greatly facilitated their organizing drives. Business was lobbying just as intensely against the bill. Nevertheless, two Democratic members of Congress introduced the bill, saying it would help rebuild the middle class. But according to The New York Times, “Republican and business strategists said some former co-sponsors [i.e., Democrats] felt they had a free pass to back the bill when President Bush appeared likely to veto it. But now that the bill appears to have a real chance of passage [because Obama was president], they said, some moderate senators, heavily lobbied by business, are backing off the bill, worried that it might hurt or anger their business constituents.”
 
In other words, Democrats will voice support for pro-labor legislation as long as they don’t actually have to vote for it when their vote might be a deciding factor.
 
The New York Times reported on a similar dynamic in San Francisco, one of the most progressive cities in the country, where a left-leaning member of the Board of Supervisors agreed to introduce a bill that would eliminate a tax on corporate stock options. Three days after the bill was passed a lobbyist representing Zynga, one of the companies that benefited from the bill, threw a fundraiser for the supervisor.
 
Later, both Twitter and Zynga fought for another tax break. The Times quoted a city official as saying: “I don’t think a moderate would’ve touched this with a 10-foot pole. Not only were they able to get a progressive to take it, they were able to build a coalition of progressives to either support it or stay on the sidelines because when the time came they were able to call in the chips.”
 
In this case sitting on the sidelines and not voting can be just as helpful to corporate interests as actually voting for a bill. So even the progressives in one of the most progressive cities in the nation are prepared to do corporate bidding and lower their taxes, either directly or by “stay[ing] on the sidelines,” although San Francisco public schools are still suffering because of deep cuts exacted during the recession.
 
Of course, none of this is to say that Democrats never do anything for working people. They must toss some crumbs from time to time; otherwise their game would be too transparent. However, they do far less than they say they will do, and pretend to do more than they actually do. If these Democrats were consistently defenders of the working class, corporations would organize to ensure their defeat in the next elections by heavily funding their opponents.
 
Truly pro-labor individuals would divorce themselves from the Democratic Party and explain to their constituents that this party is above all controlled by one sector of the 1%, and they would help lead in the creation of a massive grassroots movement that would base its power on its numbers. Truly huge demonstrations can not only change the political discourse, as the Occupy movement did, but they can change social policy, as demonstrations of millions of people in Brazil succeeded in doing last summer. And these grassroots movements can serve as the basis for creating a new political party that would exclusively represent the interests of working people.
 
Far from taking the initiative in creating such a movement, “pro-labor” Democrats will put in an appearance at an Occupy demonstration, for example, again to give the impression they are “with” the masses. But they only stay long enough to be seen and then quietly slip away to go vote for another tax break for corporations. They are counting on most people not reading the papers carefully so that these votes will go unnoticed.
 
For those who argue that turning away from the Democratic Party represents “pie in the sky” politics and that voting for a Democrat rather than a Republican surely makes sense as the lesser evil, it is necessary to look at where we are going as a society. Inequalities continue to grow at an accelerating speed. This could not be taking place without the complicity of the Democratic Party. The distance between the 1% and the working class is being stretched to the breaking point. As wealth continues to be concentrated more and more in the hands of the few while ever-more people struggle just to get by, this dynamic will eventually lead to a societal breakdown, followed by explosive upheavals.  Voting for a Democrat rather than a Republican will at best mean flying over the cliff at 20 mph rather than 40 mph. But in either case, we are in for a hard landing if this is the course we pursue.
 
With this is mind, it is important to note that there are a few promising glimmers of hope on the horizon. SEIU locals have been organizing demonstrations for a $15 minimum wage across the country. They are relying on working people themselves for political power, not on the Democrats. The head of the Central Labor Council of Seattle announced that the highest priority of his Council was the adoption of a $15 minimum wage for the city. In San Francisco an SEIU local is in the process of putting a proposal for a $15 minimum wage on the ballot, and the San Francisco Labor Council unanimously passed a resolution calling for $15. In Lorain, Ohio, confronting a Democratic stronghold, The AFL-CIO Labor Council with its community allies ran their own candidates against the Democrats and won.
 
As these movements increase and working people rely on themselves, a new political reality will open up where working people can begin to successfully fight for their interests and make real gains. This new reality will provide a basis upon which working people can build a party that exclusively represents their interests so they will no longer feel compelled to vote for candidates that represent the interests of the 1%. Then the tables will begin to turn.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.





Ann Robertson is a Lecturer at San Francisco State University and a member of the California Faculty Association.

more Ann Robertson





Bill Leumer is a member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 853 (ret.).

more Bill Leumer







Article printed from www.CommonDreams.org
Source URL: https://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/04/20-0

sustainableprosperity:


Article printed from www.CommonDreams.org

Posted by
Warlike Parakeet

Reblogged from Sustainable Prosperity

sustainableprosperity:

Full Show: Climate Catastrophe Now + The Most Important Question About Obamacare {aTV 001}

Episode Breakdown: 
Dennis talks with Dr. Jill Stein, President of the Green Shadow Cabinet about the recently published U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) fifth assessment on climate change. The findings, combined with the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community, paint a picture of humanity committing a collective genocide and ecocide. The end of civilization scenarios, once projected for your grandchildren’s grandchildren are now a reality for anyone ho plans to be alive in 2050.

"The IPCC has finally stepped up to the plate in saying what we are up against," says Dr. Stein, "but they have not begin to step up to the plate, in fact they are really not qualified to say how we fix this. The IPCC is not calling for radical transformation. They have yelled, ‘fire!’ and come out with a squirt gun. What they are calling for is not what we need."

In the second half of the show, Dennis sits down with Dr. Margret Flowers. 

Recently, Dr. Flowers initiated an online petition declaring herself a consciences objector to the Affordable Care Act and asking others to send a message to President Obama that the ACA is a scam. 

"The most important conversation we should be having right now in the United States is not how many people are insured," says Dr. Flowers "knowing that insurance is not protective, it’s: do we want to continue to treat healthcare as a commodity where people only get what they can afford, or do we want to join the rest of the industrialized nations in the world and treat healthcare as a public good and create a system where people can get what they need."


Bios:
Dr. Jill Stein (@DrJillStein) is a mother, physician, longtime teacher of internal medicine, and pioneering environmental-health advocate. She was the 2012 Green Party presidential nominee and current president of the Green Shadow Cabinet. She is also an initiator behind the Global Climate Convergence, which is an education and direct action campaign running from Mother Earth Day to May Day. It seeks to build collaboration across national borders and fronts of struggle to harness the transformative power we already possess as a thousand separate movements springing up across the planet.

Dr. Margaret Flowers (MFlowers8) is a pediatrician from Baltimore who is an organizer at PopularResistance.org, co-directs ItsOurEconomy.us and co-hosts Clearing the FOG on We Act Radio. She is adviser to the board of Physicians for a National Health Program and is on the steering committee of the Maryland Health Care is a Human Right campaign.

Dennis Trainor, Jr. (@DennisTrainorJr) is a writer, host and producer. His documentary on the Occupy movement, American Autumn: an Occudoc, garnered critical praise from The New York Times, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and more. He also wrote and directed Legalize Democracy, a documentary short about the Movement To Amend the Constitution. Trainor was an embedded YouTube personality/media advisor on the staff of Dennis Kucinich’s 2008 presidential campaign and his work is regularly published on The Huffington Post, Truth Out, The Real New Network, Popular Resistance and several others.

This episode of Acronym TV was filmed at The Real News Network in Baltimore, MD. 

Posted by
Warlike Parakeet

Reblogged from Sustainable Prosperity

So, update on my situation. I’m almost there.

america-wakiewakie:

neoliberalismkills:

(refresher: I very very abruptly became homeless a few weeks after quitting my job to deal with the loss of a best friend who was murdered, due to a break-up. while my ex-partners had agreed to help me get on my feet, they suddenly withdrew that support so now I’m kind of on my ass.)

the apartment that I had applied for has not only denied me, but they are now keeping the $300 deposit. while this is definitely not legal, I don’t really have the time at this very moment to debate them on that. I need a place to stay. since I do webcam modeling, I don’t have an official proof of employment to show anyone. my plan, now, is to find someone who is renting out a spare room, start my webcamming up, and stay there for three months so that my bank statements show that I’m being consistently paid and I can use that to get an actual apartment.

I am now out $300 tho. most rooms I’ve seen range from $390-$450 a month, which isn’t bad. I just need help putting down enough for three months so I can start my webcamming and get on my damn feet. 

sorry for all the posts about this /: but if you could help a homeless queer and their cat out, I’d definitely appreciate it. donate button is on my blog, and if you can signal boost again, that would be nice. I’m almost back to where I need to be, me and my cat, Nipple, thank you for your help.

image

Help a comrade out ya’ll. Signal boost or donate!

Source neoliberalismkills

Reblogged from neoliberalismkills

Looking at the racist histories of the United States’ government and its legalized enforcers, we are presented with this question: why do we continue to seek justice from our oppressors? We must recognize that we are complicit in crafting the strength and legitimacy of police forces across the country each time we equate our ideas of justice with theirs… [O]ur collective allegiance to the penal and criminal justice system necessitates the police as enforcers of a racist, sexist, classist and violent society.

Against Hired Guns (via america-wakiewakie)

Reblogged from America Wakie Wakie

When our radical community steps up to support families [after police killings], we do so because we recognize the contradictions and opportunities; we do so to rip these contradictions out of the holes carved by government bullets and use them to strategically put police under fire. But as organizers who step up for families and watch life after life stolen and a broad focus by the grassroots on individual responsibility (i.e. prosecuting “bad” cops), our role is different than that of a family member or their legal representation. We must stop falling into traps of the past.

Traditional definitions would label a “bad” cop as one who either breaks rules at their job or follows the law in ways that appear egregious to civilians. A “good” cop is one who strictly follows the law or who acts in ways that civilians around them perceive as positive. Both those categories exist. Neither have a place in a radical conversation about justice.

Focusing on individual responsibility – such as the drilled-in demand to jail or prosecute a “bad (killer) cop” – can be deeply important for a family who lost someone, and they alongside those whose job it is to navigate legal confines should be supported to focus on that goal. However, a broader movement built against police killings, police brutality and policing in general, needs to have a deeper understanding of how policing has been and is being experienced: as the armed guard of a legal system that is rooted in the domination of people and land through de jure (legal) and de facto (in reality) slavery and capitalism.

In the model mentioned above, the justice that is sought is not justice at all. Taking a cop’s badge is useful in that it takes them off the street, but there are many more eager to replace them and many departments willing to oblige. Putting one cop in jail does nothing to solve the larger and endemic issues that plague poor Black and Brown communities. Rather, let’s refocus our energy toward preventing the same patterns that allowed the trigger pulling in the first place from happening again and again.

Against Hired Guns (via america-wakiewakie)

Reblogged from America Wakie Wakie

freedomsson:

Starting a freestore is an easy, and most effective and radical action. There is no excuse not to have one in every city.To start a freestore, you basically have 3 main requirements to fulfill.First you need items. The first and easiest way is to have everyone who is organizing the freestore go through everything they own, unless they’re a minimalist, homeless, or fresh out of prison, chances are everyone can find at least one item. Then every volunteer can pester their friends and family for stuff to donate. A great source for items is dumpsters. Dumpster diving alone can keep a freestore sustainable. Flyering and calling out ahead of time for donations is a great way to get them. If you are having a regular freestore (everyone should aim for this goal) word will eventually spread and people will start donating to your cause.Next you need people, both to run the store and for people to participate. Before your freestore, you should flyer and promote it on various social media (a facebook event is a must). Try to be a visible part of the community. Being located near busy areas is best, and bus stops are a great choice. Make sure to have proper signage so people walking by can understand what is going on.The last thing you need is a location. Whether this is a one time action or a sustainable project will determine greatly what you need. The easiest location to secure is popup, just simply have one on the sidewalk in a busy part of town or at a local park. You may end up with some sort of police confrontation doing it on the street. If police move you, simply pack up and continue on a different block. Another option is squatting, which may end in police or building owner conflict. If you only have your freestore once a week a good thing to do is ask a building owner to let you use their space on a designated day. If need be, trade them something for the use of their building. The most likely option if you want a sustainable building is to talk to a church or some sort of community center.Random Tips:If you are in someone elses building, be careful of co-option (Particularly when working with a church). A good way to confront this from the start is to have lots of banners and signs with your organization and messages on it. Be clear about who you are and what you are doing.When putting out food, make sure to take certain items out of the package and lay them out if there is more than one serving. This way people will take what they need, not the entire box. With hygiene products you may want to only set out a small amount at a time to make sure people have an equal chance to get what they need.
Technically a freestore can function fine with one person watching it, however the more people you can get during opening and closing of your freestore the easier it will be. If your freestore is meant to be sustainable simply box up what is left over and put it out again during the next one.

freedomsson:

Starting a freestore is an easy, and most effective and radical action. There is no excuse not to have one in every city.
To start a freestore, you basically have 3 main requirements to fulfill.

First you need items. The first and easiest way is to have everyone who is organizing the freestore go through everything they own, unless they’re a minimalist, homeless, or fresh out of prison, chances are everyone can find at least one item. Then every volunteer can pester their friends and family for stuff to donate. A great source for items is dumpsters. Dumpster diving alone can keep a freestore sustainable. Flyering and calling out ahead of time for donations is a great way to get them. If you are having a regular freestore (everyone should aim for this goal) word will eventually spread and people will start donating to your cause.

Next you need people, both to run the store and for people to participate. Before your freestore, you should flyer and promote it on various social media (a facebook event is a must). Try to be a visible part of the community. Being located near busy areas is best, and bus stops are a great choice. Make sure to have proper signage so people walking by can understand what is going on.

The last thing you need is a location. Whether this is a one time action or a sustainable project will determine greatly what you need. The easiest location to secure is popup, just simply have one on the sidewalk in a busy part of town or at a local park. You may end up with some sort of police confrontation doing it on the street. If police move you, simply pack up and continue on a different block. Another option is squatting, which may end in police or building owner conflict. If you only have your freestore once a week a good thing to do is ask a building owner to let you use their space on a designated day. If need be, trade them something for the use of their building. The most likely option if you want a sustainable building is to talk to a church or some sort of community center.

Random Tips:
If you are in someone elses building, be careful of co-option (Particularly when working with a church). A good way to confront this from the start is to have lots of banners and signs with your organization and messages on it. Be clear about who you are and what you are doing.

When putting out food, make sure to take certain items out of the package and lay them out if there is more than one serving. This way people will take what they need, not the entire box. With hygiene products you may want to only set out a small amount at a time to make sure people have an equal chance to get what they need.



Technically a freestore can function fine with one person watching it, however the more people you can get during opening and closing of your freestore the easier it will be. If your freestore is meant to be sustainable simply box up what is left over and put it out again during the next one.

Reblogged from Ⓐ Freedoms Son Ⓐ

america-wakiewakie:

"We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered."
— Martin Luther King Jr.

america-wakiewakie:

"We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered."

— Martin Luther King Jr.

(via i-do-not-fangirl-i-fanwoman)

Source america-wakiewakie

Reblogged from America Wakie Wakie


“Equality means everyone gets exactly the same outcome without regard to individual differences, which, in turn, ignores various starting points on the socioeconomic ladder due to circumstance or institutions like white supremacy and patriarchy. Equity, on the other hand, means everyone gets the same quality of outcome, and therefore it requires proactively rectifying issues of circumstance and institutionalized inequality in the manner, as Marx would say, from each according to their ability, to each according to their need.”
— Equality vs. Equity | AmericaWakieWakie

Equality means everyone gets exactly the same outcome without regard to individual differences, which, in turn, ignores various starting points on the socioeconomic ladder due to circumstance or institutions like white supremacy and patriarchy. Equity, on the other hand, means everyone gets the same quality of outcome, and therefore it requires proactively rectifying issues of circumstance and institutionalized inequality in the manner, as Marx would say, from each according to their ability, to each according to their need.”

Equality vs. Equity | AmericaWakieWakie

(via cultureofresistance)

Source america-wakiewakie

Reblogged from America Wakie Wakie